Monday, November 14, 2005

Best Widget Ever!

If you haven't already tried it, give Konfabulator a shot. It's basically Apple's "Dashboard" for the PC (and Mac). (Konfabulator actually came first) It used to cost $20 or so, but since Yahoo! purchased them, it is now free.

Most of the "widgets" are borderline-useless, with a few exceptions:
  • Calendar - nothing like always having a small calendar on your desk
  • Weather - Complete with the forecast, its the next best thing to being outside
  • Wireless Network Status - a meter which shows the signal strength of your WiFi connection
There are many, many more - from dozens of clocks to your favorite movie characters who will say their funniest lines when clicked.

But perhaps the most useful one I have discovered is Knut August Johansen's iTunes Companion. This one stands out above the rest, as it truly automates a tedious task - it fetches album artwork & details from Amazon.com and imports it into iTunes for your existing songs. It will also optionally fetch the Album name, Year, and Track Number and import that into iTunes as well.

I've thrown a number of songs at it - from ABC to ZZ Top - and it seemed to work a good 95% of the time. Simply amazing!

14 comments:

Colin said...

I believe this product is free now. What you stated "It used to cost $20 or so, but since Yahoo! purchased them, it is not free." is incorrect.

I was a little worried at first, but its fine. I just hope its not a form of advertising...

Colin said...

I meant to add, to check out the FAQ:

http://www.konfabulator.com/faq

"Do I need a registration code to use Konfabulator?

Konfabulator used to require a registration code but no longer! It's completely free! Just make sure you have at least version 2.1 (you can download it here) and registration codes will be a thing of the past."

John Scott said...

I suspect that Scott meant "now free", rather than "not free". I've found myself typing that in documents lots of times...

Isn't it weird how Windows users want their machines to look like anything but Windows? ;)

Howard J. Rogers said...

Funny... I just uninstalled it all. I found it graphically obtrustive and (more importantly) CPU consumptive. So it had to go.

I also found the calendar didn't link properly with Outlook as it is supposed to do (I use Outlook 2003).

I still find YzDock the best non-Windows-y improvement you can make to Windows. But each to his or her own, I guess!

Colin said...

But John how can that be? The letters E and R seperate W and T. Maybe we just suffer from fat fingers, poor coordination or a terribble dependency on spell/grammer checkers? :P

Scott said...

What careful proofreaders I have! :)

Thanks for pointing that out - it is NOW free (as in no charge) is what I meant to say.

It isn't the leanest Windows program that I've seen, and it helps to have ample RAM and 2 monitors so that you have plenty of screen real estate.

But I think it's worth it to click on a song in iTunes and then in just a matter of seconds have the album artwork automatically appear! I guess it's the little things...

- Scott -

Howard J. Rogers said...

I can tell you don't have iTunes downloads of Lutoslawski's Symphony No. 2, then. :)

If they ever invent a tool that can correctly identify even 10% of the music in my collection, never mind get the right album art for it, I'd be a very happy man!!

By the way: ditch iTunes! Use Foobar2000!!
(http://www.dizwell.com/other/articles/foobar.htm)

< /end shameless plug>

Scott said...

Howard,

I think that it does some sort of lookup based on the pre-defined Title & Artist of the song. It's based off of Amazon with an option to search Google Images, so it's quite robust.

If it could get some of the awful 80's music that I have correct, I'd give it decent odds that it would do well with Lutoslawski. :)

I'll definitely check out Foobar 2000 - looks interesting...

- Scott -

Howard J. Rogers said...

If you're serious about Foobar, then it does actually have a component which similarly hunts for stuff on Amazon, and downloads album art from there -as you say, based on titles and track numbers, I think.

Something like foo_ui_albumart, if memory serves.

I once had to help someone rip their ABBA collection (honest. This wasn't for me!) And Foobar got every one every time. I was quite gobsmacked at the time.

Scott said...

I once had to help someone rip their ABBA collection (honest. This wasn't for me!)

Sure, I believe you. Really - I do...

:)

- Scott -

Kell said...

I had a friend who wrote an inspirational religious song and recorded it in his home studio. Let me repeat - he wrote a song and recorded it. This widget "found" the album art... and let me just say it was for some speed metal band with a less than inspirational "f-word" in the title. It made me laugh, though, so I'm all for the widget.

Scott said...

I had a friend who wrote an inspirational religious song and recorded it in his home studio. Let me repeat - he wrote a song and recorded it. This widget "found" the album art... and let me just say it was for some speed metal band with a less than inspirational "f-word" in the title. It made me laugh, though, so I'm all for the widget.

I never said it was 100% perfect, but that is darn funny! Made me laugh out loud even...

- Scott -

Frantz said...

Hi Scott,

I am looking for a widget survey. I want to do a mini opinion survey on my blog and show immediatly the result ? Do you know one ?

Thanks

Frantz

Sam Douglas said...

I have been scouring the web trying to find a way to create a widget that will allow users to interact with our oracle database but found nothing.

It would be great to have something that would allow users (or even our development team) to run simple queries from the DW from a widget instead of having to log in to apex or run Toad to do it.... anyone got any ideas?

cheers

sam.