When Apple first released Tiger one feature I didn’t really like was Dashboard. It looked pretty but on my 12″ 867 G4 every time I hit F-12 the computer would slow down to a crawl. Even when the widgets would appear they would all take a good 20 seconds to fill up with whatever info they were grabbing from the internet.
As my computers and internet got faster I started using Dashboard for games like the great Asteroid clone from Christopher Marks. Lately I’ve been adding in useful little helper widgets on the recording studio machine. Here’s 10 Macintosh Dashboard widgets for pro-audio. Please note I took the descriptions of each widget from either Apple.com or the developer.
10. GuitarChords. Just pick a note and type of chord. Then watch as the widget displays how to fret that chord on the guitar. Scroll up the neck and see alternate ways of playing that same chord. Next, press the play button and hear what each of these chords sounds like. When you get tired of that, flip the widget around and change the tuning on your guitar. Ever wondered how to play a E-flat augmented chord in Open G tuning? Now you can find out. Download
9. Scales. Get lazy, and look up your major/minor scales or go crazy and write all your songs in Super Locrian and Six Tone Symmetrical. For a reminder, the widget says â€œLearn Your Scalesâ€, in case you donâ€™t have a music teacher to tell you that everyday. Also for your displeasure, this widget has the look and feel of Macintosh System 7. Download
8. Chord Reference. You choose a note and chord type. This ergonomic widget will display simply the notes composing that chord on your guitar. Your ear is the limit. This is a port of the original classic shareware for Mac OS in 1994. It hopefully offers an ergonomic interface for chords, one youâ€™ll find useful and easy-to-use. Download
7. ittyBittyMIDI. A Dashboard Widget for Mac OS X that allows you to quickly monitor MIDI signals on your computer. You can use it to either monitor all MIDI devices or choose one from a pull down menu on the reverse side of the widget. ittyBittyMIDI currently monitors noteOn, noteOff, control change, pitchbend and program change message. Download
6. Pianochords. Did you hate all those music theory lessons, but you do like to play? Then Pianochords may help you out. It shows you all the chords you can think of. Just press a key on the keyboard to set the root of the chord and click the display to select the derived chord. Itâ€™s as simple as that, the perfect companion to GarageBand! Download
5. Metronomic. Metronomic is a simple metronome for your Dashboard music counting needs. This is the first public release and comes with three different visualization options. You can have a standard analog metronome tilting side to side or you can have a counter displaying which beat its on. This metronome widget is for you beat counting musicians who need something light, or for those of you who carry a Mac around and donâ€™t want to have to bring a metronome too. Download
4. BigBlueLounge. Has been developed out of pure necessity, mainly from the need for the tools during sessions over the past two years at my work in the Sydney Opera House. I have also been collaborating with some of the members here getting feedback on the widget and incorporating their ideas. The Widget offers five different tools. Each accessible by clicking on the tab name. Download
– Keyboard: A tiny four octave keyboard is available to be played – you actually get to hear the note via the in-built Core Audio GM Synthesiser. You can select between different sounds, Piano, Guitar, Sine Wave and a Click. When you play a note, that notes frequency, MIDI note number and note name are displayed.
– TapTempo: A simple tool that is probably used at least once per session. Simply click the Lounge or tap your space bar to work out a tempo. You can also see the classic tempo marking for that tempo. A pull down menu offers the choice of a note value to also show the delay in milliseconds for that value at that tempo.
– MediaCalc: This tool is what started me building a widget. You are able to quickly ascertain how much disk space a session will use ahead of time. You can enter in the number of tracks, the duration, the sample rate and bit depth. You can also see what media the resulting file size will be required.
– DigiTool: Calculates the numbers of samples for a given time period and sample rate in milliseconds. Good if you need to enter a delay in samples and you only know the time in milliseconds.
– SonicSpeed: Work out the speed of sound for the given temperature, allowing for conversion between metric and imperial scale, offering a propagation time in milliseconds.
3. A-NO-NE MIDI CC Finder. It is difficult to memorize MIDI Continuous Control number yet you need it to program your MIDI devices such as synthesizer, virtual instrument, lighting system, etc. This Widget let you type MIDI Continuous Control number to find its description, or find related CCs by keyword, or even finds Undefined free spaces. Download
2. Tempo. Tap the button in time with a song. The light on the button indicates how accurate the measurement is. (Red is bad, green is good.) Once you have an accurate measurement, you can double-click on the digits to set the tempo in iTunes. When you want to measure another song, just start tapping the button again. Download
1. Plasma Tube – Motion Light Widget. Engineered Like No Other. The Plasma Lamp Leaves your grampas old Motion Light in the 60â€™s! Weâ€™ve filled this sucker with a material patented exclusively to innermindMedia. This Plasma is like no liquid youâ€™ve ever seen and it simply defies the laws of gravity and physics. This is the ultimate Eye Candy for your OS X Dashboard. Download