Home
In this issue
April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review July 8, 2005 / 1 Taamuz, 5765

Widgets put fun in data access

By Mark Kellner

Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | ST. LOUIS — As I write, the cheapest gas within a mile of my hotel, more or less, is a BP station, at $2.12 per gallon for regular, about a dime less than in suburban Maryland. The lyrics to "Just the Way You Are," as sung by the incomparable Diana Krall, are available at the press of a button. And, it is expected to be in the mid-80s to low-90s this week in what they call the Gateway City.

All that information came from the Internet, but not via a Web browser. Rather, I used a bunch of desktop "widget" programs that go out to the Internet and pull down the information I want, then display it in a format that is generally easy to read.

Many of these widgets are reference-oriented, others are just fun, and some are goofy. Most are free, although some — or the program used to run them — can cost a few dollars.

As noted before, Konfabulator (www.konfabulator.com) is the granddaddy of all this: It publishes a program for Windows and Mac that allows you to put as many of these as you like on the desktop. The program is free to try, but paying $19.95 to buy it seems like the least one could do.

Konfabulator's widgets appear permanently on a computer desktop, although they can be closed at will via the menu bar and other commands. Well more than 1,000 widgets are available, most for Mac but many for Windows, and include some useful ones such as a gas-price tracker, a countdown calendar to the debut of the next Xbox video game machine, and webcams for traffic spots, surf locations and the like.

The greatest promoter of widgets is Apple Computer, whose sheer presence in the market with its new Mac OS X Tiger operating system guaranteed attention for this feature. Dashboard, the Apple widget program, keeps widgets hidden until a press of the F12 key brings them to the fore. That's a different approach from Konfabulator, but many users and developers seem to like it: In the slightly more than two months that Tiger has been out, more than 720 widgets have been developed.

Performance of widgets can be uneven. The lyric-displaying widget, for example, won't scroll no matter how hard I try. The AusWebCam widget won't let me view any of the "100 Australian webcams" it advertises. These hiccups may vanish the next time I start my computer, or they may require a tweak to the widget by the creator.

Donate to JWR


Some widgets are clearly on the edge of software development, but often there are alternatives. One on-screen reference tool hung up often, while another worked superbly.

Because most widgets are "freeware" or "shareware," you can shop around before settling on any item. And because Konfabulator supports Mac, there is an alternative to Dashboard if you don't like it, and vice versa.

A caveat about widgets is to guard your screen "real estate." My gallery of Dashboard widgets looks far more crowded on a 12-inch notebook display than it does on a 20-inch desktop screen. It would seem that caution in selecting widgets to fit a given area is in order, or perhaps developing different sets of widgets for different situations.

Overall, I'm having fun with these things. When Microsoft Corp. introduces its next version of Windows, there might be even more to celebrate, which could be one thing that keeps computing fun.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Mark Kellner has reported on technology for industry newspapers and magazines since 1983, and has been the computer columnist for The Washington Times since 1991.Comment by clicking here.

Archives

© 2005, News World Communications, Inc. Reprinted with permission of The Washington Times. Visit the paper at http://www.washingtontimes.com

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles