KlipFolio is a desktop-based interactive widget engine.It is designed to be a personaldashboard that monitors any type of online information (such as news, videos, email, RSS feeds, stocks, weather, ebay auctions, etc), but also offers offline tools such as memory/cpu/folder monitoring. It features a slick, customizable user interface and supports hundreds of available widgets (called Klips).
Let me begin this review by saying that I never thought I would want to use desktop widgets. Both Yahoo widgets and Google Desktop were only briefly installed on my computer before I uninstalled them. I must confess, however, that KlipFolio’s sheer coolness factor is so seductive that I am actually considering making it a permanent fixture and using some of the widgets.
KlipFolio has an respectable range of widgets that cover all the (usual) bases and then some more. There’s the obligatory Flickr, Youtube, Google news, Google Search, and Weather widgets. And of course, digital desktop clock(s), email notifiers (for both POP3 and Webmail services), calendars, to-do lists, and desktop sticky-type notes.
But the most impressive thing about this software right off the bat is the way you can manipulate it on-screen. Not only are KlipFolio’s Klips extremely malleable but they also have a certain ’magnetic’ quality that makes them stick together. The 4 sides of the monitor also have that quality and you can easily grab your Klips and position them where you like them the most. The net effect is very slick handling and a self-organizing effect that is very satisfying. Check out the video on the KlipFolio page for a demonstration of this.
Simplicity: you can make it look exactly the way you want it; if you want something, you add it on, if not, you remove it. Sounds straightforward but this is one of the best things about this software.Here’s a list of some of KlipFolio’s other notable features:
- Browsing Klips: you can scroll through items within a Klip using either the middle mouse wheel, arrow keys, or side scrollbar. Expanding the Klip makes it much more easier (and enjoyable) to browse items. Your Klip will expand if you press the (+) expand button on the title bar or even if you just hover over the title bar for a few seconds.
- Content viewing: hover over the item you want and it will show in its entirety for most Klips (for some, like email messages, they will appear truncated and you will have to log onto your email service to see all). For video it will send you to the webpage for viewing.
- Adding Klips: is a breeze. Once you found one you like on the website, just click the ’add’ icon, and the Klip will install instantly. No downloading and/or running installers involved. Removal is just as simple.
- Online services: KlipFolio is an excellent way to use online services. For example: want a Calendar or To-do list on the desktop? KlipFolio can provide one that syncs with Google Calendar. This allows you to take advantage of the fact that these services store your data online, but makes it available in your desktop.
- Duplicate Klips: you can have multiple RSS feed Klips for each theme or topic (e.g. a Klip for news feeds, another for software feeds, etc), or even a Klip for each feed. I was able to have 2 seperate Klips that checked each of my 2 gmail account simultaneously. Very convenient.
- Expanded/collapsed states: you can ’teach’ each Klip just how much screen real estate you want it to expand to. To do this, click the ’expand’ button, drag the edges of the Klip around to where you like them, then collapse the Klip. From that point, every time you expand this Klip it will remember where it needs to be.
- Scrolling items: you can set your Klips so that they scroll, somewhat like an upwards-scrolling news ticker. Avoid using this it for every single Klip because it will be visually overwhelming.
- Customizable Notifications: for selected Klips, KlipFolio will optionally alert you with a flashing message near the system tray every time an item is added or changed. What’s really cool however, is that you can tell it to only notify you if the item contains a keyword (or keywords) you specify. For example, I can tell it to notify me every time Softpedia adds an item that contains the word “freeware” in it.
- Multiple groups: you can create multiple clusters of Klips if you like. Simply drag a Klip away and then drag other onto it. Note that these have to be in the collapsed state.
- Can be minimized: so its off-screen, to be recalled through an icon in the tray menu
- Lets you remove news stories: (as opposed to just marking them as read), when you simply dont want them around..
- Customizability: addition to what was already mentioned, most things in KlipFolio’s look and feel are customizable, including color schemes, size and location on the desktop, how many days it should hold on to news items, refresh periods for each Klip individually, etc.
- Lack of syncing with local email clients/PIMS: at the date of this writing, I wasn’t able to find Klips that sync with Outlook. This is a strange omission given that I know people who use Yahoo widgets precisely because of this capability. Also, with the hundreds of Klips on offer you would think this was covered.
- Some widgets just plain dont work: when I wrote this neither the Google Adsense or the Alexa Ranking widgets functioned properly (a full 2 from only a handful of widgets that I experimented with).
- Control of what items get served and how could be improved: for example, if a Klip doesn’t make the entire text of an item available for viewing on mouse-over, you typically cannot tell it to do so. You cannot click on links within the posting. Also, it would be cool if you were able to prevent news items from being served at all unless certain conditions apply (for example if certain keywords occur in the text similar to the notification option).
The Verdict: I’ve spent some time configuring this program to show exactly what I want, and so far I really like it. This program has a large community of users that is growing very quickly that creates Klips and content for it, and from what I’ve read it is getting better and better. If you’re into this sort of program I highly recommend you try it.
Version tested: 4.0.1 build 5896-6
Compatibility: Windows 2000 / XP /VISTA.
Go to the Klipfolio Personal Dashboard page to get the latest version (this is the free version, approx 1meg).