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John’s Background Switcher Adds Support For 500px, Last.fm, Pixabay and Tumblr Blogs

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I know I’ve said before I wasn’t able to spend a lot of time working on the Windows version of John’s Background Switcher, however I lied and I simply couldn’t resist. If that makes me a bad person then so be it! Following on from adding Instagram integration last year I decided I needed to add a few more sources, fix a few bugs and add stop making excuses and add some translations again – after all there are a great deal more non-English-speaking JBS users than English-speaking. Anyway, I digress.

As always with John’s Background Switcher I let the people who use it decide what to add to it in a reasonably democratic way (the more people ask for something the quicker I do it, pretty much). So if you don’t like it and are a JBS user then take a long, hard look at yourself in the mirror and ask yourself why you haven’t complained to me about it!

500px Photos

For a long time Flickr was the place to go to see the best photography and best photographers on the internet but since Yahoo! took over and development ground to a halt it opened the door for other people to come along, innovate and do great things. 500px is the pick of the bunch. If you’re a photographer or a fan of photography then you’re already on 500px but if you’re not then you have to check it out, even if you don’t use JBS. It’s full of simply amazing photos, is free to sign up to and now you can use the photos for your desktop seamlessly. I’ve been testing it for a while and I’ve never seen a photo from 500px that hasn’t made me think “wow!”.

Last.fm Integration

Last.fm is a service that keeps track of the music you listen to. I’m a big Spotify user so as well as annoying my friends on Facebook with the music I’m playing I also send that data to last.fm. I know what you’re thinking: what has music got to do with my desktop? Well the answer is you can now authenticate JBS with last.fm so that you can see the top artists, albums and recent tracks you’ve listened to, right on your desktop. Since last.fm artwork isn’t that large it works best in one of the montage modes and you’ll end up with awesome backgrounds like this:

Pixabay Photos

Pixabay is a really cool and useful site that not only has a great collection of high quality photos, but every one of them is a public domain image. This means if you use Pixabay photos for your desktop, see one and want to use it for your next advertising campaign you can go ahead and do so! It’s free to sign up and use Pixabay and even if you like boring, static desktops but are still interested in public domain images then go check it out!

Tumblr RSS Feeds

Tumblr is a blogging platform that currently hosts over 100 million blogs and it’s fair to say that there are a very large number of Tumblr blogs that are dedicated to photography. Up until now JBS hasn’t been able to get photos from Tumblr blogs which has meant not being able to laugh at White Men Wearing Google Glass or Awkward Stock Photos, follow interesting projects like Humans of New York or look at cool photos on blogs like the Hipstamatic blog. All you need to do is find the ‘RSS’ link on the Tumblr blog you like and select ‘Add’ > ‘RSS photo feed’ in JBS, copy in the link and you can produce cool montages like this:

Multi-Lingual UI

I speak excellent English, despite being Scottish. However it’s a big world out there – I hear the web is world-wide – and a lot of people’s primary language is not English. It turns out that a lot of these people, like me, hate having a boring, static desktop and so want to use John’s Background Switcher and indeed used to. But then I started complaining about not having enough time to coordinate translations so the last two versions have been English-only. Not this time. JBS is now available in English (obviously), French, German, Spanish, Italian and Japanese. So if you install JBS on a French version of Windows then the JBS UI will appear in French and so on. You can manually override the language but it will pick up your language automatically. Also, like I always say, everything looks cooler in Japanese!

Oh, And One More Thing…

So snapshot scrapbooks (postcard and Polaroid piles) are pretty cool. It’s like taking a bunch of photos and throwing them on a table. However what’s even cooler is that you can now tell JBS to throw even more of them on the table (desktop) by reducing the spacing between them. Go to the ‘Montages’ section of ‘More Settings’ and change the ‘Spacing Between Snapshots’ slider to a value below zero and you’ll find them more tightly packed.

A Postcard Pile With Loads Of Overlapping

A Postcard Pile With Loads Of Overlapping

Enough Already, Go Get It!

Ok, so those are the highlights of John’s Background Switcher 4.7 (there are also a bunch of bug fixes and performance improvements but they’re boring) so if you’re a Windows user (Mac version coming in a few months) then get yourself over to the download page and give it a try! Plus, if you don’t like it you can have your money back (it’s free).

