I’ll show you mine

Screenshot of my Mac OSX dashboard, showing widgets used.

Widgets on my Mac OSX dashboard: e dot studios iPhoto Mini, Ma.gnolia Blossom (no longer online), CSS Cheat Sheet, Colorjack (colorjack.com), Color Burn, Address Book Search, Lava Lamp, Leftlogic Entities, and more. Best viewed at original size.

What’s on your dashboard?

[tags]osx, widgets, dashboard, mac, macosx, apple[/tags]

59 thoughts on “I’ll show you mine

  1. Unfortunately my dashboard non-existent as I haven’t gotten my hands on a mac just yet but when I get one… I’ll surely have some of those nifty gizmos you’ve got on there. I’m with Eric… the lava lamp is quite nice!

  2. I only have the calendar, Mike Piontek’s delivery status, CharacterPal and a couple of stickies and Junior Mints in my Dashboard. I want that CSS cheat sheet, though.

  3. Pretty basic as well: iStat pro, weather in Munich, upcoming iCal events, standard calendar, calculator.

  4. Extremely minimal (for some reason). Weather, Calendar, Clock, Stocks and the Calculator. Honestly, it looks very much like the default set of widgets when you install OS X.

  5. Virtually nothing – just Calculator and a bunch of Stickies with notes on the right order in which to run Terminal commands. I did have a lot more, but found that they never got used.

  6. Mostly different locales’ weather (Germany and Scandinavia), CSS Cheatsheet, Calculator, Colo(u)rSchemer Galleria, a widget for special characters… I guess that’s all.

  7. Nothing. I dislike the idea of a hidden desktop running apps that don’t share information with my “other” desktop apps. I’ve never found a reason to use the dashboard. Sometimes I wish the dashboard apps could run as “real” applications, alongside my other apps, but I’ve not yet found any compelling enough to overcome my distaste for a system-modal interface.

  8. Just FYI – all of those widgets are burning a ton of memory. Take a look at your Activity Monitor (lives in Apps>Utilities) and ask yourself, would I rather have the World Clock widget or RAM is dynamic on OS X, but I’ve seen excessive Dashboard usage slow machines to a crawl.

    The widgets launch in a second, it might be wise to only leave out what you really need open at the moment.

    I have a radar image (thru “SlothCam,” 56MB), Local Weather (from WeatherBug, 26MB) and right now, World Clock to see what time it is where the boss is, at d.Construct.

  9. I wonder, is a Vista user likely to get stoned for entering this post?

    Worth the risk. Here’s the lovely Vista sidebar gadgets I use. :p

    Outlook info, multisearch (google, wiki, youtube etc.), app launcher (equivalent of the mac dock), radio player, php manual search, itunes cover art (Wasn’t playing anything at the time), and CPU stats.

  10. Nothing. In fact, Dashboard is disabled. Permanently. Memory hog that it is, I havent found anything on the Dashboard that I can’t find on the web. Sure some of them are cute and some are useful, but I really just want them to be mini-apps that I can have open when I want them open. Maybe Leopard will fix this…

  11. Fantastic! I got an iMac yesterday and it’s wonderful to see what widgets other people use! I’m not showing off my dashboard just yet though, it’ll only look like a mix of n00b choices and some good ideas that I’ve blatantly stolen from this post and the comments.

  12. @Bridget: You have two options on Vista at least….Yahoo Widgets (the original widget system) and Vista’s own stuff. Lots of goodies out there. I’d love to see a port of the colorjack.com one to either yahoo or vista.


  13. It’s not about “hating” dashboard. It’s about cost/benefit. When I wrote my original article, I had a PowerBook with 512MB of RAM. Dashboard had a significant impact on performance, so I turned it off.

    Since then, I haven’t seen a single widget that would want me to turn it back on. (And even though I’ve got an MBP with 2GB now, I *still* don’t have enough RAM)

    I suspect that the non-Dashboard crowd lives on laptops, while the Dashboarders have actual desktops, with presumably large amounts of RAM. Anybody willing to comment on that theory?

  14. It’s nice to see the Blossom widget up on the Apple site. I’m not sure why Damien removed it from the new-bamboo site – we’ll have to ping him on that one.

