Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Amazon Sidebar Tool

Amazon Sidebar Tool is a new gadget release that integrates with Amazon to allow you to search for items, view details, view their pictures, add them to the cart, and then purchase that cart direct from Amazon all right from your sidebar. The idea is to have an Amazon search bar waiting in your sidebar for when you want to check on an item. When you have something to search for, simply type it in and hit enter and the gadget will grow to full size and display all the search results. You can hover over an item to view more details or double click to open a flyout with loads of information about the item including reviews, a list of sellers and a picture browser.

It basically has everything you could ever want from an Amazon search gadget, way better than all those basic search box gadgets that seem to be cluttering up the Live Gallery lately.

If you have any suggestions or issues please leave a comment below or check out the forums.


  • Search and view items with detailed overviews, image gallery and reviews
  • View marketplace sellers for each item and add any seller's item to the cart
  • Buy items in your cart from the Amazon Website
  • Supports Amazon USA, UK, Canada, Germany, France and Japan
  • Choose individual search categories and sorting methods for search
  • Amazon Sidebar Tool resizes to your liking, just grab the bottom-right corner
  • Double-click the Gadget frame to toggle mini-search mode

amazon scr hover

amazon scr flyout cart


More Details

Friday, 15 August 2008

Server Ping Update

Server Ping Pro has been updated once again to version 1.95 now with an audible alarm when a servers ping response time falls below the Orange threshold or the server fails. I've also right-aligned all the ping times (when you're not using the LED mode) to make the gadget look nicer.

All current users of Server Ping Pro will be emailed the new update shortly.

 Purchase Server Ping Pro


Sunday, 27 July 2008

Now Playing 4.04 (beta)


This version is for people who have trouble with iTunes or Foobar not updating. I've changed a few things in the code that may or may not help, unfortunately as I can't reproduce this issue it's difficult to fix it. If you still have trouble, in the settings there's a new option "Enable failsafe". This option will refresh the gadget every 30 seconds and check if the track has changed manually.

Let me know how things go and report any problems in the comments below.

My T-Mobile gadget updated

I've just released a small update to the My-Tmobile gadget that shows you your remaining FlexT allowance. The update fixes the gadget after T-Mobile changed a few things on their website.


Friday, 18 July 2008

Server Ping Updates

I've just released an update to Server Ping (1.43) to fix the issue with some locales who were unable to enter IP addresses and could only ping server names/domains. Download the update to fix this issue.

Also, I quietly released an update to Server Ping Pro (1.8) a few days ago to add support for different thresholds for Green and Orange LEDs showing how long the server takes to respond to pings. To get the update simply re-download Server Ping Pro from the link in the email I sent you.

Server Ping Download

Server Ping Pro

Thursday, 17 July 2008

Now Playing + iTunes 7.7

I've been receiving reports lately from users saying they're having trouble getting the Now Playing gadget to recognise songs they're playing in the new iTunes. I've personally tested NP on my laptop (which has never had iTunes installed before) and it works fine. If anyone else has iTunes 7.7 working with Now Playing could you drop a comment to let me know.

If users are still having trouble I recommend repairing or uninstalling/re-installing your iTunes installation as this has fixed issues in the past when other iTunes updates appear to have broken compatibility with the gadget

Nvision SideShow Competition Reminder

Just a reminder that the Nvision SideShow competition ends tomorrow (July 18th). The four finalists will receive a trip to the US for the Nvision 2008 event and the winner will be picked there by judges and will receive a Dell XPS 420 computer with a SideShow screen built-in.

I've submitted my entry, Computer Status. It's a combined Sidebar and Sideshow gadget that displays information about things like your ram and processor usage and how much battery life you have remaining or what WiFi networks you're connected to. The SideShow part is very basic as I haven't made any SideShow gadgets before but the Sidebar part is complete. It doesn't require a SideShow device to work however, you can run it simply as a sidebar gadget as shown below. I may be doing some updates to this in the future so I'll be sure to keep you posted on the blog.


Gadget Download

Competition Homepage

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

Windows Sideshow for Windows Mobile

A few days ago the much anticipated Sideshow for Windows Mobile application was release to the public as a Developers preview. I've had a chance to try this out on my WinMo device (a HTC Hermes) and i must say it is pretty damn awesome, it only comes with a few gadgets out of the box but it works really well.

