bookmark_borderCan you remove the default screen savers in Mac OS?

Spoiler: Don’t.

This applies to Mac OS 10.15.3

By default, Mac OS comes with the execrable “Album Artwork” screen saver. When activated, this thing tiles any album artwork that it finds in your Apple Music (formerly iTunes) folder across your screen. That’s fine, but if you happen to click on your mouse while it is running, it starts Apple Music and tries to play something from whatever album you clicked on.

I usually click the mouse to deactivate my screen saver, and I don’t want to open Music all the time, so this behavior completely sucks. You can not disable this behavior in the screen saver settings, which also completely sucks.

Because I’m an exciting devil-may-care kinda fellow who lives on the edge, I like to set my Mac to use a random screen saver. But I don’t want the Album Artwork screen saver to run, and Apple doesn’t let you choose which of the default screen savers are randomly used. You either use one screen saver, or all of them. This also completely sucks.

All that suckage lead me to the question “Can you remove a default screen saver from your Mac?”

The shortest absolute answer is “Yeah, but it’s not simple.”

The shortest workable answer for most people is “Nah.”

The best answer is “If you want to use a screen saver, use Xscreensaver.”

The actual answer is “You can, but I decided not to, and you probably will too.”

Everything from here on pertains to bad decisions. Your life will be better and simpler if you just leave this page now and go learn how to make cheese.

But if you are determined, here is what you need to know in order to make a bad decision about the default screen savers on your Mac.

I warn you now that I am not going to explain how to do each step. Knowing what you are doing is the cost of entry here.

If you don’t understand what you are reading, I STRONGLY suggest you stop doing it and either go learn more or give up entirely.*:

The default screen savers are located in /System/Library/Screen Savers.

Doing things in Terminal

  • CD /System/Library/Screen Savers
    You will need to tab-complete or escape the space in “Screen Savers.”
  • ls or ls -la to see all the screen savers. Yep, they are directories.
  • You can then nuke the directory of the screen saver you hate.

I recommend you copy it somewhere else first, in case your plan to delete a system file doesn’t work out as smoothly as you’d planned. Because you planned this, right?

Doing things in Finder

  • Open Finder, hit CMD+shift+g and type in the location of the screen saver folders.

The directory will show up as empty. That’s because it contains system files, which are hidden by default.

  • Hit CMD+shift+. and you can see the hidden files.
  • You can then nuke the directory of the screen saver you hate.

I recommend you copy it somewhere else first, in case your plan to delete a system file doesn’t work out as smoothly as you’d planned. Because you planned this, right?

If you are now asking yourself “Why can’t I just right click and move the directory to the trash?” then you have more research to do. I do hope that dissuades you from continuing.

*This is some pretty solid general life advice

bookmark_borderThe Upside

UniversumUNAM27
Does this mirror make my butt look big?
Yeah yeah, “search is awful.”  I say it every day, so often that I bore myself–and I think every word I say is FASCINATING, so I can imagine how it must be for people who aren’t, you know, on my level..

This park has both swings and roundabouts though. First of all, most people never really bothered to learn how to search for stuff anyway, so now there’s more even money to be made finding basic information for them now.

Plus, now that so many people have decided to let ad-placement agencies like teh Joogles and FB determine what information they can find on the 12netherets, it’s just a lot easier to put up stuff that smart people can find easily, and not-smart people won’t even know exists.

…and to be able to determine who is which.

bookmark_border“Generously proportioned” at best

We got a promotional flyer in the mail from yet another car dealership, which looked kind of like a free raffle for cool prizes. And right at the top it said that it was “Cars for the Cure to support the American Cancer Society.”

It’s a nice looking piece, tri-fold, card stock, four color printing.  On the back is a plastic “combination box” and a peel-away sticker. The combination box looks like it has an LED readout, and a little tab you can pull to turn it on.

The idea here is that you turn on the combination box, then peel the sticker off of the flyer.  There’s a number printed under the sticker, and if the combination box lights up with that same number, you have won one of the seven awesome prizes.

The first prize is his-and-hers 2014 Mustangs or $100, 000.  The prizes go from there through a whack of cash, TVs, iPods and things like that.  What’s important is third prize.  Third prize is an Amazon coupon worth $2-5000. To be clear, third prize is a coupon, and that coupon can worth some amount between two dollars and five thousand dollars.

Here’s where the nerd kicks in.  Do a bit of reading of the finer printing, and spend 30 seconds with a pen knife, and you find the following:

– In the contest rules (which are, refreshingly, quite clearly printed on the flyer), the odds of winning each prize are listed.  It says “Odds of winning a $2 Amazon® Card are 1:1 should no other prize be won.”  This means that ANYONE who gets one of these fliers will at least get a $2 gift card.  It’s like a boxing match, in that everyone can win third prize.

– There are a few things you have to do online, including choose which prize you want to play for, before you win anything.

– Here’s what the combination box looks like if you take it apart.

Book shelves should have books on them
Yeah, I need a pedicure as well.

That thing on my pinky is a sticker.  If you light it from behind, it kind of looks like an LED segment display is making those numbers.  But in reality, the combination box is just a single white LED, a piece of clear plastic to diffuse the light, two button batteries and a sticker.  It’s supposed to LOOK like it’s picking a number that’s exclusive to you, but it’s not.

Guess what?  The number in my combination box is the same as the number in my flyer!  I am teh w1n!  I do have the sneaking suspicion that a lot of people will have the same numbers, but hey–when you get right down to it, we are ALL winners.  Makes you feel good, dunnit?

Does this color make my thumb look fat?
I am teh w1n!

So what is going on here?

Basically, this car dealership is spending somewhere between $3 and $5 per piece to drop these flyers in an attempt to get people to come into their building and claim a prize.  An additional $2 will go to everyone who goes through the hoops to claim their prize, but in order to do so, every winner is going to have to start a conversation with a salesperson.  If this is as smart a campaign as it appears, those salespeople will have a script or some other way of getting the winners to look at cars.

So that’s about $7 (at most) per warm lead who walks in the door.  Not too bad, if it works.  I’d assume that they targeted who was getting these things a bit.  Ours was addressed to the people who used to own our house “or current resident.”

See, you can’t just say to the world “I will give you $7 if you come to my dealership and let me try to sell you a car.” Most of the people who would say “yes” to that deal are NOT THE TARGET MARKET.  If you need $7 that bad, you are not going to buy a car.

So instead, you choose a large group of people who are able to buy cars, and you spend $7 apiece to tell them “You live somewhere that people who can afford cars live, and you’ve won a prize, it might be a pair of awful cars or $100,000.  Come talk to me about it.  Also, it’s a benefit for the American Cancer Society.”

It’s not technically dishonest.  You get as close as you can to saying one thing and meaning another, but mostly, you depend on people not reading to closely, and thinking that you’re giving things away.

This campaign is done through Fatwin, though this kind of thing is hardly unique.  I’ve included their name here simply so that this might show up in search engines in case anyone else is as randomly curious as I was.

On the upside, I got an LED in a diffuser and two little batteries.