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John’s Background Switcher 4 Goes Live!

85 comments

John's Background SwitcherJust over 2 years ago I started designing a major revamp of John’s Background Switcher. My goal was to take all I’d learned from tens of thousands of people using it, hundreds of pieces of feedback about what was good, what sucked and what was just plain confusing to produce a much better product. It didn’t take me long to write a short spec with a couple of diagrams and I was ready to go! So why has it taken me 2 years to make it happen you might ask? Well, I spent longer working on the existing versions of JBS than I’d have liked adding new features here and there knowing that to start work on JBS 4 would mean quite a big revamp and a long period of sustained work. Also, being part of a start-up meant my free time was somewhat limited. But after being acquired that settled down quite a bit. So on the 20th of May 2009 (that’s 4 months ago!) I started work, dedicating my evenings and weekends to creating JBS 4 and at long last it’s ready to go live to the world. Oh yes, and it’s still completely free!

I’ve redesigned virtually every aspect of JBS in ways you can see and an enormous number of ways you can’t. I’ve added dozens of cool new features, fixed countless bugs and tweaked loads more things to hopefully make this version by far and away the best – and fastest – ever. It also gives me a better base to take future versions of JBS to another level. If you’ve ever sent me an email or posted on my discussion forum suggesting a feature or filled in the ‘uninstall feedback’ page you get when you remove JBS then rest assured I pored over what you said to make JBS 4. Anyway, click on the screenshots below to see a few of the highlights of the new version and follow the link to the main John’s Background Switcher page here.

I must give thanks to the beta testers (you know who you are) who made sure JBS 4 didn’t come out riddled with bugs and ensured that it’s ended up even better than I’d hoped it would be! Cheers guys! :)

Anyway, go and get John’s Background Switcher now! Oh, and you can read the full release notes here to see what I’ve been up to…

Posted by

Scotsman, footballer, software developer, bounty hunter, photographer, dog owner, risk taker, heart breaker, nice guy. Some of those are lies.

85 Comments Join the Conversation

  1. John, you rock. I greatly appreciate your dedication and all the free time you spent in this great software, possibly the only software which using it causes me great happiness. Thanks a lot.

    Reply

  2. John, thanks for your hard work on this product and for (still) keeping it free…

    this install is one of the first things I put on my systems and I’ve done my best to spread the word on this excellent program

    Reply

  3. Thanks for all your work on this. I’ve been using it for some time now and it is the best of breed as far as I’m concerned.

    Reply

  4. I wish every programmer would put out a product as excellent as this one is! I love getting new pictures every minute. I’m addicted! Keep up the great work!

    Reply

  5. Sweet application. John, thank-you for what I’m sure is a huge amount of effort. Top notch!

    Reply

  6. John, this is some truly outstanding work. JBS4 is a fantastic piece of software. From a fellow developer, all my thumbs are raised!!

    Reply

    • Thanks Nick, I appreciate it! Non-developers don’t realise just how much work goes into producing even a relatively simple app like JBS that at the end of the day just changes your background!

      Reply

  7. I’ve been waiting for this release. You, sir deliver on what you promise. Fantastic!

    (That last word should be read as if pronounced by Christopher Eccleston as The Doctor.)

    Reply

  8. Thanks a lot you’ve made easer how to change my wallpapers!.

    I’m a developer too and it’s gret that someone create this great software.

    Reply

  9. John, I never met you, but every day, you make me smile. Thank you for all your hard work on JBS–the best background switcher ever:)

    Reply

  10. Thumbs up from Rome, too! Thanks for this free, rocking piece of software which makes my monitor happy every day. When I discovered it, months ago, I immediately put it in the “core” applications I always install on every PC. Keep up the great work!

    Reply

  11. This is by far the BEST background app I have ever used. simplicity of setup and look is priceless! I wish there was more I could say but this program has definitely given me just what i needed for Vista, uncluttered interface, smooth design and doesnt seem to bog my system down when switching. Thanks again for sharing!

    Reply

    • Thanks! I do try my best to make is as smooth and simple to use as possible while trying to maintain lots of little features that make it as customisable as possible without making it confusing.

      Reply

  12. DUDE!!!! This app rocks!!, (&, I don’t). You should charged $5+ for it. Everyone’s time is worth something. I’ll contribute, as, I love ur app.

