British developer Zonic on Friday released SwapTop 2.0, a revival of the product that the company introduced in 2001 to fill the gap left by the demise of Webshots, which provided desktop images and screensavers from its servers on a rotating basis. Webshots was a casualty of the problems at Excite@Home, which laid off many employees in mid-2001 and simply killed the service. Zonic introduced the first version of SwapTop at that time, but at the end of 2002, Webshots returned as a CNET Networks product, which prompted Zonic to convert its software into a free download and cease development.
Zonic CTO Dair Grant told MacCentral: “Although we received numerous requests to continue with SwapTop, we felt this was the best solution given Webshots’ intent to re-enter the Mac market. Since that time, we’ve noticed that the Webshots Mac client has not really managed to grow into the space left by SwapTop. For example, it is currently described by Webshots as ‘not compatible with Mac OS 10.3.4 or higher.’
“Since we are, and always have been, completely Mac-based developers, we decided to investigate how feasible it would be to restart SwapTop as a complete service — client and server. We believe that we now have the resources to offer this service to Mac users on an ongoing basis, and as such decided to relaunch SwapTop — but this time provide images from our own servers, as a completely independent service from Webshots.”
Grant noted that SwapTop 2.0 was rewritten from the ground up to take advantage of such Mac OS X technologies as Quartz rendering. It can change your Mac’s desktop picture on a schedule you set, automatically downloading new images from the SwapTop server or pulling them from a personal collection when the time comes. It can also use those images as a screensaver. Grant told MacCentral that Zonic has “some new features planned that will take advantage of new technology in Mac OS X v10.4.”
Pricing is US$24.95, which provides one year of access to the SwapTop service. All registered SwapTop 1.x users receive an extra three months of access when they buy SwapTop 2.0. They will automatically receive the information by e-mail, but anyone who has changed their e-mail address since buying SwapTop 1.x should contact Zonic with their registration details. Mac OS X v10.2 or higher is required.