43 Folders

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Merlin’s weekly podcast with Dan Benjamin. We talk about creativity, independence, and making things you love.

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43Folders.com is Merlin Mann’s website about finding the time and attention to do your best creative work.

Dine-O-Matic (and the Dashboard widgets we love)

Dine-O-Matic - Dashboard - Food

I've never quite taken to Dashboard the way a lot of folks have. Like that completely baffling Spotlight results "window," it seems to just kind of live off in its own little neighborhood -- one that's just far enough away to discourage frequent visits. “Jeez, Merlin, how lazy can you get about hitting F12?!?”

Annnnnnyhow, I finally found a "business case" for Dashboard today with the discovery of the perfectly-delightful Dine-O-Matic, a beautiful and free (as in beer) little widget from the graphical savants over at Iconfactory. This does precisely one thing: it chooses a random restaurant for you to eat at. That's it. No more whiny rounds of "'What do you want?' and 'No, what do you want?'" Because we now have comely robots to make these decisions for us. The dining-out singularity is near!

You just pop in the names and cuisine-types of all your local haunts, and then hit the big blue plate. The widget flashes and churns like a slot machine, then picks out the place you and your party will dine. Awesome. Yay, Dashboard.

setup results!
Dine-O-Matic Setup Dine-O-Matic Results

We haven't talked too much about Dashboard around here, but I'd love to hear from you guys:

Which widgets have made you love Dashboard? Has Dashboard become an integrated part of your overall workflow? Or is it just a pretty amusement park? (not that this is bad)

Ed Furlong's picture

Two points: 1) I tend to...

Two points:

1) I tend to use the widget as a drawer for a few tools that are useful for my main desktop-Unit Conversions, calculator. I think it is a handy collection tool that way. I like that it can be moved in and out of the foreground while remaining readily available.

2) My 15-year old son (I'm 51) uses tons of widgets and it is a primary way he interacts with his mac. Very differentfrom me. I have been a skeptical but very engaged computer user since PDP 11/73 days and further back. I see this box as a tool, not as an end in itself. I am sure it has been said many times that those growing up with personal computers (Apple and others) have a whole different relationship to the technology; the fascination many have with Widget world is just the most current wrinkle.




An Oblique Strategy:
Honor thy error as a hidden intention


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