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Preview: Andrew's Widgets

Andrew's Widgets

News and updates for the widgets I have built for Mac OS X Dashboard.

Copyright: Copyright (c) 2005 - 2014, Andrew Hedges. All rights reserved.

GetDilbert 2.0

Sun, 17 Aug 2014 16:08:04 -700

(image) Feed your addiction! GetDilbert simply grabs and displays the latest Dilbert comic from Refreshes “automagically!”

New in Version 2.0:

- Greatly simplified interface. As in, there is no interface. It just works.™

Make-A-Pass 2.5

Tue, 21 Jun 2011 10:10:10 -700

(image) Make-A-Pass generates secure, random passwords with the click of a button! This widget is highly configurable, similar to the online utility at WinGuides, but also including FIPS 181 capabilities. Note: most of the configuration options are on the back!

New in Version 2.5:

- Updated for Mac OS X Lion compatibility

diggstream 1.0

Sun, 24 Oct 2010 21:21:21 -700

This widget is probably the first public example of an app built using Digg's brand new streaming API. It displays real-time activity from Enjoy!

New in Version 1.0:

- Initial public release

Closure Caller 1.0

Sat, 4 July 2010 09:09:09 -700

I threw together a widget for testing out Google's Closure JavaScript minifier. It's pretty crude (e.g., it's big and doesn't resize), but I thought I'd throw it out there in case someone finds it helpful.

New in Version 1.0:

- Initial public release

IP Locator 1.6.2

Sat, 14 Nov 2009 11:11:11 +1300

(image) Ever check your web logs and wonder where in the world is (Answer: Vienna, Austria) How about (Answer: Kerikeri, New Zealand) Wonder no more! Through the magic of geolocation, IP Locator takes that mysterious IP address and tells you where that hit to your web site (or intruder on your network!) resides.

New in Version 1.6.2:

- Fixed a bug where latitude and longitude were sent to Google Maps in the wrong order for HostIP requests
- Added as a geolocation provider

PHP Function Reference

Mon, 25 May 2009 17:17:17 +1300

(image) Fast lookup of information about the PHP web programming language. Features include:

- Offline access to the same documentation found on
- Extensive cheat sheet of common PHP language syntax
- Interactive date string formatter
- Favorites list
- 1-click installation of documentation in different languages
- Localized in English, French, Spanish, German, Italian, and Romanian

New in Version 1.0.1:

- Updated default (English) documentation to the most recent version on (22 May, 2009).
- Fixed a bug that was causing the topics select list to be not selectable
- A couple of minor cosmetic fixes

Hurler 1.1

Fri, 06 Mar 2009 21:00:00 +1300

(image) Makes long URLs short using

New in Version 1.1:

- Added Growl support. Now, if you exit Dashboard before the URL shortening completes and you have Growl enabled, sends a Growl notification. 1.2

Fri, 06 Mar 2009 21:00:00 +1300

(image) Makes long URLs short using

New in Version 1.2:

- Added Growl support. Now, if you exit Dashboard before the URL shortening completes and you have Growl enabled, sends a Growl notification.

heheboy bobblehead

Sat, 21 Feb 2009 22:00:00 +1300

(image) I built this bobblehead widget as a thank you to @heheboy for being my 1000th follower on Twitter.

GetDilbert Temporarily Kaput

Mon, 21 Apr 2008 10:11:12 +1300

Yep, I'm aware that GetDilbert is kaput at the moment. United Media updated their web site without consulting me. (The nerve!) The good news is that they now provide an RSS feed of the comics, so I should have GetDilbert back up and running soon. Thanks for your patience!

PHPfr 1.0 fast approaching!

Sun, 30 Mar 2008 23:45:56 +1300

I blogged today about the imminent release of PHP Function Reference 1.0 (and it’s about time!). PHPfr has been stuck at version for over a year now, but the project is fast approaching this important milestone. There are some great new features and it’s localized in English, German and Romanian so far, with more to come. Watch this space for the big announcement sometime (hopefully) in the next week!

