SideSlide

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SideSlide combines a number of functions into a desktop-accessible interface: a launcher (for programs, folders, files. and bookmarks), a desktop notes and reminders program, and an RSS reader, all of which objects embedded in a free-form environment that is dockable off the side of your screen.

This is an interesting program that has the potential to significantly reduce your desktop clutter and be an invaluable organizational tool.

Here’s what you need to know about it:

  • Using SideSlide: You can drag and drop objects into SideSlide itself or to a ’containter’ that you can create within it. This is an aesthetic and organizational decision, and is a matter of experimenting with what works best for you. The SideSlide dialog itself can be resized freely with the mouse; it can be placed on top, left, or right of your screen from the program settings.
  • Hovering: placing the mouse over any object is a good way to access it (as in reminders, minimized containers, or RSS containers).
  • Containers: these are a great way to organize your work. For example, if you are working on a certain project you could create a container for it and drag all related files and URLs to it, so that its all in one place. Containers can be minimized in 2 ways; “folding” is the window-blind style that leaves only the top ’bar’ of the container visible, and “shrinking” reduces the container to a single button with a customizable icon that you could click on to “maximize” the container.
  • Taking notes: all containers are also notes (and vice versa), in that pressing a little button on the top right of the container will switch from object view (where your files and URLs are visible) to note view, where you could enter text. So for example if you had a project-specific container you could switch to notes view and write all of your project-related notes straight into the container itself. Unusual but kind of cool. Note that available formatting for writing notes is rudimentary to say the least, with no formatting options to speak of (no font styles or bulleting options).
  • Folder linking: you can link an actual folder to a container and work with the files/folders inside straight from SideSlide. You could even drag items from your desktop into the container in order to copy them to the actual folder on your hard drive (dragging while pressing control will in theory move the object; strangely, however, you have to deal with a Windows prompt asking you if its ok to delete the object from its original location). I’ve found that SideSlide will not automatically refresh itself to reflect any changes that you make to the folder externally, but you can refresh it manually.
  • Reminders: you can create basic reminders that will be visible as distinct objects in SideSlide. These are very basic and will flash with a chime near the system tray when due, where you can either “snooze” or dismiss it.
  • Tags: all objects can be tagged. For example, you can tag all work-related bookmarks, application shortcuts, or files as “work”. From then on you could right click inside SideSlide and select the “work” tag to view only the work-tagged objects and/or notes. All others will disappear until you tell it to “show all”. A pretty nifty function.
  • RSS: the RSS function seems to have been an afterthought. While it is a great idea in general, it cannot hold a candle to other widget style desktop RSS readers (of which Klipfolio is my favorite).
  • Customizability: there are a variety of skins to choose from for this program; you can edit the general color scheme and the size and colors of most every object can be tweaked as well.

What I like about this program:

  • In a nutshell, the ability to create a container for each project I am working on and dragging files, bookmarks, and application shortcuts to them. If I want to work on, say, sales forecasts for the next quarter, I simply drag the related “forecasting” Excel file to the container instead of typing “work on forecasts” in a to-do list.
  • Also, I have been searching for some time for a good, intuitive way to work with bookmarks, and so far SideSlide has been it. I am now creating a container for every category of bookmarks that I frequently use.
  • That it’s dockable; easy to access yet with a single click you have a clean desktop environment. Can’t beat that with a stick.

What I do not like about this program (or how it can be made even better):

  • Strangely, once you set up your shortcuts, bookmarks, notes, RSS feeds, reminders, etc… you have to actually remember to SAVE these for them to be retained. It is easy to assume that this program behaves the way most launcher or similar programs do and automatically retain your interventions. It won’t. You can easily restart your computer without saving and lose all of your work. I lost my work 3 times because my computer crashed after I had done a lot of work with SideSlide and didn’t save.

I’m not sure if this program is for everyone; try it and find out. For myself I give it a resounding endorsement; it’s an interesting program, which is not something that can be said about too many titles out there.

Version tested: 2.0.01b

Compatibility: Windows 2000, XP, Vista. Requires Microsoft Core XML Services (MSXML) 6.0 which you can get here.

Go to the program home page to download the latest version (approx 1.91 megs).