How to make a Mac screen saver that shows your uptime in Leopard

About nine months ago, I wrote about how to make a Mac screen saver to show your uptime, using Quartz Composer, a package from Fink, and Quartz Composer patch called Shell Command Patch. Not long after, Apple released Leopard, which seems to have changed Quartz Composer enough to break Shell Command.

I was getting all geared up on writing a post about doing this using another method (completely redoing it and everything), but looking in to this further just showed me I’m an idiot. It turns out the difficulty I was having is that Quartz Composer patches are saved in different locations. To be clearer:

  • In Tiger (10.4), patches are kept in /Library/Graphics/Patches/.
  • In Leopard (10.5), patches are kept in /Library/Graphics/Quartz Composer Patches/ or ~/Library/Graphics/Quartz Composer Patches/.

That’s it. Seriously. Incidentally, I found this information at’s page on the topic.

The new version of the Developer Tools does in fact come with an example patch that can run a command line tool (in “/Developer/Examples/Quartz Composer/Plugins/CommandLineTool”), but why mess with something that works?

Incidentally, I did have to mess with some of the parameters, also, but I don’t know if it’s because I’m using a different display (with different dimensions), or what. The following changes worked for me:

  • In the Image with String patch, I changed:
    • The font size to 14
    • The image width and height to 800 each

  • For the billboard patch, I changed the width to 0.25.

Otherwise, everything is the same.

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