Well, it came out today, the long awaited Konfabulator for Windows. Everyone here knows I'm a widget junkie, and I've been waiting to see what Konfabulator brought to the table.

The answer: Not bloody much.

Here's my first, and very important issue with Konfabulator... it's bloatware. I run an AthlonXP 3200+ Barton with 1Gb DDR400, RAID 1 sata 8mb cache (identical liquid bearing drives), Radeon 256mb 9700 Pro and KONFABULATOR IS SLUGGISH. Thats right, it's slow to open a widget, and the resource useage is out of this world.
Let's compare...
The Weather (Konfabulator): 7,968k
Systats FabWeather (AveDesk): 800k
Core Weather (DesktopX): 616k

Analog Clock (Konfabulator): 8,540k
Analog Clock (AveDesk): 453k
Core Clock (DesktopX): 2,388k
Interesting to note here that Corew clock offers resizing, coloration and other features not included in the AveDesk and Konfabulator clocks)

iTunes Controller (Konfabulator): 9,792k
iTunes Controller (AveDesk): 1,556k
iTunes Controller (DesktopX): 2,332k

Overall, my combo use of DesktopX and Avedesk (9 items running) barely breaks 5,000k, while use of a single Konfabulator Widget runs on average double that. Ouch.

That is not to say that all is good in AveDesk or DesktopX land (sorry that I'm leaving Kapsules out of this - a new release hit today and I want to go through it completely before using it in a comparison). Here's my evaluation of each application, as it stands today:

AveDesk:
Light on resources
Good collection of Desktop Objects.
Basic use for the end user, not as flexible as DesktopX.

DesktopX:
Light on resources
Great collection of widgets from a user standpoint.
Most widgets are ugly (Stardock is fixing this).
Difficult to script if you dont know how to script
Outdated interface (Stardock is fixing this).
Fantastic stand alone ability of widgets. Makes the app invaluable.

Konfabulator:
Heavy on resources. OMG, someone smack Arlo for me.
Brings very little new to the table.
Beautiful widgets.
Lack of configuration options.
Widgets arent easily controlled.

So thats it for a first glance. This area of customization is always moving forward, always in flux. always improving. Stardock has just put up a huge road map on whats planned for the DesktopX/ IconX revamp. Some of their ideas Ive been asking for for years, so Im excited about it. AveDesk 1.2 is in the works... screens Ive seen (and the betas Ive run) are clean and smooth. The ability to save themes is great, and while its not the same caliber of DesktopX, I still think its heads above Konfabulator.
Comments (Page 1)
on Nov 08, 2004
I know I have said this before today z0mbie, but I have to agree with you 100% here. I stopped by Neowin this morning and saw the thread in which it was being discussed. So many of the comments were virtual orgasms about Konfabulator. So I downloaded it and tried it. It turned on and 6 widgets popped up. Not a single one was something I hadn't seen before in perhaps different, but equally well done visual presentation. Then for fun I opened Task Manager and totalled somewhere over 60-70 megs of RAM. Excuse me? I can run an entire Desktop X theme (like one of gef's) and add in additional widgets (imported as objects) and not have the RAM usage jump above 30-35 megs.

Sure, if this was your first exposure to widget apps I can see the excitement. But knowing and having played with what else is out there, well, I found Konfab sorely wanting.
on Nov 08, 2004
Zombie I cant belive you left me out of this tussle! Good review. I agree with all of it. Although, I am completely biased. While I hate shamelessly plugging Kapsules, I'm working on some really really good additions to it.
on Nov 08, 2004
Where is the DesktopX roadmap posted?
on Nov 08, 2004
Andrew, do I ever forget you?
on Nov 08, 2004
naw baby. mwahahaha
on Nov 09, 2004
Kapsules update:
Andrew thought I forgot about him....

The Weather (Konfabulator): 7,968k
Systats FabWeather (AveDesk): 800k
Core Weather (DesktopX): 616k
Kap Weather (Kapsules): 5,770

Analog Clock (Konfabulator): 8,540k
Analog Clock (AveDesk): 453k
Core Clock (DesktopX): 2,388k
World Clock (Kapsules): 3,222k

iTunes Controller (Konfabulator): 9,792k
iTunes Controller (AveDesk): 1,556k
iTunes Controller (DesktopX): 2,332k
iTunes Controller (Kapsules): 2,537k

So, Kapsules is a little tougher on memory useage than DesktopX or AveDesk. It's still alot less than Konfabulator. Here's the Kapsules breakdown:

Kapsules
Moderate resource use.
Quality widgets.
Limited widgets 1/25th of the DesktopX library.
Easier to skin than DesktopX.
Difficult to script (if you don;t know how to script).