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

89 Comments Join the Conversation

  1. Hi John,
    You didn’t delete Google pics option from the new version, did you?

    Reply

    • Do you mean Picasa Web Albums / Google+ photos? Nope, still there! The only thing I’ve removed from 4.7 is Webshots support since Webshots has disappeared from the face of the earth!

      Reply

  2. Thanks for updating again XD.
    Would you put Chinese (simplified) and Chinese (traditional) back next time?

    Reply

    • I’d be happy to! Would you or anyone you know be able to help with the translations by any chance? There should only be about 8-10 phrases to translate.

      Reply

  3. Excellent job as always, John. As you say, that Japanese version looks amazing. And I like the way your first sentence implies the existence of a non-Windows version!

    Reply

      • AWESOME! I just got my wife her first Mac. I got her all set up and the first thing she said (honest to God), “Okay, now can you install John’s Background Switcher?”

        It’s been a couple uncomfortable hours until I stumbled on this post that’s given me (and wife) something to greatly look forward to.

        Thank You!

        Reply

      • I agree! I’ve upgraded my PC a couple of times and JBS it’s always a MUST HAVE. Also one application that I recommend a lot. Thanks for providing it and to keep making it even cooler!

        Reply

  4. The only thing I miss is an option for the photos from Instant Upload in G+
    All my photos from my android phone are stored there…

    Reply

    • Yes, don’t worry, you’re not the only person who’s asked me about that and I’m investigating. Unfortunately there isn’t a Google+ photo API to use, there’s only the Picasa Web Album API and while all the other G+ photo albums are surfaced through that API, it appears that the instant upload one isn’t. As soon as I figure out how to do it (if it is indeed possible) I’ll put out an update of JBS to support it.

      Reply

  5. Hi John,
    I love the desktop changer, I use it on all my PC’s and laptops. Any chance you could add Dropbox, as all my family photos are on there and it would be great to link your desktop changer to them.
    Regards

    Reply

    • So if you’ve got dropbox syncing to a folder on your local machine you can just point JBS at that folder and it’ll keep scanning it so when you add more pictures JBS will select from them. Does that work? I’d put dropbox integration in but when I’ve suggested it it turns out most people have it synced locally anyway.

      Reply

  6. I’ve just upgraded to the latest version of this ‘must have’ piece of software, but am having a few issues with authorising 500px. Firstly, despite Google Chrome being my default browser the process seems to force the launch of Internet Explorer. Secondly, despite being logged-in to 500px a ‘You need to sign-up or sign-in before you can continue’ message. I wondered if anyone else has reported similiar issues?

    Reply

    • I assume you’re using Facebook or Twitter to sign into 500px? If so, yes, I’ve had another report of an issue. Looks like it’s an IE10 problem. Note that JBS is using an embedded browser control which has to be IE so it doesn’t matter what your default browser is. What’s happening is when you click the button to log in via Facebook it fires up a browser window to log into Facebook, you either do that or it disappears if you’re already in, but when it goes back to the main 500px login page nothing happens. This only appears to happen on IE10 so I’m investigating what change in behaviour in IE10 is causing it.

      Reply

    • Ok, I’ve just released a new build that no longer prompts you for 500px authentication (since JBS doesn’t actually need it). If you go back to the download page and download the installer again you should get build 4.7.0.19 (the original release was 4.7.0.18) – you can check by right-clicking the installer and choosing ‘Properties’ and looking at the ‘About’ section of ‘More Settings’. That should sort the problem once and for all!

      Reply

  7. Love the Last.FM connection, I’m also one of those geeks. The only thing I’m disappointed in not seeing yet is the 500p limit in montages. Keep up the great work.

    Reply

    • Hi Chuck. How large a monitor do you have? I could certainly up the limit but unless you’ve got a monster screen you won’t get more than a couple on there. What size postcard / polaroid are you looking for? At which point the ‘medium sized’ pictures JBS uses from online sources won’t really be big enough so I could get it to downsize larger pictures rather than upsize smaller ones.

