CyberNotes
Weekend Website

This past week, Ryan and I found ourselves looking for a new background image for our computers . We were both using a winter scene and got sick of looking at it when we have our own winter scene right outside our window (we got over 15 inches of snow this past week!). I set out to find something different and ended up using two different sites before I came across a background I was satisfied with. I liked both sites for different reasons and thought I’d share them with you.  We’re also asking you to fill us and everybody else in on your favorite places to get desktop wallpapers.

History

Before we get into two of the best sites I’ve come across, I thought we’d talk a little bit about how computer wallpaper originated.  Obviously we know that the term wallpaper refers to an image that’s used as a background on a computer screen, but how did it all come about? I went to none other than Wikipedia to find out, and here’s what I found:

The first use of a distinguishable background in conjunction with overlapping windows was in an experimental office system, Officetalk, developed in 1975 at Xerox PARC on the Alto. Prior to that, the white backgrounds to overlapping windows (for example, in Smalltalk) could be difficult to distinguish from window interiors. The pattern used in Officetalk produced a 25% gray, using dots two pixels high to avoid flicker on the Alto’s interlaced screen. The same pattern was adopted for the Xerox Star.

Apple used a similar gray background for their Lisa and Macintosh. However, since these machines had non-interlaced screens it was possible to use a less noticeable background pattern, formed from a simple 2×2 repeating pattern that gave a 50 percent gray. The introduction of color monitors for personal computers led to non-patterned, single-color backgrounds and then to arbitrary ‘wallpapers’.

Social Wallpapering

Social Wallpapering is described as “a community effort to classify, rank, and distribute high resolution images for use as computer wallpaper. As you might expect, Social Wallpapering has a social side to it.  Visitors to the site can vote up or down a wallpaper that they may or may not like. The nice thing is that unlike social sites, you don’t have to register to be able to vote. 

social wallpapering 2

Now, on to the important part, the wallpapers. At Social Wallpapering you can browse by category. They have all kinds of categories ranging from abstract to TV and movies.  If you’re not quite sure which category you’d want a wallpaper from, you can also filter by the highest/lowest rated, the most popular ones, and more. Additionally, you can browse by monitor size whether it be standard, widescreen, or a dual monitor set-up.

Another thing I like about this site is that if you hover over a wallpaper, a box pops-up with information like the size as shown below:

social wallpapering

Visit http://socwall.com to find a pretty decent selection of wallpapers for your computer.

InterfaceLIFT

InterfaceLIFT is another site that offers free high-resolution wallpapers. One of the things I like best about this site is that they divide all of their wallpapers into categories based upon size. Here are the sizes that they offer:

  • iPhone
  • 2560×1600
  • 1920×1200
  • 1680×1050
  • 1440×900
  • 1280×800
  • Sony PSP
  • 1680×1200
  • 1400×1050
  • 1280×1024
  • 1280×960
  • 1024×768
  • Apple iPod/Sony Mylo

On their homepage you’ll find that the wallpapers are listed and sorted by the date that they were added to the site.  It’s not that they offer many new ones each day because they don’t, but the ones they do offer are usually quality.  At least one new wallpaper is posted every few days.

interfacelift

You can also sort wallpapers by which ones were downloaded the most, which ones are rated the highest, those they were commented on the most, or you can even view random selections. Over the last year or so, I’ve found some of my favorite desktop backgrounds at InterfaceLIFT which you can visit here.

Where do you go for backgrounds?

We know there are all kinds of sites out there with great backgrounds, so fill us in. Where do you go for wallpaper?

There Are 23 Comments

  1. I usually went to InterfaceLIFT and Digital Blasphemy ([digitalblasphemy.com]). Digital Blasphemy wallpapers are all 3D computer rendered and only a handful are free. However, if you see quite a few you like, it is worth the cost of at least $15 for 90 day access, and it is only $25 for a full years access.

  2. I laugh out loud at term “social wallpapering”. Sounds funny. Decent effort though.

  3. I like this one but will need to have software to enlarge the image.
    [outdoor-photos.com]

  4. I pay attention to my wallpaper as well, as most of us, I guess.
    Live from my bookmarks, here is my Top 6 :

    1- InterfaceLIFT : Bingo!
    2- 2- High Resolution & Widescreen Wallpapers ([ewallpapers.eu])
    3- Social Wallpapering : Bingo!
    4- WallpaperStock ([wallpaperstock.net])
    5- Desktop Nexus Wallpapers ([desktopnexus.com])
    6- HDR Walls ([hdrwalls.com])

    Beauty and pleasure remain essential for happiness!

  5. Here are my choices…I’m sure you’ve covered them all in the past:

    Dual Monitor Backgrounds – Not a large selection but good quality.
    [dualmonitorbackgrounds.com]

    Freddie’s Wallpapers – All things Anime
    [wp.madcowdisease.org]

    MyDesk City – Chinese (?) site. Incredible selections. Bring a web-translator service!
    [mydeskcity.com]

    From the flickr pool:
    [flickr.com]

    Mandolux – Is there anyone singularly more brilliant?
    [mandolux.com]

    PixelGirl – Nice graphic-artsy wallpapers
    [pixelgirlpresents.com]

    BTW–Did you notice your fav. freeware dual-monitor wallpapering tool Display Fusion has been getting a pretty constant stream of updates? Might be time for a CyberNet re-review!