Out of the box you can view your currently playing track in WMP including album art, change tracks, play/pause and change volume etc. There's also a great Powerpoint gadget which lets you view your slides and control the presentation right form your windows mobile device. You can also view your Outlook 2007 Calendar, but that's not much use when you already have it on your phone anyway.

Even if you're not that into gadgets, if you give presentations regularly I'd definitely try out the Powerpoint remote .

Get it here

Friday, 11 April 2008

Indexer Status Sidebar Gadget

Brandon Paddock, who works on the Windows Shell Team at Microsoft, wrote cool gadget that shows you the status of your Windows Search Indexer. It lets you know how many items you have indexed, how many are left to be indexed and you can stop and start the indexer right from the gadget.


Download here.

Is Microsoft serious about gadgets?

Consider the following:

  1. Many groups within Microsoft have blogs where they talk about what's going on in the group, give advise on programming, etc, but some groups are more involved with their readers that others. The last post to the Windows Vista Sidebar Blog is dated July 31, 2007 and the Windows Live Gadget Blog is dated June 27, 2006.
  2. Most of the top players in Microsoft's group (the innovators of web gadgets) have either left the company or moved on to other groups within Microsoft.
  3. At Microsoft's MIX08 conference in Las Vegas, I did not hear the word "gadget" uttered once by any panel member or during the keynote.
  4. Code Focus magazine that came in the MIX08 goodie bag focused on Windows Live. There were articles on Live Search, Live ID and Live Writer but nothing on or web gadgets.
  5. Internet Explorer 8 beta 1 was released not long ago at MIX08 in Las Vegas. During one of the IE8 sessions I asked Chris Wilson, Platform Architect and long time IE team veteran how the new features of IE8 would effect Vista Sidebar. He didn't really have a good answer for me. I also asked him if the Windows Vista Sidebar team still exists. His response was "I'm not sure" which prompted several chuckles from the audience. Some have stated online that the Sidebar team has in fact been disbanded.
  6. Over the past year, Google has announced support for Open Social Gadgets and Google Gadgets Ads. During the same period of time, Microsoft's gadget innovations include (insert sound of crickets chirping here).
  7. And what may be the most telling... there are currently 53 Windows Vista Sidebar bugs listed on Jon Abbott's unofficial Windows Vista Sidebar bug list. Windows Vista SP1 was released to manufacturing and not one of these bugs has been resolved.


See the full post by Donavon West at Here

Thursday, 10 April 2008

Now Playing 4.03 (Beta)


This version fixes the issue where the gadget would not detect when a track had changed in Foobar after the player had been reopened. It also supports editing of lyrics with non-standard characters in the track names.

Tuesday, 8 April 2008

Now Playing 4.01 (Beta)


This version contains a possible fix for the issues with foobar. The problem is everytime you change track, Foobar stops the current track and then half a second later starts the next track, so it tells the gadget it's changed track twice (in very short succession) which confuses it a bit, hopefully this version fixes that.

Let me know what happens

Thursday, 3 April 2008

Now Playing 4.0


Now Playing 4.0 is now complete, hopefully I can now leave the gadget for a few more months and I hope you guys are happy with the new tweaks.

  • Major: Delay between switching songs on WMP, iTunes, Winamp or Foobar and it updating within the gadget has been minimized, it is now normally under a second. This has also led to reduced resources usage.
  • Major: Revamped skin system with 10 new large skins and 4 new skins provided by
  • Added "Tips and Tricks" page to settings
  • Localised amazon search results for UK, US, CA, FR, DE, JP
  • Amazon album art tweaked
  • Media Monkey album art support, art is now taken straight from MM
  • Media Monkey track editing (double click on track data when gadget is undocked)
  • Media Monkey play/pause fixed
  • Font size settings fixed
  • You can now close Winamp normally, the quit button has been removed from the player
  • Lots of tweaks, bug fixes and code improvements across the whole gadget


If you get a "Not a valid gadget package" error, delete all downloaded copies of the gadget and try again, this error means something went wrong when downloading the gadget.

If the track doesn't change when you change it manually in your media player: uninstall all copies of NP and reinstall 4.0 from the link above. This problem is related to still having the beta installed.

Saturday, 29 March 2008

Now Playing 3.9993 (Beta)


If nobody has any bugs to report on this I'll release it as an automatic update soon. The skin system has been tested on many systems and should now be fine.

