Wednesday, May 04, 2005


When I first heard about Dashboard, I did what just about everyone else did. I assumed it was just a Konfabulator knock-off. It sort of is, I guess, except I'm actually using Dashboard, so far anyway.

My first impression was "this is cute, but I probably won't use it". Today, I used it, and I learned something. You see, these little Widgets are very focused, getting data from the internet or from your computer, or both. When I used Dashboard today, it was a very simple thing. I wanted to get the telephone number of a local restaurant, in this case, PF Changs. PF Changs is a chain restaurant.

Typically, I would type PF Changs into Google, find the home page of the restaurant chain, then scroll through the list of states until I found Michigan, and then find the number. Today, I went to my Yellow Pages Widget, typed in PF Changs, and I was given one address and one telephone number. You see, the Widget knows my zip code. I can't remember if I typed it in, or if it got the information from my computer settings. My point is, it was quick. Probably the fastest way to find a local telephone number of a business.

A small surprise happened after installing Tiger, and updating my Ovolab Phlink program. Phlink includes two Widgets, so my recent Caller ID list is available in Dashboard as well. I have 5 clocks, for different time zones at the top of my Dashboard page, so that I don't have to do all of that math to find out what time it is in California or London.

And, let me emphasize again, that this is very fast. For example, there is a Calculator Widget. Why? I mean, you have a Calculator on the Mac, right? But, it takes 2 or 3 seconds to start it up. Dashboard is instead, and fast. And, it's a whole new "desktop", with lots of information available right in front of you (weather, stock prices, calendar, etc.).

Right now, I like it. I'm not sure that I would upgrade to Tiger, just for this feature, but it is part of the over 200 new features offered. Watch the movie on the web site for a demonstration!

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