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