John’s Background Switcher 4.4 Release Notes

Version 4.4 of John’s Background Switcher started out as a bug fix release, then some users were kind enough to translate it into yet more languages (Russian, Finnish and Hungarian). At the same time I decided to add a few new features including changing the Windows 7 logon screen and before I knew it 4.4 was born. The full release notes follow.

New Features

5989: Add the option to customise the calendar font

FEATURE: You can now customise the font used to draw the calendar in JBS. Note that the weight (bold, regular) is ignored as JBS decides if a calendar should be bold or not based on its size.

3619: Add the option to override the logon screen for Windows 7

FEATURE: You can now choose to ‘Set the Windows logon screen background’ on ‘More Settings’ and when you do the Windows 7 logon screen background will be changed whenever JBS changes your background. So whatever you see on your primary monitor is what you’ll see on the logon / lock screen. Cool!

5751: Add a Russian translation of John’s Background Switcher

FEATURE: JBS now comes with a Russian translation. Maximum kudos to Dmitry for his hard work!

5927: Add the option to customise the font used for displaying the picture info

FEATURE: You can now customise the font used to display the ‘Picture Information’ in the top-right of the screen. Go to the ‘More Settings’ dialog and next to the checkbox to show the picture info is a font button that lets you choose. Bradley Hand ITC, Bold, Size 22 is my favourite!

6000: Add the option to not rotate postcards / polaroids

FEATURE: You can now choose (via an option on the ‘Montages’ section of ‘More Settings’) to either have the snapshots appear at a random angle (as they’ve always done) or lined up straight. They’ll still be placed randomly, just not rotated. Give it a try, it’s pretty cool!

5902: Add a Finnish translation of John’s Background Switcher

FEATURE: JBS is now translated into Finnish – so if you’re on a Finnish version of Windows then JBS will appear in your language. Thanks to Jussi for his hard work!

5921: Support Google Picasa web album feeds in ‘RSS Feeds’ mode

FEATURE: While JBS already supports Google Picasa Web albums I thought it would be useful to support the RSS feeds natively in the ‘RSS Feeds’ mode of JBS. This means you can use Picasa RSS feeds or any other feeds that support the Google photo feed format in JBS.

5932: Lower the minimum switching interval for Vista and Windows 7

FEATURE: If you’re running JBS on Vista or Windows 7 then you can choose to use switching intervals of 10 or 15 seconds. If not, the lowest you can go is 30 seconds. Ancient version of Windows like XP don’t behave very well when the switching interval is below 30 seconds, so to keep the experience as good as possible, that’s why versions below Vista can’t go any lower. It’s nothing personal!

5987: Add a ‘View Previous Picture’ keyboard shortcut

FEATURE: There is now a new keyboard shortcut to view the previous background picture(s). By default it’s Ctrl+Alt+P but you can change it from ‘More Settings’ to whatever you like.

6010: Add a Hungarian translation of JBS

FEATURE: JBS now supports Hungarian if you’re running on a Hungarian version of Windows. Props to Victor for his hard work!

5907: Add the option to choose a random image effect (eg. sepia, grayscale, etc)

FEATURE: When you choose the ‘Background effect’ for a the background (More Settings > Picture Handling) or postcard / polaroid pile background (More Settings > Montages) there is now a new option called ‘Random’. As you’d expect this will choose from either one of ‘None’, ‘Grayscale’, ‘Sepia’, ‘Desaturate’ or ‘Soften Colours’. We like randomness round these parts!

5991: Add the option to customise the font on the postcard and polaroid piles

FEATURE: Completing the ‘great font drive’ you can also customise the fonts used in polaroid and postcard piles (independently in case you like Comic Sans on polaroids and Times New Roman on postcards).

Changes / Bug Fixes

6151: Wallpapers appear wrongly positioned on Windows 7 with multiple monitors

FIXED: If your Windows 7 machine used the desktop transition effect and you had multiple monitors, had ‘Fill’ set as the display setting and had one monitor smaller than the other then the background pictures would appear to be laid out half-way between each screen. This highly irritating problem has now been corrected.

6101: Reduce the effect of anti-aliased lines on full screen backgrounds

FIXED: When using full screen background images there would sometimes be a faint line on the edge of the screen. This has now been corrected.

5689: Make ‘swap backgrounds’ use the transition effect

CHANGED: If you chose to ‘Shuffle Backgrounds’ on Windows Vista and 7 you’d see that the backgrounds swapped abruptly and didn’t use the transition effect. This has now been corrected and the transition effect (if enabled) will be used.

5831: Add support for ‘PNGs’ from Google Image search

CHANGED: JBS now includes PNGs in addition to JPGs when it uses Google Image Search. Previously it would only look for JPGs.

6085: Raise the Bing image search limit from 100 to 200

CHANGED: By default Bing image search now chooses from the top 200 results in JBS rather than the top 100.

5954: Support quirky RSS feeds

CHANGED: Previously JBS only supported feeds whereas it should also have supported and all other versions of the site. Now it does!

5982: Remove the dependency on the old (soon to be deprecated) Facebook REST API

CHANGED: JBS used an older API to communicate with Facebook that will be retired soon so I’ve refactored the code to use a newer API. Fear not, you won’t notice any difference at all!

6003: Speed up Flickr integration by caching extra photo information (like tags and so forth)

CHANGED: In a bid to speed up Flickr integration I’ve cut down on needless calls to Flickr asking for extra photo information. This is now cached which should speed things up and cut down on JBS hogging your bandwidth!

