For the fourth time, I present my review of the latest Vista Sidebar Gadgets, inspected and quality tested for your protection:
All Gadgets mentioned in this article are in the screenshot above.
The App Launcher Gadget has been updated with some new features. It is becoming a must-have Gadget, with drag-and-drop to add shortcuts, a feature that, if you drop a shortcut on it, creates a link direct to the program (instead of a ridiculous shortcut to a shortcut), removes shortcut arrows, importing IE and Firefox shortcuts, and exporting your shortcuts as a text file.
Travelocity has created a Gadget that gives you instant access to all sorts of searches on Travelocity, right from the Gadget. The Gadget is the first one I’ve see that comes with its own End User License Agreement, and you pick the flight you are looking for, and it keeps you updated on special offers for flights on that route. Clicking the Gadget lets you search for flights, lodging, both, rental cars, and cruises, without ever opening the browser. Love it.
Next week Tuesday night starts the counting of the Omer for Jews, and naturally that means someone has created a Gadget so you always know what day of the Omer it is. The Gadget links to Chabad.org for info on the Omer, and even provides you with all the necessary blessings.
There’s this battery Gadget, one among many. It’s simple, and looks decent, but nothing beats my favorite mother of all battery Gadgets, which displays how much time until your battery dies, or how much longer until it is fully charged.
CallWave has a Gadget you can use to send free SMS text messages from your sidebar.
This is really cool: A Gadget that you ask a question, and it goes out and finds the answer from Windows Live Search, Live QnA, MSDN, and Wikipedia. Most of the time, it finds the answer perfectly. Nice.
The Sidebar Switcher Gadget adds a great feature to Vista: Multiple Sidebar profiles. You can create unlimited different pages of different Sidebar configurations, and with a click, load up completely different screens of Gadgets. So, you could create a page of just RSS Gadgets, a page of communication/IM Gadgets, a page of system monitor Gadgets, anything, and use all of them. Beautiful!
The Toss The Dice Gadget lets you roll a die and get a random result. Yeah, its useful in some situations. I wish I could set it to have multiple dice, but you could always just open multiple instances of the Gadget.
There’s also a Gadget (not pictured) that lets you put together conference calls via the Gadget through a connect12.com account.
And, because we all demanded it (?), a Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Countdown Gadget! You can even change the date and time for the countdown if the book is delayed, or if you want to set it for the release of the eventual movie (2010, I’m guessing).
AOL has released the AOL Instant Messenger Gadget to the Gadget directory, and it seems to be working better than it used to (especially after I figured out how to actually add buddies to it).
The Calculator Gadget does exactly what it says. You can add, subtract, multiply and divide, clear, the other kind of clear (yeah, I don’t know my calculators) and cause a runtime error. Cool.
The Hasher Gadget lets you input a text string and turn it into MD4/MD5/SHA-1 hashes.
The What’s Hot Gadget shows you some top search terms on the internet.
The Mini Outlook Inbox Gadget not only shows your five latest emails, but it lets you browse your inbox, read emails, and even click to reply to or forward an email.
The Microsoft Office 2007 Recent Documents Gadget shows, well, your recent documents from all your Office 2007 programs.
There’s a new Soapbox Video Gadget, letting you watch Soapbox videos in a fly-out. It doesn’t take up much space undocked, so I’m happy.
The Sports Kit Gadget shows your Nike+ stats, including your latest run and total runs.
The Westin Renew Gadget shows daily tips about healthy living. It’s poorly sized, breaking any Sidebar.
The WebGuide Gadget lets you connect to a Media Center for the program guide, recorded TV, and even watch live TV in spme circumstances.
The Language Translator Gadget uses Google to translate some text you type into other languages.
The Spell Checker Gadget lets you type some words and get a list of spelling suggestions.
The MySpace Pictures Gadget shows the latest pictures from a person’s MySpace account.
The ClearContext Gadget shows your Outlook inbox and lets you preview emails. If you have ClearContext, an Outlook add-in, installed, you get a ton of extra features integrated with the Gadget.
The Woot Gadget shows the latest Woot deal at Woot.com.
Finally, the PS3 locator Gadget shows you if there are PlayStation 3 consoles in stock in your area. As far as I can tell, they always are…