I was surfing the Web flipping through my bookmarks Sunday afternoon when I found a great screensaver for both Windows and Mac. SurveillanceSaver cycles through more than 400 surveillance cameras from around the world. Before you begin fashioning a hat from tinfoil and closing all your blinds, I should note these cameras are mostly wide-sweeping live shots from various countries.
SurveillanceSaver cycles randomly through each camera giving you about 2 minutes to take in the surroundings before switching to a new camera. You'll get live streams of a blizzard in Helsingborg, Sweden, followed by a shot of a lonely warehouse in Sparks, Nevada. There are some hiccups with cameras which don't work, some with low frame rates, and others which are accidentally pointed toward a wall, but most of the time there's something interesting to look at. There are no preferences or options to tinker with, and though a way to change the amount of time spent on each cam would have been nice, I think the simplicity is part of this screensaver's charm.
What makes SurveillanceSaver particularly interesting is how when you view these scenes from around the world, you can't help but provide your own narrative. The lonely morning right turn by a driver in a snow-blanketed town in Norway makes you wonder where the driver might be headed. The darkly dressed person walking on a sidewalk in gray, stormy Omaha, Nebraska, as rain drops cover the camera lens makes you glad you're warm and sitting in front of a computer screen. Once I had the screensaver going, I often caught myself staring at the computer screen for a few moments whenever I came into the room just to see what someone on the other side of the world might be doing.
SurveillanceSaver is a free program, so your short adventures around the globe won't cost you a cent. Something about the eerie scenes create a lasting impression that will keep you looking to see where the program might take you next.