Wheee shiny new computer

Hello there! Sorry I haven’t posted for a few days. I’ve been too busy getting over this new PC thing what I got with Vista on it. On the one hand it’s a bit silly to get Vista so early as it’s going to have so many little problems to begin with. On the other hand, I’ve been waiting to get a PC of my own for ages and it always seemed a bit pointless to get a new PC when the new version of Windows was just around the corner (ha ha ha).

The upshot of it is that I’ve got a computer that’s slightly ridiculous. Here’s how it happened. It was the cheapest one on Dell’s website. The choice of speakers was either two really crummy looking ones that looked like they would disintegrate if you touched them; or a ridiculous 5.1 system. 5.1 system it is then. Bwoom.

I also misjudged the size of the monitor. I guessed that 19″ would have been just about the same as the old monitor I used, just a bit wider. Maybe it is, but it’s too bright or something. I’ve even turned the brightness down, and I’ve moved the whole lot to a desk that lets me sit further away from the monitor, and I’m still squinting a bit and getting a bit of a headache.

Also, all of these lines of text are now ridiculously wide. This is making it difficult for me to judge how big these paragraphs are, which is probably why they are all bigger than normal. I guess I should just resize my browser window, but I’ve always liked to have everything maximised.

Anyway, that’s all boring. The purpose of this post is to talk about the gadgets (widgets to you and me) that come with Vista by default. I mean, they are all potentially useful, but some of them seem to fall short of their potential. Take the calendar gadget for instance. As far as I’ve been able to work out all it does is show you today’s date and then it shows you a little calendar of all the dates in the known universe.

Flick over to the start menu and you find an application called Windows Calendar. Nice! Does it sync with the calendar gadget? Not as far as I can tell. So right now I’ve got a calendar in my sidebar, but I can’t put any events on it. In other words, it’s a bit useless.

Then there is the weather gadget. Yes, it knows that Kirkcaldy exists! Result. Er, but hang on. Can I not get this to give me a weather forecast? Apparently not. It can only tell me what the weather is right now. I could really just look out the window to get the same information this has given me. More than anything else, it serves as a permanent reminder that I probably should really be outside and not sitting indoors getting pale in front of a computer. But I bought Vista as soon as it released ferchrissakes. This is like McDonald’s asking me to go swimming before I eat a Big Mac.

I know that you can download other gadgets and that better ones are bound to come out soon enough. But I really wonder why they bothered. Both of these are potentially very useful gadgets, but they lack any functionality whatsoever.

Normal blogging will resume soon! Possibly.

Update: I forgot about the RSS gadget, which would be really good — if you could choose an RSS feed that wasn’t from MSN!


  1. […] I’ve been fiddling around with Gadgets again, and I have to say I stand corrected about the weather gadget! I hadn’t realised that dragging them away from the sidebar actually makes gadgets more functional. I now know that Sunday will be cloudy and Monday and Tuesday will be rainy. […]

  2. This is standard MS practise, that is to give you something that only half meets your expectations in the hope that you’ll be up for the next incremental but expensive upgrade. I’ve been waiting since 1998 for Outlook to be better than “alright but a bit crap”. Still not quite there, but better than the last version.

    If I worked on the Outlook dev team it would be making the tea and taking the wife to a good musical by now.