IP Locator Status

Sat, 18 Aug 2007 10:20:30 +1300

A few of you, loyal IP Locator users, have written to let me know that the widget is not working. IP Locator gets its geolocation information from It appears that has moved to a subscription model for most of its services. I have written to R. Scott Perry, the owner of the site and asked him what is to become of IP Locator in light of this change. Scott and I have enjoyed a good working relationship since I approached him 2 years ago and asked if he would like to collaborate on the widget. I will post an update here as soon as I know more. Thanks for your understanding. –Andrew

PHPfr mentioned on Engadget

Sun, 08 Jul 2007 11:22:33 +1300

PHP Function Reference was mentioned today on Engadget. Cool! (Thanks to Rob Scriva, author of Dashalytics, for pointing this out.)

Check out Out There

Thu, 28 Jun 2007 17:17:17 +1300

Fans of GetDilbert might want to check out Out There. Out There is a Far Side-like comic written by George Webster. Good stuff!

Workaround for IP Locator and Safari 3 beta

Sun, 17 Jun 2007 09:10:11 +1300

(image) Safari 3 beta breaks widgets that use the search history feature of search input field types. I have put together a version of IP Locator with that feature disabled for anyone who wants to continue using it with the broken version of Safari. You can download it here. A bug has been filed with Apple and I suspect this will be a fairly high priority fix considering how many Dashboard widgets are affected.

PHPfr is now open-source!

Sun, 14 Jan 2007 09:10:11 MST

(image) I am excited to announce that PHP Function Reference is now open source, under the the New BSD License. The project is being hosted on Google Code and I have a discussion forum set up here for it as well. So far, three individuals have stepped forward to contribute to the project: Kelly Patrick Robinson was first in line at the opening of the Albuquerque Apple Store and adds to his list of conquests as first to join PHPfr; Nelson Darkwah Oppong, creator of the Fire ftp widget, is a programmer and graphic designer from Germany; and Barbara Napholtz, a longtime, paid user of PHPfr has agreed to do quality assurance testing on the widget. I am hopeful that with this infusion of talent we will finally be able to push PHPfr to a stable, 1.0 release. Thanks Kelly, Nelson, and Barbara for joining!

Newfangled Telegraph is open for business!

Mon, 01 Jan 2007 09:00:00 MST

I am officially a freelancer, doing business as Newfangled Telegraph. If you need a widget developed, now is the time to contact me!

Sundial 1.1

Mon, 16 Oct 2006 12:34:56 MST

Sundial 1.1 is now available. This version adds support for a truckload of languages and fixes a few minor outstanding issues. Download it now!

Entropy: Make-A-Pass for Wireless

Tue, 10 Oct 2006 10:10:10 MST

Looking for a secure, random WEP/WPA passkey generator? Check out Entropy. It’s like Make-A-Pass for wireless.

Widget Localization Tutorial

Thu, 28 Sep 2006 01:02:03 MST

Over at, I have posted the first in a series of blog entries about What Sundial Taught Me. The first one is on Widget Localization. It’s a pretty thorough overview, if I do say so myself. If you’re a widget developer who wants to get started with localization, it’s worth a look!

GetDilbert Back in Business!

Fri, 11 Aug 2006 01:02:03 MST

Good news! GetDilbert has been updated to work again! Actually, I have updated the stuff on my server that enables GetDilbert to work, so you don’t even have to download a new version. Pretty slick, eh?

Sundial: Basecamp Time Tracking Made Simple

Sat, 16 Sep 2006 09:00:00 MST

I am excited to announce easily my most sophisticated widget ever, Sundial. In the past I have sort of hacked my widgets together. This project was for work, so I was really thorough and did things according to the Apple guidelines (imagine that!). What is Sundial, you ask? Sundial makes it easy to track time on projects through Basecamp. Check it out!

