I live a bittersweet life. I’m a Mac user with a loving husband and three beautiful pre-school toddlers. And I work at home. When the kids are down or otherwise occupied, I can get some work done.
Lately I’ve been thinking that I need a diversion, a hobby, something to focus on besides work and kids. I tried plants. They died. I tried fish. They ended up in the same bucket as the plants. I couldn’t find any digital flowers, but I found digital fish.
No Funerals In A Digital Fish Tank
The problem with real fish is the same as with real plants. They both require timely effort, lots of patience, and they’re messy. There must be a better way to enjoy a few moments of solitude without dirty fingernails or methane soaked hands.
It’s the 21st century. Think digital, Alex.
I went shopping and came up with four digital ways to make your Mac life more interesting.
My solution is purely digital and involves no children, no fuss, no mess, no clean up, provides a touch of humor, and becomes an instant conversation starter with friends and family.
No longer do I have to answer questions such as, “Mommy, why is that fish floating upside down?” How? Think digital.
First Fish Photos, Then Fish Fakes
I started with a simple screensaver for my Mac. I downloaded Aquatic Saver which features over 140 photos of aquatic life. And it’s free.
What you get is almost perfect. Almost. It’s a colorful screensaver of fish in their natural habitat without you having to give them anything. No flakes. No pellets. No messy water changes. It’s just a Mac screen full of photos of pretty fish.
After a few days my four-year-old cut to the chase with an insightful analysis of my digital water life. “Mommy, those fish are just like the fish in your tank. They don’t move, either.”
She’s just like her father. And right, of course. It’s a screensaver. The fish photos move ala the traditional Ken Burns effect, but the fish sure don’t move. More Googling got me to Marine Aquarium.
This gorgeous Mac app is a digital version of a high quality fish tank. It’s 3D. The fish swim around. The aquarium can be up to three screens (and the fish move between them). Add up to 30 beautiful, exotic fish. It’s what every digitized family needs in the 21st century. Fake fish.
The only problem is that Maquarium is an app, not a screen saver. More Googling got me to Something Fishy, a 3D Desktop Aquarium Screen Saver.
A little more searching brought me to Dashboard de Aquarium, which is, as you might suspect, an aquarium that runs as a Widget in your Mac’s Dashboard.
Click the tank and the fish swim around. It’s not the beauty and splendor of the real thing, but it’s much easier to clean (as in never) and they never need to be fed. What is not to like about that?
I was proud of my accomplishments. We haven’t had a fish or plant funeral in a week.
After I showed my husband what I’d found to replace the costly plant and fish efforts to satisfy my need for a diversion, he came up with one of his own.
Cubicle Flood—the flood visualization app for your Mac. This Mac or Windows apps is a motion photo of an office full of cubicles—and full of water. Imagine the office you work in is full of water, up to the top of the desk or cubicle walls. That’s Cubicle Flood.
The water rises continuously, there’s floating debris in the office (cans, bottles, paper), and bubbles everywhere. But no survivors. Maybe that’s as it should be. After all, I replace my dying plants and fish with digital plants and fish that look like the real thing, only easier to manage.
My husband comes up with a flooded cubicle. Truly, it’s a guy thing. Thankfully, we have his and hers Macs.