Apple isn’t exactly apps-shy, and the same applies to widgets. MacBook has literally thousands of them for the dashboard. Some of them are highly functional, others are definitely in the “Hmmm….?” category. Some are the computer support type of widgets, others are just plain old widgets for consumer personalization.
It’d be a bit too catty to suggest that these widgets are entirely predictable. Some are quite useful, and others are fun. What’s predictable is that there are so many of them that making an informed choice could take a week. The “novelty widget” approach is rapidly becoming notorious for providing consumers with a lot of one-trick wonders that don’t do much, or do it well.
Ironically, MacBook users are likely to be the most highly critical of obsessive/compulsive widget production. Most MacBook users are Apple fans, and it’s not like they don’t have access to a lot of useful built-in and easily available stuff already. This is a pretty tough consumer base to impress, and the widget makers risk being considered banal, not to say superfluous, if their widgets aren’t up to scratch.
Apple has also put in a quality control in the form of their Staff Picks for widget downloads of both freeware and demos. This level of scrutiny is good practice, because it also screens for garbage. Apparently some widget makers have got that message, and are concentrating on “useful” as opposed to “cute”. Some of the makers of the widgets are Apple-specific, too, another quality control, and evidently being emphasized selectively.
A few samples of widgets which are indicative of the benchmarks:
- Checkup 2.7.1 An app which checks and monitors the CPU, memory network adapters and disk drives. Made by App4mac Inc, and comes with graphic indicators and a screen which looks like a sound recording screen. Things like this are useful for portable systems, which can get neurotic with heavy usage and when the memory gets highly loaded.
- The Writer’s Scribe 2.0 This is an interesting thing which allows writers to track their submissions. Most professionals usually inscribe the records of submissions on stone tablets, so this is definitely a step up. The demo is a large download, nearly 70MB. The tabs include Sales, Alerts and Expenses, so it’s also a de facto cashbook if you need one.
- PCDJ Dex 2.1 Getting into the Reasonable Suspicion Of Attempted Cuteness Zone in theory, PCDJ Dex 2.1 isn’t really a schlock approach to get wannabe DJs interested. It’s designed for mobile DJs and clubs. This is shareware, but it must be said that if you’re a DJ, something this portable has a few things going for it. The screen is well organized, and it includes some support for sound systems like Pioneer, not a waste of time or effort for the guys trying to make a living. Others may be out of their depth, so it’s an each way option for neophytes.
- iBackup 7.0 A very straightforward, non-garbage approach to adding some insurance to your MacBook, from well-known company Grapefruit. iBackup 7.0 is freeware, and as most mobile device owners are only too well aware, it’s a nice, reassuring thing to have handy during those panic attacks when you’re wondering what’s happening.
Some advice If you’re looking for widgets for MacBooks, don’t just browse randomly. Decide what you need, then see which widgets can actually do the job. The article is written by a guest author who offers computer support to clients all over the world.