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Save My Screen, Please!

Okay, screensavers don't really do much screen saving these days. The idea, once upon a time, was to protect screens from phosphor burn-in. Old-style monochrome screens were particularly bad for this. In time, the letters from your menus (we were using text in those days) would burn in to the phosphor screen. Even when you turned off the monitor, you could still see the ghostly outline of your most popular application burned into the screen itself. As we moved to color screens and graphics, that changed somewhat but the problem continued to exist for some time, partly due to the static nature of the applications we were using.

Time passes, and some bright light somewhere got the idea that if you constantly changed the image on the screen, that type of burn-in would not be as likely. What better way to achieve this than to have some kind of clever animation kick in when the user walked away from the screen for a few minutes (or hours). Heck, it might even be fun to watch. The screensaver was born. Modern screens use scanning techniques that all but banished burn-in, but screensavers did not go away. Those addictive fish, toasters, penguins, snow, spaceships, etc., etc. have managed to keep us entertained, despite the march of technology. Let's face it, we are all hooked.


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