With technological enlightenment has come a wave of modders and modifiers – people dedicated to improving our everyday technological experience or, perhaps more typically, creating useless yet extremely cool (the very definition of a gadget in some people’s eyes) additions to trusted and loved electronic equipment. They even mod Roomba’s to look like Pacman.
The Nintendo DS has a particularly active community of modders and homebrewers. A homebrew application is one that has been written by a hobbyist programmer, and not a commercial software producer. The applications on offer are quite staggering and, compared to mods, they require little intervention that might lead to the complete destruction of your DS unit or your fingers.
The Lick Media Player is essentially an iPod emulator. The touch screen displays a scroll wheel and navigation buttons and the controls are pretty much identical to the original iPod. Custom skins, shuffle mode, and the happy homebrew price tag make it a genuine alternative to the Apple mp3 playing personal audio device.
Win2DS is a really cool homebrew application that allows you to remotely view and control your desktop PC. What’s more it can also be used as a wireless gaming pad for pretty much any game you want to play.
DSOrganize is probably the first homebrew application that most users will want, or indeed need. It’s almost an operating system for your DS. A calendar enables you to store important dates and times, and set reminders for those occasions you can’t forget. Address book lets you store multiple contact details for all your friends, family, and colleagues. The to-do list is, well, a to do list and scribble pad is a quick application that lets you doodle, write, and store the information. File browser, chat client, and even a homebrew application database are also included in DSOrganize.
The DS Homebrew community is a fervent one and enables owners of the incredibly popular Nintendo handheld system to quickly download and use applications that completely change and improve the functionality of the DS.