Monday, January 09, 2006

Top 10 Dashboard Widgets for Biologists

The Dashboard of Mac OS X 10.4 "Tiger" is a great interface for a quick glance at reference materials or quick searches from frequently used resources. Research biologists often suffer from open window overload, so having a button to press to clear that all away to check a resource is great.

With that in mind, here's a collection of useful Dashboard Widgets (as well as some for the Yahoo Widget Engine):
  1. AbOrygen, the makers of BiOpen, provides 7 great widgets:

  2. Solutions from helps figure out solution compositions, and what is molecular biology if not a never ending series of molarity and dilution calculations. I am looking forward to more great widgets from these guys.
  3. PubMed Medline Search Widget is a basic search interface to PubMed, which is useful if you don't need all the features of the Entrez 1.1 widget from above.
  4. Protein Glimpse A great molecule viewer widget based on Jmol, though probably more useful as eye candy than as an investigative tool.

If you don't have Tiger, the Yahoo Widget Engine (formerly Konfabulator) has a few available widgets.
  1. NCBI Search, which allows searches of biological databases via pasted, typed, or drag-and-dropped text. Included are nucleotide and protein BLAST, PubMed, and the global Entrez searches.
  2. Pubmed Search The first public PubMed search widget for Konfabulator.
  3. BioMultiTool which has lots of tools available, including restriction digest and PCR reaction calculators. I would like to see an option to add 10% for the master mixes, since that is how I make sure I don't come up short on volume.

I have yet to find any Microsoft Gadgets for Microsoft Windows Live or for the Google Desktop Sidebar, but I am sure those will come. Please leave comments with any more widgets you find.