so i asked in #kontact and it turns out that you can switch between the various parts using the keyboard with control+#. this is one of those things you just have to know as it isn't exposed anywhere in the gui. now i'm a much happier camper (it's the small things in life, really).
but being lazy i don't like to count and i have better things to do than remember that "notes is control+6" (heaven forbid i ever add more kontact plugins ;). so i spent 15 minutes and whipped up a little patch that displays the number of the items in little bubbles when you hold down the control key. you can see the results in the screenshot to the right.
the patch can be had here but note that it's not perfect. it doesn't filter on the whole window (so if you manage to switch to the window without giving the main area focus it won't work) and if you hold down control and open a dialog it won't get the keyrelease event and turn off the bubbles (making the event filter pay attention to ctrl+
too bad 3.5 is already feature frozen. hmm.. maybe i could pretend this is a usability bug and sneak it in after polishing it up? ;P