Scott Hanselman

Vista Sticky Notes and other updated Applets

March 20, 2007 Comment on this post [18] Posted in Musings
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I was poking around Windows Vista today, seeing if there was anything I's a few bits of niceness that made me smile. There's a number of updated Applets that are pretty slick, while others haven't changed.

Sticky Notes is meant for use with TabletPCs (or PCs with Wacom Tablets) and includes voice note recording.

They've finally updated Sound Recorder...bummer that the little chart is gone. It saves only WMAs now, not WAVs.

The Clock Applet that comes up when you single-click the time is completely new, with shiny clock art, and the ability to have multiple clocks in different time zones. This is almost worth the price of admission. ;)

Calculator is the same. Lame! They could have done so much!

They did give it a new icon, though. Someone worked hard on that icon, I say.

The On-Screen Keyboard is for accessibility (and I'm sure it will come in useful one day when I have only a mouse and no keyboard and lots of typing to do) but it's not sizable/scaleable, the fonts are poorly anti-aliased, poorly centered, and apparently there wasn't enough room for the "i" in Shift."

I sure like the Windows Features stuff...makes locking a system down a lot easier when I'm in YAGNI mode.

What other Applets have had makeovers?

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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March 20, 2007 14:11
The other day I noticed perfmon has had a makeover - As well as a new 'dashboard' view in front of the old performance graphs, there's a new pane for tracking 'system reliability' on there that looks intriguing, although no clues as to what the metrics are behind the reliability quotient that it graphs...
March 20, 2007 14:40
Perhaps they should have left out the 'f' rather than the 'i'.
March 20, 2007 14:45
I really wish they would add a "Always On Top" option on the calculator. How often do you need to do a series of calcuations (outside of Excel) and have to keep switching between the application you're supposed to be working on and the calculator. If the calculator could be set to "Always On Top" you can do your calculations, close it and be happy.
March 20, 2007 15:11
I think the new soundmixer is nice, allowing you vary soundlevels on different applications. If your having a conversation on Skype with poor sound quality, and you turn the sound up, your can turn sound down on windows alerts and IM clients etc. and thereby avoid the chockeffect when somebody logs on to Messenger, but still keeping the alerts audible.
March 20, 2007 17:38
Windows Movie Maker has some nice improvements, but since it won't run on a non-WDDM video chipset(like the one in my wife's laptop), I bit the bullet and bought Adobe Premiere Elements. That made my wife happy; Her degree is in mass media and she had plenty of experience with the full version of Premiere in college.

Windows Fax and Scan is actually less useful than the Scanner and Camera Wizard in XP, IMHO. Too cluttered, too many steps to do the simple task of scanning a document or picture.

For home users who can't justify the purchase of their own license of Office (at least not when OpenOffice and Google Docs and Spreadsheets are very viable alternatives for occassional at-home use), Windows Calendar is a decent little scheduling app that supports meeting invitations. I still prefer Google Calendar, though, because of its tight integration with Gmail.

Windows DVD Maker is nice for the typical user, particulary one using Windows Movie Maker. A better alternative for the power user is DVD Flick. It's very robust in its handling of just about any codec. When you've got a less-than-reliable cable HD DVR, the combination of DVD Flick and <a href="></a> is a life-saver.

I just noticed Windows Meeting Space... Has anybody used that? Is it any good?
March 20, 2007 17:43
D'oh... Forgot the closing quote on the link... my bad.

Hey Scott - Feature idea for Das Blog: Since you're adding support for OpenID, and those people using OpenID will be authenticated, why not allow OpenID users to edit their comments?
March 20, 2007 17:57
I wonder why they didn't include Calculator Plus with Vista? I've been using it as the calc.exe replacement in XP for years now.
March 20, 2007 18:15
You should check out the "Install New Font" dialog, it is the same as it was in Windows 3.1!!!!

March 20, 2007 19:08
The onscreen keyboard seems to be geared for the tablets and ultramobile PCs for people who's hand writing is so bad they cant use the ink (or the app doesnt support it). That would also explain the size.
March 20, 2007 19:44
Worst redesign ever: Task Scheduler. OMG! is the more geekiest app I have see from MS from long time ago.
Windows Mail (OE): Is there a team who worked on it? I assume they are all fired by this time, they did nothing.
Paint & notepad: I like non bloated stuff, but, please, some toolbars and basic features can hurt much.
Best new gadget: Snipping tool.
March 20, 2007 21:58
Hi Scott,
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March 20, 2007 22:28
Seriously, would it kill them to beef up Notepad a little?
March 20, 2007 23:06
The i costs extra and will be released in Vista Plus! later this year after Vista OSR1 is sent to market. ;)

Kevin, it might.
March 20, 2007 23:14
That CalcPlus app is a joke. Worst thing I've installed on my computer this year. Thanks for the link though, I hope it was a joke.
March 21, 2007 1:07
Actually the Sound Recorder can save WAV files, just not by default.

If you launch it from the command prompt with a filename.wav as a parameter, then it will default to saving as WAV files instead of WMA.

Odd that they don't allow you to choose between both from the Save dialog.

March 21, 2007 20:37
The new clock is def. useful, I've got Louisiana and GMT as my alternatives.

There have been huge improvements to Disk Manager -- especially the addition of Dynamic Disk Resizing. The new details found in Task Manager are also pretty nice.
March 31, 2007 14:04
Hi, I was wondering, how do I get internet explorer to appear at the sound mixer????
May 09, 2007 10:16
Odendaal - if you want an "always on top" calculator, download the one for the sidebar, then undock it, and make it transparent.

Edddy - the whole idea of notepad is that is ISN'T beefed up - you want beef, use wordpad.
notepad is good for .txt stuff with little to no formatting. And booyah for the snipping tool.

James - to get internet explorer (or ANY app) on the volume mixer, you need to get it to make a sound, whether a default beep, navigation click, or anything. the mixer shows the last few aplications that sent a sound signal to the bus.

Happy vista'ing.

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.