    Reply

    • Heh heh, you’re not the first person to say that but I find it strangely satisfying to give it away for free! But all donations are most welcome! :)

      Reply

  13. Hi John,
    I did not leave a message yet.
    I use your program since a loooong time now and I’m very very pleased with it.
    It’s the best program I found to have my pictures displayed on the backgrounds of my 2 22 inch screens.
    Thanks a lot for the good work !!
    Cheers,
    Stefaan

    Reply

      • Whow John….i’m glad with V4 !!
        Great man…
        I love the fading in and out of pictures…
        I was just thinking, it would be fun if the 2 screens would change pictures independant from eachother. They both change now together.
        Just a thought….

        THanks man !!
        And I love the vidoe of the folding of the tent !!

        Reply

      • Different monitors changing at different times? That’s an interesting idea – and one I should be able to do. I’ll add it to the list, thanks!

        Reply

  14. Woohoo! Awesome. I’ve been using this for a while since I saw it on Lifehacker a while back and it just keeps getting better. :)

    Reply

  15. Hey man, I’m glad for all the hard work you’ve done and your program has always done what I’ve wanted it to. I hope as I check out this new version that there are a few features I didn’t know I wanted. It was the only free program I found that could randomly display two different backgrounds on two different monitors. With some experience in software development myself, I know that this program must require lots of time and lots of coffee for you and sometimes you wonder whether the work is worth it. So, thanks for sticking in there. Best of luck.

    Reply

    • Thanks! Yeah, it can be quite hard work at times – looking at a very long list of items in my issue tracker – but I know it’s always worth it in the end when I think about the people who enjoy using it!

      Reply

  16. Hi John,
    I am a simple user only …. great!!! Thanks for that … one proposal from my site:
    “change every” – may it can be done per picture mode? (my own pictures I know, from inet may sb want to see it longer;-))

    Kind regards from Germany…
    Sven

    Reply

    • one more:
      you can merge four-picture monatge with mosaic view. Be flexible like “horizontal numbers of pictures: x” and “vertical numbers of pictures: y”..

      Reply

      • One thing you can do is change the size of the mosaics from the ‘Montages’ section of ‘More Settings’ – slide the slider under ‘Thumbnail mosaic’ to the size you want.

        Reply

  17. John,
    Just had to write quick and tell you amazing job once again. I’ve had JBS on my desktop for years now, and it just keeps getting better. I’ve introduced it to countless friends and family as well and everyone just loves it. Facebook integration was a priceless step in my opinion. Just very well done and easy to use. It allows me an easy way to grab all the photos my wife uploads of us and our newborn son to Facebook without having to have them copied all over to my desktop. Brilliant!

    Any chance of Kodak Gallery integration? I’m not sure if they have any APIs for this sort of thing.

    Again, excellent work and keep it up!

    Reply

  18. Thanks for the new release, but this is a bug report for Flickr (or possibly the whole app). Even though ‘Use largest available image size’ is selected under Image Sources, this version no longer pulls the available 1920×1080 images (the size of my monitor) from Flickr to fill the screen. Now it only pulls 1024×576 images from Flickr and centers it in the middle of the screen. Please fix.

    Thanks.

    Reply

    • No, it’s definitely still pulling in the ‘original’ pictures from Flickr so long as the ‘Use largest available image size’ checkbox is checked on the ‘Picture Sources’ section of ‘More Settings’ and your search options allow them to be chosen from. The only reason you wouldn’t get them is presumably if you’ve not authenticated JBS with Flickr (in which case you can’t view the original size pictures), you’re choosing pictures from someone who hasn’t made all their pictures available (via the Flickr privacy and permission page) or you’re not using a single picture per background. Can you tell me what Flickr searches you’re using so I can see what’s happening?

      Reply

      • It must be a Flickr glitch then. I am using a single pic for the background, I’m pulling the images from my own account and I’ve authorized JBS many moons ago. I know the sizes are 1920×1080 because I uploaded them. I just checked a few minutes ago and it now seems to be pulling the full resolution.. and yes, get largest image size is checked. I don’t know why Flickr was serving the smaller size. It does this periodically anyway and when it started today, I assumed it was the new version as I just updated it on this machine.

        Thanks.

