2005-05-05

Dashboard

I know it's early days, but I don't like Dashboard. I noticed last night that, despite the new weather widget, I hadn't remembered to check the forecast in the morning. Why not? Because the dashboard is normally hidden.

Here are some of the things that annoy me:

  1. It's stupid that they're on a separate desktop and only there; why can't I choose? I'd rather have the weather displayed in the space currently used in the Dock by Dashboard itself, the dictionary already has more useful relatives in the Dictionary application and the pop-up, and if I need a calculator, I probably want to see it. Plus the Calculator application keeps shuffling towards being okay, and the Dashboard widget is like the bad old days. Which brings me to...

  2. Most of the widgets are useless crippled versions of full applications we already have. What's the point in that? Presumably Apple think there is some point, or they wouldn't have spent development effort on this. But I wish they'd explain it to me.

  3. Widgets should be updating themselves in preparation for me next looking at them. Surely part of the point of having quick access to them is so I don't waste time? In which case, I want to glance at them, see the latest information, and dismiss them again. I can't use them like that if I have to wait for them to update.

  4. The widgets are too US-centric. Want your local weather? May I recommend you relocate to California? Works great there. In fact, I could have left everything set to Cupertino (which is a retarded default when I've given my exact zip code as part of the registration process).

  5. Widgets look far too hard to write. There's a lot of duplicated code between them rather than a good widget-writing library. They use plenty of native code. A quick find(1) reports:

    • ./Address Book.wdgt/AddressBook.widgetplugin

    • ./Calendar.wdgt/Calendar.widgetplugin

    • ./Dictionary.wdgt/Dictionary.widgetplugin

    • ./iTunes.wdgt/iTunes.widgetplugin

    • ./Translation.wdgt/Translation.widgetplugin

    • ./Unit Converter.wdgt/ConverterPlugin.widgetplugin

    • ./World Clock.wdgt/WorldClock.widgetplugin


    And personally i think that the number of people with good Objective C and HTML and CSS skills is pretty limited. I don't believe, as some have claimed (presumably just because "it's HTML and JavaScript"), this is likely to let users write their own applications.


But, yes, the weather widget is beautiful. And accuweather was my favored source of weather data anyway. Just a pity there doesn't seem to be a link to their hourly forecasts, which are pretty good.