  • Skin system hopefully now fixed

Thursday, 27 March 2008

Now Playing 3.9992 (Beta)


The version numbers are getting a little silly now. The changes I made were quite fundamental to the way the gadget works and they also rely on filesystem stuff so people using XP or non English systems have had issues. Hopefully the gadget will soon be bug free and I can release a much improved 4.0 to the masses.

  • Skin system improved for XP and Different locales
  • Amazon locale system now compatible with XP
  • Quit button removed for Winamp

Now Playing 3.998 (Beta)


Same as before, if you can, please try this out and let me know if you have any problems.

  • Bug fix: New skin system now compatible with other non-english locales
  • Google album art tweaked
  • Track editing tweaked for when there are no track details

Wednesday, 26 March 2008

Now Playing 3.996 (Beta)


Same as before, if you can, please try this out and let me know if you have any problems.

  • Bug fix: Gadget now detects when player is closed and reacts accordingly
  • Bug fix: Winamp will not reopen when closed manually, the user no longer has to use close button in the gadget
  • Bug fix: Font settings now work correctly
  • New: Skin picker now has categories and 10 new larger skins. The process for adding new skins is improved, you just drop them into a folder in the skins folder.

Monday, 24 March 2008

My Vista Macbook Sidebar

I thought you guys might like some new recommendations for gadgets that i think every person should at least try out. The last time I did this it was quite popular and is still getting views off Google, so I though I'd give it a try again.  sidebar

Surprisingly despite it being a year since I last did this I'm still using 3 of the same gadgets as I did before, but I'm now running much fewer


Twenty Four Clock - I'm not especially a fan of the TV show 24 which this gadget takes it's design cues from, but I am a fan of it's looks. I've kept it on my sidebar for over a year mainly because it's easy to read but also because I think it looks good and it takes up barely any space.


Network Utilisation - This very handy gadget gives you a graph showing how much data you're downloading or uploading on any of your network cards. On my macbook I've also modified it so I can click to flick through through my wireless card and the inbuilt LAN.


Computer Status - This is a gadget I put together myself by combining lots of other gadgets I've previously used from different authors into one "super" gadget. It shows CPU usage, RAM usage, HDD usage, WIFI strength (with a flyout showing more details), battery level, recycle bin status, radio with multiple presets, and the date. Unfortunately though as this uses the code from 4 different authors I can't release it. If there's interest in this though I will attempt to contact them and see if they will allow me to release it.





Now Playing Gadget - Like I said last time, chances are if you're on this blog you know what this gadget does. If you don't, seriously, try it now! It shows you details about your currently playing song and retrieves album art and lyrics for them automatically. It has lots of customisation options, loads of functions and is compatible with many popular media player such as WMP, iTunes, Winamp etc.



The Hobby Lounge - This gadget shows you the latest posts from The Hobby Lounge forums and also notifies you of any new PM's via a visual and audio notification. It's a really well thought out gadget with functions like being able to view all the posts in a flyout with links to reply etc. If you want somewhere to talk about gadgets, THL is probably the best (if not the only) place to do so. Also due to the Live Gallery being a bit developer unfriendly, some developers only release their gadgets on THL so THL is a good place to look for new gadgets.

Saturday, 22 March 2008

Now Playing 3.99 (Beta)


If any of you guys use WMP, iTunes, Winamp or Foobar could you please try this out and let me know if you have any problems. If everything goes well i'll release this as 4.0 as an automatic update in a few days with a few more skins from THL.

  • Major: Delay between switching songs on WMP, iTunes, Winamp or Foobar and it updating within the gadget has been minimized, it is now normally under a second. This has also led to reduced resources usage.
  • Localised amazon search results for UK, US, CA, FR, DE, JP
  • Amazon album art tweaked
  • Media Monkey album art support, art is now taken straight from MM
  • Media Monkey track editing (double click on track data when gadget is undocked)
  • Media Monkey play/pause fixed
  • New skins provided by

Thursday, 20 March 2008

Now Playing 3.97

I've made some changes to the Amazon album art fetching, the links should now be localised so if you click on the image you'll get the correct store for your country.

This isn't yet an automatic update as it needs to be tested before I can distribute it, if you don't mind please download below. Once I've confirmed everythings okay hopefully this will be the last update for now. Once again I'm sorry for the flurry of updates.


Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Now Playing 3.96


Unfortunately a user identified an issue where the changes to the ID3 system could cause the gadget to not update when a track is changed so I've had to release another update. Sorry to the few thousand who have to update twice.

