During week #6 of exploring Windows Vista, I started to play with what is called the ‘Sidebar.’ Basically, this is a bar that sits where you put it (defaults to the right side of the desktop) and will display ‘gadgets’ of your choosing.

It is similar to Yahoo! Widgets (aka Konfabulator), offered here.

The Sidebar allows the user to configure what are called ‘gadgets’ that come in a variety of flavors. These gadgets are basically mini-applications that connect to Web services to deliver business data, weather information, news updates, traffic maps, Internet radio streams, and even slide shows of online photo albums.

Gadgets can also integrate with your applications to provide streamlined interaction. For example, a gadget can give you a quick view of all your online IM contacts, the view from your calendar, or an easy way to control your media player. Gadgets can also have any number of dedicated purposes. They can be calculators, games, sticky notes, and more.

Additional gadgets can be downloaded online. Naturally you need an Internet connection for these gadgets to function properly. I tried using a gadget for my Gmail account from Google, and it worked just fine. So you are not limited to Microsoft stuff only, which was a pleasant surprise.

And if you don’t want to use the Sidebar feature, you can turn it off. 🙂

I think that once Vista is in full swing, you will see more and more gadgets being offered that could make your daily computer chores somewhat simplified. I found that after using the Sidebar since first installing Vista RTM, it has now become a part of the desktop that I will be using now and in the future.

Bottom line: It’s a toy that every Vista user can try, then decide whether to use or not.

[tags]vista, rtm, sidebar, gadgets, weather, calendar, traffic, games, sticky notes, media player, gmail, news, contacts, yahoo widgets[/tags]