Category Archives: Gadgets

Mii on Wii

One of my friends has a Nintendo Wii and almost all of my friends here are included as characters on it. You can make your own character by choosing from a number of features (height, weight, hair colour, face shape, etc.) and then — I assume — you can use your character in games through the system. I say “I assume” because I haven’t done anything with my character yet. Just designing it was fun enough!

Mii on Wii
“Hello. I’m Shaney-Mii on Wii!”

I don’t really like playing blow-’em-up video games very much, but I do like things that involve music and rhythm. Last week, I played a dancing game (which was actually more like a drumming game) with two motion-sensitive wii-motes and it was really fun. Then, I found out later that Nintendo has created a balance board that you can stand on and do a number of different activities to help improve your fitness. (They call it Wii Fit.)

Too good to be true? Not sure. It was only released in Japan on Saturday, so there haven’t exactly been any studies done to date on whether it is effective. But anything that gets me out of my chair and moving around instead of posting incessantly on my various blogs will probably show some sort of effect!

Now and Zen

I have been pining — literally PINING — after an alarm clock for more than six years now. You might wonder why someone would pine after an alarm clock for that long. The answer to that question is that this particular alarm clock costs over $100. That might set your mind to wonder why an alarm clock might cost quite so much. And the answer to that question is that this is no regular alarm clock. It is a ZEN alarm clock.

Zen Alarm Clock
My very own Zen Alarm Clock.

With a normal alarm clock, if you wanted to get up at 7:30am, you would set the alarm for 7:30am and it would generally go off at that time with a loud buzz or beep or clang. You might then decide to snooze for a few minutes, in which case your alarm would buzz, beep, or clang a few minutes later until you finally decide to get up (or you sleep through the hour-long snooze cycle entirely, which happens to me more often that I would like to admit).

With a Zen alarm clock, if you want to get up at 7:30am, you set the alarm for 7:20am. The alarm goes off once with a single, dulcet chime (B tone or E tone, as you prefer) at 7:20am. There is no need to press the snooze button because you only hear one chime. The second chime happens 3 minutes and 48 seconds after that. The third chime happens 2 minutes and 21 seconds after the second chime. The fourth, 1 minute and 28 seconds after that. The fifth, 54 seconds after that. The sixth, 34 seconds after that. The seventh, 21 seconds after that. The eighth, 13 seconds after that. And the ninth, 8 seconds after that, followed by a chime every 5 seconds until the alarm is shut off.

This progression is apparently some sort of special Zen rhythm, although I don’t actually believe that there is anything particularly special about the rhythm at all (or that it has anything to do with Zen Buddhism). The point that helps me is that it SLOWLY wakes me up with a NICE sounding chime, rather than scaring me out of bed with a screech, like normal alarm clocks do.

I received the alarm clock on Wednesday and I tested it out this morning. The newness hasn’t worn off yet, so I can’t tell if it really does a better job of waking me up, but so far I am pleased with the gentleness of my re-entry into the land of reality.

I swear I was not paid to write this endorsement of the Zen alarm clock, but if you want to get one of your own, have a look at the www.now-zen.com website.