It's Widget World Out There

key review info
application features
  • CPU temperature monitoring
  • (1 more, see all...)

Widgets have gained a good piece of the computer market and I am sure that 60% of computer users are using widgets to check the memory status, to access e-Bay, BMW website, Google, for Netstat, shut down the computer, check the time, get RSS feeds, listen to a certain radio. They can even be used to count words, alert you when a file changes its size, search torrents, convert all sorts of units, check the weather, monitor networks, control the computer volume etc.

Why are people using them? WellÂ… they are small and do not take too much space. They can do lots of stuff in just a few clicks, and - the most important feature of all (in my opinion) - they look very good. When I first installed Yahoo Widget Engine I was under the impression that all those little applications are toys. They look like toys, but some of them are for big boys.

Like the one I am going to present to you right away. The name is SpeedFan Temperature Monitor. The version is 4.0 and the developer is Jeremy Ozer. The application itself is not too large (in fact most of the widgets are small) but there is a catch in here, you will have to install Yahoo Widget Engine for SpeedFan Temperature to work. The size of the widget engine is over 11MB. Of course, a set of widgets are included, among which I counted a calendar, a CPU portal, day planner, memory gauge, digital clock, mail checker, picture frame, analog clock, etc.

Another application you are going to need for the widget to work is Speedfan, an independent software created to display the temperature of your hard disk, monitor the CPU usage and show the RPMs of the fans installed on your system (up to three).

SpeedFan Temperature Monitor widget is the abridged version of Speedfan and will only display the CPU and HDD temperatures. One may be inclined to think that it is maybe a too abridged version of the original, but for those that do not want to get into the intricate settings, I think this is just fine. Plus it is called Temperature Monitor, so everything is cool, I guess.

Being a widget, I no longer have to say anything about the interface, as you all know the looks of a widget: very simple and nice and displaying only the essential. With the settings, there can be said some words. There are three menus available for the user to fiddle about with.

The first menu is the Configuration tab. You have to specify the mother software's directory (Speedfan) here, and the user gets to set the refresh rate (interval of time the widget reads the temperature) which can be set somewhere between one second and twenty seconds.

To make the widget of international use the developer made available setting the temperature in both Fahrenheit and Celsius degrees - you can choose either of them. Of course, the converting will take place for both CPU and HDD temperatures.

If you proceed to Appearance, you will get to play with the colors of the interface and change the text and the color of the background (you would not want to set a dark color if you also have a dark color on your desktop). To make it look even cooler and emphasize the text, you can modify the opacity of the background and make it as transparent as you want. For the far-sighted and near-sighted of you a widget magnification option is available.

The Window menu makes available options that let you choose the window level at which you want the widget to appear (show only in heads up display, floating, topmost, normal and below). The user has also the possibility of locking the window position, so that every time you open the widget window it will keep its place according to the level of window settings.

The transparency of all the widgets can be set by dragging the slider to the left or right. The minimum level is 20%. After all the settings have been made, all there is left to do is click the Save button and check the temperatures of the CPU and HDD.

The Good

The application is as easy to use as a widget, so there are no complicated settings or features that you won't understand.

The Bad

The widget is not tested with the latest version of Speedfan (v. 4.32, beta 4) and it does not work. But you can download an older version of the software (4.29) and use it with that.

The Truth

If you want something more than a CPU and HDD monitoring tool, than this widget is not for you and you should try the original as it is more intricate and it is also free.

Here are some snapshots of the application in action:

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user interface 3
features 3
ease of use 3
pricing / value 3

final rating 3
Editor's review

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