    DisplayFusion
    [binaryfortress.com]

    Change Logs
    [binaryfortress.com]

  6. Transcontinental –

    Some good links you have there! :P

    The site-design for your link for ewallpapers.eu reminded me of one more of my faves I forgot:

    Wallpaper Stock.
    [wallpaperstock.com]

    They seem to have a very similar feel to them.

  7. Many that have been suggested already are great sources (i.e., [mandolux.com]). Great work, everybody!

    I’d like to suggest one more, though: [earthwallpapers.org]
    It’s a terrific collection of images of the natural beauty of our planet, as seen via Google Maps, and has a marvelous site design. (albeit, a limited selection)

    Also, if images from Google Maps interests you, check out: [labnol.blogspot.com]

  8. I always go to Desktop Nexus for my backgrounds. Fantastic site.
    [desktopnexus.com]

  9. Caedes, the Desktop Wallpaper and Artist Community
    [caedes.net]
    great site with both digital and photographic images.

    Wincustomize:
    [wincustomize.com]
    856 pages of wallpaper from the wincustomize community.
    They say they have the finest collection of Wallpapers on the Internet – the site itself is run by Stardock.

    Digital Image Cafe
    [digitalimagecafe.com]

    Vlad Studio
    [vladstudio.com]
    (interesting digital work, abstract and other)

    Flickr Designer Pool
    [flickr.com]

    Mike Swanson
    [blogs.msdn.com]
    (some gorgeous close up photos here)

    Vista Wallpaper
    [vista-wallpaper.de]
    (not related to the Microsoft operating system of the same name – has digital and photographic papers, very nice)

    National Geographic Wallpapers
    [photography.nationalgeographic.com]
    (Its National Geographic, ’nuff said)

    Desktopography
    [desktopography.net]
    nature themed wallpapers from select designers.
    This site also has music and I don’t know if you can turn it off. Its nice music, but just so you know.

    Free Nature Wallpapers from a photographer named Jeff Munro
    [tinyurl.com]
    [jeffreymunro.com]
    awesome photos from all over, including some crop circles

    Adni18
    [tinyurl.com]
    [adni18.com]
    nice variety of digital images from a designer who also makes some Windowblinds skins.

    Can’t forget Stellarium:
    [stellarium.org]
    Stellarium is a free open source planetarium for your computer. It shows a realistic sky in 3D, just like what you see with the naked eye, binoculars or a telescope.
    It is being used in planetarium projectors. Just set your coordinates and go.

  10. You already hit one of my favorites in InterfaceLift, but I have come across some others recently that are useful too. The first is MeeDown at [meedown.com] and another is | Hamad Darwish | World of Photography at [hamaddarwish.com]

    Also there is GraphicStyles at [graphicstyles.org]

    That’s about all I have at the moment. I look forward to reading through all the comments, looks like I will have some new ones after this. Thanks.

  11. Great links! I just bought a new widescreen (1440 x 900) monitor and not being able to use the thousands of standard 4:3 ratio wallpapers I’ve collected over the years was breaking my heart. I’ll have to check these out. I usually surf around deviantART for wallpapers: [browse.deviantart.com]

  12. I like Digital Blasphemy, but I wish he would publish new wallpapers a bit more often.

  13. Hey here’s a suggestion, maybe you guys could find and compare all the freeware Wallpaper changing programs out there? I use Wallpaper Master [jamesgart.com] (the free version) but it has it’s limits and bugs so if there’s anything better out there I’d love to know about it. :D

  14. Great article and thanks people for sharing! i do change wallpapers quite often and now with this article i will spend some time finding nice pics.

    As many links are already posted, i think i did not see [customize.org], which is not bad either.

    cheers

  15. oops, sorry people. wrong link, should be [customize.org]

    cheers

  16. [webshots.com] and [flickr.com] are my main wallpaper sources. I do like the sites you recommended in this article though.

  17. My new favorite source for wallpaper is an old friend…
    National Geographic. They have spruced up their site and now most of their pics have links under them to dl the shots we see as wallpaper. They even offer all the popular sizes so we don’t have to resize.

  18. Oh yeah – if you are into using flickr for your wallpaper source, you have to check out: [marcogomes.com] It’s a terrific site that searches flickr for wallpaper sized images that match your given search criteria. (with a clean, intuitive design too). See: [cybernetnews.com]

  19. I usually just go on 4chan. Their 2 wallpaper boards are usually good enough to fill my geeky anime and video game wallpaper needs.

  20. Again, the whole point of sharing : if we ever thought of holding the best, if one was ever convinced of his truth, discovering others’ worlds, preferences, choices… discoveries, is the point to modesty! Wow, you guys, I’ve discovered new websites, wallpapers in this case, absolutely fantastic! Thanks a lot!

  21. Wow, I wasn’t expecting so many different links! Thanks for sharing guys!

  22. Claus Valca wrote:
    BTW–Did you notice your fav. freeware dual-monitor wallpapering tool Display Fusion has been getting a pretty constant stream of updates? Might be time for a CyberNet re-review!

    I have noticed the updates to the app, but haven’t had time to actually check them out. I hope to be installing it soon so that I can see what they’ve improved on.

  23. thought i’d drop one of my favs…it has a very diverse collection of widescreen papers. the site is, i believe, in russian, so either bring your translator or just blindly click like i do.

    [widewallpapers.ru]

    there is, to the best of my knowledge, only one annoying popup and it’s on the main page, i haven’t bumped up to any after that. (gets through ff for some reason).

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