OS X is full of cool and useful features, and yet Dashboard remains the unloved genetic experiment kept in a secret room with a tire swing and salt lick. Generally speaking, web apps have replaced Dashboard Widgets to do micro-tasks (honestly, I can only get so excited about checking my flight times in a dedicated app). Could there be a way to restore verve that Dashboard and its Widgets once enjoyed in its heyday? Lifehacker thinks there might be some value left in the OS X feature that most of us forgot.
First, Lifehacker hits on some philosophical approaches to understanding the Dashboard’s value:[quote]The key is to embrace Dashboard for one of two ends: a fun screen or a useful screen. Don’t try and load it up with everything cool you can find, instead, use it for singular services that are useful to you. Start by hitting up the official Dashboard widget page and find hings that are useful for your workflow. A few built-in widgets, like sticky notes and the calculator are clearly useful, but here are a few ideas for what you can do with the screen you might not have considered.[/quote]
Once you’ve managed to purge yourself of the irrational need to max out on Widgets you’ll never use, take a look at some of the jobs that dedicated apps in Dashboard will do best: Monitor your system usage with apps that watch RAM and CPU, gather a general overview of how long your laptop, mouse and trackpad batteries will last, keep an eye on Time Machine backups, etc. Primarily, however, Lifehacker encourages us to stop looking at the Dashboard as a catch-all for every stupid little Widget we find on the net and, instead, give it a single job to do and make sure it’s done well. In that way, Dashboard could potentially become more meaningful to your workflow than simply being the desktop space you never visit.