One of the things that I really love with Google is it’s support for recognizing calculations and conversions in the search box. We’ve already demonstrated how many different ways you can use the Google calculator, but I was disappointed to find out that no one had made a Vista Sidebar Gadget for it yet.
When Ashley and I were hunting down the best Vista Sidebar Gadgets we didn’t see a great conversion utility. There were some that had drop-down menus that contained the units, but I like the style of Google’s calculator where I can just type in the units. That way I don’t have to sort through a menu that contains dozens of different units, and it’s just all around faster.
That’s when I came across the Instacalc site that was launched almost a year ago. The site itself provides live calculations as they are typed into the fields, and as seen in the screenshot above you can set variables to be used in later calculations. In addition to serving as a calculator it can also do conversions for units and binary/hex/oct number bases.
The best part, however, is that they have also created a Vista Sidebar Gadget. I’ve been using this gadget all weekend, and it has quickly become the one that I use the most. Just look at all the different things you can do with it:
This is a must-have gadget for anyone running Vista … especially since you don’t have to sit there typing in all the zeros for things like a “billion.” As you can see in one of the screenshots above it recognizes words for things like that.