    I do heart the dashboard – checking gmail with Flores, and seeing a flower there for each new mail is one of the sweetest ways to give a simple notification. I’ve found my share of memory hog widgets, but I trounce them out and stick with the ones that behave. With that, Dashboard has become essential and I can’t imagine my Mac without it.

  15. Although I had hoped to keep the conversation here, there are yet more comments on the relevant Flickr page. Wolfr’s are the best. He is rightfully distressed by people who use their Macintosh stupidly (i.e. differently from him).

    @GK Nelson: I downloaded ColorBurn a long time ago. I don’t “use” it (or any tool) to generate colors for layouts. I just like having it around. It’s inspiring to see a different color palette (and an associated name) every time I check the weather.

    I suspect that the non-Dashboard crowd lives on laptops, while the Dashboarders have actual desktops, with presumably large amounts of RAM. Anybody willing to comment on that theory?

    @Robert ‘Groby’ Blum: That theory is false in my case. I do almost all my work on an Intel Macbook (yes!) hooked up to a first-generation Cinema Screen. The ancient but still beautifully functional Cinema Screen gives me continuity: it has survived two previous generations of Macs and still runs strong. A lot of design pros I know are either using laptops (like me) or iMacs (which I’ll probably do next) and not towers.

    But everyone who uses Mac OS X needs to install at least 1 GB RAM, and 2 GB RAM or more is preferable. OS X is a memory hog. That’s a fact.

    I heed your point about conserving resources (even if you do have RAM to spare) and on your advice have trimmed my Dashboard. (Hush, don’t tell.)

  16. Siding with Groby. Killed my dashboard. My main complaint was it was too aggressive about seizing control of my screen when invoked. Didn’t feel like it worked and played well with other apps.

  17. I guess the folks at Magnolia figured out the Apple link, ’cause I went to get it, and they’ve replaced the download page with a mirror of their homepage. No widget. Bummer.

  18. So, my widgets are like trusted friends. I completely agree Jeffrey, it’s just nice to have then around. I probably use my calculator more than any other widget, although the magnolia widget is what sold me on social bookmarking. Though, I seem to have an outdated version.

    Cade, you can grab the osx magnolia widget here.

    Among my favourites is Character Pal, the Systran Language Translator and the morse code widget, that I can’t seem to find anymore. It’s pure geekdom.

    Cheers Jeffrey. We all need distraction.

  19. I don’t hate dashboard either. It’s just that I see no use for it and kept accidentally invoking it, so I turned it off a couple of years ago and haven’t taken a serious look at it since :-).

  20. No need to jump ship just to get better widgets. You just need a better browser. ;-) Opera has had widget support for some time now, as such the number of good, useful and/or nice widgets have become pretty good. Given that they’re based on open web standards it’s pretty easy to make your own as well!

    So just to prove that it isn’t only Apple-fans that have the powers to spend way too much time customizing their desktops; Here’s my desktop (posted on flickr)…

    In addition to the widgets in my screenshot (Time and Date, Hypnotic Clock and Lava Lamp), I actually have quite a few more useful ones that I activate when I need them: CSS Help, Artist’s Sketchbook, Colours of the Rainbow, Unit Converter, Page Rank, Countdown timer, World clocks, Stock ticker (from Oslo børs) and VideoDownloader. In addition you’ll also find widgets for the normal array of web 2.0 services such as GMail, Flickr, Twitter, Del.icio.us and so on…

    The screenshot should also go some way so show you don’t need to use an Apple system just to customize your desktop/dashboard (or whatever it’s called). It’s pretty much a true bastard of a UI, with elements from several OS‘s…

  21. for dashboard “haters”, the dashboard is really useful for quick info. instead of going to weather.com and then navigating to a weather radar page and waiting for it to load, i click into dashboard and there’s my weather widgets showing me all the info i want. same thing for stocks and sports scores. for sports I have set up an NFL one for the teams I care about and a MLB one the same way and soon and NHL one as well. For the same info on the web you have to visit a half dozen pages and wait for each page to load. The dashboard gets you all the info on 1 “page” at the same time in fractions of the time.

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