To me, the sidebar was an odd feature of Vista. It reminded of the old Officetoolbar(which I never used), yet as time passes it is starting to grow on memainly to the useful gadgets people build for it. One such useful gadget is the Control System gadget that allows you toshut down(including all iterations:standby,hibernate etc.) your system from the sidebar: Download it here.
When the Vista sidebar was released, I was a bit skeptical. It reminded me ofthe old Office toolbar(ok,but not a big hit-at least not with me). Lately I have startedto view it in a different light-you can actually have quite a useful gadget attached to it,youcan build a gadget that will provide directory information for your companies employeeor direct access to your IT staff. In addition to that two new gadgets were published on the Outlook teams blog: appointmentsand tasks. Take a look at the post.