Yes, Dashboard’s Widgets are the Double Chocolate Eye Candy of Mac OS X Tiger. In six months, Widgets went from a handful to a truckload of itty bitty utilities.
There are good Widgets, bad Widgets, and some really ugly Widgets. How can you tell which is which?
With over 1,300 Widgets to choose and only some much screen on your Mac, choose wisely, Grasshopper.
Frankly, Apple doesn’t make it too easy as they don’t review Widgets on the Apple web site. Still, Widgets are important as they’re a great way to add utility to the Mac.
Are there any good Widgets out of the 1,300 plus? Yes, certainly. The Google Maps Widget is cool. So is Radar in Motion; an excellent way to keep tabs on weather conditions with just a flick of the wrist.
Apple thinks enough of Widgets that there’s a Widgets sub-tab under Mac OS X on the Apple web site. If you’re using OS X Tiger, it’s likely that you’re using Widgets, and probably have a favorite or two. Or three.
Assuming you’re like the rest of us Kool-aid drinking Mac users, you’ve also downloaded a few of those one thousand plus Widgets and found a stinker or two (like the ones that are not for free).
There’s even a Top 50 list of Widgets, Widget Categories, Just Added Widgets, Top Downloaded Widgets, and a place to submit a Widget.
Most Widgets are freeware, though there are some Widgets with a price tag; $5.00, $7.00, $9.95. Not much.
You’ll recognize a few of the Top 50.
This nifty Widget lets you watch internet television. You’ll need a broadband connection to make it work, but it’s decent, easy to use, and works well, although channels are limited.
For the life of me I can’t figure out why this one shows up in the Top 50. Bottom 50, maybe. There’s already Yahoo Widgets, Google Widgets, and so on. How many places do we need to search.
Word of the Day
This one belongs on my stinker list, mostly because it’s a non-event Widget. It simply pulls up a word from a couple of online dictionary sites.
Countdown Widgets must be all the rage because there’s about a dozen. Somehow, one made it to #4 on the Top 50; the ‘Rent Countdown’ which counts down the days before the Broadway musical ‘Rent’ becomes a movie. Snore.
Sing that iTune!
If you like looking for lyrics for iTunes music, this one is handy. I use the lyric scripts for iTunes as it’s faster than going to a Widget.
Rounding out the Top 10 of the Top 50 are some good, some not, some games: Google Maps (good, Family Guy Random Quote Generator (get real… not good), Advanced Snake (the game), Mondo Solitaire (another game), and finally, Radar in Motion (one of the best).
There’s a Tarot Card Reading Widget. Another of my favorites is Gas. It displays the lowest gas price in your area. Your mileage may vary depending on your area. Ha! I crack me up.
miniStat is a very good Widget that displays all sorts of useful system information. You have to pay for miniStat.
Games and eye candy dominate the top downloads. There’s a Froggster Widget. A Hula Girl Widget. I’m sure there’s hours of improved productivity with Hula Girl.
The CNN Widget does basically what a click to Safari will do. Get you CNN headlines. There’s a Yoda (from Star Wars) Widget. Enter a sentence and it speaks back to you in Yoda’s voice. Widget not good, this is.
The California Coast web cams is nifty. If you live in Iowa or Minnesota, you’ll appreciate seeing what California looks like without turning on the TV. Breaking into the Top 50 just a few weeks ago was the Jack-O-Lantern Widget.
Don’t ask. It’s really just a colorful solution looking for a problem.
With over 1,300 Widgets already, Apple began categorizing them to make it easier to find something interesting and useful (not as easy as you’d think). I counted 24 categories. Click Here for Apple’s Dashboard Widget page and all the goodies, categories, and fun.
The most Widgets showed up in the International category with 248 (as of Wednesday), followed by Games at 182 Widgets. The least popular category is Food (11) followed by Travel (22). Go figure.
Apple’s staff even gets to list their own favorites. Just like the iTunes Music Store, huh? That’s where I found the Odeo Player; another Widget that does what iTunes does, play Podcasts.
Widgets are colorful, cute, thoughtful, attractive, free, and useful. All in that order.