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

Now Playing 3.95


Now Playing has now been out for over a year so I thought it'd be a good time to look at the stats and post an update. First i did some calculations based on the amount of hits the update file for NP gets and it works out that Now Playing has approximately 15,000 users! (Assuming each user has NP active for between 6 and 12 hours a day). So as a thanks to all you guys for using my gadget here's another update with some little tweaks.


  • When player is closed, clicking the gadget will open the player (YAY!)
  • Track details for iTunes radio stations are now shown
  • Options in the settings panel have been made more obvious
  • Foobar install process improved
  • New MediaMonkey icons
  • MediaMonkey compatibility improved where exe name is mediam~2.exe
  • ID3 Art reading for X64 disabled as it's not compatible

Monday, 17 March 2008


I normally talk about gadget related stuff but today I'd like to mention a great piece of software called SugarSync. It's main purpose is to keep all your important files in sync between your computer, laptop, and phone. You get provided with 10GB of storage when you sign up which you can use to automatically sync up anything including your documents, pictures, or gadgets. Once they're synced up they can then be accessible from the web which is great if you need a file and you don't have your laptop around and you've forgotten to sync your memory stick. I've been using the beta for about a month now to keep my gadget files in sync between my main computer and my laptop and also to sync up my camera phone and it's been great.

It's now out of beta and there is a 45 day free trial with 10GB of storage. and if you sign up before April 15th it costs $25/£12.50 a year saving you 50%.

Try it out here:

P.S. I'm not making any commission from this I just think it's a great product.

Friday, 14 March 2008

Eve Online API down again

EDIT: API is now back up and the gadget works again. Look forward to an update soon with some more tweaks, support for a proxy, offline support, and hopefully some new skins.


After the recent EVE Online boost update (080312) the API server has temporarily been taken down again. This means the gadget and any other programs you have that rely on the API won't work again until it comes back up.

See here for more details:

Hopefully as soon as it comes back up the gadget will continue to work

Thanks to all the people who reported this, Law

Monday, 3 March 2008

Server Ping Japanese

One of the users of Server Ping (Taku) has very kindly translated the gadget into Japanese and made some very nice tweaks to the graphics.

You can get the updated multi-language version with improved graphics here

Or you can download there Japanese version here

There's also more info in Japanese on Taku's blog



Tuesday, 26 February 2008

Server Ping Pro

I've decided to release version 1.5 of Server Ping as a paid-for gadget as there is quite a lot of interest for a version that can support more than 5 servers. Below is a table of the features showing the difference between the two versions and a PayPal button. Once you click the PayPal button this will take you to a payment page, once you complete payment I'll email you the link to download the gadget.

The main difference between the two is the Pro version supports up to 50 servers and is scaleable and auto-resizes.

EDIT: Server ping pro now supports different thresholds for Green and Orange LEDs showing how long the server takes to respond to pings




Ping or traffic light display Tick Tick
Quick access to ping, traceroute and DNS Lookup tools Tick Tick
Support for IP's and domains Tick Tick
Adjustable timeout and refresh rate Tick Tick
Automatic persistent settings saving Tick Tick
Support for 5 servers Tick Tick
Support for 50 servers   Tick
Auto-resizing   Tick
Access to future updates   Tick
User definable green and orange ping thresholds   Tick
Audio alert when server fails   Tick




Make payments with PayPal - it's fast, free and secure!

Sunday, 24 February 2008

How can I improve the site?

Currently I'm getting around 150 hits a day to the blog with not too much to show you guys. At the moment I only really blog about updates to my gadgets that you might be interested in, but I want to blog more.

So basically I want to know what would you like to see on the site?

  • Reviews of gadgets?
  • Maybe some Forums?
  • Possible gadget ideas?
  • Developments in the gadget world?

Let me know in the comments below or by email

Wednesday, 6 February 2008

Server Ping 1.3 Update

The server ping gadget has finally had some much needed updates.

  • Code rewritten to be scaleable and more efficient
  • Settings saving even when gadget is closed
  • Setting added for timeout
  • Ping, Traceroute and DNS Lookup all accessible with a click of the server name
  • Bug fixes and errors after resuming from standby fixed


Wednesday, 30 January 2008

MediaMonkey Issue Update

The following is suggested on the Media Monkey forums. I haven't tried this so let me know if it helps. Note: This is only if you have the issue with NP sitting idle while MM is playing a song.

See if this command helps:

regsvr32 scrrun.dll

Type the above command in Start->Run and press Enter. Restart Windows.


