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Appearance Randomiser is a freeware Applescript Utility that randomly sets a theme, desktop picture (on up to 3 monitors), startup screen and sound set.

Why? With the Allegro Themes Project ( beginning to create themes I wanted an easy way to change to one, the sound sets, desktop pictures and startup screens followed.

Requirements? Power Macintosh running MacOS 8.5 or greater and Applescript installed.

How do I use it? You can now set up Appearance Ransomiser two ways. You can run it without changing any of the settings (as you did in previous versions) then you need to place your favourite desktop pictures in the Desktop Pictures folder (in the Appearance folder which is inside the System Folder) or an alias of your favourite desktop pictures folder, drag the themes or sound sets to the system folder (automagically put into the Theme Files or Sound Sets folders) and drag some startup screens to the Startup Screens folder in the Appearance Randomiser folder.
Or you can run the Modify Settings application (more details below) to change the locations of the Desktop Pictures and Startup Screens folders to anywhere on your hard disk. Then just double click on Appearance Randomiser to randomise!

But you don't just have to double-click on it, you could also schedule it to run once a day (using MacAT or iDo Script Scheduler), or place and alias of it in the startup (or shutdown) items folder to randomise at startup/shutdown or install the OSA Menu 1.22 ( and copy an alias into the universal scripts folder (please note that I did not test this with the Lite version that came on the MacOS 8.5 or 9.0 CDs).

Where do I get themes, desktop pictures or sound sets? I have a series of links on my page, but is a good start to find some themes and desktop pictures, has some good soundsets and for really good desktop pics try

What about Startup Screens? These can be stored in the Startup Screens folder in the Appearance Randomiser folder (unless you change to a new folder using Modify Settings). DO NOT rename or move this folder (or the new one you have selected) or you will lose the random startup screens. Just copy your startup screens (in startup screen format of course!) into the folder and they will be randomly selected.

NOTE!! If you have a corrupt startup screen in your system folder then your Mac will not start up. You need to boot from the MacOS CD that came with your Mac (hold down 'c' as the computer starts up). Then remove the startup screen from your system folder.

What if I don't want a feature randomised? Just remove all the files from the relevant folder, obviously the feature will not be randomised.

What's in the Goodies folder? The Log File contains details of the last set of elements that were randomised. Revert to Apple Platinum changes the theme back to Apple Platinum. Modify Settings lets non-english systems set the locations for these items which have languauge specific locations: Theme Files, Sound Sets (these two must to be in the System Folder), Desktop Pictures and Startup Screens (these can now be wherever you want!). It can also set the name for Startup Screens (language specific) and turn the Log File on or off. You do not have to set all the items in the Modify Settings, clicking on 'cancel' will keep the default setting. The Prefs file is written as a text file in the Goodies folder, when you upgrade Appearance Randomiser you can keep your old settings by moving this file across. Revert Settings will restore the default settings (Original Appearance file locations in the System Folder, startup screen name as StartupScreen and Log File Off). Restore Appearance will set the Theme back to Apple Platinum, turn off the sound sets and the desktop pictures.

Does anything conflict with Appearance Randomiser?
* Random Startup Screen by Daniel Star causes problems with startup screens, either disable it or the remove your startup screens from Appearance Randomisers Startup Screen folder.
* Norton Filesaver running at Shutdown with Appearance Randomiser also running. This causes your Mac to not shutdown. The only current solution is disable one of them.

I found a bug! Send an email to me,, and I will be able to help. Just let me know the details of what happened and some screenshots of anything that comes up.

Many thanks to the following!
Paul Skiba and Phillip Watts - Thanks for helping find the bug in 1.1!
Daniel, André - Couldn't have gotten the international settings going without you and thanks for the beta testing too!
Ty - Beta testing and helping find the bug in 1.1!
Dave Morrison - Beta testing! Thanks!
Kekoa J Sylva - Collaboration and testing

Planned Features? Dunno just yet, I am open to ideas! Since I am not sure that MacOS X will have themes I am going to expand the number of items that are randomised in the next release (like startup screens, startup sound) ...

Version History:
1.2 (9th March 2000) - added random desktop pictures on up to three monitors, added a Modify Settings, Revert Settings and Restore Appearance apps (more info above), added a current settings detector so the current settings are not included in the random features, fixed a few bugs.
1.1.1 (17th December 1999) - fixed the logging file 'file_id not found' bug.
1.1 (12th December 1999) - added random startup screens, rewrote code for better documentation, fixed bug in random selection routine, added a logging feature (logs what appearance items were changed), fixed bug where if there was not any files in the folder (e.g Desktop Pictures) then Appearance Randomiser would crash.
1.0.1 (August 1999) - added a new custom icon.
1.0 (July 1999) - first release.

Legal Stuff:
I am not responsible for anything that could happen to your computer or files or your business from the use of this program. You use this at your own risk. If it causes problems, stop using it!

If you wish to upload the Appearance Randomiser (or any of my other pieces of software) archive, mirror it or give this to friends you must distribute the entire archive that appears on my website. If you mirror or link the Appearance Randomiser archive then please let me know so I can put a link to your site. If you want to distribute this on a CD I only ask that you email me and tell me you are doing this (I like to know where my programs get to!)

This software is copyright, Ben Blake, 1999-2000.
Applescript, MacOS and Power Macintosh are trademarks of Apple Computer Inc.

Original file name: Read Me - converted on Monday, 13 March 2000, 16:43

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