Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Free Your Widgets From Dashboard (Part I)

How about placing your favorite widgets on your desktop?

With the launch of MacNify Widget, I'd love to unveil what is possibly the best trick on Dashboard.

You can use widgets outside dashboard too!

Do Yourself Some UNIX Commands

  1. Fire up Terminal, and run the command: defaults write com.apple.dashboard devmode YES

  2. To verify the changes, run defaults read com.apple.dashboard devmode. It should return you a YES, which means that dashboard is running in development mode.

  3. Lastly, run killall Dock. This will kill the Dock...duh! But Mac will immediately start a new one and reload your dashboard as well.
*if you wish to restore to normal mode, simply type defaults write com.apple.dashboard devmode NO.

If There is Part I, There Must Be Part II

Just in case you find the UNIX commands too daunting, I have created a mini application to do just that for you. But you see, my current download bandwidth is all taken up by the MacNify Widget. Many readers have not been able to download the widget and I know it sucks. Therefore I really am not going to put more things there just to disappoint you. I'll leave the direct download of the mini app to Part II of this topic, when I finally find a host with generous bandwidth. Meanwhile, if you are keen on trying out the mini app, you can place a request at macnify@yahoo.com and I will send it to you. You are encouraged to share it with friends too!

Show me the Mm...magic!

After running the UNIX command or the mini app, you are good to go. Let's do the trick!
  1. Launch dashboard by clicking the dashboard toggle key (e.g. F12, depending on your settings in Preference->'Dashboard & Exposé').

  2. Click on any widget and drag a little. Here's the catch: while dragging, hit the dashboard toggle key once. WHALAH! Now the widget is on your desktop, and it stays on top of all windows, all the time!
*repeating step 2 with the widgets on your desktop will bring them back to dashboard.

Show it off

With this trick you can now use your favorite widgets without even launching the Dashboard, and perhaps wow a few friends who don't read MacNify!

p/s: the mini app is finally uploaded and ready for download.

Yet another Mac tip is on the web!


Matt said...

dont need to log out login to take affect. in terminal use ps -U shortnme | grep Dock

the kill the process instance for /System/Library/CoreServices/Dock.app/Contents/MacOS/Dock

MacNify said...

This post has been updated to make the trick complete. Thanks matt for the add-on. Yup, with a little more know-how you don't have to log out login like never bored.

Just one thing, that command doesn't seem to kill the dock process. Instead use "killall Dock". Check out the updated post :)

MacNify said...

I have received a question in email about how to put widgets back to the dashboard when devmode is turned off.

To do that, you just need turn on devmode and do the click-drag-F12 spell to the widgets on the desktop.

You really don't have to turn off the devmode in the first place :)

MacNify said...

By the way, I have also updated the mini app to omit the log-out log-in chore. Email me to get a copy!

Anonymous said...

You don't need to even bother with the Terminal to do this.. Just download a little App called Widget Master.

macs rule said...

I don't mean to sound like an idiot but why would you have the widgets on the desktop all the time. It seems like lot of clutter. I like not having to log in and out all the time. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

When I try to return to the normal setting using the UNIX code, it doesn't give any errors and even writing defaults read com.apple.dashboard devmode gives me the verification of NO but I am still able to take widgets out of and back into dashboard. What do i do?

Anonymous said...

nevermind about that. I didn't realize I also needed to reload the dashboard using the killall thing

Anonymous said...

I can't get it to work. I did the terminal commands... and it came back yes... yet i cannot grab the widget unto my desktop

Anonymous said...

Just as a little FYI, it seems that this process causes a little bit of indigestion when running apps through X11. I couldn't fire up my copy of the GIMP when devmode was turned on, but once I switched it off, everything was peachy.

Anonymous said...

just so every1 knows, you can just open the dashboard, click the plus to add a new widget, and drag your selection off of the bar at bottom. DO NOT RELEASE YOUR CLICK! Press F12, (or close the dashboard WITHOUT letting go of the mouse), the dashboard goes away, and THEN you release the click. this way you don't have to use the terminal or download ANYTHING!

Anonymous said...

oh, and i forgot to mention, if you open the dashboard again, the widget will no longer remain on the dock. you will have to do the whole procedure over again as written in previous post