OK, a couple ideas on the Windows Sidebar.
1. First, it's too big/wide for a normal monitor in 1024x768 mode. BUT, what works really nicely is to have a 19 or 20" wide screen monitor. On
that, the sidebar is only about 1 for 10, leaving 90% of your screen for your apps and browser.
2. It will not 'auto-hide' like the taskbar. I admit it would be a major distraction, not to mention the CPU time it would take for a 1.5" Sidebar
panel to slide in and out, maybe. It doesn't take up a lot of memory, but if you look in TaskMgr, you'll see it loads two miniapps, and uses about
13 Megs of memory. I think MSloth could have done better. (I change my mind on this - see below).
3. It's very nice that they put in a % fade or % opaque. I have most of them except the clock and the CPU monitor 60% or more transparent. That aids
to reduce the 'too big' aspect of the bar. The apps shrink when you 'en-bar' them, so that's nice, I guess.
4. Things can get trapped underneath it. Be careful. If it does you might have to close it or use the keyboard to get the trapped window under it.
(such as an IM client window).
OK, what apps do I use. After about 4 months I ended up with just six applications.
. Pick a clock, any clock. I put this at the top. Always there, easy to see.
b. Core1, Core2 and RAM monitor
. There are many, but it's very helpful to know if you are using up memory and get into the Orange. FireFox is
notorious for doing this over time, and can end up with 400Megs of memory (it's leakage or something), particularly if you use multiple tabs. OK,
it's really a FF problem, I guess, but heads up. To deal, you'll have to restart FF. BE SURE to get 2 Gigs of Memory if you're using Vista, and 4
would be better. I (duh) listened to the Tech at Dell and only got 1 Gig, and it's OK, but I regret not getting 2.
c. Yellow Sticky Pad
There's a nice little yellow sticky pad app that allows you to take an onscreen note, such as a phone number, without
loading up wordpad. The reason this works is because you just place the cursor and start typing. No opening anything.
d. Temperature and weather monitor
Nice in that I can see the outdoor temp right on screen all the time. Hey, maybe it is better that the
Sidebar doesn't hide. OK, I take that back above - hiding it would defeat the 'immediacy' that it engenders. I like that, in fact that's why I use
it. Didn't realize that until now. D'oh.
I never used these though I had many when they were just apps. But since it's always there, I use it all the
Again, nice to have, you can always see the date and month view is a nice default.
I've gotta run now, but if anyone wants the actual names of the ones I picked, I'll be glad to detail that, but there are so many of each of those,
that it's a matter of your own preference.
Many are novel, but novelty lasts a day. I think that's what you'll find - initially you'll grab many, but only a handful will stick around after a
week or so.
Happy Hunting! It's one of the better aspects of having Vista, imo. But you really should consider a widescreen monitor - on a 19" LCD, for my
taste, it takes up too much of a percentage of the screen. YMMV.
[edit on 31-8-2007 by Badge01]