      Reply

      • I feel embarrassed saying that I just have a 1280 x 1024; honestly I think I’d be happy if it was upped to 700 or 800. I really love how flexible your program is, so when I run into something I can’t tweak, I find it a little frustrating. Mostly I use photos from my computer, and they’re always downsized. I just like the look of one or two large photos “tossed” onto the screen. So maybe it’s not even a “montage” thing I’m after, it’s just a random large photo thrown onto my standard background.

        Reply

  8. Thanx for the update John :)
    One question I always wanted to ask: Would it be very hard for you to enable different picture sources for each monitor in a Multi-Monitor-Setup? (using the setting “Different pictures on each monitor”)
    Right now I have 3 monitors with different aspect ratios (4:3, 16:9, 16:10) but because I can only assign one folder as source there is a lot of cropping/black bordering going on.
    If I could assign seperate folders for each monitor then I could store my backgrounds with fitting aspect ratios in different folders…

    Reply

    • I’ve long wanted to do exactly that – however due to some early decisions I made in the internals of JBS it’s much harder than it should be. I do intend getting it done, however my spare time is notoriously limited – all I need is that lottery win to free up my time! :)

      Reply

      • I will see if I can help with the lottery win. Or at least with the lottery ticket ;) If its too difficult to handle dedicated directories for each monitor then a checkbox “Use only exact monitor resolutions” would be an alternative. Then it would be possible to resize the pictures externally to monitor resolutions and they would be presented on the fitting monitor even if stored in the same directory. BTW, what resample algorithm do you use for images that are to big? I noticed that very big images resulted in bad quality wallpapers when JBS resizes them (too “crispy”). So right now I resize them externally with Faststones Image Resizer before using them in JBS.

        Reply

      • Ok, that’s a nice compromise – I’ll see what I can do!

        JBS should be using the highest quality it can for JPG resizing and in my testing it’s been very good. Could you email me a source picture and let me know your largest screen size so I can see what the quality looks like?

        Reply

  9. Mmm, I was hoping that “Cached Picture Browser” would be able to view “Save all full-sized downloaded pictures”. Next update please??

    Reply

    • So JBS does leave a file in that folder that goes from the name of the file to the source location so it wouldn’t be a lot of work for me to do. I’ll see what I can do!

      Reply

  10. Love this program, but there still appears to be problems with 500px. I’m running your latest (4.7.0.22), and every time I try to get a 500px photo, I get:

    “The following error was encountered when attempting to get photos from 500px:

    “The underlying connection was closed: Could not establish trust relationship for the SSL/TLS secure channel.”

    I suppose the first question is, why fetch photos from 500px over SSL? Thanks…

    Reply

    • So JBS isn’t actually downloading 500px photos over SSL, it’s interacting with the API via SSL which it has to. Unfortunately the 500px API does seem to be pretty unreliable. I was running all my tests while doing a build of JBS yesterday and all the 500px ones failed due to the API URL not responding. I ran them again and it was fine – so there’s definitely some instability at their end. If you try again I suspect it will work.

      I could make JBS bury the errors but then that could mask a real problem reported by 500px. I’ll do some chasing and see if they’re aware of the issue.

      Reply

  11. looks like a bunch of crap that i dont want nor need, but will bloat the software
    thanks anyway for the original program, it’s good

    Reply

    • Haha, thanks. I think!

      Anyway, even if you don’t use any of that “crap”, rest assured that JBS won’t slow down or be “bloated” because it’s there. If you don’t use it, JBS acts as if it isn’t there at all.

      Reply

      • sounds good, sorry for my grumpiness
        i wont update anyway:)
        thanks again for a valuable software added to my windows experience

        Reply

        • Not a problem! :) Note that I do fix bugs that affect all modes so if you’re using a recent version it will do no harm to update to the latest version. In fact if you use only local pictures there are a couple of performance improvements in 4.7. But it’s up to you of course!

  12. LOVE your app! I just upgraded from build 4.6.0.5 to build 4.7.0.22. It does so much so remarkably well while staying politely in the background and being hardly noticeable. And I am especially impressed with how well your app chooses a background color when a photo does not fill the desktop.

    But I was a bit disappointed that a suggestion I made last year was not included in the latest version. I know you can’t do everything everyone suggests but this was one I thought most people would really appreciate.

