Redecorate your desktop with Wally

Get images from numerous photo-sharing sites on your desktop with this fun program.

Automatic wallpaper changers are a good idea in theory, but many of them don't work out too well in practice; they often hog resources, cause desktop display problems, and generally wreak havoc. But then there's Wally. This is a wallpaper changer with plenty of features and no functional problems whatsoever. It may have single-handedly brought us around to the idea of changing desktop wallpapers.

Wally appears as an icon in the System Tray, and right-clicking on it brings up a settings menu. Wally can display images that you have stored on your computer, but the really cool thing about it is that it can access images from deviantART, Vladstudio, Google, SmugMug, Picasa, Buzznet, Photobucket, Ipernity, Panoramio, Yahoo, and Flickr. For any of these providers, simply enter your desired keywords, and Wally will select matching images to display on your desktop. Of course, given the nature of these sites, the quality of the images will vary widely. We entered the keyword "kitten" in Picasa, and while the first image returned was a professional-looking shot of a kitten and a puppy cuddling, the next was a snapshot of some random man reclining on a sofa with a kitten in one hand and a cigarette in the other. But part of the fun of Wally is sampling the wide variety of images that people choose to share on the Internet, for better or worse. The program itself has plenty of useful settings; you can select the interval at which the images change, the border color, and the image position on the desktop, and there are plenty of other options for controlling how the program selects and displays images. We didn't see a Help file anywhere, but we didn't really need one, either. Overall, we think that Wally is easy to use and a lot of fun, and we recommend it.

Wally installs politely but leaves a Start menu icon behind upon removal.

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