A silly little blog for me to drop the excrement of my mind.
Published on June 4, 2006 By BlueDev In OS Customization

I have tried and tried to get into the widget craze.  I really have.  I try just about every widget that gets released (with the exception of all the weather ones that are made to match a certain skin).  In addition to all the DesktopX widgets I have tried, I have given just about every other widget program out there a fair test drive.

I have used Konfabulator (now Yahoo! Widgets), Kapsules, dot Widget, EZPod, AveDesk, Samurize, and maybe even a couple others I can't recall. 

I want to like widgets.  I really do.  I want to use them regularly.  One of the reasons I bought an Object Desktop subscription a couple of years ago (and have renewed it since that time) was because I wanted to "get" DesktopX.  And even though I now "get" it, for the most part, I still don't get widgets.

Perhaps it is because I am more on the minimalistic side when it comes to my desktop.  Perhaps I am just not using the right widgets.  Honestly, the only ones I use regularly are Tiggz masterful OMNI slideshow and occasionally his Orbital weather

The biggest problem is other widgets that I might use just aren't as functional as their counterparts that I already have running.  Battery monitor?  Great.  But there is one on my taskbar that also tells me about how much time is left, in addition to the percent.  Calendar?  Cool, but Rainlender integrates with Outlook (which syncs with my PocketPC), and there are only a couple of DesktopX widgets that do, and they don't do so nearly as fast are smoothly as Rainlender.  Task list?  Same as above. Clock?  There is one in the corner of the taskbar (I know I could turn that off).  News reader?  Okay, you got me.  There is one I could use, though Blog Navigator works better for that because it aggregates so much more than any widget ever could.  Media players?  Well, they all work pretty well with foobar, but alone they don't offer nearly the functionality that a full fledged media player does, so why run two programs when one does the job?  OMNI Mail 2 held a near and dear place in my heart until I found a Firefox extension that will check my multiple Gmail accounts and integrates nicely into the browser.

So, what widgets do you find useful?  What are your favorites?  And what about them makes them something you couldn't live without?  I really would love to find some more to use regularly.  And I will say, if someone ported Widescape Weather from Konfabulator to DesktopX I would be in heaven.

Comments (Page 1)
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on Jun 04, 2006
I agree heartily, I purchased Object Desktop back in 99 to get DesktopX and did mess with it for a year or so. Since them I have tried all the widget programs and cant find one that I really like. Like you I don't think it's the programs though. I get my weather in firefox's statusbar with an extension, battery meter is in the taskbar, gmail notification in firefox with an extension, I just don't need the stuff on my desktop.

I keep My Object desktop subscription becuause I am hooked on IconX, WindowBlinds and IconPackager, they are essential for me, DesktopX isn't.....
on Jun 05, 2006

I keep My Object desktop subscription becuause I am hooked on IconX, WindowBlinds and IconPackager, they are essential for me, DesktopX isn't.....

I hear you.  I love IconPackager, WindowBlinds, WindowFX (mostly for shadows) and KeyBoard Launchpad.  I want to love IconX, but it doesn't play nice with some aspects of WindowFX shadows.  I also really, really want to love DesktopX.  I want to find some great widgets that I just have to use every day.  But I just haven't.

on Jun 06, 2006
Hmmm. I can't help but think that the silence is deafening. Anyone out there want to chirp in on which widgets they find the most useful? I would really love to know.
on Jun 06, 2006
I missed the OP.

I agree that most of the widgets I have could be done with other apps. But I like tweaking and DX scratches that itch.

DX objects can be skinned. It can look as minmal or as fancy as I want. An animated battery meter looks better than the one in the systray. The WiFi meter and the clocks I use fit me better (opposed to fitting in the OS designers view of what should fit me.

I like my weather satalit widget and the gas price widget. The do what I need with little effort.
I like the desktop that I built for my little girl, her desktop fits HER. {Insert Zubaz standard "I wish the security options were still available" comment}

DX can be as lightweight or heavy as you miight want. I dig that.

My disclaimer: I haven't used other wighet apps. Never had to. DX fits.

on Jun 06, 2006
I think the majority of people here use them for the look more than the usability. People just like to have a "cool" looking desktop, something unique that they like and is not boring basic XP. Pretty much for the same reason they use Windowblinds and Icon Packager. I used to have all the meters and calendars and clocks on my desk, it was fun to make it just look like you want it, but after a while I reverted back and now use RightClick for most everything and 1 dock at the top with a weather docklet and a few program icons...but even then, it's mainly because I like the look, not that I use it that much.
on Jun 06, 2006
I actually agree with you, even though I have made a few widgets/gadgets myself. The only one that I really use is the Google browser that I made for myself and shared on this site. I like it because I don't like having more than one browser window open at a time, (just a quirk of mine) and I can hit the Google page without losing the current page that I'm looking at. (Does that make sense? hehe)