    My suggestion regarded the screen placement of picture info on the top-right corner of the screen. I run Win 7 and use several of Microsoft’s Desktop Gadgets. They occupy the right side of my Desktop including the area where you display Picture Info.

    I would definitely like that Picture Info visible if possible. But I would prefer it be displayed near the center of the screen—either top or bottom. Better yet, it would be nice if the display position was a user choice in the “More Settings” dialog General tab–maybe a drop down box to select one of several locations such as top right, top center, bottom left, etc.

    And one more rather minor suggestion. The pop-up notice at the bottom right of the screen notifying me a new version was available stayed visible for too short of a time–not long enough to even read it. That pop-up should probably remain in view until the user dismisses it with a mouse click.

    Thanks again and keep up the great work!

    Reply

    • So there is a hidden setting to show the picture info on the top-left of the screen instead of the top-right (export your settings from the ‘Import / Export’ section of ‘More Settings’, edit it in notepad then look for:

      <picture_info_position>TopRight</picture_info_position>

      and change it to:

      <picture_info_position>TopLeft</picture_info_position>

      Will that work?

      In terms of the popup, some people are driven to distraction by its mere presence and would go crazy if it stayed there until dismissed. The tray icon goes yellow to indicate a new version is available and you’ll see ‘Download new version’ appear on the tray menu and a red link appears if you bring up the settings. Maybe I should make it hang around longer than usual for new version notices?

      Reply

      • RE the pop-up, maybe require a mouse dismissal only for new version notices?

        Reply

  13. RE: “TopRight” to “TopLeft”, thanks! That worked fine. Too bad there is not a “TopMiddle”. Tried that and it reverted back to TopRight. While Export/Edit/Import is an acceptable workaround, it would of course be much nicer if my original suggestion were implementing. I hope it will be given serious consideration for the next update.

    Reply

    • It’s on the to do list (and has been for a while as it happens), but I always caveat that with the fact that I only have limited time to work on JBS in my spare time and also want to build a Mac version. But I’ll get there eventually!

      Reply

  14. Hi John,

    I love your background switcher and use it in my office for years. I subscribed the Wild Wonders of Europe feed on Flickr. Every hour I have a new set of beautiful nature photos as a set of postcards on my desktop. As the seasons change the photos change accordingly. It’s just wonderful.

    Thank you for this great software

    Michael

    Reply

    • You’re most welcome Michael!

      That’s a really cool idea there, having your background change with the season, nice! :)

      Reply

    • So JBS caches calls to Flickr to cut down on network traffic (both to speed it up but also to cut down on the amount of hits to Flickr from all the JBS users – potentially hundreds of thousands at any one time). So it’ll only pick up new sets when the cache times out.

      You can reduce the cache time from the ‘Picture Handling’ section of ‘More Settings’ by moving the picture list slider.

      Hope that helps!

      Reply

      • Ah, that makes sense. You can get JBS to sign in from the Authorisation dialog so you’d have been able to see them even if they were private.

        Reply

  15. Dear John :)

    I always give credit where credit is due.

    That said, why don’t you properly name all saved backgrounds instead of assigning a random string ++ creating a text file with original info (file name, URL).

    Why not make either a batch script compiled by you to rename all strings to proper names, or even better: save it directly with proper name.

    Peace!

    devnullius

    Reply

    • So there is method in my madness. The trouble is if you get pictures from the internet they could have any name, such as “picture1″ and may not have an author and the problem is if you happen to see 10 different pictures all called “picture1″ or ones that include characters that cannot be used for file names in Windows, I’d have to have a naming strategy that guarantees a unique file name and it gets very messy very quickly (believe me, that’s what I originally tried). So what I did was use an MD5 hash of the original location and I also save and update an index file in the folder that, for a given name, contains the URL the picture came from. My plan was to include that folder in the ‘Cached Picture Browser’ but I haven’t implemented that yet (though will in the next version). That would mean you could view thumbnails of the folder and double-click to see the original and not care what the name is. Would that be a better situation?

      Reply

      • Well… I auto-sync everything to a certain 1TB picture provider ; -)

        If I end up with picture (1230).jpg I do not mind – original file name was bad, so nothing I can do.

