I've been using Windows Vista for a while now, and have become increasingly attached to the Windows Sidebar (it sits on the right hand side of the screen, and contains little tools and basic applications). Until yesterday, my Sidebar consisted of the following things:

  • An electronic version of Post-It notes, for me to write a simple reminder
  • Wikipedia search - mainly for helping me to translate from educational or technical jargon into real English
  • My Pictures - I pop some of my favourite holiday pictures there, to get me through the Winter
  • An Outlook gadget, which shows my calendar (but please not my number of unread emails!)
  • A BBC Radio gadget - to play Five Live in the evenings, if I'm stuck in my study

On Wednesday, when I visited Long Eaton school, Alan Richards mentioned the "Say It" gadget, which converts text to speech. And he talked about a teacher who'd simply typed in "Come on. Settle down class" into the gadget, and just kept hitting Enter until they did. Okay, it's a whimsical way to solve the historical issue of teachers and sore throats, but it made me smile. So now I've got the gadget sitting on my Sidebar. I think I'm going to annoy some colleagues....

Get the gadget here