Mac users who don't have Mac OS X 10.4 don't need to be excluded from Apple's widget party, thanks to a new product called Amnesty.

Amnesty ($19.95) from Mesa Dynamics, is a Mac OS X utility that lets users run Dashboard widgets on their desktop - even if they are using Mac OS X 10.3 (Panther). Sadly, Apple's own Tiger widgets aren't supported by Amnesty.

When run in the Amnesty Widget Browser, widgets run independently of Dashboard while maintaining preferences. They also get new features, such as adjustable windows and opacity.

Widgets can also be arranged into multiple virtual workspaces that can be called to the screen at any time, the company explains.

A 30-day trial version is available for download from the company. System requirements are: Mac OS X 10.3.9 (Panther) or Mac OS X 10.4 (Tiger) or later.

Weave those widgets

In related news, wannabe widget-weavers can now buy Danny Goodman's "Mac OS X Technology Guide to Dashboard" as an eBook for $14.95.

The book - which aims to teach readers how to build "rock-solid professional widgets" is available from SpiderWorks.

SpiderWorks has also released Goodman's self-produced, "The Evaluator" software for debugging Dashboard widgets. A free PDF preview of the book is also available.