SE-DesktopConstructor: embed a clock or calendar into your desktop, and delineate sections of your workspace with colored or semi transparent shapes

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).

SE-DesktopConstructor Screenshot1

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.

SE-DesktopConstructor Screenshot4The 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).


 
 
 
Samer Kurdi

Samer Kurdi

Has been reviewing software since 2006 when he started Freewaregenius.com
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  • Shawn

    have you seen fences by stardock? it has the align to grid function of the desktop areas and it has nameable “areas”, there’s a free version, i use it, i like it. Check it out.

  • Samer

    @ Shawn: I’ve seen it, I reviewed it, and I mention it in the second paragraph of this review (and two times after that).

    I am using this software to provide a low-tech version of Fences, which has long since been removed from my desktop.

  • Melvyn

    How well does this handle changes in monitor configuration?

    I work in three different environments with my Lenovo notebook: standalone, office, and home. In home and office I use two monitors but of different size and resolutions. Could this tool use “stored profiles” of some kind to be useful in all situations?

  • Alan

    “Many styles of clock available: including some retro analogue styles, if”
    If what? If that suits your fancy? If that’s your cup of tea?

    • Samer

      @ Alan: cup of tea ;)
      @ Melvyn: I’m afraid I don’t know how this behaves with multiple monitors, as I don’t have a multi monitor situation myself. Let us know how it fares if you test it.

  • Scott

    I downloaded the portable version, ran it & customized it, and really liked it. But then I noticed it would occasionally slightly change the customizations I made. I’d have to reopen the config screen, click ‘apply,’ and then it’d go back. I also noticed the squares would quickly ‘blink’ every so often, usually when the time changed on the digital clock.

    I set it to start with Windows, and I noticed it wouldn’t load the customizations I had saved, but if I opened the config screen & just clicked ‘apply,” it would change to the correct settings.

    So, I liked it, and I would have liked to keep it, but it’s a little too buggy.

  • capricornus

    I just uninstalled it. Not because it is not nice. But because, after installing it, it blocked several functions in Avast, so it made me nervous. And it seems to have a life of itself, which makes me nervous too.

  • capricornus

    You are right, and I am not wrong. I should have made a screenshot before opening my mouth…

  • Dissapointed

    This looked promising and I wanted to try it. I tried to install it (Alienware M17X 6GB, 2 x Nvidia GTX 280M SLI Win 7 64Bit) with absolutely no luck.

    The configuration menus appeared but none of the desktop enhancements appeared.

  • No longer “Dissapointed”

    Okay okay … I ran it as an administrator and now it works!

    I never subscribe to the idea the freeware should be frustration-ware. The program really should come with a simple readme set of instructions or an FAQ that helps people figure out how it works. For example, the wallpaper selector prompts users to designate a folder (as opposed to specific files) as the location of the backgrounds. The backgrounds in that folder will be cycled: but that’s not intuitive or clear. If you turn that function off, and try to keep you old wallpaper, it hides the enhancements; it seems you have to use the wallpaper selector.

    I’d be great to be able to add different fonts to the ones employed by the digital clock. Finally, it’d be useful to be able to turn the program on and off, rather than having to kill it from the task manager, if you need the extra system resources the exe. uses.

    For freeware, it’s very nice: if it had some more functionalities (e.g. user selected fonts, a simple weather indicator, or simple drive space-usage indicator etc. ) and if it was a little more user-friendly I’d consider paying $20 for this

  • Dave

    I really liked this, but as someone else (commenter 6) mentioned, it has a weird “blinking” problem. Every few minutes, while I was surfing the net, Firefox would just “blink” and I’d see the desktop for a split second. Not such a big deal, I guess, but it got annoying pretty quickly. I uninstalled it and the “blinking” stopped. After some experimentation, I found that a combination of Rainlendar and GIMP created the same effect as this program–with a much lighter footprint.

  • stanmarsh

    hi samer,

    check out toolbox launcher at cylog.org, i think its a great alternative.

  • http://www.theandroidscoop.com The Android Scoop

    Looks like an impressive program. Still amazes me the free applications that are always getting rolled out.

  • eltranced

    30mb of ram……..