Ever wanted to embed a clock or calendar into your wallpaper, or overlay shapes on your wallpaper to delineate areas or sections of the screen (for the purposes of icon organization, naturally).
SE-DesktopConstructor is a free program that does all of that. It lets you draw shapes of various colors and transparency into your wallpaper. These are lo-tech, non-interactive shapes unlike say a desktop icon management program Fences, but, I have found, can still be very useful. SE-DesktopConstructor can also embed a clock and/or a monthly calendar into the desktop wallpaper itself, both of which are fairly customizable in terms of their placement and size on screen, as well as their font and formatting and other tweaks (and the clock in fact comes a wide range of styles both digital and analog, etc).
The screenshot above, I hope, captures what SE-DesktopConstructor can do (aside from the wallpaper changing functionality). This program tweaks your desktop but does so in an unsophisticated way; the clock and calendar are less flashy than some other widgets (HTC home, for example, which I reviewed recently) , but they are also less resource intensive and probably more practical. The rectangular areas drawn on screen are just that – drawings – and don’t offer anything in terms of interactivity as for example the aforementioned Fences does.
But there is something nice and practical about simplicity. The whole notion of burned-in boxes in your wallpaper image sounds somewhat silly, but after trying it for a few days I find that I rather like it; (in fact, I may even prefer it to Fences, which anyway no longer lives on my desktop). The only downside is that these rectangles can be quite labor intensive in terms of initially setting them up and getting the correct gradient and transparency, etc.
Here’s a list of PROS and a Wish list
- Memory use: a very reasonable 18 megs in memory.
- Portable app: available, in addition to the installer version.
- Many styles of clock available: including some retro analogue styles, if that’s your cup of tea.
- Scheduled wallpaper changes: from a change every single minute to every day. Note: if you do not want your background changed, simply point the program to a folder that contains the single image that you like as your permanent wallpaper.
Wish list (or how this program can be even better)
- The ability to move/resize all shapes and objects on the same page: so that you can see everything in a single view and place objects relative each other. A snap to grid option would also be great.
- The ability to copy and modify an existing shape: as it is, you have to create each shape from scratch, which can be labor intensive to get all the shapes you want out there, then align and size them correctly.
The verdict: I like this app because it is simple, on the one hand, and performs an interesting set of functions on the other. I am primarily attracted to the semi-transparent shapes as designated areas for organizing my desktop icons. To my surprise, I have found that this concept can actually work fairly well to give the impression of order and elegance to what would otherwise look like a messy desktop cluttered with icons. Initially it can be a bit labor intensive to get all the shapes you want set up, but it is worth it.
Both the clock and calendar can be quite useful and have a certain simple elegance that is attractive, and the wallpaper changing function just makes a good thing even better.
Version Tested: 1.1
Compatibility: Windows 2000/2003/XP/Vista/Win7
Go to the program home page to download the latest version (approx 824K for the portable version).