Windows Vista Review Part 4

Windows Sidebar

Lock the ammunition away and put the trigger down. The Windows Sidebar has been around in some form or another since the early days of Longhorn development and was a feature that was going to remove the focus from the taskbar and put the sidebar as the place to go for your applications and your information. Since that project got scrapped, Windows Sidebar is a vague representation of what it used to be and many would say that is virtually identical to the Dashboard feature in OS X that Mac users have been enjoying for some time now. Since it’s safe to talk with the weapons put away, before I start a nuclear war between the two factions, it’s important to note that perhaps we’re not all innocent in the copying game since there’s the argument that Konfabulator was probably the original inventor of what the Dashboard and Sidebar are today.

That aside, lets move on. The Sidebar is one of the major new enhancements to Vista and allows you to place ‘Gadgets’ on this dock that is positioned to the right of your screen. There’s a portion of Microsoft.com set aside for you to download new Gadgets with a varying range of functionality to useful ones to just entertainment purposes. Unlike the Dashboard on the Mac, Sidebar and the Gadgets can be dragged directly on to the desktop and can also remain visible at all times and on top of all windows.

You might want to consider memory usage when using Gadgets because each of these mini-applications are just that. They are applications that consume varying amounts of RAM. So unless you have a machine packed with more than 1GB of RAM then I would think hard as to which Gadgets you really need running if any at all.

The thin strip of black at the right of your screen is where your Gadgets like to sit and can be set to remain visible at all times or you can set it to auto-hide. For those of you who need every square inch of screen real-estate that they can then I would suggest you either turn this feature off entirely or set it to auto-hide because having that large strip down the side of your screen does take up a significant portion of your screen.

2007-04-07 Onwah Tsang

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