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Stub Watkins

Do We Have Fun?

Stub Watkins, CUGG

August 2000

Most of us have great computers to help us with our daily living and to keep our sanity. We keep track of our money, our home inventory, and surf the net looking for anything that strikes our fancy. We even track our investments and send e-mail to family and friends.

BUT - DO WE HAVE FUN??????????

Is our desktop a dull blue or some pattern dreamed up by an out-of-work artist? Do we get bored watching that simple hourglass blink when our system is busy doing our important work?

How about adding Animation—Music, Sound and Pictures???

Are you using Wallpaper? With not much effort, you could be looking at great pictures of anything from your grandchildren or pet dogs or cats, to scenes from outer space or our beautiful Rocky Mountains. The Internet is full of sites that provide free wallpaper to be downloaded and added to your wallpaper collection. My favorite is It provided me with the software to manage my wallpaper, daily downloads of new pictures from a zillion collections and even let me add some of my own pictures to their collection. As an added bonus, I can also use these pictures as a screensaver.

Does your computer merely beep and burp when you perform various events? Build yourself a library of WAV Files and have fun sound effects. For example, when I shut down, a pleasant voice tells me “it has been fun working with you.” When I get an announcement of new e-mail, I hear a recording of the whistle of the engine of the   Durango-Silverton Narrow Gauge train. If you Click Start/Settings/Control Panel then double-click Sounds, you will find the procedure to add sound effects to Windows events.

Are you old enough to have a desire to listen to the music of the Big Band Era back in the 40's? With software like Winamp, you can create a list of MIDI files and play them in the background like a jukebox. Searching the net, I have a collection of Glenn Miller, Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington, Al Hirt and many other bands from those great years of music. You younger people can also find countless files of music of your own choice.

Earlier I mentioned a blinking hourglass while the system was busy. On my screen I can watch an old biplane trying to catch up with a passing bird, a sternwheeler riverboat puffing smoke across the screen, or an old Southern Pacific steam engine adding its smoke to my screen. I also have the choice of a butterfly, a kitten, a four-masted sailboat and a golfer scene that I created with a cursor editor that I downloaded from the net. My golf scene is a putting green with a flag fluttering in the wind and the golf ball rolling and dropping in the cup. If you are not familiar with animated cursors, they are cursors that are small pictures that move. See the FAQ at

These are a few things you might do to add some simple fun to those countless hours you sit before your machine waiting for things to finish.


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