When will Sidebar be useful?

by Matt 8. March 2007 17:48

So, LifeHacker has picked up on the AmbientClock. Seeing this again, especially with their focus of using it in a Google gadget made me think that this is exactly the kind of gadget that could finally make the Vista Sidebar useful.

I've been running the Sidebar since I got Vista, and I'm still not really sold on it. I'm still failing to see what use these gadgets/widgets/whatever are. I think it just adds to the information overload. Most of the gadgets I've seen either give you access to information that's already easily available (such as battery status - already next to the clock) or that you just don't really need (CPU meter springs to mind. If I'm concerned about my CPU usage, I'll look in Task Manager to see what is actually slowing my machine down).

My current line up includes a weather gadget (I can look out the window, thanks), the standard RSS feed viewer (all the headlines are truncated, and it's not the nicest reading experience). I've got a BBC radio gadget, which is rather nice, but just doesn't see much use. The default clock is nice, and is probably why the Sidebar has stayed as long as it has. The nearest I've got to a killer app (at least in theory) is a clipboard ring. But it's kinda dull looking, and only supports text, and I haven't actually used it yet. I like the idea though.

An AmbientClock Sidebar gadget hooked up to your Windows Calendar (or Outlook) could be pretty impressive. So why is this different? The clock's already available, as is the calendar information. And the answer is I dunno. But there's a lot of this gadget stuff about - those users can't all be wrong. Right?



Comments (37) -

3/9/2007 4:45:01 AM #

RE: When will Sidebar be useful?

I've always seen the sidebar as a simple vertical variation of the taskbar notification area.  Most of the widgets/gadgets that I see have been done to death on the taskbar, now we've just got a way of showing the same information but taking up a lot more screen real estate.

In terms of anything useful then maybe it's worth looking at which you have running in your notification area for guidance.  One thing that does spring to mind is the CruiseControl CCTray build notifier, a nice scrolling version of that RSS style might be nice.

On the whole though, I agree it's a nice gimmick and I think that's exactly what it is.


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