        But now when I upload all collected pictures (saved with JBS, downloaded from certain Flickr groups), and then use those pictures again from my own Flickr account with JBS I do not get proper file name tags (as shown by JPS in the upper right corner… Name picture, By Author, on date). SO in short, I’d like to keep that info from upload to upload :)

        I do advise to save all in root of drive – to prevent too long file names (and folders).

        Strange characters should be supported by Windows – if not, they will be replaced by square-signs ;p Nothing one could do in those instances and still better than random string name (but I do appreciate all the sheit that comes from this;)

        Peace!

        devnullius

        Reply

  16. ADMIN JOHN: special characters were dropped – can you fix? Or remove example, that looks silly now :)

    peace!

    devvie

    Reply

    • Ah, that’ll be WordPress being a bit hasty with the format stripping – often catches me out. I’ve removed the example from the comment, but I get what you mean!

      Reply

  17. bug?

    I’ve got some old Flickr groups in my old JBS settings.

    Downloading one flickr user after another, I noticed that at least 2 feeds showed wrong pictures (== pictures NOT from that user / group but from other groups!).

    Going to the correct flickr URL I would get a page not found.

    Adding a second (but identical) Flickr feed for the same user (with Ctrl-C Ctrl-V) in JBS will show: user not found (which seems correct according to Flickr).

    STILL checking the old, original feed in JBS and verifying user gives “Ok”.

    Very strange ;p

    Peace!

    devnullius

    Reply

    • So when searching for users, the ‘name’ part of the URL is not necessarily the same as the user name, so searching for the former will not necessarily yield the latter, rather frustratingly. When JBS searches for a user it searches by username and email address via the API and there isn’t a way as far as I know to search by user URL.

      Reply

  18. (I’ll accept your previous answer as-is:)

    BUT another question: the same 500 files keep appearing in hidden not_in_set folder. Removing them from disk should remove them from Flickr, no?

    Devvie

    Reply

    • I know I read something about “not_in_set”-folder, but I cannot find it again. So despite me hogging your Feedback-page… How do I get the not_in_set folder empty for real? If it’s not in a set anymore, I do not need it anymore :)

      Peace!

      devnullius

      Reply

      • Check your email. Because I’m not sure what you mean and blog comments aren’t as good for support as old school emails!

        Reply

  19. Hello John,
    first of all: great work with background switcher!

    I have a problem with Last.fm though. I was very happy that this picture source arrived to the program, but for me it doesn’t work. The thing is: I go to the settings, click Add, choose last.fm photos, click Authorize, popup with Last.fm page appears, I allow for acces by Background switcher, last.fm page now says smth like: “You may now close your browser and go back to Background switcher application”, I close the window with last.fm page, but there is still window with Authorize button open and nothing to click but: ‘Authorize’, ‘OK’, ‘Cancel’. When I click ‘OK’ window hides and I’m back in main settings window, but last.fm is not added to the list.
    Am I doing something wrong?

    Reply

    • So the initial version of JBS 4.7 was subject to a change last.fm later made to their login page (rather annoyingly) so I released a new build. Can you check if you have the latest version of JBS from the ‘About’ section of ‘More Settings’ – the latest build is 4.7.0.22. If you have an older version just re-download from the download page. I didn’t trigger JBS to tell you a new version was available since the problem didn’t happen for everyone.

      What should happen is you click ‘Authorise’, a dialog popups up with a login page for last.fm, you log in, grant access by clicking ‘Yes, allow access’ then the dialog disappears and you should see an ‘Authenticated’ tick on the JBS dialog. OK that and you’ll be able to select pictures from last.fm. If you close the last.fm window then JBS thinks you cancelled, the ‘Yes, allow access’ button should make the web page disappear. If not, can you drop me an email and send me a screenshot of the ‘you may now close your browser’ page because that’s not what you should be seeing?

      Reply

  20. Thank you for your reply. I’m sorry to bother you (turned out it was necessary though), because my problem is solved. :)
    Of course I already had latest version, and started to make screenshots for you, as I noticed that I have to switch Last.fm page language to English, so you could understand what’s on it. And guess what, if Last.fm page is displayed in English, everything worked fine!
    To your knowledge: my original language was polish. If you wish I’ll make a screenshots for you what happens when last.fm is in polish.