Overall, I like Kapsules, DesktopX and AveDesk. AveDesk spends more time as my base widget system for the following reasons:
It's easy to label and configure every object.
Every object is super easy to skin.
Low resources (not as low as DesktopX overall, Stardock wins the day here).
It keeps object settings and positions.

Two of those reasons are critical: Object position and labelling. Konfabulator and Kapsules don't allow a user to label objects. This is not because of the applications, but how the creators of each object scripted those objects. AveDesk and DesktopX have a uniform object labelling system. When cloning objects such as multiple FTP drops ( I use two that are critical) knowing which object is which is a must.
DesktopX loses points because objects jump around between reboots. An FTP drive can jump across the screen even when its position is locked down, as can any other object. The few DesktopX objects I do use are fantastic, and were obviously made with love and care. DesktopX has been getting alot of love and care lately, and as it's my first widget system its good to see this - I'll be watching EVERY DesktopX update closely to see where they take this.

Konfabulator is the big loser. It's very bloated, doesn't offer anything for $25 I cant get from the freeware version of DesktopX, Kapsules or AveDesk. Dont misunderstand me, I'm happy to pay for quality. Stardock has received much zombie pimping in the past, as has AveDesk. Kapsules has made a few very big leaps forward these past few months, and it's exciting to watch someone as cool as Andrew deliver goods to the masses - he's got that same drive that Brad Wardell and AndreasV have... that drive that keeps us customization junkies ripe with new goodies.
I think Arlo has that same light in his eye, we'll just have to wait and see.
on Nov 09, 2004
Here's a little something interesting... theres a fix for Konfabulator memory useage, bringing it inline with the other Widget apps.

Powder Cleaner 2.0
This actually decreases the memory useage of everything, quite a nice little application.
on Nov 09, 2004
Been using konfabulator for just a little over year on my Power Mac (1.8 single), so I thought what the. . .and downloaded it for my pc (intel 3.01 overclocked to 3.9) with 2 g of memory. And, guess what boys and girls; it slowed it down (just a bit, but a enough to notice).
However, the main problem was it didn't do anything that the widgets designed for DeskX couldn't do. Since I have already invested money into StarDock products there was no reason to use or pay for Konfabulator for my pc.
As to Kapsules when attempting to load it up it failed to load because .Net wasn't installed on my computer. Hence, as Konfabulator it went bye-bye.
In my humble (so humble) opinion what is the use of having three or more programs that do the same thing. Besides DeskX widgets can be run as stand alone app's. Good example (one I really like and have open on startup) is "Picture Framer" by Martin Conroy (great widget).

Pam
on Nov 09, 2004
After thought:

I use Objectdock plus on my pc, and one of the tabs is a WIDGETS tab (DeskX style). What is nice about having the Widgets tab is the abililty to use widgets when needed without always having them on the desktop.

Pam
on Nov 09, 2004

Beware of Powdercleaner, dead zombie.

You basically trade memory for CPU and it's not a good trade off if it's trying to make up lots of RAM.  What it does is that it rapidly swaps stuff to disk when it's not needed right then.  So you'll hear your hard drive crunch a lot more and your CPU use go up as a result.

 

on Nov 09, 2004
Yeah Powdercleaner is the devil to system performance. Unless all you do is browse the web and chat on irc.
on Nov 09, 2004
"Interesting to note here that Corew clock offers resizing, coloration and other features not included in the AveDesk and Konfabulator clocks)"

Ahem... one of the core features of avedesk is to independantly resize and colorize every desklet.
on Nov 09, 2004
True, a feature I have so taken for granted that I forgot all about. Perhaps it was the resize tab on Core Clock that made me crazy... good to hear from you AndreasV. I didn't realize we had all the widget guys here!
on Nov 09, 2004
Andreas, you can do that with all DesktopX objects too. What the core clock does differnetly is that it actually has a gripper on it to resize it.
on Nov 10, 2004
A few things about Konfabulator have grown on me. Things that attribute to the quality and creativity of Konfabulator widget makers. First is the widget fnorder. Its a widget that delivers messages from "your secret masters" Things like "The button from the North Pole will go to Dallas" and A chicken from Mars tickles the siamese kitten". Things you'll only understand if you work for the Secret Masters.

The other widget I like is "Where is it". Pretty much the ultimate search tool, it allows you to easily search from Google, Amazon, Lycos, altavista, msn, overture, ebay, yahoo!, & of course the Konfabulator widget gallery. Top work, powerful tool.

So I'm changing the name of the article to "Konfabulator for Windows: Worth the hype?". Because with these two widgets its not a huge dissappointment, just not everything Ive seen advertised.
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