I’m a bit of a junkie when it comes to add-ons.
My Firefox browser is loaded with third-party extensions. Sage newsreader. Gmail Notifier. MeasureIt. ColorZilla. QuickNote. FireFTP. You name it, it’s probably been loaded on my browser at some point and I still use my core extensions on a regular basis.
Same goes for Dashboard Widgets. Thanks to Amnesty, I can load as many nifty Widgets as I want on my desktop without cluttering up my workspace. My iCal Events Widget reminds me which stories, reviews and blogs we have scheduled to go up on the site over the next few days. My iTunes controller is much more convenient than having the whole iTunes app hogging my screen. And I even still have an older version of Konfabulator displaying a full-screen clock on my desktop.
It’s almost a habit for me: When some new Widget or extension comes out, I take it for a test drive. But one thing these all have in common is functionality. They get used, or they get deleted. And because I have such a high turnover, I’m a bit of a snob.
I used to think that countdown and counter Widgets were product for people with nothing better to do than sit at their computer and watch numbers change. I mean, come on, does anyone’s livelihood really hinge upon how many times Firefox has been downloaded ? Or how long it will be until Burning Man ?
Which is why I’m almost ashamed to admit that I actually got some use out of the iTunes 500 Million Counter Dashboard Widget.
I actually installed it and occasionally checked to see if the big 500 was approaching, knowing that we’d have to post a story. Turns out it happened on a Sunday night, when the office was empty. But our ever-diligent Peter Cohen took care of business first thing Monday morning.
Perhaps Apple will be inspired to offer similar Widgets: days until the next OS update, months (or years) until the release of Longhorn (or whatever it’s called by the time it arrives), or maybe a combo widget showing the order of Apple hardware slated to be transitioned to Intel chips and when they’ll be offered to the public. Wishful thinking, I know.
So maybe I didn’t get much mileage out of the download counter, but it certainly served its purpose. Am I a convert? Probably not, at least until they roll out a Widget that counts down the days until I hit the lottery.