Best of the Web 2008
Replace the ruby red slippers with the Internet and your heels for a mouse. Click a couple times. And — BAM! — you are exactly where you want to be: downloading a new widget or using a Web site application.
You may have already dabbled in some Web site applications and put your toe into the pool of widgets, but it’s time to dive in. From organizational help to modern entertainment, the 21st Century’s gizmos and gadgets offer a much different lifestyle than that of the 1930s — and you should seize the opportunity.
While Web site applications can be used through their host site, widgets (or interactive objects on the computer) can be used through the Yahoo! Widget Engine (formerly called Konfabulator), the Google Sidebar or your very own Web site. Warning: Although Yahoo! widgets can be very helpful and fun, they are pretty RAM intensive, which can slow down your computer. All widgets discussed from Widgetbox can be used on Web sites, blogs, and Facebook and MySpace pages, but they cannot be used with the Yahoo! or Google widget bars. Similarly, Yahoo! widgets cannot be used on the Google Sidebar and vice versa, but both can be used on Web sites, blogs and Facebook and MySpace pages, among others.
So leave Toto behind and answer the door because opportunity’s knockin’.
Follow the Logical Road
This category is for women who want to be more efficient and productive
Smarter Stickies (Yahoo!): Stop killing trees with old-fashioned Post-it notes, and save yourself from clutter at the same time. You can post these “sticky” notes on your desktop as little reminders, but don’t worry about an overwhelming number of these little forget-me-nots. You can specify a time when each note will appear.
Multi Note (Google): Although the Google Sidebar comes with a “Scratch Pad” installed, this widget allows you to organize your jots with individually labeled pages. Bad news for Mac-lovers, though. This is a Windows only widget.
Scribbler 3.0 (Yahoo!): For copy-and-paste-aholics, this widget can automatically store up to 20 copied items, including quotes and URLs. With Scribbler, say goodbye to the days of only being able to copy one item at a time.
Windows Dock (Google): With a busy desktop, finding the “short”cut to your favorite programs can be a time-consuming venture. But Windows Dock allows you to have seven programs in its easily accessible location on the Google Sidebar. If only Dorothy would have had Kansas on her dock…
Local Gas Prices (Widgetbox): Don’t waste gas by driving around to find the deals! Use this widget to find the prices of local gas stations. Type in a ZIP code, and the widget will tell you the name and address of the gas station with the lowest local prices. Be ready to type in a couple nearby ZIPs because the widget will only report really local gas prices.
CouponSpire and CouponCabin (Google): Save even more gas by shopping online and save money doing it with these widgets. Search for online coupons and deals with these widgets before you make an over-priced purchase.
Other Handy Helpers
Cincinnati Traffic 2 (Yahoo!): Prepare yourself for the Queen City roads by checking in on this widget as it cycles through the feeds of local traffic cameras.
Lock-It! (Yahoo!): Stepping away from your desk for a minute? Lock it with Lock-It! This widget allows you to lock and unlock your computer quickly and easily so that you can protect your documents. No identity theft here!
Rub Your Eyes! Get Out of Bed!
This category is for women who are active – physically, mentally and socially.
Health and Fitness
MapMyRun.com: Use this Web site to keep track of your running workouts and figure out the distance of your own yellow-brick-road runs.
Gyminee.com: Keep track of your health and fitness with the tools on this Web site. You can also make your information public to receive support from fellow members. After all, Dorothy wouldn’t have reached her goal of Emerald City without the moral support from the Scarecrow, Tin Man and Cowardly Lion.
St. Luke Hospitals’ Interactive Tools: From calculating your Body Mass Index to assessing your risk of having a heart attack to quizzing yourself about healthy pregnancies, these interactive tools provide a seemingly endless amount of helpful information.
ColorBurn (Yahoo!): Whether you’re trying to decide what colors to paint your living room or what colors to paint your canvas, ColorBurn may be able to help. This widget displays a new color palette every day. Use this 21st Century muse for your next masterpiece.
Doodlings (Yahoo!): Galleries and museums are not the only places you can enjoy artwork. Use this gadget to display a slideshow of artwork on your own desktop.
Bestuff.com: Release your pent-up creative energy by creating a collage of the “best stuff.” Whether it’s a display of rain or a montage of animals, you can let the world know what is “the best.” And you can vote on whether other people really know what “best” means.
Countdown To/From (Yahoo!): Count down to a major (or favorite) event or date with this widget. You can also count up from a date. How many days has it been since you were born? How many days since you killed the Wicked Witch of the West? Go figure it out!
If your major event happens to be your wedding, count down to “I do” and get wedding advice with the MagnetStreet widgets (google) and the KJS Weddings widgets (Yahoo!). The MagnetStreet widgets include designs with a cake, bride and groom, or daisy. The KJS Weddings widgets include designs with a girl with a cocktail or in a carriage .
Due Date Countdown (Yahoo!): Moms-to-be can count down to their due date while getting pregnancy tips with this widget.
In the Merry Old Land of…Entertainment
This category is for women who are looking to have fun.
The Classic Thrill
Despite the ever-increasing amount of new toys and technology, some widgets pay tribute to the nostalgic arcade games. Although it may not be the same as when you were younger, you can still enjoy a nice game of Qber, Centipede or Breakout Mini (Widgetbox). You can also enjoy a classic Tetris Widgetbox or Google).
If classic arcade isn’t your style, then check out Darts, 9Ball (Widgetbox) or a classic Piano (Yahoo!).
The Modern Flair
In the digital age of today, people take and send pictures all the time. Instead of keeping all of those pictures in some far-away folder, put them on display on your desktop. Magic Lantern (Yahoo!) provides a constantly changing desktop with images you specify. Wallsposé (Yahoo!) allows you to change the desktop according to the time of the day or the day of the week. Ambience (Yahoo!) takes it a step even further by allowing you to change your desktop by the time of the day, day of the week or weather conditions.
If you would rather have just a digital picture frame changing in the background, Flickr Related Tag Browser (Widgetbox) and Flickr Widget (Yahoo!) allow you to have a changing picture based on a specified tag. Upload your pictures to Flickr.com to have your own pictures in your frame.
While your pictures are changing, your tunes can be too. Listen to iTunes with a control shaped like an iPhone, iPod, iPod nano or iPod shuffle (Yahoo!).
With all these widgets and Web sites, there really is no place like home…or wherever your computer is.
Photo: Neysa Ruhl Photography
Location: The McAlpin
Model: Amber Lewis (displaying the Bengals Widget)
Makeup Artistry: Jocelyn Sparks, Zoë Custom Cosmetics