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Windows Sidebar Weather Gadgets

I’ll be the first to admit it – when Microsoft announced that part of its Vista operating system was going to be a sidebar with “gadgets”, I was skeptical. After all, Yahoo already offered something similar called “widgets”, and the last thing that I wanted was something else cluttering up my desktop. As I explored the sidebar, however, and discovered that not only can you undock the gadgets from the sidebar and move them to wherever you want on your desktop, as well as close the sidebar itself while leaving the gadgets open, I became a fan.

One of the gadgets that lives on my desktop is a weather gadget, showing current conditions and a three-day forecast. So I thought that I’d offer overviews of five weather gadgets here.

The first one is The Weather Channel’s gadget.


Once you click on the options tab to set your location and your color preferences (there are sixteen for this gadget, including amethyst and leather), it shows your current temperature and conditions, as well as tonight’s low temperature. When you click on the arrow in the lower left, though, it opens up the full gadget.


This gadget shows a two day forecast, as well as a Doppler weather map for your region. If you click on the “weather in motion” tab at the lower left, it opens a browser to The Weather Channel’s website, with an interactive weather map.

Next is the Personal Weather Station from Weather Underground.


This compact little gadget is jam-packed with information for the true weatherhead. Although there’s no forecast option, it shows current time, temperature, barometric pressure, wind speed and direction and humidity.

Next is the gadget that I use. It’s called Simply Weather.


It shows the current temperature and conditions and the high and low temperature range, as well as a more complete three-day forecast.

Next is the Accuweather.com gadget.


This is probably the smallest and simplest of the weather gadgets. It shows the current temperature and conditions as well as the high and low temperature ranges. It also uses an exclamation point icon to let you know when severe weather warnings are in effect. I use this one to keep track of the weather where my loved ones are.

The last, and probably the most popular, is the Weather Bug gadget.


It shows the current temperature, in both analog and digital format, as well as wind speed and direction, and tomorrow’s forecast. The arrows at the bottom give you the options of live conditions, a three-day forecast, a doppler weather map or a live camera.

Who says that talking about the weather is boring?

~Randal Schaffer