Tidbits on software development, technology, and other geeky stuff.

Desktop Wallpaper Slideshow

A coworker @ynab recently posted on Slack about how they loved the National Park New Tab Chrome Extenstion. I gave it a try and yes, I love it too. I also have a Chromecast and am often calling my wife in the room to see the amazing photo that just popped on as the latest Chromecast background. Being a left-brain person, pretty pictures usually don’t get me juiced up but hey, I like what I like.

So, I thought it might be nice to create a script that could automatically change my Desktop Wallpaper on an interval and pull from various sources. You know, a Desktop Wallpaper Slideshow of sorts. I thought it would be fun and might even get my creative juices flowing during the day when I see that amazing photo pop up.

The Script

Here is what I came up with. It’s a node script that uses weighted to randomly pick 1 of 4 photo sources and set my desktop background using the wallpaper module. The 4 sources are:

  1. Bing Photo of The Day (Archive)
  2. Unsplash - Seriously nice, high-res photos. Unsplash requires registration to get an API token but it’s easy to do.
  3. Chromecast Background Archive - Uses a Chromecast background image archive on GitHub thanks to @dconnolly.
  4. Picasa Web Album - Uses Google/Picasa Data API to pull photos from a public album
#!/usr/bin/env node​
"use strict";​
const got = require("got");const tempfile = require("tempfile");const wallpaper = require("wallpaper");const path = require("path");const fs = require("fs");const request = require("request");const weighted = require("weighted");​
function setWallpaper(url) {​
  console.log("Setting wallpaper to: " + url);const file = tempfile(path.extname(url));​
    .stream(url).pipe(fs.createWriteStream(file)).on("finish", () => {​
function setBing() {​
  console.log("Using Source: Bing Photo of the Day");​
  let lastBingPhotoCount = 100;request({​
      url: `http://www.bing.com/HPImageArchive.aspx?format=js&idx=0&n=${lastBingPhotoCount}&mkt=en-US`,​
      json: true},function(error, response, body) {if (!error && response.statusCode === 200) {var randomPhoto =​
          body.images[Math.floor(Math.random() * body.images.length)];setWallpaper("http://www.bing.com" + randomPhoto.url);}});}​
function setUnsplash() {​
  console.log("Using Source: Unsplash");​
  var api_key = process.env.UNSPLASH_API_KEY;request({​
      url: "https://api.unsplash.com/photos/random?client_id=" + api_key,​
      json: true},function(error, response, body) {if (!error && response.statusCode === 200) {setWallpaper(body.urls.full);}});}​
function setChromecast() {​
  console.log("Using Source: Chromecast Backgrounds");​
      json: true},function(error, response, body) {if (!error && response.statusCode === 200) {var randomPhoto = body[Math.floor(Math.random() * body.length)];setWallpaper(randomPhoto.url);}});}​
function setGooglePhoto() {​
  console.log("Using Source: Picasa Web Album");​
  var userId = "115528839112598673902";var albumId = "5710317752556741025";request({​
      url:"https://picasaweb.google.com/data/feed/base/user/" +​
        userId +"/albumid/" +​
        albumId +"?alt=json&kind=photo&max-results=100&hl=en_US&imgmax=1600",​
      json: true},function(error, response, body) {if (!error && response.statusCode === 200) {var randomPhoto =​
          body.feed.entry[Math.floor(Math.random() * body.feed.entry.length)];setWallpaper(randomPhoto.content.src);}});}​
let wallpaperHandlers = [setBing, setUnsplash, setChromecast, setGooglePhoto],​
  weights = [0.25, 0.25, 0.25, 0.25];​
let currentHandler = weighted.select(wallpaperHandlers, weights);currentHandler();


To change the wallpaper every 5 minutes I added the following crontab entry (crontab -e).

*/5 * * * * . ~/.zshrc; /usr/local/bin/node ~/bin/wallpaper-changer.js

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