I started using widgets back when it was known as Konfabulator and Yahoo hadn’t meddled with it yet. I was still on my Windows XP laptop then and I tell you, it sure did give my RAM a hard time. When I switched to Mac, Dashboard came pre-installed and I took it for granted. Only when I remember the times I had back on my Windows laptop, I’m grateful that I’m using a Mac now.
For this is a tribute to Dashboard – Mac’s solution to Konfabulator.
I’m going to list most of the widgets I use often and some which I think may come in handy for you. Not every widget may hit the right spot for everyone, but the thing about widgets is that there are just so many of them! So if I missed your favorite one, do tell me about them in the comments.
Here we go.
I feel that this is the most essential widget and definitely a must-have on your Dashboard. WeatherBug is more informative than the regular Weather widget in the sense that it provides details about wind velocity and direction; forecasts with Highs and Lows; and links to satellite images of your country of residence. I’m sure you would like to know that it’s probably going to rain before heading out for a picnic, wouldn’t you?
Do you have a blog with Google Analytics installed? Then you must know what I’m talking about when you have to constantly log into your Analytics account just to check how many hits you’ve had today? Dashalytics does all this for you. It will show you the total number of visits, pageviews, percentage of new visits and other general visitor overview information. It will also show you the graph you have on your Analytics Dashboard.
Especially for those of you who travel a lot or often have to deal with foreign currencies, this is an absolute must-have! It will convert between multiple currencies at the same time and you can keep adding as many currencies as you want on the table. Also, typing * performs an inverse conversion against all other currencies. I found this widget super handy while I was travelling around Europe.
On the lighter side of things, I use this widget to do a little research before I go off to the movies. Type in the name of the film, it connects to IMDB‘s database and then returns with the rating of the movie. Quick and easy. I wonder how highly rated ‘Pirates of Silicon Valley‘ is. Hmm.
A simple countdown widget to help you count the days, hours, minutes and seconds until the next special event in your calendar. It allows you to set alarms and every event can recur daily, weekly, monthly or yearly. Never again forget your anniversary, your partner’s birthday or your project deadline!
Is Twitter your life? Are you an online-social-networking freak? There are a lot of alternatives for a Twitter desktop application, but there’s nothing that pleases me more than simplicity. Turn this widget on, sign in, and start twittering.
Got files or folders to hide from others? I sometimes keep some folders away from prying eyes with this widget. It’s much easier than setting up a password-protected DMG. Just drag-and-drop the files and folders you want to hide into this widget, set a password and lock it. The file you dropped in the widget will now have disappeared from the original location! To restore the file, unlock the widget and choose what you want to release from the magic hat.
Learn how to do this manually on Windows here.
I love to listen to music just before I go to bed. But its a chore for me to get up to turn off my Mac in the middle of the night. After I found this widget, my nights were undisturbed and it’s so easy to use. Enter the amount of time you would like your Mac to countdown before sleeping itself and it does the rest. Of course, you could use it for other reasons, for example, setting the sleep timer to correspond to the estimated time remaining of your downloads.
There are lots more useful and cool widgets out there. Although I would love to cover all of them, it’s close to impossible, unfortunately. Tell us your favorite widgets and how/why you use them.