Windows Vista offers a new gizmo: Desktop Gadgets. What makes them supercool is how easy they are to create. They are basically web pages on stereoids,

Version: 1.0
Release Date: April 12 2007
File Size: 28KB
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This was the first gadget I wrote-a mere two weeks after receiving my first Vista computer.

Being in amateur radio, I know most hams operate on military time. Thus the need for a 24 mode clock. I also knew that to avoid confusion caused by crossing time zones, hams utilize something called GMT, UTC or Zulu Time. All three are basically the same thing though there are some minor technical differences.

However, I could not find an existing gadget clock that was both 24 hour format and adjustable in timezone. My original intention was to have two instances of the clock running and adjust one to UTC time. With none to be found, I decided to investigate if I could write my own gadget. The end result is a dual timezone clock that uses system information to allow automatic calculation of the UTC offset.

The only setting option in Version 1.0 is for a call sign. Really any text string can be put here. However, since amateur radio call signs are usually four to six chracters long, this is the advisable maximum length.

Sun and Moon Clock
Version 1.0
Release Date: May 1, 2007
File Size: 50KB
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My second gadget was written to fulfill a desire to know the current phase of the moon and the current day's times for sunrise and sunset. Again, no such pre-existing gadget could be found that did all three.

The only input parameters are latitude and longitude Latiude is negative for souther hemisphere. Longitude is negative for the eastern hemisphere (Europe, Asia, Africa Australia) and postive for the western hemisphere (North and South America). UTC Offset is based on system settings.

This gadget took much longer to write than the first. The mathematical algorithm to determine all three values were difficult to research but were finally discovered in an old issue of Sky and Telescope magazine.