Having a clock in full screen trick.

I came across this trick by accident, and have found it so useful I thought I would share it. When using Dashboard, you can click on a widget to drag it around the screen. While keeping the mouse button depressed, invoke the Dashboard mode switch button to return to your regular computing environment. You’ll find that the widget has followed you, and is now existing on the desktop as a floating window. It is fully functional, can be dragged wherever you like it, and can even be easily returned using the same procedure in reverse.

The nice thing is that since it is a floating window, you can move it to a nice place on the side of the screen, fire up Typewriter mode in BlockWriter, and it will show up nice and clear on top of the black background. I find this a useful way to have a clock, or perhaps even a project tracker or todo list right there with your text. I have a little clock program that is very small an unobtrusive, it sits with the interface perfectly.

To use this technique, you need to have “developer mode” enabled for your widgets. Doing this is fairly simple. Just type: defaults write com.apple.dashboard devmode YES into terminal. As far as I know, this is perfectly safe, and only enables the ability to move widgets out of the dashboard. Additionally, there are a number of freeware utilities that run this command line for you, if you are not comfortable with Terminal.app. Watch out for people trying to charge money for programs which accomplish this, though.

Hi AmberV, I’ve been trying to replicate your advice on my two Macs (PPC and Intel), and it never worked… strange.

Elsewhere I read that the widgets aren’t supposed to move from the Dashboard.

You can also use Amnesty Singles to turn widgets into stand-alone apps.

As far as I know, there is nothing special about a widget that would make it unstable–or make the operating system unstable–by running outside of the Dashboard. It is just a little mini WebKit applet for the most part.

Yes, running widgets out of the Dashboard is perfectly safe. I had to restart my computer after enabling dev mode before it worked - I’m not sure if this is normal or not.