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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).