I just noticed that in the Unit Converter Dashboard Widget (the default one that comes with Tiger), there’s a little band across the top of its window that changes depending on what you’ve chosen from the popup. So Area has a grid pattern, Currency has what looks like a border pattern from paper money, Energy is a row of batteries, etc.
I’ve found my usage of Dashboard has fallen off lately. The four widgets I leave open are the Calculator, the Unit Converter, the Weather with the forecast exposed (important prior to hikes and bike rides ;), and a Calendar. I don’t truly have a need for much else that I don’t get elsewhere.
If I want to look up a Wikipedia article, I’ll probably shift to Firefox if I’m not already there, Command-L to the Location field, and type
wiki foobar which will in a moment bring up the fine Foobar article.
The standalone Dictionary.app (under /Applications) works great as well and stays open in the background if I want to head back to the terminal window for a moment. Same goes for iTunes, Address Book, and Stickies.
On the other hand, a set of World Clock instances works great if I’m trying to figure out what time it is for my various friends scattered over the globe. I just don’t usually have them open constantly.
So the ballyhooed* return of Desk Accessories to the Mac is hit or miss, but there are niches where it is good to have, at least for me. What about y’all? Are you still using Dashboard?
A bonus hint I mentioned in the comments of another article here… using Spotlight is a great way to quickly open a desired Dashboard widget without all of the usual steps (especially one that isn’t already open). Just hit Command-Space, then start typing the name of the widget — for example,
U-N-I-T. The Unit Converter widget will show up under Applications. Best of all, if the one you choose isn’t open already, it will pop it into existence in Dashboard automatically.
* from Dictionary: verb ( -hoos , -hooed ) [ trans. ] praise or publicize extravagantly : [as adj. ] ( ballyhooed) a much-ballyhooed musical extravaganza. ORIGIN late 19th cent.: American coinage of unknown origin.
What about y’all? Are you still using Dashboard?