Free Wallpaper ?
Almost; wallpaper that's free to use. Truly just a dynamic colorful web page. Many free wallpapers are tied to a download of a toolbar or some other obligation, no obligations here, just free FUN! I call this wallpaper, or screensaver, PC Color Spectrum II. It's probably the most colorful PC desktop wallpaper you'll ever see.
Mini demo below
Click this link for the real
But Wow, it's fastest by far in Google Chrome!
Use your PC as a Strobe Light?
Really it's not quite wallpaper nor is it a screensaver, not a kaleidoscope either, it's a unique colorful dynamic Internet web page that you are free to use for non-commercial purposes. For commercial use please contact me and "we'll talk"! For your first look please resize your browser window (Internet Explorer is fastest by far) so it is relatively small and then click on the PC Color Spectrum II link and take a look. The display is so dynamic that it will use a lot of your CPU's power, so your percent CPU usage will jump up. I'll go into a lot more detail about using PC Color Spectrum II on the remainder of this page. Please learn about the "Pixels" and "Resize" button on the control panel before you play to much! Throughout the article I'll use PC Color Spectrum, PCSII, wallpaper, screensaver, or kaleidoscope, interchangeably, because I just don't know what to call it!
Please you must use this at your own risk!
Not really a wallpaper, kaleidoscope, or screensaver !
No it's not, but it is free! And if you're brave you can use it as your active desktop background. I'll explain how below for Windows XP. Sorry, but for now the kaleidoscope display is fastest by far in Internet Explorer. Something about the math involved seems to slow down Firefox, Netscape, and Opera.
It is a CPU intensive web page
Warning if your browser freezes using this free wallpaper, please be patient, it will return control to you after a time period. If you have this problem the best thing to do is close your browser by clicking the "close" button "x" and patiently waiting. Sorry if you have this problem.
Firefox 3.X users: There seems to be a long, long, delay if you resize the browser while PC Color Spectrum is displaying. If you have to, use "Ctrl-Alt-Del" to get your computer's attention!
Opera users: if you have poor performance please upgrade to at least version 9.52 which seems quite fast.
Why PC Color Spectrum "II"
Why number two? In 1985 I released a product for the Personal Computer called PC Color Spectrum. At that time most computers had an 8088 microprocessor and anywhere from 64K to 640K of RAM. The PC I'm typing on has 512 Meg, one half GIGA-byte of ram. That's up to 8000 times more memory! The program Computer Chronicles reviewed my product, as did PC Magazine, in 1985. I was astonished to see the actual video review, by Paul Schindler of Computer Chronicles, archived by the "Internet Archive". If you have a high bandwidth link, scroll to near the end of this video and see the review of the original "PC Color Spectrum I" from 1985. This program was a review of printers, but the "PC Color" review is toward the end. I did not see this program or even receive a transcript, they "didn't do that" at the time. I think I saw this archived show for the first time in 2001. Isn't the Internet amazing. It took me hours to find this review! ANYWAY, back to the fun.
Webmasters and Copyright
Webmasters please do link to this introductory page, but please don't link directly to the PC Color Spectrum page itself. Users need to learn about this "free wallpaper" by seeing this page before they use PC Color. Thanks!
The PC Color Spectrum II "wallpaper" or "screensaver" will automatically slow down and free up your CPU whenever you change "focus" to (click on) another program on your computer. Simply clicking on the PC Color Spectrum display will bring it back to full speed. The wallpaper will also automatically choose a larger color "pixel" size if you resize your browser and then "refresh" the webpage (Hit F5 key). These features are all there to first, be conservative with the CPU usage, and let you experiment with "smaller" pixel sizes for the PC Color Spectrum display. Using the smaller "Pixel" sizes can enhance the display in several ways BUT, your CPU usage will go UP and UP. This does no harm but can slow your PC down quite a bit. Please see the control panel instructions. Pixel sizes 0,1,2 could cause your PC to start "churning" using virtual memory and going very slow, if it's a problem, please just close your browser and be patient the slowness will clear up, it could take a minute or two!
Dual or Multi-processor users
This webpage may use both of your processors, I DON'T KNOW for sure. Please write me and let me know what happens.
The Control Panel
The control panel is located near the upper left side of the wallpaper, it automatically hides itself whenever your mouse is not "hovering" over it. It will also pop up if you slide your mouse pointer over the Copyright notice at the top of the page.
This is your browsers "Refresh" button and it can be thought of as a Reset
Button for this wallpaper.
