A while back I discussed using the Windows Vista Sidebar to display useful information about applications. This led to other conversations, including one with fellow SQL MVP (and Leeds United fan – sorry to hear about the 15 points, mate) Jamie Thomson about monitoring important SQL database statistics using sidebar gadgets. I didn't give it much thought, because I still had my PowerGadgets solution in place, monitoring all kinds of things based on my own queries. (Personally, I like using 'union all' queries. This lets me get a nice collection of numbers for showing in a graph. But I also find that I can easily have a number produced for displaying in a gauge.)
But Jamie has taken this further, and produced a Sidebar gadget to monitor various database statistics. It doesn't use PowerGadgets, so it's completely free. You can grab it from his blog at http://blogs.conchango.com/jamiethomson/archive/2007/08/17/SQL-Server-Monitor-Gadget-v1.0.001.aspx, or the original version from http://blogs.conchango.com/jamiethomson/archive/2007/08/09/Announcing-SQL-Server-Monitor-Gadget-for-Windows-Vista-Sidebar.aspx. Great work, Jamie!