Wednesday, March 11, 2009

LibraryThing Mac Screensaver

At the end of our Week of Code, Chris and I put together the RSS feed and directions you need to turn the built-in Mac OS X screensaver into a LibraryThing Screen Saver.

To do it you'll need to grab the following URL: and change "timspalding" to your user name (public users only, of course). Then watch the video.

Update: Does anyone know of an easy way to make a Windows one?

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Blogger EricaJoy said...

That's awesome. I have a new favorite screensaver, beating out the classic BSOD screensaver. Well done.

3/11/2009 2:29 AM  
Blogger Meg89 said...


Now do one for Windows, pretty please! :)

3/11/2009 2:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't have a Mac but that's a pretty sweet idea.

3/11/2009 5:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mac user here. This owns.

3/11/2009 6:41 AM  
Blogger mckait said...

When I change then follow the link, I find no video to watch, but instead my covers displayed vertically.
:( I do have a mac..

3/11/2009 6:46 AM  
Blogger The Plashing Vole said...

Can't get the RSS page to show up in the list of feeds… Boo!

3/11/2009 8:48 AM  
Blogger Ashley said...

Any chance ya'll will do one for Windows?? Please!!

3/11/2009 9:37 AM  
Blogger Andrea said...

This is awesome! Thanks!

3/11/2009 11:09 AM  
Blogger JoonieM said...

Oh no. . . a siren constantly calling me back into the depths of LT! How could you. . .

3/11/2009 11:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a great idea. Thanks a lot!

3/11/2009 11:27 AM  
Blogger Michael Hanscom said...

Nice! Set it up on my machine, and blogged about it to spread the word. Thanks!

3/11/2009 12:35 PM  
Blogger Phaedra Bonewits said...

Mine is not validating -- any hints?

3/11/2009 12:51 PM  
Blogger WorldMaker said...

Visual C# 2005 Express (free from Microsoft's website) came with a RSS Screensaver Starter Kit that's about 80% of what you need if you don't mind writing it in C#:

Beyond that, a Windows screensaver is not too far removed from a normal Windows .exe. The big thing is that there are a set of standard command line options that expected to be responded too. I believe you should be able to search for them without too much difficulty.

3/11/2009 2:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Copy the link above and paste it into your screensaver settings box for an RSS feed. (click on the video above to see detailed instructions). Just clicking on the link above or entering it in your URL bar will just get you the RSS feed of images that powers the screensaver.

If you can't view the video above then let us know.

3/11/2009 2:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here are some instructions for Ubuntu.

3/11/2009 3:33 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

For Windows, I've tried using the Google Photos screensaver installed with either the Google Pack or Picasa (which is how I have it) but it doesn't like the RSS feed. In part, I can't quite figure out how the screensaver is pulling the pictures from the feed (it's a picky thing, doesn't like Flickr rss feeds without a format tag at the end and won't pick up an ordinary comic feed either).

3/11/2009 3:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tim, any plans/ideas for a LibraryThing widget (for Mac's Dashboard)?

3/11/2009 6:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Clearly I don't have a recent-enough version of OS X -- I have 10.4.11 -- because my System Preferences doesn't have the handy MobileMe option, and the RSS option only lets you choose from an existing selection of feeds. Tanj!

3/11/2009 11:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm in the same boat as jemeisen, I guess. Any alternative?

3/13/2009 1:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

jmeisen--I've got the same version of OSX. The best I can figure out is that the RSS feed list is coming from Safari. I tried opening Safari and bookmarking the link Tim says to use, but while it showed up on my RSS feed list back on my screensaver options at first, it wasn't actually *working*--and then it disappeared.

However, if you go to your profile page and add the RSS feed for your recently added books (I used XML, not sure if it makes a difference) to Safari, you *can* use the RSS Visualizer to make a screensaver that includes the descriptions of your recently added books.

I know, it's not as fun, but at least it's LT on your screensaver.

But bottom line is in order to add an RSS feed for the RSS Visualizer, you need to go through and bookmark it in Safari, which is a bit of a pain, but doable.