5877: When using anonymous random Phanfare access, choose from all albums rather than just the newest pictures

CHANGED: In previous versions of JBS, if you chose to use Phanfare in anonymous mode and random pictures, then only the newest pictures would be chosen from. Now JBS will choose random pictures from all the published albums as it does when you use authenticated mode.

5495: Random ‘TargetInvocationException’ crash when running JBS

FIXED: Due to an ‘interesting’ bug in the .NET Framework on which JBS is built, random crashes would occur when attempting to load the tray icon. This problem has now been corrected (in that I’m storing the icons in a different way). Thanks Microsoft! ;)

5339: Crash when imm32.dll is corrupt or missing from your system

FIXED: On machines with the core system file ‘imm32.dll’ missing would crash JBS. Since this DLL is a required component of Windows then JBS is unable to run when it’s not present on your system so instead of crashing JBS gracefully exits.

Should you hit this error you really need to fix your computer and it’s highly likely that your machine is infected with a virus. You’ll notice that lots of other applications (not just JBS) will randomly crash – now you know why!

5811: Montages don’t always fill the whole screen when you choose a background on one monitor only

FIXED: If you used one of the montage modes and chose to show a background on only one monitor, then the resulting montage would be sized according to your first monitor, which meant if you were showing a background on your second monitor, the size would be incorrect. This has now been fixed.

6002: Flickr tag exclusion doesn’t work when using a montage and downloaded pictures

FIXED: If you added some Flickr tags to ignore after a picture had been downloaded and cached, then that picture would still appear on montages until the cache was flushed. This has now been corrected.

5739: JBS can no longer see photos tagged with you or your friends

FIXED: Facebook changed their privacy settings such that JBS was no longer able to choose photos that you were tagged in. This problem has now been corrected, however you’ll need to re-authorise JBS with Facebook from the “Authorise” dialog to get the new permissions.

6049: Fix UAC issues when installing JBS and running as an admin (eg. the shortcuts are created for the admin, not the user)

FIXED: If you installed JBS on Vista or Windows 7 and were running as a restricted user then several unexpected things would happen when you were prompted to enter an administrator’s details (or elevate your rights to that of an admin).

Firstly, when JBS first ran when the installer finished it would run in ‘Administrator’ mode, and if you’d chosen to run as an administrator other than your own user account then JBS would run as that user, not you. This meant you’d set it up then re-start it and it would seem to forget all your settings. Likewise if you installed as a different administrator the shortcuts wouldn’t appear to be created.

This has now all been fixed and no matter which administrative user you run the installer as, the shortcuts, etc will be created for you, not that admin. Likewise when you launch JBS at the end of the installation it will run as you and not the admin. Basically it’ll fix a whole lot of confusion!

6109: Google Image Search suddenly stops working

FIXED: In some cases Google Image Search would suddenly stop working and instead return an error code suspecting you of abusing their service. I’ve now added an API key to all calls to Google so that should stop them suspecting JBS of wrong doing and making the service stop returning results.

5874: Change the Phanfare API call to get a list of albums – some users weren’t getting any back

FIXED: When choosing from your Phanfare pictures randomly JBS was using an old Phanfare API call to get your list of albums so that some were excluded that shouldn’t have been and unpublished albums were included when they shouldn’t have been. This has now been corrected so only your published albums will be selected for your background.

5402: Crash when exiting JBS at the point it’s about to show a popup dialog

FIXED: Exactly as the description says – JBS won’t crash under this rare circumstance!

5529: Crash when access to the roaming application data path is denied

FIXED: If you ran JBS and you didn’t have access to your own roaming application path then JBS would crash, making it look like the bad guy. Actually you need to sort your system out (or talk to your system administrator) as without access to that folder applications like JBS can’t store temporary files. Anyway, now JBS will show you the error and quit instead of falling over.

6060: JBS claims ‘The downloaded photo appears to be invalid’ when you try to use a Picasa private album URL

FIXED: Picasa private album URLs are now https instead of http and JBS wasn’t able to recognise them as being valid. This has now been corrected and it’ll handle both.

6152: Speed up thumbnail mosaic generation for local pictures

CHANGED: If you were creating thumbnail mosaics using pictures from your local machine it could take ages. It should now be drastically faster.

6165: Trying to authenticate with Facebook fails with a ‘Success’ message

FIXED: Due to the new secure connection option in Facebook JBS could get confused when attempting to authenticate you resulting in it getting stuck and not letting you add picture sets. This has now been corrected.

6159: Thumbnail mosaics using ‘One picture for the whole desktop’ doesn’t span multiple monitors like it should

FIXED: When you chose this option then JBS wouldn’t fill the entire background and instead use the primary monitor’s size as a guide instead of the full desktop. This has now been corrected.

6181: Make absolutely sure that the installer won’t run on Windows 7 Starter Edition

CHANGED: Since background switching is disabled in Windows 7 Starter Edition JBS tried to prevent installation onto that version. The check didn’t always work so a more robust mechanism is now being used.

6183: Very wide or very tall pictures take up far too much space on ‘postcard piles’

FIXED: JBS was a bit stupid when it came to very wide or tall pictures in ‘postcard pile’ mode and would end up taking up most of the screen if you had a large panorama as one of the pictures. This has now been corrected and the picture will be scaled down accordingly.

Go and download John’s Background Switcher now!