Tools! Tools will solve all my problems!
February 25, 2007 12:13 PM   Subscribe

In a (perhaps misguided) attempt to get my work life organized, I'm trying to find a tool, or tools, that will let me keep some resources easily at my fingertips (or mouse-pointer-tip), preferably in the system tray. Help me not fall down the rabbit-hole of trying to code my own! As usual, there's

Essentially, I'm looking for Windows tools that will allow me to keep an embedded copy of a browser (preferably Firefox, but I could settle for IE) with a specific web page (something like TadaLists and an embedded copy of Excel with our crappy timesheet open at all times, in the System Tray or someplace equally easily accessible, so that I simply click on the icon in the systray, a plain window pops up (not the full browser or application), I make my changes, close the window, and am done.
I'm not too worried about the memory usage of having the apps open all the time, my work machine has 2GB. I just want quick, simple access to those two things without a.) having to wait for the full app to start, or b.) opening a full browser and having all of those beautiful websites just waiting to distract me. Bonus points for free!
posted by jferg to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

I dont know if this will help you or not, but it might spark some ideas:

posted by jmnugent at 12:49 PM on February 25, 2007

jmnugent> That's a great list (and will probably keep me occupied for another 4 hours), but my problem isn't a lack of web-based tools - it's a lack of convenient desktop container for those web-based tools.
posted by jferg at 12:52 PM on February 25, 2007

"so that I simply click on the icon in the systray, a plain window pops up (not the full browser or application), I make my changes, close the window, and am done."

Thats gonna be the hard part. So, you basically want an application that doesnt act like an application ? :)

There's probably all kinds of hotkey type utilities that will/could put an Application into the Systray... but adding info to that app without maximizing the app...that I'm not sure at all how to do.
posted by jmnugent at 12:59 PM on February 25, 2007

I remember Google Desktop used to have a little browser-in-a-box mode, where an instance of IE would run in a 300×200px box in the bottom-left of your screen, opened by a systray icon. Not sure if GD still has it though.

This would take about 10 minutes to create with Visual Studio (there are free versions, called Express editions). It has built-in systray and WebBrowser controls. You could easily create an app which sits in the systray, and then when clicked opens a form which contains a WebBrowser control. The WebBrowser could be set to open at the tada-lists page, and it wouldn't have to have an address bar, so you couldn't be distracted into web-wandering. If you need to save changes to an Excel file, you could embed an Excel ActiveX control, and have a button which saves changes, without the full cruft of Excel toolbars.
posted by matthewr at 1:08 PM on February 25, 2007

You could also try this Blinklist search:
posted by jmnugent at 1:09 PM on February 25, 2007

matthewr> That's exactly the kind of thing I'm thinking of - I'm just hoping someone else might have done the work for me. Otherwise I'll bust out my trusty copy of VS.NET and see what I can whip up.
posted by jferg at 1:18 PM on February 25, 2007


Have you looked at TiddlyWiki? What I'm doing right now is I've set this to my own local copy to my default homepage, this way I don't have to navigate to anything else to update it.

If you wanted to write your own app, you could just create a GUI interface to the TiddlyWiki file. Everything is located within that file, so just by manually editing it, you could edit the Web Application
posted by unexpected at 1:24 PM on February 25, 2007

Take anyone else's suggestion for website and use it as an active desktop.
posted by furtive at 2:10 PM on February 25, 2007

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