Since I’ve been using my new Mac Pro, I’ve had the “iTunes Artwork” screensaver running. There are two things about this that are great:
The first is my monitor stays on for longer, which means I don’t need to wait for it to warm up — and display calibrated colours — after a typical pause in working, like a lunch break. The screensaver starts after 15 minutes, and the screen shuts off after an hour.
The second, and more profound, is I get an epic reminder of the decades[1. I’m really not that old; my music has been collecting for barely two decades — qualifying it for the plural-isation of ‘decade’, although the music itself spans many decades…] of music my wife and I have stored within iTunes. Much of this music I have forgotten about, and thus, never listen to. (There are some albums that belong in the ‘never spin again’ pile to be sure, but the vast majority doesn’t).
The iTunes Artwork screensaver sort of punches my nostalgia in the face, and once it falls down proceeds to repeatedly kick it in the head, teeth, eyes, ears, and neck. It then scours the nearby trash cans for any broken bottles, but gives up when it realises my nostalgia has drunkenly got to it’s feet and escaped into the night.
And it’s awesome.
Upon returning from a break, I get a sampling of at least 35 unique album covers from my collection, with one changing every four seconds. It’s pretty random, which is exactly what I love about it. I look at this sampling, and sometimes I spy a ralbum[2. Rad-album] I haven’t heard in a long time and give it a spin. Glee ensues.
If you’re rolling Mac-style and have your music stored in iTunes, and find screensavers useful, I recommend setting yours to ‘iTunes Artwork’, running at four seconds.
I’m now using an exposé hot corner (bottom-right, far away from any accidental triggering) to turn the screensaver on as a music suggester. When I come to do some work, and not sure what to listen to, whip into the bottom-right corner and take my pick.