I have never used a weather widget..... I live in England and they just say "RAIN" all the time....haha.
on Jun 06, 2006
I use widgets for their looks and because i dont want to d/l seperate programs when DesktopX has everything in a nice little package...the widgets i use are https://www.wincustomize.com/ViewSkin.aspx?SID=1&SkinID=284&LibID=34 , https://www.wincustomize.com/ViewSkin.aspx?SID=1&SkinID=730&LibID=34 , https://www.wincustomize.com/ViewSkin.aspx?SID=1&SkinID=605&LibID=34 , https://www.wincustomize.com/ViewSkin.aspx?SID=1&SkinID=734&LibID=34 , https://www.wincustomize.com/ViewSkin.aspx?SID=1&SkinID=359&LibID=34 and https://www.wincustomize.com/ViewSkin.aspx?SID=1&SkinID=537&LibID=34 ... but then again i would like more usable widgets...
on Jun 06, 2006

I agree that most of the widgets I have could be done with other apps.

I suppose that is the strength and weakness of widgets.  They can do the job of other programs.  Perhaps the problem is I am wishing for widgets that did too much. 

boss0190: Yeah, I realize it is about looking nice.  That might also be my problem as well: too much on the desktop and it just starts to look sloppy to me.

I have never used a weather widget..... I live in England and they just say "RAIN" all the time....haha

I would use weather ones more (for the forecast) if I didn't already have a weather docklet on my dock.  Seems redundant.

Jaramia: Good choice of widgets.  Thanks for linking some.

on Jun 06, 2006
I honestly never use widgets, 'cause it dosent benefit me in any way. If i need weather info, i go to my local news site. If i wanna listen to music, I use The Core Media Player, WAY better than WMP. It seems like to me youve simply bored yourself with the widgets. Maybe you should try your hand in creating them? You seem more than intelligent enough, and have seen your fair share of them.
on Jun 06, 2006
Widgets were cool initially but I find I rarely them. I agree with many of the points raised by BlueDev. The only widgets I find myself using from time to time are the the currency converters.
on Jun 06, 2006
I like unique looking widgets. I don't use my Outlook except for business related mail so I use Rainlender all the time. I always have my Speed Ohhhh Dashboard widget running (I like to know what's doing what to my system when it's running). Since I have to travel quite a bit for work, I use the Fuel Price Checker widget quite frequently, but I activate it only when I need it, instead of letting it run continuously. The other widget I use all the time is my Natural Desktop (but it's probably considered more than a widget). It very rarely has a time that it can't tell me everything I need to know (I have to work outside for my job quite frequently and I like that I can get a full day forecast and 5 day one too without having to go to a website that has popups on it). Every once in a while I'll use an RSS widget, but since I've been playing with the new Outlook 2007 beta I like the way the RSS feeds are shown in there.

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on Jun 06, 2006
Usually I boot up, get all the morning's info from the various widgets in Startup, minimize widgets to the systray or close 'em, and run the DT cleanLink
Currently have about 50 or more widgets/gadgets in a "downloads" folder that I can draw from as desired. RSS feed(s) for a.m. news, weather for outside and any place on the planet instantly, usually a multifunction clock face/chime/alarm, a system readout with net graphics, so I can monitor PC and DSL usage and not stress things out, Stardock's Gadget MP3 and streaming radio player if I want tunes or commentary if there's a major event going on, an email monitor to catch messages as soon as they get to the server, if I want...
...Widgets/gadgets? Yep, I use 'em. Daily.Some amazing artists/code-crunchers out there. Really glad they're so active. I boot up and sooner or later find my way here to see what new gems are available, for FREE, just for the grabbing.

DX? ...Been a long road...years ago, it was so hard for me to understand, along with Hoverdesk, etc, that I gave up and just started with DX again when DX3(?) came out recently. Now much more user friendly and Builder version even fun to tweak with.

[blah, blah, blah...pinch it off, dummy...too much caffeine late in the day ]
on Jun 07, 2006
Depends on the WB, WP I'm using. Use Yahoo widgets, DX3 widgets, Rainlendar. Not necessarily all of those at one time but sometimes all. First I must have a weather widget, second a calendar. I try to have it all "fit" the WB and the WP so it's a theme. The problem I have is constantly changing my desktop, it's a compulsion. Lately I just say to hell with and use one of gefs DX themes or phoon just put out a theme for the Strafe WB which is very useful. I suppose running a DX theme is like one big widget!
on Jun 07, 2006
I am trying to finish a few DX themes, but i never seem to be able to get them right, so i give up on them.
I think i have a good handle on the latest one, but i have to put some major time into it, and im not really into it right this min. Maybe i can get Zu to do it for me
on Jun 07, 2006
Maybe i can get Zu to do it for me

If you need a project manager to help you stay on task . . . You got it buddy.

{I do wonder why it's so hard to finish since you almost only use other people's code and ideas . . but whatever man. If you can sleep with yourself; it's al good.)

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