        Reply

      • Ah cool, thanks for letting me know! The code that gets the pictures from Flickr hasn’t change 3.6 to 4.0 and I stepped through it to ensure it’s doing the right thing so I can only assume Flickr was doing something strange. I noticed they’ve changed their logo from ‘Flickr’ to ‘Flickr from Yahoo!’ today so maybe something’s been going on behind the scenes!

        Don’t hesitate to let me know (either here, on my forum or by emailing me directly) if you find anything else awry and I’ll be happy to help out.

        Reply

  19. You know I have been using this great program on Vista for a while now, it’s simply – load & forget and does exactly what it says on the tin. Looking forward to the new version – Many thanks John for the hard work and keeping it free. In fact I think I’ll go and ‘Twitter’ this software as soon as I have finished this.

    Reply

  20. Thanks a lot,this is in fact my fauvorite app ever!! With NO doubt it’s a MUST HAVE for every people who loves their desktop. I have TONS of pictures and with this soft I enjoy it every MOMENT!! Previous version was also GREAT, so this must be amazing.

    THANKS A LOT AGAIN for this piece of Free soft!

    Cheers 4 this and Greetings from Spain John.
    :)

    Reply

  21. Thank you so much. I can only echo many of the comments above me when I say that this is my favorite app ever, amazing job, and thank you for all the hard work you’ve done. In addition, I love this program and use it on both my laptop and my desktop.

    Thank you for writing it and thank you x1000 for keeping it free!

    Reply

  22. I have two words for you, John: thank you.

    It never crossed my mind that such a wonderful program would exist for free, after countless hours of scouring the internet for background changers that do not charge. From my own estimate, your program does a lot more than any other I’ve seen. Your hard work in creating this brings tears to my eyes. Absolutely amazing.

    Once again, I would like to express my gratitude to you.
    May you be blessed as much as you have been a blessing unto others!

    Reply

  23. Wow! I thought I was just getting “another” background switcher. Heh! This update has caused it to become “THE” background switcher!!!

    Thanks LOADS for all of the work! I’m sold! :o)

    Reply

  24. great program but I would like to be be able to specify things for each monitor. I have one that is landscape and the other portrait, and a feature that I would really like is the ability to specify certain folders for each one instead of just a list. so I can have things like movie posters on my portrait monitor.

    Reply

    • That’s on my list, but in the meantime go to the ‘Picture Handling’ section of ‘More Settings’ and change the top drop-down list to ‘Try to match pictures to monitor orientation’. From then on JBS will try choose landscape picture for your landscape monitor and portrait pictures for your portrait monitor!

      Reply

  25. Hey John i really love the great app especialy the unified setting dialog! Now that we have that i was hoping we could get a way to set picture mode for each individual setting and a way to weight how much each type of photo will come up. Again thanks for the program It’s by far the best i’ve tried!

    Reply

    • You can set the picture mode for each source (Flickr, Folder, Facebook, etc.) individually by enabling the ‘Use individual picture modes for each picture source’ option on the ‘Picture Handling’ section of ‘More Settings’, but being able to set it for each picture set is on the list for a future version.

      As for weighting, that’s also on my long term plan too – JBS 4 was all about bringing all the picture sources together so in future versions I can take that concept further and give you the sort of functionality you’re describing. It just takes a bit of time! :)

      Reply

  26. I am a very stingy and cheap person but i love this program so much i am going to donate to help you keep cranking out great products and keeping them free.
    i love having pics of any category i want from so many websites scrolling through my desktop. also be cool to have a 30 second switch.
    keep p the awesome work

    Reply

  27. Been using this since at least v2.5, and I’m consistently pleased and impressed by what comes in each new release, but holy cow is v4 a doozy of new wonderfulness. Well done, and thank you for your hard work!

    Reply

    • Heh heh, you’ll have seen quite a lot of changes since 2.5 – I’ll have to install an old version and take a look at it to remind myself what it was like! Glad you’re still using it and have stuck with it this long! :)

      Reply

  28. I remember finding this program about a year ago, and I fell in love with it right away. Just to know that you’ve dedicated so much time into this, making an already amazing program into something even more spectacular…that’s what I call success :) Keep up the great work – people like you make this world a much better place :D

    Reply

    • Thanks for your kind words Alvin! :) Whenever my friends ask me why I spend so much time working on JBS only to give it away for free, it’s comments like yours that I use as an example of why!

