I’ve been evaluating Microsoft Vista, and aside from the other important productive aspects of the operating system, I was pleasantly intrigued by the video-based wallpaper used at the live demo by Jojo Ayson at the business launch at the Shang Makati last Feb.1. In the demo in the ballroom, the big video screen show a pleasantly babbling brook underlying the icons, windows and toolbars of Vista. Nice, refreshing, peaceful and thoroughly CPU-hogging I supposed, but I wanted to it try out for myself.

Back at the batcave, the evaluation copy of Vista I had on the Toshiba Qosmio G30 didn’t seem to have Dreamscene, which is what they called it over at Redmond. I clicked high and low and it simply wasn’t there. A quick check on the net told me it was still in beta; I didn’t know if it was in the shipping copies but since I didn’t have one I couldn’t tell. (If you’re one of the few who have the official retail version, chime in and tell us if it’s there please; I’m not about to plunk down 20K just to find out.)

What I did find out was that there were standalone beta installer packages on the net. Naughty me, I downloaded a copy and loaded it up, but it didn’t take, which served me right. What I did get though were the small WMVs of the video files for Dreamscene included in the package – two of them at least: no babbling brook, but there was the green grass and blue sky with rolling clouds, and the aurora borealis wallpaper.

Ching! A bright light blinked on in my head.

Would these work on my Mac?

It’s not in the Mac OS X box, but there’s been something like it available as shareware since last year – a shareware app called DesktopMagik, from stupidFish Programming. I was fortunate enough to download a free registered copy last year as part of the MacAppADay Promo, and hardly used it since trying it out. Among other things, it lets you put video on your desktop as wallpaper (yeah, there are lotsa others for the Mac and the PC that do the same thing, but who can pass up a free app?)

So I used Quicktime to convert the WMV file to MOV (by way of the wonderfully free Flip4Mac codec that lets Quicktime use WMV files), then imported it into DesktopMagik.

Worked like a charm. My Mac looks like it’s running Vista (sort of like a frog with two heads). Now I have beautiful rolling clouds on a blue sky, casting shadows on a verdant field of grass as they float serenely overhead. Nice, refreshing, peaceful – and CPU-hogging too. A consistent 25% according to my process viewer.

Mac or PC, you can’t win ’em all.