Enough time has passed that there have been some genuinely useful Mac OS X 10.4 dashboard widgets released. Here’s some of my favorites:
Symphonic. This should have been built into Apple’s iTunes widget, but it’s worth using them both in conjunction. Type a song, hit return, and it plays. Pretty simple, works well.
Radar in Motion. Shows a semi-real-time weather radar map of your area. It’s nice to use when you look at Apple’s Weather widget and know it’s gonna rain, but it would be additionally nice to know if that means it’s gonna rain in three minutes, or three hours.
SingThatiTune. Grabs lyrics for the currently playing song. And does a very nice job of it, too.
Wikipedia. I still like the Wikipedia more in theory than in practice, but this is an exceptionally well designed widget.
Marquee. Gets local movie times. My only problem with this widget is that it is honkingly huge, with no way to keep it active but minimized.
Now Playing. Now this is just *cool*; it shows me what’s been recorded and what’s currently recording on my Tivo. However, it also suffers from the honkingly huge syndrome, but not as badly as this similar but not as pretty widget, which does the same thing but provides full show synopses as well.
Archive Films. This is another one I enjoy more in theory than in practice, but just the fact that you can get easy access to entire streamed movies via dashboard (even if they are all old and way cruddy) is amazing.
Speaking of widgets, here’s a shocker; Yahoo has bought Konfabulator and is giving it away free.
According to this, .Mac is now throttling bandwidth. So shareware/freeware developers, people who share their pictures, movies, etc., via their .Mac accounts for hosting may be SOL. It is just one more move towards .Mac being an overblown price hole. I don’t use iSync, the “free” software has pretty well dried up, there isn’t enough space for a meaningful backup… Unfortunately, I am pretty invested in the email address(es) I have, so I won’t be leaving any time soon.
Screenshots here. Some thoughts:
- Glossy! It reminds me of something else, I can’t… quite… put my finger on it…
- In Longhorn, IE 7 is apparently used mainly to browse the “linux-noob” forums. Odd choice by Microsoft, but good luck for the owners of lunix-noob.com.
- I hate Windows’ new-since-XP tiny system font. It’s just a little too small and weak. Tiny system fonts never got too much better than Geneva 9.
- From a user interface and usability perspective, those transparent window title bars are godawful atrocious; and the white diffused drop shadow under the text only serves to make the readability even worse.
- Nice glass recycle bin. Shiny, shiny.
Otherwise, it’s looking (and presumably working) exactly the same as XP, except with a suspiciously familiar techno theme. But, hey, anything that makes Windows’ UI better, I’m all for; there’s already too much rampant ugliness in the world these days.
If you haven’t checked out the presentation Wil Shipley (the guy who wrote the way cool Mac OS X app “Delicious Library“) gave at WWDC, do so now. It’s pretty great. He also recorded an hour-and-a-half long talk to accompany the slides as well; in the talk, he’s got a lot of very interesting real-world advice about developing a product, starting a business, and becoming “successful” in general. I got more out of the talk than I initially suspected I would get — Wil is a funny and engaging speaker, and his speech is well worth listening to.
Holy crap! Have you played with Google Earth? Incredible. Nice to see
them fully leveraging the technology of that mapping company they
acquired a while back.
Unfortunately, as of now, you need Windows.
[Ninjam?](http://www.ninjam.com/) Worst software title yet, but I still look forward to playing with this.