We are living in the era of the useful toy. Almost everyone today wants to own the latest smart phone, mp3 player or tablet PC. One of the interesting new features that made Windows Vista different from other releases of Windows was the Gadget Sidebar. The Sidebar was a wide ruler-shaped area on the Vista desktop where mini applications called Gadgets could be found. You could undock a Gadget from the Sidebar and drag it anywhere on the desktop. The Sidebar could then be closed and leaving behind any undocked Gadgets. I suppose the designers of Vista felt the Sidebar was need to give a sense of organization to the Vista Desktop, a place where the Gadgets could be organized.
But when Windows 7 was released the Sidebar was one of several Vista Features that was removed in order to make Windows 7 more efficient and uncluttered. Luckily, some of the best Vista Gadgets are still available for Windows 7 including the Analog Clock, the Currency Converter, the Weather Reporter and most importantly, the Picture Puzzle, a terrific time-waster. If those are not enough to satisfy one’s Gadget desires there are more choices available online at Microsoft’s Personalization Gallery. One of the most interesting new offerings is Traffic by Bing Maps, which not only gives directions but also steers drivers clear of Friday afternoon commuting hassles. Outlook 2007 users will like the Outlook Upcoming Appointments Gadget from the Microsoft Office System folks. This Gadget has been downloaded over 600,000 times. I like the Piano Gadget which allows you to tap out simple tunes and the Amazon and EBay Gadgets that keep me updated with the latest deals.
If you are running Vista or Windows 7 try out a few of these new choices for yourself at: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows/downloads/personalize?T1=desktopgadgets