Edit: A NP user, Preston, has now confirmed that this worked for him so I have added it to the readme.

MediaMonkey Issues/ ID3 Issues

Some more users are reporting to me that there are still problems with NowPlaying and MediaMonkey 3. I've looked into this a lot and it seems with every user the gadget is failing when it tries to connect to the MM API using the following line of code:

new ActiveXObject("SongsDB.SDBApplication")

If your MM just sits there with the monkey head doing nothing while MM3 is playing a song please comment on this post to let me know, and if possible, maybe make a post in the MM forums. I don't currently have a way to fix it though as it appears to be a sporadic problem with MediaMonkey.

ID3 + Vista 64Bit

After moving to 64Bit Windows on my main computer I've realised the DLL that Now Playing uses for ID3 support only works on 32Bit Windows. This is what was causing constant UAC prompts for users; the gadget couldn't communicate with the DLL so it assumed it wasn't installed and tried to install it every time a song played. For now, the stop this is to click on "Disable using ID3 tags" is the "Art Settings" section of the first tab of the settings.

If I have fixes/updates for either of these issues I'll post them on here so it may be a good idea to subscribe to the blog using the RSS icon on the right.

Thanks for your patience, Law

Tuesday, 15 January 2008

New NowPlaying Initial Screen

A NowPlaying user by the name of Matthiew Marks has kindly provided me with some new skins for the initial player chooser screen of NowPlaying. Please vote on which of the 5 options below that you prefer (using the poll to the right hand side of this post). The new version will include this as well as hopefully the option to save Album Art to the ID3 tags.

Edit: Poll closed, Skin 2 it is.

1.  txtskin3  2.txtskin2 

3.   txtskin4 4.   txtskin5  5. txtskin1

Wednesday, 9 January 2008

Skins.Be Downloader 1.4


As promised, here is a new version of the gadget with the uploads feed added. You can view one of the four following feed types for The beta site is now fully functional so the original feed has also been removed as it no longer exists.

  • Latest babe wallpapers submitted
  • Latest wallpapers of a specific babe
  • Latest uploads (clean)
  • Latest uploads (all)


Got any issues or suggestion? Drop me an email

Monday, 7 January 2008

Eve Online Update 1.4


Here's another small update to the Eve Online gadget. Some of you may already have this. If you already have 1.4 there are no changes as there were no bugs reported, it is just being released as an auto-update now.


  • Skill end date in flyout matches local timezone
  • Total Skill Points shown in flyout
  • Option to disable notification sound

Thursday, 3 January 2008

Skins.Be Downloader Update 1.3


The gadget has been updated because due to the server migration at Skins.Be the RSS feed that the gadget used is no longer being updated. It is now using the original Skins.Be feed (non beta feed) which does get updated. Incase the other feed starts working again i have left it in as an option in the settings page.

Once the server migration issues are all sorted i will finish adding the "Uploads" RSS feed to the gadget.

Got any issues or suggestion? Drop me an email

Wednesday, 2 January 2008

Now Playing Update 3.92


Just released another update for NowPlaying, the 40th update! It's mainly just bug fixes and compatibility updates so should help a few people out.


  • Added a disable ID3 option (for UAC problems)
  • Set 6 play button improved
  • Settings page made more obvious
  • Winamp close button added (should fix Winamp reopening issues)
  • Media Monkey close button added (should fix scripting warning dialogue)
  • Media Monkey compatibility improved
  • iTunes, Winamp and Media Monkey close button added to docked mode
  • interface updated, more lyrics will now be found
  • editing fixed

EDIT: Sorry for breaking iTunes support there, the gadget's now fixed, it's version 3.91 you need, use the download link above or the gadget will get the update automatically in a few hours.

EDIT2: The lyrics should now work instead of just showing "loading". Let me know if you guys find any other issues.

Eve Online Update 1.3


Here's a small update to the Eve Online gadget, I decided to release it now as it has the updated Skill List which I've had a few emails requesting. It's not quite done, the flyout needs a new skin but other than that I think it's fine. If you find any bugs please let me know ASAP.


  • Skill training finished sound should now work
  • More obvious alerting that the you have no skill in training
  • Option to disable scrolling text (which can be distracting)
  • Refreshing of gadget improved a bit, remember you can still double click on it to refresh
  • Skill list lengthened, hopefully contains all the current skills
  • Added Skill End Date to flyout so you don't have to calculate it manually