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Matt McSpirit on Virtualisation, Management and Core Infrastructure

Vista Gadgets: Thick and fast...

Vista Gadgets: Thick and fast...

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The amount of gadgets now available on the Vista Gadget Site, is growing daily, and there are some pretty darn cool ones out there to pop in your sidebar.  I've highlighted a few that I really have come to grow and love...

Wifi Gadget

This one is great, as it gives a quick view of your signal strength, SSID and whether or not the connection is secure or not.  Works a treat and provides alot more information than just mousing over your little network icon in your taskbar.  A great time saver!  This one has been created by a chap named Tom, and you can download the gadget here.


BBC Radio Player

This is a great gadget, simple to use, pick your BBC station, and there are quite a few choices, including the ever important BBC Radio 5Live, for the football matches, click on Play, and away you go.  It gives you information on the current show, and what is up next, kind of like what you would get when watching via a DVB Tuner.  Cool!  Again, created by Tom, and downloadable from here.

Windows Live Messenger

Now this one is cool, and really handy!  Instead of having to fully open Live Messenger to ping someone a message, I can simply click on my face (no comments please), and it opens my online (or offline too) contacts, and by double-clicking one of their names, it opens the message dialog box automatically.  Cool!

Unfortunately, there is no way, that I have found so far, to change your status from the gadget, so you'd have to go through the usual routes for that one I'm afraid.

This one, like the previous two, has been created by Tom, and is downloadable from here.

You can view other gadgets created by Tom, and leave him feedback on his gadgets, here.





So, the final one I use....

Windows Media Player Shuffler

This is simple, and works a treat.  Add it to your sidebar, and it will randomly go through your tracks in your Media Library.  You can skip forward, back, play, stop etc all from the gadget.  When un-docked, it provides a larger view of the album art and still maintains the same functionality.

This one, believe it or not, is made by someone different!  I thought Tom was the gadget king!  Alas, it seems that someone else, by the name of Nick Plennox, and you can find more details about this cool little gadget on the Vista Gadget Site.

So, why am I highlighting gadgets anyway?  Well, number one, they rock, and they are cool, and they make things easier to do, like accessing contacts, seeing your wifi status etc, and they make your machine personal, and hence, the user experience is more personal too.  My parents live in Spain, hence I have the weather gadget on my desktop, one for Reading, one for Murcia, in Spain.  I can take a glance at that and instantly know whether it is a good time to give them a phone call.  If it's raining, best not to speak to my Mum... :-)

Seriously though, if you are an ISV, or Independent Software Vendor, and you are making a bespoke application to run on Vista, why not go the extra mile and build a handy little gadget to go with it.  For example, what if you create an application that monitors patient information?  Wouldn't it be cool to have a one quick click entry point, from the sidebar, where users, probably doctors, can access the information on patients, or alternatively, see quick, at a glance information on a current patient.  There are loads of opportunities, you could even make a business out of providing gadgets!  You can find more information on the wonderful world of gadgets, over on this site.  It's time to build....

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  • Going through the blogs that I read I saw a post about really cool gadgets. My colleague Matt McSpirit

  • Hi i thought i let you know there is a new build for Windows Live Messenger and yes you can now change your status :)

  • Hi Tim,

    Thanks for this!

    You can download it here:


  • lol tim ;)

  • aha! Just testing Tom!

    Taxi for McSpirit...

  • Nice design, good graphical content. I think I'll come back later again;)

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