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Vista Sidebar Ready For PrimeTime

December 30, 2007

Sidebar  VistaSideBar

As a long time lover of Desktopsidebar in WindowsXP, I never thought the day would come when the Vista offering would hold a candle to one of my oldest and truest loves. 

To start off, it really is more fetching in Vista but on the whole, everything is.

The Clock, on it’s own warrants, a post on it’s usefulness.  It allows you to set multiple alarms (start dinner, return a call, wake up), a countdown (call me back in 10 min) and a stopwatch (timing program execution time).

There are more elaborate weather gagets out there though I’ll be damned if I can get the accuweather one configured.  For now the default Gadget tells me what I need to know.  Do I need a jacket or an umbrella if I run out for Starbucks?

Some people like a slideshow of their My Pictures folder.  I think thats stupid.  I know what the pictures in My Pictures look like, they’re my pictures after all and I’m not one of those awful people who have to have family pictures running all the damn time.  Don’t you see your kids enough?  No, I like getting my photos from RSS feeds.  Luckily, I found a gadget called Feedr that will read my IE7 feeds and show the pix.  So I get new and interesting photos from Flickr’s Daily Most Interesting, DeviantArt, Yahoo’s Top News Photos and more every day.  It’s a snap to open and save the ones you like.

Skipping the self explainatory but useful Notepad, a very clever fellow named Law James slapped together an awesome gadget that hooks your music player and shows you the album art and song information that is playing.  The gadget is called Now Playing, it works with nearly every player (Including the very awesome MediaMonkey 3+) and you can get it for free here. (Please donate if you enjoy it as much as I do)

The best reason for having a sidebar is to have an unobtrusive RSS reader.  The best thing about desktopsidebar was it’s RSS reader.  It was perfect in every way and to this day I’ve never encountered a reader that comes even remotely close to it’s awesomness. (it’s a word now jerk)  The best I could find for the Vista Sidebar (before I find time to write my own) is called Hermes.  Initially, it’s too small and scrolls a bit too quickly but it’s the work of 10 minutes to up the size by a third and slow it down a bit.  Get it here.

Finally, I hate leaving my Gmail tab open in IE and the little system tray checker thing Google produced is, to be generous, a steaming pile of crap.  The gadget for sidebar is just about right.  It opens your new messages in a new tab and lets you reply.  It would be nice if you could delete/archive them from there but there you go.

I didn’t put links up for all my gadgets, if you can’t find one let me know.  Otherwise, you can get most of them here and find others that suit your needs.

For developers, it looks like these are all written entirely in HTML, CSS and Javascript so they are insanely easy to write/hack.

If you happen to find an RSS gadget that works like the desktopsidebar one, please point it out to me, I’ll be your best friend.  

2 Comments leave one →
  1. February 19, 2008 6:24 pm


    Thanks a lot for the kind comments about my Now Playing gadget 🙂

  2. Rob permalink
    June 29, 2008 12:42 pm

    Me, too, about the Desktopsidebar RSS panel… it’s unbelievable to see absolutely no possibility to filter out old messages and to hide read ones in any of the several RSS gadgets, they just keep on reloading old messages and cluttering the display with those you’ve already read.

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