The Dose-a-Day calendars are the latest toy from DataViz - tear off yearly calendars, currently available in Dilbert and Golf themes. The major difference of course – these are for your PalmOS or PocketPC PDA. As Mauricio is currently Palmless, I was lucky enough to get the chance to go over the Palm OS offering.
I almost fell out of my chair when I discovered the download was an entire 17Mb. This isn't so ridiculous once you see what it contains – 8Mb of 160x160 images and 30Mb of 320x320 images, 366 in each resolution. Luckily the application uses a conduit to sync only a limited number to your device, however this does leave Linux and MacOS users out of luck. Installation was straightforward, and after an initial synchronisation I was dissapointed to receive a obtuse error message stating that not all components were installed and that I should attempt to HotSync again. Another sync triggered the now-installed conduit and the images were installed to my Palm, resolving this error. It would not be amiss to either make the error message more clear however, or to do the initail sync as part of install.
Once installed, the engine takes about 210Kb of storage. The killer is the images – each image is 90Kb at 320x320. By default, 11 images are synced (today's, plus 5 each side). This can thankfully be adjusted in the conduit settings for those without much memory. Further, any saved favourites will take an extra 90Kb each. It does not appear to support storing the images on a memory card at present, so you'll need ~1300Kb of RAM for a default install. For those very limited with space, the Golf version claims to be much smaller. On the upside, the image quality is excellent – all the images and text are nicely anti-aliased and look great at 320x320.
A daily dose of fun
This application adds a few bonuses over your paper calendar. As the screen isn't wide enough to display the entire strip you can scroll by dragging with the style, or using the 4 way controller on PalmOne devices. Left and right scroll the strip, while up and down move you forwards and backwards through the installed strips, although you cannot view future strips until their date has passed.
If you come across any strips you particulary like you can save them as favourites. You are able to give favourites a name of your choice, and can view them any time via a menu option. Again, you can scroll through the favourites using up and down, before returning to the date view via the menu. It could be nice for less PDA savvy users to have a visible element to switch between the views, but this is a minor criticism.
Bookmark favourites to laugh later - again
The application also features a few useful options to have in automatically start. You can set it to start on power up, on the first power up of the day, at a specific time each day or just when you run the program. You also have the option to display automatically when in the cradle, however I had problems with the application starting automatically when out of the cradle with this option enabled. The other options, however, functioned perfectly and it provides a nice way to start your day.
This is a very nice package, although I wonder if it is worth the full cost. DataViz are selling it for US$19.95, compared to ~US$12 for the current tear-off calendar. Further, the strips I have seen so far are all from 1998 – you won't be getting the latest stuff from Scott Adam's pen I'm afraid.
Apart from these minor misgivings, it is a nicely polished program and a fine addition to anyone's PDA. I'm sure the minor niggles I've mentioned will be ironed out in the near future (this is version 1.0 after all), and you can always use your Geekzone discount at Handango to cut the cost a little. It's certainly nicer to open your PDA to Dilbert than the Today screen, and the strips are as funny as ever.
Dose-a-Day Palm Version
Version 1.0 for Pocket PC (HP iPAQ h3970 with Window Mobile Pocket PC 2003) Mauricio Freitas
After such a thorough review I can't add much. The Pocket PC version is exactly like the Palm version. A brilliant example of cross platform software.
Dose-a-Day interface on Pocket PC is very similar to Palm OS
The download for Pocket PC (13MB) is smaller than the Palm version. The program and data use a little more than 2.8MB of storage on a Pocket PC, but I'm using the sync as 5 days before and 20 days after (which is a little bit more than James is using on his Palm). Perhaps because I fear having to go out on a trip without my daily Dilbert and without time to go back home and synchronise?
An important point to consider is that different from the paper calendar this one starts from the day the program is installed - your year of fun starts now, no need to wait for 1st January .
One interesting thing to add is the freebie PDF file installation. The introduction and chapter 1 of "The way of the Weasel", by Scott Adams is included with this download.