Also? I don't really know about these things, just experimenting, so if anyone else has better ideas, please let me know!

3/13/2009 5:05 PM  
Blogger Danielle said...

love love this feature. thanks!

3/13/2009 8:06 PM  
Blogger mckait said...


got it and love it.. you are genius!

Thank you


3/14/2009 8:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very neat! Gotta improve the quality of some of my covers, though! Thanks! And to think it was developed for the Mac FIRST! My kind of guys!

3/14/2009 6:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I really like this. Thanks a lot.

3/17/2009 12:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Works really well.
To those Windows users I say "Get a Mac".
It's a much nicer platform.

3/19/2009 5:41 PM  
Blogger Cheryl said...

Does this only work on a specific Mac OS X platform? I'm on Mac 10.4.11, and the options under screen saver for me don't look like that. The MobileMe and RSS doesn't exist. I have RSS Visualizer as an option, but there isn't anywhere I can add a new feed. Any ideas?

3/20/2009 3:07 AM  
Blogger Benu said...

Why can't I get the RSS feed to work on my google or yahoo pages? If I can get the feed to work on those types of websites then I have a windows quick-fix program for RSS feeds.

3/20/2009 9:55 PM  
Blogger Benu said...

I need to know the .RSS in order to get it to work

3/20/2009 10:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For PC users:
I made a yahoo pipe to covert the mac screensaver to a input compatible with the Google Photos screensaver.

You need to use this url:

and replace the user id by their yours.

The URL should be added on the "Photos from public sites" section of the google photos screenshot settings.


3/21/2009 8:14 AM  
Blogger Benu said...

Awesome job gczobel!!!

3/21/2009 5:22 PM  
Blogger Benu said...

any idea how to get the "< img..." writing to go way?

3/21/2009 5:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

On the google screensaver you can disable captions... I tried to change the "< img" tab with the book name but the pages on librarything cannot be fetched from yahoo pipes.

3/22/2009 3:08 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Very Cool! I love this!!!

3/24/2009 1:37 PM  
Blogger Mrs. Stansbury said...

I'm having the same problem many others are having. My version of Mac does not want to recognize the RSS feed created and disappears after I leave the site. I have successfully used the RSS feeds from librarything as screen savers. So please, PLEASE, make an RSS feed of book covers.

3/25/2009 7:33 AM  
Anonymous Ken Martin said...

How very cool, but this isn't working for me. I can hit the php/feed in Firefox and Safari, but no joy as a screensaver. Mac OS 10.5.6.

Anything I can try?

3/30/2009 8:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love is just too cool seeing the books come on the screen.


4/01/2009 8:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

BTW, this is Meadowmist that made the anonymous wouldn't let me log in.

Any Suggestions?

4/01/2009 8:43 PM  
Anonymous meadowmist said...

Do we have to be logged on to Library Thing to have the book screen saver enabled?

4/02/2009 7:19 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Love the screen saver, but last week it started showing some odd behavior that comes and goes intermittently.

Usually it works great, but sometimes it gets stuck on 3 covers, showing them over and over again. Sometimes it's the same covers from session to session, other times the 3 covers change from one session to the next. Either way, it shows 3 covers, then back to the first and starts the 3 over again. Any ideas?


4/06/2009 12:57 PM  
Blogger Dancing Crow Press said...

I love it. Thanks!

4/07/2009 1:34 PM  
Blogger booksinbed said...

What does it mean when the same 2 books keep cycling through my screen?

Everything was working fine earlier today, but now the same 2 books are coming up repeatedly.

Any ideas?

4/12/2009 7:56 PM  
Blogger Tumbleweed said...

I followed the directions but it didn't work for me :( the screensaver area just says "your selected subscriptions have no pictures..."

11/04/2009 11:53 PM  
Blogger Tumbleweed said...

update: Since lastnight I restarted my computer and now the screensaver is working just fine. Yay!

11/05/2009 1:31 PM  

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