You'll get to know this button well while using this free screensaver. Hit "F11" then "F5" for a full screen display. By default PCS II will use a larger Pixel size to keep your CPU usage lower, simply being conservative now try the "Pixel" and "Resize" buttons in the "Control Panel"
When you resize your browser the free screensaver display will not automatically resize itself. Remember the bigger the display the more CPU you will use unless you choose larger Pixels too! So after you resize your browser hit this button and PCS II will resize to fit your browser window. There will be a delay during this operation. Unlike the "F5 key" or "Refresh" of your browser, the resize button will also clear the display without losing any of your custom settings.
This button will change the size of the displayed "Pixels", picture elements, or the little colored squares. However the Pixel size will only change when you hit the "Resize" button. This button has values of 0 to 12, zero being the smallest Pixels. Be careful choosing Pixel sizes of 0, 1, 2, 3, your PC may really pause attempting to show so many small Pixels. Work your way down by selecting a smaller Pixel size then hit the "Resize" button to make the change take effect.
The "Pause" button will stop the display free up your computers CPU. You may change other settings while
The screensaver starts in a "Random" mode. Click on the "Rand" button to vary the time between major display changes. The "time" is a count of display updates. It is best if you set this "Rand" mode to "0" to disable the random display and allow you to have "full" control while learning the controls below. Each button will typically change a given setting by one increment and will eventually jump back to zero or a larger number. The numbers "wrap around" if you click each button enough times.
Once you have disabled "Random" mode, try some of the "Preset" modes by clicking on "Presets". As you click this button you will see subtle to large changes in the display, and you will see some of the "Preset" modes. As you click on this "Presets" button a number will increment to the left indicating the current Preset mode number. You will see the values change to the left of many of the buttons documented below. These are the various preset mode settings.
The modes consist of different "Patterns", "Borders", and "Colors". The Patterns and Borders have different "Rates" and "Drives".
The "Colors" button select different color combinations for the current display "Pattern". Again to the left of the "Colors" button is a number indicating the current color display mode.
The "Patterns" button selects the pattern that appears toward the center of the display. These patterns primarily affect the colors toward the center of the display. Again to the left of the Pattern button is the number of the current pattern. Associated with, and below, the "Patterns" button is a "Drive" and "Rate" button.
The "Borders" button selects the colors that will appear around the border. A setting of "zero" will drive the border toward darkness or black. A setting of "one" allows the border color to "float" or match that of the display within. This setting will allow the colors of the display to spread toward the border. Border mode "two" will periodically set the entire perimeter of the display to a new color.
0. Make border black
1. Make border float to match interior
2. Set entire perimeter to a random color.
4. Close the door.
6. Pick up sticks.
Please play with these and see what they do!
The "Pattern" and "Border" buttons have associated "Drive" and "Rate" buttons below them. The "Drive" button controls how much the "Pattern" and "Border" buttons affect the amount of color the pattern or border produce. The "Number" displayed to the left goes up to 3 and returns to .5 or 1 when it "wraps".
The "Rate" buttons control how frequently the "Pattern" or "Border" is refreshed. The Rate button for the patterns has values from 0 to 20. The larger the number the more infrequently the pattern will be painted onto the "wallpaper". The "Rate" button for borders has values of 0 to 30 in increments of 5. The larger the number the less frequently the borders will be "painted' or "driven".
Using PC Color Spectrum II
Just play with it!
Although many small pixels tends to go slowly over time, the resultant "painting" can be very impressive. To free up your CPU fully hit the "Pause" button.
Using larger Rate settings will allow exotic shapes to form that you would never see otherwise.
The Drive settings will provide more diverse, more closely spaced color lines at higher values.
If you're brave? Windows XP Active Desktop
The Active Desktop lets you put a Internet browser window on your PC's desktop. To do this in Windows XP:
Here's the part I'm a little leery about. I can't and I'm sorry won't guarantee the availability of this, nor am I sure it's a good idea for you to link your desktop like this, so be forewarned.
This will set you up with Active Desktop potential. This really is just like a hidden web browser on your desktop. Any trouble? Just go through the sequence above and uncheck PC Color Spectrum II. Move your mouse to the top of your desktop and you will usually get a Title Bar that will simply let you close PC Color Spectrum II as well. If you right click on the desktop you can make it cover your entire desktop. Again be very careful with small Pixels sizes!
09/08/2008: The startup time is large, I'm sorry I don't know why as yet. This has been true since day one I believe.
05/04/2006 Version 1.0.4:
9/7/2008: Version 1.0.5 Released solving sizing problem for several browsers. Also appears to be a Firefox performance enhancement. Used DIV's instead of characters.
PC Color Spectrum Ver. 1.0.4 This is the previous version should you have troubles with the new version.
I hope you enjoy this free wallpaper?
by Bob Matheson