    Reply

    • Awesome, thanks for letting me know! :) And that is very interesting, if you could send me a screenshot that would be great – I’ll pass it over to last.fm once I’ve reproduced it as it looks like a bug at their end.

      Reply

  21. Please add support for wallbase.cc. I am using Pulse(codeplex) now.

    Reply

    • So wallbase doesn’t have a public API and while other software like the one you describe scrapes the content without permission, I won’t do the same as JBS is a bigger target and more likely to be noticed effectively stealing content. Should their policy change I’d be happy to integrate with JBS!

      Reply

  22. Hi John, I really like JBS. Now I’m trying to use it to access my flickr account. I use a gmail login to my filckr account. When I choose Authorize and then Sign in with Google. A window jumps out showing an error. Basically I can’t access my flickr account using a Google login. Any idea how to fix it? Thank you very much!

    Reply

    • Unfortunately not in the current version. The way Flickr does Facebook and Google authentication doesn’t currently work with JBS but it is on my list to try and get working (it’s proving tricky – if they didn’t use a popup it would work already). You don’t need to verify JBS with Flickr to choose from your own public photos, only private ones however.

      Reply

  23. Hi John, thank you for the great program.

    Is there a way to specify one or more 500px categories (i.e. Animals, Macro, Nature, etc) when defining a picture set from 500px? If not, can I ask that you consider adding this to your to-do list?

    Reply

    • Added! I just added the simplest possible selections in the initial 500px functionality to see what other options people like yourself wanted – will see what I can do! :)

      Reply

      • Thanks John,

        I have had an opportunity to further use the program and have a few additional suggestions for your consideration:

        1. Allow 500px categories to be individually set for each Picture Set.

        2. In addition, for each Picture Set, allow one to exclude terms (i.e. currently with 500px we can only include terms). This request is for all sources not just 500px.

        3. It would be great if all of the Picture Sources information (currently under More Settings) were available on a per Picture Set (i.e. Flickr Option to ignore photos with certain Tags)

        4. I think your Postcard Pile is beautiful. It would be great however if I was able to declare a set(s) for the background photo and other set(s) for the foreground photos.

        5. Allow one to define global shortcut keys. For example, if I wanted to exclude a photo, it would be nice if I could define a shortcut that would allow me to open the Never Show Again box (Or even better, allow one to right click on the photo on the desktop and state “exclude”). Same idea on accessing the Settings.

        6. Allow one to turn on and off viewing a photo directly from the desktop (i.e. including the links within the photos so when one clicks on the photo, it opens the original photo)…currently I have to click on View Current Picture and then choose the photo I would like to view.

        If you have questions or would like to discuss any of the above further or would like me to help with any beta testing, please do not hesitate to contact me directly.

        All the best,
        Richard

        Reply

        • All great suggestions! I’ll answer each in turn:

          1. I’ll look into this. You can pass categories to the API, but there’s no way to actually query for categories – a tag search is most likely the best option and is on the list.

          2. Unfortunately the API doesn’t support excluding search terms and searching for pictures then removing some from the results can be quite wasteful in terms of having to make calls to 500px – but I’ll see if that improves in the future.

          3. Again, this is subject to what each photos source API exposes and Flickr is the only one that I can think of that offers exclusion functionality. That’s the problem with supporting multiple sources and trying provide a consistent user experience across them all – they’re not all the same.

          4. Much requests and on my todo list. You can choose a folder of pictures on your machine but not, as you say, a remote picture set as yet.

          5. More shortcuts is also on the list (time is the only thing that makes these things take a while – my free time is limited and I have a host of other things on my plate).

          6. Being able to click on the desktop and it perform an action is not something Windows supports unfortunately – it’s a static background and that’s it. I’d have to overlay something on the desktop to detect your mouse clicks and that would be a time consuming (to develop) and unreliable (due to some Windows implementation details I won’t bore you with), so having to select ‘View Current Picture’ was Occam’s razor in this case.

