Widgets of the week: October 7, 2005

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In this week’s Dashboard roundup, I cover a deluxe clock, a tool for calculating video space/time, and a basic to-do list. And I’ve got some good news about a previous Widget of the Week.

VelaClock (   ; $5 until November 1; $10 after). I’ve previously recommended a couple useful clocks for Dashboard that are more readable and look better than Mac OS X’s built-in clock widget. But all these widgets do is provide the current time; if you’re the type who wants to know more about time than just how long you’ve got before lunch is over, check out VelaClock. It lets you choose up to 24 cities around the world, displaying each’s local time and country flag. But you also get much more information about each location. Select one of your cities and VelaClock’s Time tab displays an analog clock with the local time, along with the date, time zone, and how many hours behind/ahead of you that location is. The Daylight tab displays today’s daylight hours—broken up into bright daylight, night, and three levels of twilight in between—as well as the hours during which the moon is visible in that location. Finally, the Moon Phases tab shows you what the moon currently looks like in that location, accurate to within a minute. (You’re also told the name of the current moon phase and the dates and times of the previous and next phases.)

VelaClock Time
VelaClock Daylight
VelaClock Moon Phase

VideoSpace 1.0 (   ; free). If you do a lot of work with video, a useful bit of information is how much storage space the movie on which you’re working will require. VideoSpace is a handy tool for quickly calculating this data. Just choose the codec you’re using for the video (you get 17 options), choose the framerate, and enter the length of the clip (in the format HHMMSS ); VideoSpace returns the size of the resulting video file. (VideoSpace assumes 2-channel, 48kHz, 16-bit audio; you can change this via the widget’s settings.) VideoSpace also works in reverse, so you can enter the size of a hard drive, DVD, or CD to see how much video your storage media will hold. Yes, that’s a scrolling ad for the company’s products at the bottom of the widget, but it’s subtle as far as ads go—if it helps them provide this useful widget for free, I’m OK with that.

VideoSpace widget

To Do Tracker (   ;free). To-do lists are perfect for Dashboard—you don’t necessarily need to see them all the time, but you want to keep them handy for quick looks and changes. If you keep your to-do lists in iCal, there are several good iCal to-do widgets out there, but if not, Monkey Business Labs’ To Do Tracker is a nice alternative that lets you “jot down” notes on a small onscreen notepad. The notepad holds as many pages as you need; you switch between them via the arrow buttons or a pop-up menu. You can rearrange items in each list and even change the order of pages in the notepad. To Do Tracker doesn’t have as much functionality as a standalone app such as ToDo, and it could use better keyboard control, but it’s a nice option for keeping simple lists.

To Do Tracker widget

UPDATE: Last week, I talked about the cool college football schedule/results widget Conference Call . That same day, Conference Call was pulled from circulation because of issues getting permission from Fox Sports to use their content in the widget. I’m happy to report that Conference Call now has the official blessing of Fox Sports and is again available.

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