16 Slick Screen Savers

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By Kim Saccio-Kent
PC World
Tuesday, August 22, 2006; 9:10 PM

Screen savers were invented back in the days of monochrome CRT monitors to prevent phosphor burn-in, and they served their purpose well.

Nowadays, however, almost everyone uses LCD computer monitors, which are impervious to burn-in. And though burn-in remains an issue for older CRT monitors, most of us don't give it a thought.

So why are screen savers still as popular as ever? It could be because they help protect your privacy in a busy office environment, or perhaps because they let you inject a little flair into your workspace.

Leave your desk for a while, and co-workers might be tempted to peek at your screen while you're gone. Running a screen saver will at least discourage walk-by peepers--and running a program like Don't Touch My Computer , in which a virtual guard dog barks at anyone who touches your keyboard, will really do the trick.

Screen savers also let us express who we are. Just like family photos and funky paperweights sitting on a hand-made walnut desk, screen savers on a 24-inch LCD let us make our mark on the world--or at least on the office. For example, you could show your quirky side with the fabulous Book of Time 3D , which displays a photorealistic parchment book with an antique clock face printed on every page; each time a page flips, the correct time displays. Tr è s chic!

Maybe you want to let co-workers know that you're intellectual or artistic. LinguaSaver , teaches you French, German, Italian, or Spanish in your idle moments. And the mesmerizing Da Vinci Encoded makes characters rearrange themselves on screen into an electronic version of the Mona Lisa.

But let's not forget that screen savers are fun. And we all need a little fun in our life, especially when we've been working long hours in front of a computer screen. Just try to be grumpy when you've got 3D Good Ole Summer Time and you're listening to a string quartet play as giant daisies and a goofy cartoon sun float about your computer screen.

For reviews of these and many other screen savers, read on. You're sure to find something that suits your style.

For a list of all the files in this story, go here .

Practical

Don't Touch My Computer, Episode 2

This whimsical screen saver is designed to discourage casual intruders: On your screen a cartoon character walks into an office, carrying a little dog. He sets the dog down and hangs up a "Watchdog on Duty" sign, and then exits the frame. The dog sits there, chases its tail, and scratches--until someone touches your keyboard or mouse. Then it starts barking and jumping at the screen. Don't Touch My Computer is free, but the developer's logo appears at the bottom right of the screen with a link to online offerings.


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