          Anyway, thanks for the suggestions – I do keep track of all suggestions and do my best (given my available time) to get as many of the oft requested ones done as I can. Also, as I’ve blogged about, I’m a 100% Mac user now so while I do have a new version of JBS in the works, I’ll then be switching my attention to Mac development for a while before coming back to the Windows version. In other words, it’ll take a while!

  24. I would like to see a more robust picture info option. Currently I have it displaying the Picture name and the date. The date however is the O/S date for last modification. Not the Date Picture taken. It would be great if it could display selected EXIF data.
    I have a personal collection of 10,000+ personal family photos. Having the EXIF data displayed would certainly help me with my poor recollection.
    Thanks

    Reply

  25. Hi John, love the program, thanks a bunch for giving it for free. I have a suggestion/request: Could you make it possible to automatically save background pictures form Internet sources to a designated folder (in effect, automatically do the same operation as right-clicking the tray icon and choosing ‘Save Picture as…’)? Also, I sometimes I get the following error message from JBS: “Failed to switch the background: A generic error occurred in GDI+.”. Do you know what this is about?

    Thanks!

    Reply

    • Ah yes, auto-saving is on the list and much requested! That error is one JBS gets back from the underlying code it uses when attempting to open particular images that the Microsoft.NET Framework (on top of which JBS is built) doesn’t like. I’ve managed to work around most of these issues but the odd one does still crop up. If you’re using Google search then it’s more likely to happen as sites like Flickr process the images and JBS doesn’t tend to have a problem with them. If you ever manage to figure out a picture JBS doesn’t like then do send it to me and I’ll see what I can do about it.

      Reply

  26. Hi John,

    sadly my old laptop passed away. So I bought a new one. And guess what is one of the first programs I install. Your background switcher of course! By the way, will there be ever a Linux version? Or a portable one?

    Have a nice weekend

    Michael

    Reply

  27. Hi John,

    not really sure where to put this, so maybe below the last post…just upgraded to Win8.1 and I think that 8.1 handles the desktop differently, maybe it’s one virtual monitor now, because now JBS thinks I have only one screen and puts the picture in the middle of the two screens I have, were it worked perfectly in Win8, just 20minutes ago. Checked the settings, they are still correct. Not sure if you have access to a Win8.1 System but it would be great if you could take a look if you have the time.

    Reply

    • You can always drop me an email! I’ll take a look when I get a chance, but you can try checking the ‘work around multiple monitors being shown in the wrong order’ option to see if that makes any difference – they broke that in Windows 8 so maybe they un-broke it again.

      Reply

  28. I’ve recently discovered JBS and I like it a lot, – thanks for making it available.

    One feature that I’d like to see is the ability to exclude monitors from the desktop that JBS draws on. I have a 3 monitor setup, but monitor 3 is rarely switched on (I use it mainly for displaying debug info, watch windows etc in Visual Studio).

    When using the “one picture for the whole desktop” option it scales the image across all 3 monitors as expected. But I’d prefer it to ignore monitor 3. I tried defining a no draw zone for the full size of monitor 3 but that just crops the picture – it still scales it for 3 monitors and I only see two thirds of the photo JBS has selected.

    Probably not a common scenario, but it would be nice to achieve this if possible. Either exclude monitors from JBS so it treats the desktop as only those on “selected” monitors, or link monitors together to form “virtual monitors” that could be used in the “different picture on each monitor” option (so 1+2 would be treated as a single virtual monitor, and 3 would be another)?

    Reply

  29. Hi John,
    I just recently discovered your program, and I think it’s great. The only request I have is the ability to only enable certain shortcut keys. You see, I use shortcut keys a lot, and having to assign 5 Ctrl-Alt combinations for JBS, when I only ever use 1 (next picture), takes up a lot of keys I might have used in other programs.

    Anyway, thanks again!

    Reply

  30. Pingback: John’s Background Switcher Adds Dropbox Support, A New Photo Collage Option and More Languages | Johns Adventures

    • Unfortunately I can only work on apps like JBS in my spare time and that time is limited, plus as a Mac user I really should build a Mac version next. So I would say that me building A Linux version is highly unlikely I’m afraid. However if someone else does I’d be happy to help them any way I can!

      Reply

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