When I started using computers with graphical user interfaces (half a lifetime ago!) setting up a screensaver was both the acme of cool and quite important to avoid the cathode ray gun at the back of the monitor burning a permanent memory of a static layout into the screen, hence the name. Fast forward to the present and, although modern screensavers would have blown my mid-90’s mind, they seem less remarkable and are certainly less necessary. With LCD monitors, the pixels won’t burn in over time but there is one way in which they can be useful – to prevent others reading what is on your display when you need to pop away but don’t want to suspend the display more deeply.
Since starting to pay more attention to the temperature my MacBook reaches (see Blissful Silence from April), I’ve become aware that all of the built in options on OS X work the machine hard. I can’t think why, since many are just displaying photos and I could happily live without extraneous animations, but all of them produced a spinning fan. However, there don’t seem to be as many options for downloading free alternatives as there used to be – or perhaps I’m just getting more security conscious about what I download and install.
I did find one that met my requirements though – Fliqlo. It is a widely recommended screensaver that displays a simple flip-display clock. Nice and simple – one change every minute – and easy on the CPU. A modern computer ought to be able to run something that looked awesome twenty years ago without lifting a finger but I’m happy to stick with something much more minimalist (and retro-cool to boot).