The Dashboard

If you go back to my initial posting here on August 3rd, 2011 you’ll find a remark about the dashboard being a memory hog. That is so true. Especially if you’re operating on anything less than 512 MB of RAM, I wouldn’t dare using it. It will slow down your whole system, as it won’t release the memory that it grabbed, even if you don’t use the widgets.

(if you want to get rid of the dashboard, open terminal and type defaults write mcx-disabled -bool yes – you’ll need to sign out/in again to apply the changes. If you want to reactivate the dashboard, just replace the “yes” with “no“)

I still haven’t really figured out what Apple’s original plans & expectations for the dashboard were. When Tiger came out, I remember it being actively advertised as the next big thing. Instead of single programs, people would use lots of widgets (mini-apps) to keep track of the latest news, weather, tv program etc. Miraculously, that never happened. Public interest in the dashboard eroded pretty fast. At least you rarely read about new widgets if you don’t go to special dedicated dashboard widget websites.

Somehow the same thing happened with me too. After being really into widgets when I got 10.4 I lost interested in them on the way. Today, I only use it to quickly access a calculator. And for iStatPro. Which is a pretty cool widget for monitoring the status of your system. Recommended download by yours truly.

Today, even Apple seems to have forgotten about it’s former killer-feature (which some say was just a bad rip-off of Konfabulator). Apple still has a library of widgets on its website, but the section doesn’t really look very lively. It’s hard to find on their website and I can’t recall the last time I saw Apple advertising it. I couldn’t find any evidence of it on the top-level of Apple’s website. In fact, I was surprised when a friend told me a while ago that the dashboard is still there in the latest version of OSX. Might be only a matter of time though. The Dashboard – another revolution that never happened.

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One Response to The Dashboard

  1. Dan says:

    This is true, but I think we’re seeing a return to the widget philosophy with iOS and apps. I used to scoff at widgets because you could do almost everything widgets could do in a web browser. Want a weather forecast? Bookmark a weather site. Want stock updates? Bookmark a stock site. No need for all these separate widgets taking up memory. But now with apps on the iPhone, the web browser (and maybe the web itself) is being sidelined by apps that are separate and not interacting. This to me is a step backward, and I hope websites can effectively design for mobile platforms better and the web browser can again push all these apps aside.

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