GetDilbert Kaput

Tue, 25 Jul 2006 10:20:30 MST

Faithful GetDilbert Users,

Sorry about the recent kaputsnik status of the widget. I’ve recently changed my server set up and the script I was using to scrape the image URL no longer works (if you’re interested in the technical details, email me). I am working on a new method for scraping the URL and hope to have an update posted within a week of today (25 Jul, 2006). Thanks for your patience!


Please, dump Stuffit Expander!

Mon, 01 May 2006 21:45:45 MST

Recently, I started compressing my widgets by first tarring them, then zipping them. It seems, zip is not very efficient at compressing lots of little files (like in my PHPfr widget, which ships with a full copy of the PHP documentation, over 5,800 files). Using just zip, that widget weighed in at over 9 MB. Tarring it first (which just takes all of the files and creates one contiguous file), PHPfr weighs in at just over 3 MB, a big bandwidth saver! The problem is, I have had a small handful of reports from users that my widgets don't work. They uncompressed them, but the system won't recognize them. Turns out they're all Stuffit Expander users. In each case, I recommended they use Mac OS X's default unzipper, and in each case the widget worked as expected. Others have written in more depth about the evils of (or, at least, the lack of necessity of using) Stuffit Expander. I suggest just trashing the stupid thing, but if you can't bring yourself to part with this vestige of the bad old days; at least, please, don't use it to unzip my widgets!

Let's hear it, people!

Sun, 02 Apr 2006 22:33:44 MST

I just added the ability for visitors to make comments about my widgets. So let's hear it, people!

iTunes Billionth

Sun, 19 Feb 2006 22:11:00 MST

(image) Not ever having received a letter from Apple Legal, I thought I’d use their graphics and code to throw together a widget that counts down to the billionth song sold on iTunes. After much agonizing, I decided to call it iTunes Billionth. Enjoy!

Make Widgets 10.3.9 Compatible

Mon, 06 Feb 2006 10:40:00 MST

For folks using Mac OS X 10.3.9 and enjoying widgets thanks to Mesa Dynamics’ Amnesty Widget Browser, I have posted the contents of the WidgetResources directory for download. Just unzip it and drop it in /System/Library/ and you will have access to widgets that are not “backwards compatible.”

Debugging JavaScript in Widgets

Mon, 30 Jan 2006 23:00:00 MST

I have posted an explanation of a technique I use to debug the JavaScript in my widgets.

Duhbya's Days Are Numbered

Sat, 28 Jan 2006 12:00:00 MST

(image) For kicks and grins, I threw together a little widget that counts down to the inuaguration of the next POTUSA. It's called Duhbya's Days Are Numbered. Enjoy!

A Painting A Day

Fri, 27 Jan 2006 16:30:00 MST

(image) I made a widget for painter Duane Keiser. It's called A Painting A Day. Check it out!

ColorSafe 1.0.1

Thu, 20 Oct 2005 16:30:00 MST

(image) Are you a web designer stuck using the 216 colors of the "web safe" palette? This little widget will help keep you safe! Ha ha ... get it? "Safe," like, the icon is a safe and these are the web safe colors. Oh, nevermind.

New in Version 1.0.1:

- Fixed trailing newline issue when copying data to the clipboard (thanks Ben Kazez!)

The Obfuscator 1.0.1

Thu, 20 Oct 2005 16:30:00 MST

(image) Studies say 97% of spam (no, not Spam) happens because you posted your email address to a web page somewhere...The Obfuscator to the rescue! The Obfuscator converts your email address into an encoded string that spambots can't read, but web browsers and email programs can! For convenience, your obfuscated string is automagically copied to the clipboard.

New in Version 1.0.1:

- Fixed trailing newline issue when copying data to the clipboard (thanks Ben Kazez!)

