Driving Miss Widget

The wide, wonderful world of widgets has spawned a near-indispensable one for those of us here in the Seattle area. The widget is named "Seattle Traffic" is available in the Transportation downloads section of Mac OS X Dashboard Widgets. It simply and elegantly connects a Dashboard-equipped Mac to the Washington State Department of Transportation Traffic checker Website, so that with one hotkey, you can check the traffic conditions from Auburn to just shy of the Mukilteo Ferry. As this site is updated every 90 seconds, it provides a real-time look at traffic conditions along any major route in the Seattle and surrounding areas.

Coupled with a second, less elegant but still useful tool, the Yahoo! Traffic widget shows construction sites and scheduled stoppages and blocks for any major traffic region you'd like (subject to those blocks being reported to the Yahoo! database, albeit remarkably comprehensive, to be fair). As we all know traffic can change violently in the course of just a few minutes, having the latest traffic reports can mean the difference between being stuck or being on time. And, as an added bonus, who wants to listen to the insipid morning radio shows just for the off chance of catching the traffic report? [Britt Godwin]