Why does Apple still include the “Computer Name” screen saver in OS X? - Macenstein

Why does Apple still include the “Computer Name” screen saver in OS X?

Faithful Macenstein reader Brian brings up an excellent question for which I could think of no answer: “Why does Apple still include the “Computer Name” screen saver in OS X?”

Surely, there is no lamer screen saver in creation, on any platform. For a company that hangs its hat on beautiful design, this screen saver feels more like someone at Apple wanted an even number of screen savers than that anyone spent any real time on it.

Functionally, my best guess would be perhaps in a huge computer lab full of Macs, something like this (but not this) might help an administrator identify computers not currently in use, but even in that aspect it appears to fail, as the name is written in medium/dark gray on black, and not overly large. Besides, what computer lab admin worth his $6 an hour doesn’t know the machine layout like the back of his hand?

I can only think that perhaps the seemingly thoughtless, designless graphics used in the Computer Name screen saver are actually Apple’s high-concept attempt to remind us of the year 1984, a banner year for the Mac to be sure, and a time when one might actually have been excited to see this screen saver on their machine.

18 Responses to “Why does Apple still include the “Computer Name” screen saver in OS X?”
  1. Bizlaw says:

    Because it’s already done, finished, and needs no attention. It can be counted as a “feature” to have another screen saver, and it still looks better than Windows’ name screen saver.

  2. Habu says:

    I use it on every server I have. Reason, I can quickly see what server I am on on the KVM or using ARD incase I pushed the wrong button or clicked on the wrong computer in ARD. It takes no CPU/GPU power really. Now could the design be a bit better sure… but it is functional and that is what matters for this use.

  3. Christoph says:

    Because it’s there…..

  4. zmttoxics says:

    I use it on all of my macs at home and at work. I like it. 😀

  5. Jeffsters says:

    It’s a great screen saver for those of us in IT. There are tons of things in the OS that need attention and this isn’t one of them. Let’s not major in minor things here.

  6. Jesse says:

    What are you talking about!??! I use this saver all the time and love it! Servers are perfect for this saver.

  7. Wow! Look at all the IT guys reading Macenstein! and here we thought it was all 15-year old dorks.
    -The Doc

  8. Edward Chew says:

    There are two reasons I prefer simple screen savers with slow updates.

    1) When I’m on the road and using the tenuous hotel WI-FI to ARD/VNC back to a Mac at the office, the last thing I need is to wait for several screens of complex graphics to trickle in before I can dismiss a rapidly animating screen saver.

    2) Sometimes I put my computer through a serious workout. Being in a scientific field, maybe this happens to me more often than average, but I don’t like my screen saver competing for CPU/GPU resources with the applications I use.

    Granted, as we move away from CRTs, screen savers are becoming less important. Most LCD panels seem to wake up instantly after you let Energy Saver shut them off, so who needs screen savers anymore?

  9. Adrian says:

    Because there has to be a screensaver that does as little as possible for those of us who run serious models on our macs – we don’t want to slow them down running junk!


    (Yes, it’s one of the first things I switch when we get a new workstation, as well as making sure the screen goes to sleep very soon after.)

  10. Mark says:

    On the rare occasions I use my screensaver rather than closing the lid on my MBP, I prefer something dark and unobtrusive. I actually don’t really like any of the options that come bundled with OS X.

    Why would I want to read RSS feeds, or have random photos or colours splayed across my screen when I’m not using it?

  11. newbill123 says:

    If you have multiple macs hooked up to one display (e.g. a KVM switch) or you have multiple accounts logged in on one computer (e.g. ARA) you can become confused about just which machine is in control of the display at the moment. “Gee, why won’t my mac let me log in? Oh, I was trying to log into ‘Hansel’ instead of ‘Gretel'”

    Just because Dr. Macentsein can’t think of a good use for something doesn’t mean that it’s a good use doesn’t exist.

  12. @newbill123,
    That’s not true, and you know it!
    -The Doc

  13. Sam says:

    [fanboy]Yes, it may be the lamest of the Apple screensavers, but it still is an Apple screensaver; therefore, it is one of the best screensavers ever!!!!![/fanboy]

  14. OS11 says:

    The reason is simple. It takes very little processing power, thus uses less energy & keeps your machine running cooler.

    The thousands barrels of oil spent running the other Apple screen savers is wasteful. Think about it…

  15. parr says:

    Best reasons for the “Computer Name” Screen saver
    1) Identifies the current Mac
    2) Very low CPU/GPU usage of OSX supplied screen savers.
    3) Simple design.
    4) It just works… reliably.
    5) Plain enough that maybe someone will steal the other machine.

  16. Bruce Hoult says:

    That’s the screen saver I use on my Mac. It’s not perfect but it’s the closest to a zero-CPU use password-locked blank screen that there is on a standard OSX install.

  17. Dave-O says:

    Why include any other screen saver? This is the only useful one. Screen savers waste power. Let the display sleep.

  18. Lance says:

    Why complain? Just trash it — if you can find it. Heehee!

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