SnippetComposer 1.0.1

Thu, 20 Oct 2005 16:30:00 MST

(image) SnippetComposer is for folks who know some HTML and want a way to quickly compose HTML snippets, for example, for posting to online forums.

Type or paste HTML in the top input box and SnippetComposer will show the rendered HTML in the bottom box. When you are ready, click the C button to copy your HTML to the pasteboard. Click X to clear the input fields.

New in Version 1.0.1:

- Fixed trailing newline issue when copying data to the clipboard (thanks Ben Kazez!)

Help me improve IP Locator!

Mon, 25 Jul 2005 12:15:00 MST

I have posted a "super-short" survey regarding the next release of IP Locator. Please take 5 minutes to help me make it the best geolocation widget out there. Thanks!

The Art of John Dyer 1.0

Mon, 18 Jul 2005 12:34:56 MST

(image) Widget Exhibition - The Art of John Dyer
An exciting new Widget, developed by Andrew Hedges, for the acclaimed artist John Dyer. Now you can have 40 of John Dyer's amazing paintings on your dashboard. Arrange them across your screen to hang your very own exhibition. The Widget contains paintings of Alan Titchmarsh's and Kim Wilde's gardens, many from the iconic Eden Project in the UK, including John's latest painting for Live 8, as well as paintings from Costa Rica, the Philippines, France, Italy and the UK. The widget can be flipped over to reveal links to the fascinating ethno-botanical stories behind John's work.

Help me localize my widgets!

Tue, 12 Jul 2005 17:00:00 MST

Are you bilinqual? Are you interested in helping me localize my widgets by translating some text? Email me! Your reward will be a mention and link on my widgets web page.

Developing Dashboard Widgets

Thu, 7 Jul 2005 17:00:00 MST

Interested in building widgets? Check out my tutorial!

This tutorial contains the basics, but it also covers some "advanced" topics including:

- Accessing the command line (including PHP, shell scripts, and more)
- Saving and retreiving preferences
- Asynchronous HTTP requests (like those used in most RSS widgets)
- Tapping the power of Quartz drawing methods

SlideShow 2.1.1

Thu, 7 Jul 2005 10:00:00 MST

(image) SlideShow displays a series of images along with links to related web pages.

You no longer need to be a widget hacker to make your own SlideShow! Control-click on SlideShow.wdgt (located in Library/Widgets) to find instructions for adding your own photos and captions. All I ask is you retain a link back to this page on the back side of the widget. Thanks!

Are you an artist or photographer wanting a custom widget like this one? Contact me about some kind of creative exchange!

New in Version 2.1.1:

- Clarified instructions for creating a custom SlideShow

MyResolution 1.1

Thu, 16 Jun 2005 10:00:00 MST

(image) MyResolution is pretty simple. It displays your monitor’s resolution. It also contains a simple script to open up the Displays preference pane. This script works with the default setting for showing/hiding Dashboard (F12). MyResolution contains instructions for changing this setting if you have remapped that function. Just control-click on the widget and choose "Show Package Contents" to find the instructions.

New in Version 1.1:

- Changed the AppleScript for opening the Displays preference pane to a shell script. This speeds things up a touch, reduces the file size a smidge, and makes changing the assigned keyboard shortcut easier.

Today in New Mexico 1.0

Sun, 12 Jun 2005 10:00:00 MST

(image) Today in NM brings you arts- and culture-related events from around New Mexico to your desktop by tapping New Mexico CultureNet's RSS feed of the same name. Events load automatically and refresh once a day without intervention. Click on the arrows to see event descriptions. Click on the title of an event to see more detail about it on the New Mexico CultureNet web site.

Tic-Tac-Toe 1.1

Mon, 30 May 2005 10:00:00 MST

(image) This is a simple implementation of the childhood favorite of the same name. The object is get three in a row. Can you beat the CPU?

New in Version 1.1:

- Updated the algorithm so the computer (almost) always makes the "correct" first move. (Thanks, Chad, for the tip!)