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Desktop Earth 3.2.42

Generate gorgeous desktop wallpaper showing the earth from space

by Mike Williams

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License: Freeware
Operating Systems: Windows 7 (32 bit), Windows 7 (64 bit), Windows 8, Windows Vista (32 bit), Windows Vista (64 bit), Windows XP
Requirements:
Languages: English
Software Cost: Free
Date Updated: 09 August 2015
Watchlist: Add download to my watchlist
Downloads To Date: 4726
Developer: CodeFromThe70s
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Desktop Earth
Generate gorgeous desktop wallpaper showing the earth from space

Desktop Earth automatically generates a gorgeous desktop image of the Earth as it would be seen from space, at that moment in time, and then updates it every few minutes.

This starts with a high definition base image of the planet, updated monthly to give a more accurate view of snow coverage, the seasons and so on.

The picture then gets overlaid with cloud images, which can be updated regularly. These look gorgeous and give a realistic effect, but aren't actual snapshots, so don't rely on them for weather forecasting.

To finish, you can actually see the passage of daylight across the globe, so your desktop will very graphically show you where it's daytime right now, and where it's the middle of the night (it can even add city lights for a little extra realism).

And Desktop Earth will by default update the image every five minutes, to keep it reasonably accurate. (Although you can change the update interval and many other program settings from its system tray icon.)

If your desktop is covered in shortcuts, of course, the program may not be for you. They'll be more difficult to see, with the changing wallpaper (plus they'll obscure so much of the amazing visuals that you may wonder why you bothered).

If your desktop is normally clear, though, Desktop Earth is a great way to give it some life. The program is entirely free, no adware issues to worry about. And while it runs in the background, RAM use is minimal, at only around 5MB on our test system.

Verdict:

Desktop Earth creates some gorgeous hi-res images, but it may not be too practical if you regularly launch apps or files from your desktop

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Spotlight: Free Full Software

Spektrel Art 1.0.0

Free Full Commercial Software

Spektrel Art is a stand-alone program and Photoshop plugin which transforms digital photos into "magical art that glimmers and gleams with intersecting lines of tapered light".

What does that mean? Essentially it applies a configurable mix of effects, enhancing edges, smoothing backgrounds and emphasizing colours. Take a look at the thumbnail for one example, and the official product page has more.

Spektral Art works much like any similar tool. Open an image, click one of the thumbnails to apply a particular preset, or click a few buttons and drag some sliders to fine-tune the results.

There's surprising scope for variation, too. For example, just switching from the "Light" to "Dark" theme can transform a bright and friendly image into something dark and sinister, at least in some cases (results vary depending on the source image).

Please note, the demo version doesn't allow images to be saved.

SPECIAL OFFER: as we write, the developer is offering Spektral Art for free. The offer expires August 29th. Please note that you must provide your name, address and phone number to receive your free license.

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