Back in the day, there used to be a program called Konfabulator. Very inexpensive, ran on both Windows and Mac, and it ran these unbelievably handy and easy-to-design little programs called Widgets. Anyone could design them, even with no programming ability, and soon the web was flooded with useful examples. Literally: think of something you wish your computer could do, and SOMEONE invented a Widget that did it.
Then Apple came out with Dashboard, which also had Widgets. Same thing -- thousands of awesome examples cropped up -- but a little less useful because you had to invoke them with the F12 key, and then dismiss them when you wanted to use your computer again.
Then along came a cool tool called Amnesty, which let you free Widgets from the Dashboard and put them on the desktop. Free to try, $19.95 to keep. Very cool.
But remember Konfabulator? Well, they're still around and a few months ago Yahoo bought them and now it's free for everyone. (Don't you love when huge corporations do the right thing?)
Whether you have Mac or Windows, you can now have Widgets on your desktop where God intended them to be. You can have something as useful as an iTunes remote or a volume control or a battery meter to something as fun as a live Venice, Italy webcam or the talking Stewie Griffin and Ron Burgundy Widgets I have.
Download Konfabulator free at http://www.konfabulator.com/download and then peruse the dizzying array of thousands of Widgets you have to choose from. Even try designing your own.