end kvetch

Macs, productivity, &c.

Desktop Extras: Pry


Some time ago, I made the decision to move past David Lanham’s Agua folder set (as lovely as it is).

I settled on Pry by Jonas Rask (who has a variety of excellent work). Pry was designed for Leopard and therefore includes all the necessary icons (downloads, etc.). However, the folders are not front-on (something I mentioned about Agua v.2), so they don’t really jive with CoverFlow. This problem is solved by the Pryspective set by Vibe Star AKA Sander van der Heijden. While making the Pry folders CoverFlow-compatible is certainly a good idea, I’m not a huge fan of the Pryspective icons. Unless you’re a big CoverFlow user, I’d go with the regular Pry set.

Jonas created a number of variants including both etched and overlaid versions (I prefer the more colorful overlaid Pry Aluminum set). He has also made matching hardware icons and CS3 and MS Office-specific folder sets. MacThemes members have also made a variety of versions including “Pry Ply” (wood), white, red and chocolate.


For those who don’t know, the best way to apply new icons (such as the Pry and Agua sets) is to use Panic’s CandyBar. While you can do it manually (some icons more simply than others), CandyBar is much, much simpler and its integrated icon organization features make it worth the $29 price tag if you’re really into customizing your computer. Of course, there’s also a fifteen day, somewhat limited trial (you can only have 250 icons in your library) available.

Filed under: Apple, Desktop Extras, , , , , , , , , , ,

Desktop Extras: Choosing a Wallpaper


Show of hands, how many of you have one of the following sub-optimal desktop wallpapers?

  • One of the ones packaged with the OS.
  • A technically and compositionally godawful family photo.
  • A picture that is too small and must be centered, tiled and stretched.

Now, I’m sorry, but my cold, childless has something to tell you: little Bobby doesn’t belong on your desktop. And I mean, really, you don’t actually like “Bliss” or “Aurora”, do you? And finally, if the shoe don’t fit, don’t wear it. Find a wallpaper that fits your screen– seriously. Before we get into what your should do, let’s look at some examples of what you shouldn’t…

No bad baby photos! finderscreensnapz003.png

At this point you’re probably flustered. Where in the world could you find a picture of the proper size that isn’t of your child and wasn’t provided by the nice folks at Apple/Miscrosoft(/Linux)? Luckily there are plenty of places. David Lanham has wonderful stuff for both widescreen and fullscreen displays, however, I have found that they look a little funky with Leopard’s transparent menu bar. My favorite site for wallpapers is the oddly named Pixel Girl Presents. You can search by style, artist and, best of all, screen dimensions. Although the selection is somewhat limited, you should be able to find something you like (unless you’re some kind of super manly-man).

However, it’s not as simple as just finding one that you like and that fits. You have to think about whether you will be happy staring at it all day (it’s like choosing a paint color). I try to shy away from sad wallpapers because I don’t want depressing thoughts sneaking in to my head. I also look for colors I like and, finally, I don’t like it when desktops bear the logo or name of the artist. Sometimes you can crop it out, but other times it may be best just to keep on looking (or, you could decide to not be super obsessive like me and just deal with it). Finally, make sure it is a desktop you will be happy with people seeing. Avoid explicit images in general and just use common sense (don’t have a pink teddy bear as your wallpaper if you use your computer during football practice and don’t use the gay pride flag as your desktop if you’re working on Mike Huckabee’s campaign).

Although your desktop wallpaper may seem like a trivial thing, it really can be pretty important because you spend a lot of time looking at it. Overall, choose a wallpaper that you like, fits well and won’t depress you (and won’t get you fired…or lynched).

And in case you were wondering, here’s my desktop:


Filed under: Desktop Extras, , ,

Desktop Extras: Agua Re-Reinvented


aqua.pngFor quite a while, Agua by David Lanham has been my favorite icon set.  A while back it was updated for Leopard with 512×512 icons, slight restyling and additional Leopard-specific icons (downloads folder, Time Machine drive, etc.).  However, because these folders were angled (rather than front-on like Apple’s Leopard folders) they looked super messed-up in CoverFlow.  Now (well, a bit back) David Lanham has updated the folders so they are front on (he also added a couple drive icons and another alternate downloads folder) and look decent in CoverFlow.  If you use the Agua Leopard icons or are looking for an alternative to the regular icons in Leopard, check out the twice updated Agua icons.

If you were wondering, I do hope to make Desktop Extras a regular feature (I made a banner for it and everything).  I plan to cover things such as icons, wallpapers, dock styles and whatnot.  As always, if you have suggestions or questions for Desktop Extras (or any other feature) give me a shout in the comments or you can email me (see the contact page).

Filed under: Apple, Desktop Extras, , , , , , , ,