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3/17/2007
06:10 AM
Alexander Wolfe
Alexander Wolfe
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Windows Vista Diary: Free Sidebar Gadgets From Google

Want to beef up Vista's relatively thin complement of Sidebar Gadgets, those little applets that reside on your desktop and let you do things like track the temperature or play video poker? Now there's a free way to do so, thanks to Google.



Want to beef up Vista's relatively thin complement of Sidebar Gadgets, those little applets that reside on your desktop and let you do things like track the temperature or play video poker? Now there's a free way to do so, thanks to Google.The trick is new tool from MesaDynamics called Amnesty Widgets generator. As I explain in my story, 5 Google Tips To Improve Your Search Experience, you can use the Amnesty app to convert Google Desktop gadgets to run under Windows Vista.

In operation, you simply take the Google Gadget's HTML code, available from Google's page, paste it into Amnesty, and voila, out pops a Vista Gadget. I tried it for several myself. It worked fine in most cases, though there were a few which were dead on arrival after conversion (parameter errors, etc.). I explain how, here.

The undeniable appeal of Vista's Gadgets points up for me the importance of the OS's eye-candy features. Many tech observers have criticized this aspect of Vista--I'm referring both to the Sidebar Gadgets and the translucent, 3-D-like Aero interface--especially since they borrow heavily from Apple's Mac OS X. Still, the more I use Vista, the more I like its look and feel. And the fact that I'm running Vista on a dual-core system with a decent graphics card means I'm effectively shielded from any drag on performance that the processing power sucked up by Aero would make apparent on a less powerful machine.

If you're interesting in building your own Gadgets (don't try this at home?) Microsoft offers a tutorial (be advised this will start a zip-file download), here.

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