      Reply

  29. John, your application brings me and my co-workers great joy. I am very pleased with it. THANK YOU for your time and talent.

    Reply

  30. Simplemente grandioso!!!, great program , since I discover it I start to use and enjoy a lot. One suggestion, exist the possibility to avoid that a subfolder apper, for example, I select my pictures folder but I don’t want to JBS use the photos from one ore more subfolders, many thanks for your effort ans share with the world

    Greatings from Mexico

    Reply

  31. Pingback: John’s Background Switcher 4 – Aplicación para cambiar el fondo de pantalla « Blog para compartir de música, fotografía y otras cosas …

  32. Fantastic program. Your level of support for this product is unmatched. Thank you for a quality product that meets it’s users needs.

    Reply

  33. I think this new version is briliant. I always used this amazing piece of software with a lot of fun… Is there a donation feature somewhere?

    Reply

  34. Hi .. John ,
    I got your lovely software yesterday fortunately with the helping of Google Search Engine. I really need this amazing software since 2 yrs ago. I found one of like this background switcher software everywhere in the internet but i didn’t like anything. Finally i got this lovely one.

    I really appreciate for ur awesome product.

    Sorry for my poor language skill .. I haven’t skill in English.
    But i really wanna say to u ” THANK YOU ” .
    Thank You Very Much , John.

    Reply

  35. I looked around quite a lot for an application to do exactly what your app is good at. It’s awesome to see such maturity and professionalism poured into an app that is essentially a hobby. Thank you very much for all your hard work on this.

    Reply

  36. Hi John, thanks for making such a wonderful application. Just one thing though: I use Windows Vista with my toolbar at the top, and every time the wallpaper changes, there is a sort of ‘jump’ in the image during the transition, which doesn’t occur when my toolbar is at the bottom of the screen.

    Was wondering if something could be done about this? Thanks.

    Reply

    • Yeah, that’s fixed in the shortly-to-be-released 4.1. In the meantime your best bet is to turn off the transitions from ‘More Settings’ to stop it annoying you! And you’re welcome! :)

      Reply

  37. Its great to come across well written, virus free software which does exactly what its supposed to do, and does it better than expected. Nice job!

    Reply

  38. Really love this program. But it’s odd – for some reason even though I set my background to change every 4 days or every week, it seems to insist on changing it every 2 or 3 hours for some reason. Has anyone else experienced this?

    Reply

  39. Hey JOhn! I wuv this program for the vista it works beautifully =)

    However the same can’t be said for my XP machine ><

    I tried to install it on my XP machine as well, directed which folders I want it to scan for pictures on my external hardrive, but all it does is show the inactive icon.

    I tried to mess around with the options, and even set the option that said "only show pictures that has xxx number of pixels" to 0 hoping that would solve the problem, but it didn't.

    Does this program only work for Vista? Or am I missing something? o0

    To reiterate my situation: I downloaded the program for Vista, works fine.. installed it on my XP, different result. It sits there and acts like it wants to change the background, but doesn't. I have it set for 5 min.

    Thanks in advance. =)

    Reply

  40. Hey John

    Love this program, i have a small request – can you make it so you can select different switch patterns without have to select one or all like a tick box type format so i can use full screen and postcard but not any other affects just for example.

    I’m hoping this a just a matter of changing code to get tick boxes rather then click to choose.

    Reply

  41. Hi John, Does this work on Windows 7 Ultimate? Thanks for this lovely product.

    – Radha

    Reply

  42. Wow – I too really like this program. Am surprise its free.
    Found this on Kim Komando.com site so I knew its trustworthily :)

    Am running it on xp-pro with a folder of 381 pictures switching every 3 minutes. No screensaver required, but I tried this with “amazing Bubbles” screensaver, but the SS locks in the current background even though the switcher is switching behind this screensaver(exiting SS shows new background).

    Am wondering if you game get animated gif’s to display through the switcher as well?
    Or Flash?

    Reply

    • Unfortunately JBS is limited to showing what Windows lets you show and since Windows doesn’t let you set animated backgrounds then JBS can’t do it either, rather annoyingly.

      Reply

  43. Pingback: How I Learned To Ship Software (And Leave My Ego At The Door) | John's Adventures

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