Saturday, September 26, 2009

Nintendo DSiWare Clock and Calculator Review


I recently read a review for DSiWare Clock. Actually, there are different versions available. I have 2 of them: Animal Crossing and Photo Clock. Of the two, I like Photo Clock better. The Animal Crossing Clock is pretty much useless to me. I downloaded it because you can set musical tones to it. I was thinking like a song or a little ditty. Turns out, it was for hourly chimes, along with the extremely long play time, and very limited set of notes. I was so disappointed!

The Photo Clock, however, is terrific! I use it a lot! There's not much difference between the two, only that the Photo Clock does not have musical chimes, and that it displays pictures from your photo album. It works great as Picture viewer. This is where the reviewer on the other site got it wrong. The display WILL turn off after a while, thus saving battery. You don't need to have it plugged in all the time. Energy Saving settings come in 3 levels: Off, 5 minutes, and 1 hour. If you do plug it in, then the Energy Saving settings is automatically disabled, and you can use it as picture viewer on your desk/coffee table, with the saving setting automatically disabled. For 2 dollars? This is great! I set it to my pictures, paintings from Arts Academy at the time of this typing.

But more than that, you can use audio recordings from your DSi Sound. This makes it a much more useful alarm clock than normal because you can differentiate between different alarms. If you use it strictly as alarm clock to wake you up, then you'll be happy that the sound is loud enough to wake you up. The alarm bell sound is especially annoying enough to make me want to shut it off, as opposed to gently sounding music to put me to sleep. And since you can apply snooze settings individually, you can set sound of the sea to snooze and sleep at sleep time, while setting the loud alarm bell at wake up time.

Yet, there's more: You can do time offset. This is a big deal, and I'm glad for it. This allows you to use the Clock as a timer. Simply set the alarm to, say 1:10, and adjust the time offset so it shows 1:00. Suddenly, you have a 10 minute timer. When you pair this with the audio recording "The Eggs are Done! Go Take Them Out!", you will have an extremely fancy egg timer on the cheap. And if you would put Easter Eggs pictures on the display, then I'm sure you'll agree that 2 dollars is a cheap price to pay.

You can do more than this. How about setting the alarm to your kids DSi? "Quit watching TV! Do your homework!", "Take out the trash NOW!", "Time to stop playing and go to sleep!" are messages that comes to mind. Yes, you can customize this to anything you want. You can even record all the funny ringtones from your phone and use it on your DSi.

In short, Photo Clock is a great clock application. Don't bother with Animal Crossing or Mario version.

Now, on to the review and comments to it, I noticed that the review is full of inaccuracy. There's a lot of useful features that is missing from the review, such as time offset. Worse, the review falsely stated that you cannot turn off the display, risking running out of the battery! Yet, it is just a simple setting away. You don't even need to read the instruction for this. How come the reviewer missed it?

As to the replies, most are annoyed that it costs money to get. Some even erroneously claim $5. Nope, it's only $2. Some compare it to the fact that you already have clocks for free. Yes, but no timer nor alarms. Some others also compare it to phone alarm. Yes, but no timer nor customized sound, unless you're willing to pay and how much would that be? Some others insist that you should get it if you like Animal Crossings. Nope. Photo Clock will do better as you can take pictures of your favorite subject, whatever that may be, and display a bunch of pictures, instead of one single static picture of animal crossing. And if you like Mario, stick in a music file AAC.mp4 format in SD card, and play coin game that way.

I can't stress this enough: Photo Clock is an excellent buy because you can customize this to your heart's content, courtesy of DSi Photo, and DSi Sound. Think of the possibilities: Practical Jokers can record some flatulence sound, set a timer on it and place it on unsuspecting victim. Or how about cat's meow to annoy the dog? The possibilities are many!

Now, about the calculators: It is a simple, non-scientific 13 digit calculator with calculation history. You get arithmetic calculation and Memory functions. Also some conversion rates, although you don't really need a special function for that, right? Just a conversion table and you'll be set. No statistical functions, trigonometric, or what have you. Just simple arithmetic.

Lots of reviewers like the conversion function. I don't. It doesn't have the one feature I want: liters to cubic inches. It does have liters and it converts to several different volume measurements. Alas, no cubic inches. Anyway, like I said, I just need a table for it.

People are upset that this Calculator isn't free. I can understand that sentiment if the calculator is generic, but branding always costs money. Between Mario and Animal Crossing, I'd go with Animal Crossing. I couldn't stand the Mario sound of coin. It is very annoying if you're trying to think through the calculations involved. The Animal Crossing actually repeats the numbers (in animal voice), so you don't have to look at the keyboard, allowing you to concentrate on the calculation, such as password generating linear congruent theory.

In short, forget Mario Calculator. Get yourself Animal Crossing Calculator. I actually use this a lot more than the free calculator on my Palm phone. And the calculation history is a feature you'll be glad to have when your calculation result looks strange and wonky.

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