August 9, 2005

Dashboard… no longer exciting

Dashboard Widgets was one of the most prominent features of the new OS X operating system. Saw it all over the place in magazines, posters, websites… everyone was talking about all the cool stuff that’s possible with this new tool (yes, I know the whole Konfabulator thing, story goes for them too). Being a web developer, I thought I’d make some useful widgets to at least make my day-to-day work life a bit easier. I did make a couple that worked great. First one I made was to track my project time and post my hours to a database. I’ve ended up reverting back to using the same tool/s in a web browser rather than in Dashboard. It’s comes down to this: I already do this some other way, and how I’m doing it takes just as much time as doing it through Dashboard.

Looking at sites like or it’s obvious that, as a community, people we’re anxious to find and/or make some usefull widgets. It’s disappointing to see how many completely useless widgets people are spending their time making. Like search bars, for instance. What’s the point of having search bars on your Dashboard that do nothing but open your browser to the search engine? This functionality is already built into the modern Mac browsers, why duplicate this functionality elsewhere? Same goes with RSS feeds… use Safari already! It’s already there, how many RSS readers do we need?

There are a few Widgets that were unique and actually usefull. WikityWidget, Keychain Helper, and iClip Lite all gave me functionality that I didn’t already have in some other program already installed on my Mac. I do have to say, however, that I find sidenote a more efficient tool for doing the things WikityWidget and some of what iClip does. This, of course, isn’t saying anything negative about the widgets themselves, just my personal preference.

My dashboard is empty now, except for Apple’s weather widget. I no longer have dozens of useless programs running in the background slowing down my internet connection and hogging system resources (which quite a few of them do). Sad to have no use for them, but I’m hoping it’s not good-bye forever.


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