Mossberg’s Mailbox

How Can I Get New Gadgets for Vista Sidebar?

There’s no other major item most of us own that is as confusing, unpredictable and unreliable as our personal computers. Everybody has questions about them, and we aim to help.

Here are a few questions about computers I’ve received recently from people like you, and my answers. I have edited and restated the questions a bit, for readability. This week my mailbox contained questions about getting new Gadgets for Vista Sidebar, the type of keyboard on the BlackBerry Curve, and whether the iPhone will allow third-party programs to be installed.

I really enjoy the Sidebar feature in Windows Vista. But how can I get new Gadgets for it?

Gadgets — the small programs that run in the new Vista Sidebar, which is a strip along the side of the desktop — can be found in various places on the Web. But one good place to get them is a site maintained by Microsoft called the Windows Live Gallery, at This site also has other useful downloads, such as toolbar buttons.

Does the new BlackBerry Curve have the half-keyboard, like the Pearl, or the full one like the larger BlackBerrys?

The Curve, which is wider than the Pearl but narrower than other BlackBerrys, has the full keyboard. It does, however, use the Pearl-type scroll ball instead of the older side-mounted wheel.

Will the new Apple iPhone allow users to download applications beyond those that Apple ships with the phone?

Not immediately, when it goes on sale June 29. However, when I interviewed Apple CEO Steve Jobs last week at the annual D: All Things Digital conference, he said Apple is working on a way to allow third-party programs to be installed on the iPhone: “I think sometime later this year we will find a way to do that, because that is our intent.”

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Because of the volume of email I receive, I can’t routinely answer individual questions by email, or consult on individual problems or purchasing decisions. I read all questions I receive and select three each week to answer in the column.

Write to Walter S. Mossberg at

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