It seems like yesterday that Adobe released Apollo, oh, wait that was just two-days ago. ;) To help commemorate the event YourMinis has just released an Apollo application that will bring online widgets into your offline world!
YourMinis is a website that offers a ton of widgets for you to place on a homepage. They have a wonderful tabbed interface that helps prevent too many widgets from cluttering up one page, and best of all is that they offer an extension for Firefox so that your widgets can be accessed in just one click.
Now, however, you can take your favorite widgets offline with you as you add them to your desktop. In order to use the widgets outside of your browser you’ll first need to get the Apollo runtime which is available for both Windows and Mac. Then, like any normal application, you’ll need to install the yourminis air file by downloading and running it. You should see a window similar to this when you execute the “air” file:
Apollo treats this as if you were installing a real application. An entry for the YourMinis Widget Manager will even be added to the uninstall screen (Add/Remove Programs in Windows XP) in case you decide to remove it later on.
After setup completes you’ll see some default widgets already placed on your desktop. After a little configuration you can start to get things just how you like them:
In the upper-right corner you’ll see the Widget Manager. I like to refer to it as the light switch for the widgets. Each widget is represented as a little box, and clicking on one of the boxes will show/hide that widget.
The coolest thing is that you should be able to go to the YourMinis Widget site and select any widget to “copy to desktop”. That’s how it should theoretically work, but on my Vista machine the entire Widget Manager application crashed every time that I tried to load a new widget from the site. That was extremely disappointing because there are a few widgets that I would have liked to use on my computer.
The other thing that this desperately needs in order to become a “real” widget application is a shortcut key to show/hide all of the widgets. When people want to see their widgets they don’t want to go scrounging around looking for an icon or minimizing their windows…they just want to hit a key and have them popup.
I’m sure the YourMinis team will be getting around to adding more great things later on, and hopefully fixing the bug that I found. Maybe they’ll even start offering some sort of option where you can display the tabs from your customized start page. Right now you have to add the gadgets that you want because the application is completely independent of your online settings. Also, a tabbed interface for a desktop widget program, similar to what they offer for their online version, would give them something that no other gadget/widget application currently offers. After all, tabs are the hot thing these days…all the kids are doing it!