How would you like to integrate various bits of information such as the time of day, day of the week, current weather, or stock prices into your Mac’s desktop wallpaper? If you could do so, I’m sure that you’d also want to customize the appearance of that information as well. Right?
If this sounds like a cool feature to you, then you’re sure to love Smart Wall. Users of the popular GeekTool for Mac, will find Smart Wall very similar. However, as one Smart Wall user has stated, that this tool is basically a simpler version of GeekTool; it’s great for those who don’t have time to learn all there is to know about GeekTool.
Smart Wall makes your wallpaper smart by integrating bits of data that you use on a daily basis. The information that you add will remain on your desktop at all times – kind of like widgets. The only difference is that, unlike widgets, the data will blend right into your desktop as if it’s part of the wallpaper.
Right now Smart Wall is in the “limited free version” stage, but more features are coming soon along with the official release in the Mac App Store (any day now). So, for now let’s look at the few things that you can do with this Mac app.
Installing Smart Wall was pretty easy once I found the file. The website shows that the app is in the Mac App store, but since it hasn’t been released yet the Map App Store button obviously isn’t linked to anything.
You’ll need to head on over to MacUpdate to download the zip file. From there, you just have to drag the app file to your Applications folder.
When you first start Smart Wall, the preferences window will appear. There will also be a new icon in your menu bar – a yellow light bulb like the one in the screenshot. From the menu bar you can access preferences, remove all information from your desktop (at once) and quit the application.
The preference window is pretty easy to figure out and right now, there really aren’t many options available with the limited free version.
For now, you’ll only be able to add:
- Time: Digital
- Date: Month of year
- Date: Day of week
- Date: Day of month
If you want more features, you can buy the full version of Smart Wall when it’s available. I did see a comment on MacUpdate stating that the cost would probably be $1.99. Of course, we won’t know this for sure until it’s released.
Let’s say you want to add the digital time to your desktop. The first step is to click on the “add” button next to Time: Digital.
You’ll then see a “Time Window” on your desktop. It’s not very stylish to start out with, so you’ll have to customize it – change the size, font type and colors.
Again, because this version is so limited you won’t be able to customize any of the information, but you’ll get a general idea of the options that will be available to you.
You can also add plain colored windows (without any information) and change the color and transparency of them. These windows work great as backgrounds for your data (as seen in the screenshot below), since once you’re done customizing the information the editing window (i.e. time window mentioned above) disappears.
For a smoother look and integration into your wallpaper, it’s best to do without the colored windows.
When you’re satisfied with the look of your information, you can click on the “done” button in the preferences window. The editing window will disappear and all that will be left is the time. It blends pretty smoothly into the background – if it wasn’t for the fact that the time actually changes, you would think that it was just a part of the wallpaper.
In order to bring the editing window back so that you can edit the time again if needed, you’ll need to click the “edit” button on the preferences window.
I’d love to share more about Smart Wall, but that’s really all there is to it right now. Just from what I’ve seen with the time and day of the week, I really like what Smart Wall can do and I definitely want to customize it more. Not only is Smart Wall worth $1.99, but with the availability of more information it could serve as an extremely useful app.
I haven’t tried GeekTool yet, so I can’t compare the two. If you have used or currently use GeekTool, feel free to share your thoughts on it versus Smart Wall in the comments.