Wild kingdom

Add a variety of nature sounds to your desktop with this fun program.

We love the sounds of nature, whether we're hiking in the woods or just listening from our kitchen window. Aura is a simple program that can bring nature sounds to wherever you are, whether that's your urban apartment or a windowless cube farm.

The program appears as an icon in the system tray, and right-clicking on it gives people access to the program's control board. This is where users can customize the sounds that Aura produces. We were quite impressed with the array of options that Aura offers; there are two profiles, the woods during the day and at night, and each one offers unique sounds. During the day, users can select woodpeckers, rooks and crows, grasshoppers, cuckoos, the near flight of both birds and insects, brooks, rain, storms, and wind. At night, users can choose from a bonfire, bitterns and owls, beasts (scary!), nightingales, and some of the other daytime sounds. The music option can play guitar, flute, and/or accordion. For most of these sounds, users can select how frequently they want to hear them, letting users create soundscapes that are uniquely theirs. Users can have Aura switch between day and night sounds automatically at particular times, or they can select day or night manually at any time. The program can also be used as an alarm clock, as long as you have enough faith in nature sounds to get you out of bed. The program doesn't have a Help file per se, but it does have a list of facts that more or less explains its features. Overall, we thought that Aura was a nice addition to our desktop, and nature lovers should check it out.

Aura comes as a ZIP file. It installs and uninstalls without issues.

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