Ever since I switched to using a Mac I noticed the default OS X wallpapers from Leopard until Lion — and now Mountain Lion — are images of auroras, galaxies and the like. All are darker on the side and gets more brighter towards the middle. They look alright but overtime it tends to get boring.
Well, we all know its easy to change wallpapers for your desktop — heck, thats one of the first things I do on a windows machine1. But why do I still use Apple’s default wallpaper?
Believe me, I’ve tried so many times to find the right wallpaper for a 2560px by 1440px resolution that suits me. Now when I say I’ve tried, I at least let it sit for at least a week. To me a perfect wallpaper really means a lot.
It’s the first thing you see before going to work. I want to use this as a tool to motivate me to work and get things done.
Based on my experience
I don’t bother when I’m doing photoshop work since I like to work in fullscreen mode.
But when coding I usually have 2 windows open at the same time. One for my coding app and the other one is Safari for testing. This also holds true when I’m writing stuff, I have a window for iA Writer and another for Marked app to see how it looks2.
The solution is simple, make both windows equally large taking completely half of the screen. That was simple right? Problem solved? Not quite, both windows seem to be large for its content. So as a result I tend to resize it back to just the way I want them.
Worst is if I only need Safari open or Mail on a single time.
This is my problem
If I have a dark background the windows themselves look awfully bright3 even at my preferred brightness setting.
If I have a bright background, and browse on a dark website for a long time in Safari, I get these flashes in my eyes when I close the window.
How about a background with a shade of grey? I’ve tried it and truth be told, I experience both of the problems said above simultaneously. I can’t explain why. I may be getting old and my eyes can’t adapt to dynamic lighting conditions and get tired faster than before, that’s why I usually set my brightness to about 4 dots to start with.
Using those boring default wallpapers
I went back to the default wallpaper in which my current OS ships with — I was still in Snow Leopard, and I don’t have any problems with it. Then came Lion, and now with Mountain Lion’s Developer preview available, I’m now using its default wallpaper.
Even if there are icons on my desktop, or whether the windows are bright or not and regardless of placement of my windows, it doesn’t affect how I work.
It amazes me, from Snow Leopard to Lion I didn’t have any complains with the transition. And now I’m letting Mountain Lion’s wallpaper sit on my desktop and hasn’t been changed since the announcement of the Developer Preview. Still, I’m fine with it.
I’d like to think there is great amount of thinking behind the design of the background/wallpaper.
What’s a good wallpaper?
Each and everyone of us have their own holy opinions about their desktop wallpapers. There are people who wants really graphic intense designs while others want to keep it simple and minimal. It all drills down to preference.
But for me Apple has done a pretty good job with their’s, so I’m sticking with the default.
Just a tip. You should never spend too much time trying to change your wallpaper everyday. It tends to waste so much time trying to browse for the perfect one for your particular mood for that particular moment. Pick one and live with it.
Just so you know, I tried going back to Snow Leopard’s wallpaper and I didn’t like it anymore. It felt like I was using an old system.
I’m still waiting for the next OS X release where the default wallpaper isn’t worthy to decorate my desktop.