When I first played with Vista, I found the sidebar to be an annoyance which took up valuable desktop property. As time has gone on, I am using it more and more. This is mostly because there are a lot more worthwhile gadgets available than when I first started using it. It is now becoming quite useful to have.
Logitech has a new range of Vista Sidebar Gadgets available from their website. All of the Gadgets mentioned here can also be used as Yahoo! Widgets. Each of these tools are related to keyboards. Best of all, you don’t need a Logitech keyboard for them to work. I am using a Microsoft cordless keyboard and all of the gadgets worked fine.
Key Lock Status Gadget: Cordless keyboards generally don’t have LEDs in them to tell you when your num/caps/scroll locks are active or inactive. This is often the job of the receiver. You are able to get software that shows a popup on your screen, but these fade away, clog up the tasktray or look really ugly.
This gadget from Logitech sits in your sidebar and shows you the state of your keyboard. The response time is a little slow (around 1 second) but it looks nice and is always visible.
If you like that, it’s just the beginning of what Logitech has for us…
Keyboard dashboard: See how quickly you type. This gadget gives you a speedo like display that shows you the average amount of words you type a minute, how many characters you have typed since the last reset, as well as the speedo itself, swaying around the 20wpm as I type this article. There is also an instant reset button.
While it is a bit of fun to play with, it is always good to try and improve your typing speed, so that you can get more done in less time. This is a handy tool that you can use to challenge yourself each new day.
There are even some practical uses…
- Improve your typing speed.
- Get a rough idea how many words are in your new documents.
Figure out how many times you press buttons while playing games.
Know when somebody has been using your computer.
While sending an SMS from your computer, see when the 161 characters are used up.
So once you know how many words you type a minute, you may want to see how accurate you are. Logitech have a solution for that too.
Error Rate Calculator Gadget: This simple gadget compares the number of times you press the backspace key compared to all the other keys. It calculates a percentage from this data. Obviously, the lower the number, the less errors you are making.
At this rate, my Sidebar may as well have Logitech branding.
Grab them from Logitech. The link may fail as it is set for Australian Locale. If you have problems, type gadgets into Logitechs search.