MacMost Now 84: Flickr Photo Screen Saver

Gary Rosenzweig looks at how to pull in an updated list of photos from Flickr or an RSS feed and use them as you Mac screensaver.

Video Transcript
Hi, this is Gary Rosenzweig with another fresh episode of MacMost Now. One of the things I wanted to do recently with my Mac was to have fresh new photos brought in from the Internet and then used in my screen saver; so every time my screen saver went on I'd have some new interesting photos to look at. Now there's a bunch of different ways to do that, let's take a look at them on this episode.
One of the most popular sites on the Internet for photos is Flickr, and you can view lots of peoples' photos on Flickr and do some really cool stuff, but it turns out Flickr also has a really cool interface for getting photos as RSS feeds. So all you need to do is go to this URL here [flickr.com/services/feeds/docs/photos_public] and you can go ahead and get a public feed of various things. So, you want to basically copy and paste the URL on this page and then add some parameters to it . you do that by putting a question mark and then the parameter so for example you put tags= and then you put moon, you'll get lots of pictures of the moon. And the great thing is of course, this is all in an RSS feed so you know this is a universal type of data feed that we can now plug into something else like iPhoto. So go into iPhoto, and iPhoto has the ability under File to subscribe to photo feed and you go ahead and you paste in this feed here for Flickr and it'll take a minute and it will populate a photo album basically with pictures from the feed, in this case pictures tagged with the word moon. So now that we have that we can go into our system preferences. In the system preferences we can go ahead and look at the desktop and screen saver. Switch to screen saver, and you can choose a photo album from iPhoto including the subscribed photo albums. And this one is called recent uploads tagged moon; and there we go, there are pictures of the moon. We can go ahead and run this and it will look basically like this we have lots of options on the display style for the photos so go and choose those and now iPhoto will pull up new pictures of the moon and you get them displayed on your screen as photos in your screen saver.
Now there's a little problem with this, most notably that what happens with the Flickr RSS feeds is it gives you low resolution images and if you have a nice big Mac screen you're going to get these low res images as screen saver images it's not going to look good. One way you can correct it is go to this website [photocastr.quantum foam.org] and this website actually will provide you with a Flickr feed that uses high resolution images and then you can use these as your screen saver and get beautiful images of whatever tags or feeds you select. Of course, once you're on Flickr you can also select somebody's specific feed, like say your own feed or a friend's feed or maybe some pro photographer's feed that always has fantastic landscapes. Whatever you want you can get it as a screen saver just using iPhoto and the built in screen saver Mac OS 10 Leopard.
Now I've got two more ways for you to do this. One is to use a new service from Google and you can find it here at this web address [code.google.com/p/visigami] and it's basically a screen saver and application that will pull pictures from either Flickr or Google's own Picasa and display them as cool images on your screen It's its' own screen saver in other words. So this is another pretty cool way of doing it . And another even more geeky way to do it is to use a program called Flickr Fan. FlickrFan.org is this RSS reader that will continuously pull photos from different feeds and put them into a folder in your drive and then you can use the Mac's built in screen saver to display them in the same way that we did for the iPhoto photos, except you would select a folder rather than a photo album. Now Flickr Fan actually does a lot more than just this so if you really need something to handle RSS feeds and serve them out you'll wan t to take a look at this; it's pretty neat
So there are three different ways to create a live photo screen saver for your Mac that can pull all sorts of interesting photos from the Internet and put them on your screen. This is also great if you've got a computer that serves as a central office machine or server or something and it basically sits with the screen saver on all day. You can have it display photos from news feeds for instance, or photos from the astronomy picture of the day. Just search the web for photo RSS feeds or something similar and you'll probably come up with all sorts of interesting photo feeds. There's probably more being added every day.
So check that out and until next time, this is Gary Rosenzweig with MacMost Now.

Comments: 2 Responses to “MacMost Now 84: Flickr Photo Screen Saver”

    12/28/08 @ 5:33 pm

    Thanks, this is cool!
    Ludwig, Nijmegen the Netherlands

    Ludwig
    6/14/09 @ 1:11 pm

    Thanks, this is cool!
    Ludwig, CEO of Nintendo

Comments Closed.