This is What My Computer Dreams About

Let’s hear it for the internet. Through constant innovation, the web seems to be buidling a better everything.
Or in this case, a screensaver.
I was just sitting here, in rapt awe of my screensaver, and I thought I’d take a few minutes to tell you why my screensaver is more bad-ass than yours (unless you have the same one, of course). Anyhow, I really want all of my readers to listen to the Derrick Jensen speech I posted in my last blog so I didn’t want to have any heavy reading in this one.

The screensaver I use is called “Electric Sheep”, so named for the Philip K. Dick novel, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep.
It starts with a fractal. Now, I’m used to the electric art of Winamp visualization plug-ins. This makes those look like a fourth graders computer class project (or a Windows Media Player visualization, same thing, really). Each of these fractals is a “sheep”.

But people who have the screensaver can vote, yay or nay, on whether or not they like the sheep, as the screensaver is going. The bad ones drop and — here’s the beauty part — the winners breed.

The original sheep is soon lost, as all over the world thousands of people vote for their favorites and these beget newer, more beautiful sheep, for sheep-generations. This adds to the beauty because the sheep are always delicate and extreemely complex, with the whisps and shadows of their electric ancestors still vaguely visible. It also makes them less predictable than your average pixelated visualization, because patterns are not based on a program but on previous sheep. It does all this while your computer is sleeping. Because people are always voting, the sheep are always changing, so no matter how long you run it, it never gets old.
There’s no Paula Abdul overseer, the screensaver blends them automatically. However, if you go the website, you can look up a sheeps “lineage”
and “genomes.” It’s a great concept with a stunning execution. If you’re still using that bouncing Windows logo, you might want to give this a try. It’s freeware. It works for Linux too, but obviously wouldn’t be recommended for folks with dial-up connections.