I am still surprised to see many friends and colleagues not using one of the many desktop application variants available from Google, Yahoo and others. I've been a Google Desktop fan for about a year and it's given me quicker access to more information. It's a must-have application for any busy executive.
I just upgraded to the Google Desktop 3.0 on my Windows XP laptop. With smooth corners and a black background, the application has a Vista look and feel. There are loads of gadgets that can easily be added, but I stick with these five main gadgets on my Desktop:
1) The Google Desktop Web Clips gadget automatically picks up ATOM and RSS feeds from the websites I frequent and displays the latest news and information. I can also add my own RSS feeds, or delete those I don't visit much anymore. I previously used the RSS feed aggregator in my Trillian software, but Desktop works much better, I feel.
2) The Google Desktop Email gadget harvests my email from my Microsoft Outlook and my Gmail accounts. Sure, Outlook does have a reminder feature for each time new messages arrive, but because the Desktop is always on the rightside of my computer, I can check email with the flick of my eyeball.
3) The Scratch Pad gadget has notes about just about everything. I see now I have jotted a thought about a sale and purchase agreement I need to work on, the name of a woman I need to conference call in a few hours (wrote her name down since it's a little different and I want to keep staring at it so I don;t forget her name), and other doodlings.
4) My To Do gadget operates different from the Scratch Pad because on this list I can tick little boxes next to each item I write. True, in almost al other functions the To Do gadget is identical to the Scratch Pad, but mentally I separate things I need "to do" from just things I need "to remember".
5) The Google Desktop System Monitor gadget is a lifesaver. It tracks my CPU usage, incoming and outgoing network activity, and assists me in monitoring if I'm taxing my IBM T43 too much.You can download the application from desktop.google.com and then easily modify it to suit your needs. Good luck!