UCalgary Widget for MacOSX Dashboard

There are posters and stickers all over campus right now, pointing people to the new UNow.ca site. The goal is to provide easy ways for people to keep up to date on news and events on campus. There's even a downloadable widget available.

UCalgary Widget

UCalgary Widget


But, this widget isn't a Widget. It's a Windows .exe application. Leaving us MacOSX users out in the dark.

Except, we already have Widgets, and they're easy to use and create. I recreated the basic functionality of the Windows widget in under 2 minutes, including the time to find, download, and figure out the configuration of the Widget. Here's how:

  1. Download RSSBean from Apple's Dashboard Downloads site.
  2. Configure it with this RSS feed, taken from the new UofCZine site (which is what I think the Windows widget is using as at least part of its data source).
  3. There is no step 3.

UCalgary Dashboard Widget

UCalgary Dashboard Widget

I could have taken some time to customize a new Widget based on RSSBean, including UCalgary colours and graphics, but that isn't necessary. And might have taken an extra 10 minutes. Also, this Widget is free, required no committees, and involves no licensing fees or software maintenance contracts with consultants (I'm not sure if any of those apply to the Windows widget).

Update: I took a few minutes to whip up a more robust Widget. It's based on the News Reader Widget, and all I did was replace the default feeds. I've added a few of the Gauntlet student paper feeds as well, but 2 of them are currently invalid RSS so they won't display. I'll leave them in, just in case the Gauntlet folks fix the feeds. Here's a screenshot, and the downloadable version is attached to this post.

UCalgary News Reader WidgetUCalgary News Reader Widget

By the way, by FAR the longest part of this process was just finding RSS feeds for stuff on campus. Hopefully that will change as more sites get using Drupal (and the template is fixed to expose RSS feeds).

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