written by: Donny Yankellow•edited by: Rebecca Scudder•updated: 5/19/2011
Do you still use widgets on your Mac? I do. Not many, but there are a few I can't do without.
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Must Have in Your Dashboard
Are you familiar with widgets? A widget is a little program that runs in the Dashboard of OSX. When widgets were introduced they were hotter than hot. Now they seem to have cooled down. I have never really been into widgets but there are a few I use on a regular basis. Here they are:
Tinydash (direct download link) If you don't use tinyurl in any form, you should. Tinyurl allows you to enter a long url from your clipboard and turn it into a smaller one for emailing, posting, or whatever. This widget is a widget that does this process for you instead of haivng to go to www.tinyurl.com. I think this is my most used widget. (figure 1)
Twidget I am still debating about using Twitter on a regular basis. However, I have an account and occasionally have used it to enter a contest or two. Twidget is a widget that lets you enter tweets to your account without having to go to the website or use another program. A very simple way to tweet. (figure 2)
Merriam-Webster Dictionary Widget (Macupdate.com link) This is exactly what the name implies. It is a dictionary widget for the Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Not a bad thing to have. (figure 3)
To be honest with you those are the only three non-Apple installed widgets I use. There use to be others, but over the years Apple has added their own widgets to replace the ones I installed. These widgets (which I always have running) are the ESPN Sports Ticker widget, the Weather widget, the Stock widget, and the Calendar widget. I also used to have the movie widget running, but since my son was born movies have become a thing of the past.
With that said, I have to mention the GOGO Redball widget (now at 2.0). I used to have a student who was very proud to have over 1000 widgets installed on his computer (warning- widgets can slow your computer down if you run too many at once) and this was one of his favorites (or one like this). It is basically a bouncing ball that you click to bounce.
I also have to mention the MyMac.com widget, which I created and designed the icon for. Widgets are actually very easy to make with the help of Apple's Dashcode software, which is part of xcode (but that is a series of articles).
While I don't have many widgets in use, there are plenty out there. There are games (there is a pacman like widget), email utilities, and countless other widgets that are being developed every day. To find widgets that are right for you visit Apple's widget site