Flickr screensaver for OS X

One of my favourite (but entirely trivial) apps for Windows is Slickr, an OpenGL screensaver that takes photos from my Flickr photostream.

Since getting the MacBook I’ve been looking for something equivalent to Slickr, but until yesterday I hadn’t been able to find anything (nothing that worked, anyway).

It turns out that one of the features of iPhoto is the ability to subscribe to “photocasts”. Point it at an RSS feed containing photos, and it will treat it as an album. One of the features of the inbuilt OS X screensaver is the ability to use iPhoto albums as a source for pictures for the screensaver. Mashup city!

My first effort was to try pointing iPhoto directly at the RSS feed of my photostream. That worked fine. However, when I then tried to use the resulting iPhoto album as a source for the screensaver, the images looked awful, as they were low-res thumbnail / small versions that were being scaled up to 1440×900 (the resolution of my screen).

I then tried a neat tool which provides the full-size images from Flickr in a feed formatted for iPhoto. You pass it the feed of the photostream you want, and it drops in the higher-res versions for you and serves you an alternate feed.

That works, but it still isn’t quite as configurable as I might have liked. Ideally I want a random selection, and probably to have more than the most recent 20 photos I’ve taken. The answer to the problem is an app called photocastr, which provides much more control over the feeds that are generated. It doesn’t cope with the requirement for a random selection, so I’ve gone for having 200 of my most popular photos sorted by Interestingness. It’s neat because it should mean that the stream changes as people choose to view different shots I’ve taken (kind of a vox pop thing).

For the sake of full disclosure here, something I’ve discovered whilst playing with this stuff is that the RSS feeds that iPhoto uses / generates are broken. Not so good. Black mark.

Stay tuned for more on my Mac move. I intend to post about the applications I’ve been using, shortly.

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6 thoughts on “Flickr screensaver for OS X”

  1. you could also look at 1001 it comes with a flickr sreensaver, I’ve not used it for a while (screen savers seem to crash my PPC mac.. you dont need ot have 1001 installed (didnt like it!) to use the screensaver.. I think it supports random photos from streams or whatever.. when I get back from Dublin I might have another look and see what you’ve found too.. currently stuck in the IBM technology Campus in Dublin (well about 35 minutes outside dublin in the middle of noplace!)

  2. Just checked it out and can’t see a way of getting it to show me photos from my stream! I think the method I’ve found is going to be my best bet.

    Plazes and Twitter alerted me to your location miles ahead of this comment 😉

  3. I’m in a similar boat, having switched from PC to Mac, and a screensaver that I’ve found to be fairly similar to Slickr is ShuffleSaver. It doesn’t have the photo-sliding effect that Slickr does, but other than that, it’s pretty comparable.

  4. I’m using the built-in rss screensaver but use to feed it so it get’s the large size images instead of the smaller ones that flickr serves.
    You can select if you want to feed your latest photos or your most interesting photos.

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