Monday, December 04, 2006

Get Mainframe Weekly on your desktop

I have been using widgets on my laptop for ages now. Widgets were originally created for the Mac as small mini-applications that just sat on your desktop until you needed them. They could also be fun to use. A company called Konfabulator created a JavaScript run-time engine so the widgets would also run on Windows.

Yahoo bought Konfabulator some time ago. If you don’t have it already, go to http://widgets.yahoo.com/ and download the software. Cleverly (in a dull sort of way) and ahead of Vista, you can make the widgets semi-transparent (or, I suppose, totally transparent if you wanted). Once you’ve got the software you can then go to the widget gallery (http://www.widgetgallery.com) and choose from over 3500 (and growing all the time) widgets. These have usually been written by people who wanted a simple tool or toy on their desktop.

There are so many types to choose from. For example, on my home computer I have an excellent drum kit widget. There are also lots of traffic camera widgets, so you can check the state of the traffic before you set off on a journey. I have a Dilbert cartoon downloaded each day, I have a link straight into wikipedia to look up just about anything, I have the weather for the next few days, I have a handy calendar, and I even have a dalek that wanders around my screen (don’t ask). Like I say, the choice is huge.

Anyway, if you like widgets, you can now have Mainframe Weekly come straight to your desktop. Download widget 3252, the RSS Feed Viewer (updated 27 November) by Rob Pinkasavage. Once you’ve downloaded it and installed it, you need to right click on the screen and then click on Widget Preferences. Where it says “Selected Feed:”, enter http://mainframeweekly.blogspot.com/rss.xml and click the “Save” button. I set the “Headline count:” to 15. If you click on the Window icon at the top, you can change the opacity (if you want).

Anyway, once you’ve done that, you can have Mainframe Weekly on your desktop all the time and you’ll know immediately when a new blog has been added - like this one.

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