When you look at the usefulness of some of your default Mac programs, you’d usually find applications like Mail, iCal, or even Messages as very useful. However, one program that never gets such a vote is Dashboard. The program, consisting of widgets, allowed individuals to extend the usefulness and the features their Mac could do, without downloading heavy software. Despite its ease of use and ease of accessibility, Dashboard has gotten a bad wrap as being quite unnecessary and useless. Today, we will try to bring back the excitement Dashboard received at its launch by showing the various ways you can make good use of it to improve your productivity.
Productivity and GTD
First off, Dashboard seems to be very welcoming of being your bulletin board. There are multiple applications available for Dashboard that allows you to add stickies. The sticky note program I make use of is the onboard “Stickies Plus” app. However, one sticky program that I’ve had experience with and highly recommend is “Notefile“, allowing you to access your Dashboard notes on the developer’s iOS app and online as well.
One tool that many businesses and individuals make great use of is Gmail and Google apps. Google Calendar has a Dashboard app, allowing you to keep track and mark off some of your Google Calendar tasks. You can adjust to show your tasks and events, a few days, weeks, or even months in advance, making sure you are prepared for whatever you have to get done.
Finally, Remember The Milk also has a widget through an unofficial app made from developer Yoel Inbar. The app allows you to all or specific tasks, mark when complete, and see when they are due.
Good for Your System
Dashboard has a colossal amount of apps that allow you to know your system’s activities and faults. The Dashboard widget that I make use of is iStat Pro. The widget allows you to know everything going on with your Mac at the time. You can view CPU activity, how much memory is free, being used up, and is inactive.
You can view the amount of space being used on your internal and external hard drives, WiFi/Internet signal activity, and much more. Plus, iStat Pro now even supports the battery life info for your connected Magic Mouse. If you are looking for more info on Time Machine on your Mac, there is the Time Machine widget that allows you to know the complete status and log of what’s going on as and after Time Machine does its job. This let’s you know what problem is found and more.
Helping Life’s Situations
The first life task includes sending and receiving mail packages. The ultimate package tracking widget I recommend is Delivery Status. Delivery Status gives you a countdown and even notifications of when your package will arrive. It’s very simple to add a package, simply enter the order or track number. The UI is very beautifully designed as well. Plus, clicking on an order pings Safari to give you a larger view.
If you are about to go on a trip, it’s highly important to learn the exchange rates to prevent you from being haggled. Currency Converter is a great app that helps with this. The dashboard prevents embarrassing situations by making sure the exchange rates are continually up-to-date. If you are going on your next European tour, the multiple-currency feature makes it much easier to compare the Pound, Euro, and Franc all at one time. With multiple language support and even the ability to add tax costs for your purchases into the total, you’ll always have enough money for your next trip with Currency Converter.
A More Social Mac
The first social networking widget we will cover is Twidget. This Twitter widget not only allows your to view the timeline, it also allows you to update your Twitter straight from the widget. It’s a great tool for the light user wanting to quickly see an update or two.
If you find yourself more keen for Tumblr rather than Twitter, Tumblr Widget allows you to not only make a text post, but add videos and photos to your post as well.
A Developer’s Toolbox
Finally, we have a couple of widgets for the developers and designers out there who work tirelessly to design websites and apps. Mac Dashboard offers a ton of widgets for them, making their job a bit easier. First off, let’s look at some CSS help. For developers looking for the ultimate dictionary on needed CSS tags, Tags – CSS is the right app for you. The widget has a convenient search tool, allowing you to find the tag you need for your script.
If you have HTML code that needs some fixing and formatting, HTML Tidy Widget is an app you should look into downloading. It’s simple and works like a translator of some sorts, put in your ugly HTML, click “Tidy It!” and it comes out formatted, corrected, and clean! The last two widgets we will go over is a treat for both developers and another for website owners! Color Theory allows you to find a color code for any color you are looking to find. AnalyticsWidget allows you to view, using Google Analytics, how many individuals have visited your site and even a convenient chart to see the lows and peaks in traffic.
We’ve covered a huge amount of quality widget apps that just about anyone would find use in. Do these apps create a renewed sense of purpose for Dashboard? If so, which widget is among your favorites? Let us know this and any other widget recommendations you have for us in the comment section below!