I go to the software download sites every day. MacUpdate, Versiontracker, you know, the usual suspects. And they're great. Always up to date, full of useful products, and information about said products. I actually go to these sites several times a day, just to stay current. And I used to enjoy it. But lately, when I go to, say, MacUpdate, the list is entirely full of what forevermore I shall think of as the lowest form of application: the widget.
I think they need a whole seperate category for these. I mean people think they're cool right now, because they're the latest thing, but I'd venture to guess most people only use a few widgets, and not even very often. Am I right? Am I? But even if people are using them, do we really need seven bajillion little, tiny apps that do one, highly specialized thing? Here's an idea: Let's make a widget that draws lines. Then we'll make one that draws shapes. Then we'll make one that draws textures. In fact, let's make a widget for every function in Photoshop. And then, let's post them all to MacUpdate at the same time, so no one can see anything but widgets, widgets, widgets. No real applications. Just widgets as far as the eye can see. But what about the folks who don't even have Tiger yet? What about them? Tough shit. Move on.
God! I can't even stand the term "widgets" anymore. Try it. Try saying (or writing) "widgets" five or ten times. Gets really annoying doesn't it?
And then there are the novelty widgets. Hula Girl is my favorite widget. Want to know why? Because Hula Girl actually gets what Dashboard is about: novelty and eye candy. I mean compare, for instance, the look of Dashboard to the look of Final Cut Pro, and you'll see what I mean. Final Cut is cold, severe, business-like, and dark gray, making maximum use of screen real estate with tiny buttons and almost no color, or even icons, by default and by design. It's made for efficiency. Its interface says simply this: Let's kick some video ass. Dashboard, on the other hand, is the exact opposite. Just activating it brings it up with an exciting zoom effect. The inactive widgets are hidden away behind a giant plus-sign button. And the active widgets are all over the place and range wildly in color, shape, and general appearance, depending on the function of the widget. Activating a widget produces yet another effect -- the ripple effect that brings the widget into view. Sure it's cute. Sure it's fun. Sure it might even be useful at times. But Dashboard's interface screams one thing and one thing only: I am a toy.