Gem Hunter for Pocket PC Review

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Product Requirements:
All Pocket PC PDAs.
Gem Hunter v2.0 requires 586K 

Recently, Julie and I wrote an article listing some of our favorite Pocket PC
. Had I known about Gem
by AhnDaGo Software, I
would have certainly included it.

As much a game of reasoning as anything, be fore-warned: even with the directions,
Gem Hunter can get a bit confusing. Without the directions – you might be in

I whet my teeth on Gem Hunter by playing the unregistered version which only
allows you to look for three gems. The game made no sense at all at
first, and I admit that I hated it. Basically, I saw a board that looked
like this:

See all the little arrows around the board? As you click on them, various
icons will appear. 

Each icon actually means something, and directly relates to where the gems
are hidden on the board. Nothing is random, even the things that are thrown in
to confuse you. So after seeing the "YOU LOSE" screen more
times than I cared to, I <gasp> read the directions. 

Here is a quick breakdown of what the icons mean, directly taken from the instruction

Deflect1.jpg (35229 bytes) Deflections

"A Deflection occurs when a beam strikes a gem at a
45 degree angle.  The beam will then turn 90 degrees away from the
gem it struck and continue on.  The yellow beam in the picture to
the left illustrates this behavior.  It is also possible for a beam
to encounter additional gems and be deflected again.  The blue and
green beams illustrate this concept.

hitexamples.jpg (34959 bytes) Hits

"A Hit occurs when the beam strikes a gem directly,
and therefore cannot leave the playfield.  The gem in the upper
left of the picture is being hit by two different beams.  A hit can
occur immediately if the gem is located on the outside of the playfield
as in the gem on the bottom.  Finally, a beam that hits a gem after
being deflected also results in a hit.  The beam on the right
illustrates this.

reflectexamples.jpg (35219 bytes) Reflections

"A Reflection occurs any time the beam enters the
playfield and leaves it through the same space.  If the gem is
located in the outside row of the playfield and the beam is launched one
column or row from the gem, a reflection occurs.  An example of
this is shown by the gem in the top row of the picture.  The
reflections in this case mean the beam never got a chance to enter the
playfield.  Another type of reflection occurs when a beam strikes
an empty space between two gems.  In this case, the beam is
reflected back to the source.  See the two gems located in the
upper right of the picture.  Finally, a beam can be reflected after
being deflected.   The beam on the bottom illustrates this



What a difference some information made!! All of a sudden I realized that
there was a method to this game’s madness; and once I got the hang of it,
finding the three gems was fun and almost easy! 

With my new knowledge, I was able to win. Here is a blow-by-blow of how I did

You start a new game by clicking the
"play" icon on the bottom left of the board. You hit a number of
the side arrows to reveal icons telling you about possible placements of
gems. The less icons you hit, the higher your final score will be.

Ok, as you can see, I have a red icon on two different planes. This is
the easiest way to tell when you have a gem nearby.
"Connect" your planes, and then go to the first spot at a 45°
angle on the outside of the x/y axis. That should be where your gem is

As you tap the board for gems, the amount left to find will be
displayed next to the red "?" in the upper left of the




In this example, I was able to find all three gems by using the x/y
axis method. Follow my angles and planes, and you’ll see that these are
the only places three gems could have been hiding, since you know there
were only three (and the "?" at the top tells you there
are zero left to find)…




You tap the "check" symbol at the bottom right of the board, and it will
tell you quickly how you did.

Like there was ever any doubt! ;0)



I was fooled into thinking that the game was fun but pretty simple while I
was playing the unregistered version, as there are only the three gems to find.
Once I got my hands on the registered version, things got rather ugly…

In the registered version, you can customize the game to include anywhere
from one to seven gems. The Random setting is a total bugger, as you
never know how many gems will get thrown at you. While the 1 through 3
hidden gem settings aren’t bad – you will really have to apply yourself in the 4
through 7 settings.


So, here is an example of looking for seven gems on the board. It’s hard, yet
not impossible (though you will see that I didn’t do it – this time)…

I figured that I would go ahead and hit all of
the little arrows, exposing all of the icons, because I knew from past
experience that this wasn’t going to be easy. 

The next thing I did was find all of my x/y axis freebies.

This is where it gets tricky! Remembering that an R means that
the beam has been reflected, and seeing that there are no Rs across
each other, signifying that there is a gem somewhere in between, you have
to take into account the Hs (or Hits) and where they are in
relation to the Rs.

You also have to consider the colored icons. If a matching pair appears
straight across from each each other, then there should be no gems in that

When you have two matching colored icons on the same row – such as the
brown diamonds on the top row, it means that that beam has been deflected
off of a gem. You’ll have to line where you think that hit occurred, with
the R that should correspond to it. Sometimes this is easier said
than done!





It’s things like this that keep you from getting too cocky…back to
the drawing board!

Fortunately, this game is habit-forming enough that you will want to
keep trying!


After you have played a few games, you can check your stats. If you have been
using the game timer, your best times will also be displayed.


Gem Hunter has blips and beeps, and an addictive startup sound – but like all
good software, you can choose not to hear any of it if you are going to be
playing in a "quiet" environment. There is also a handy Exit
button in the Game menu. 

This game has earned a permanent place on my Pocket PC. I think it is both
challenging and fun – and a FAB time waster. :0)

Price:  $8.99


Addictive and challenging
Fun sounds
Choice of difficulties
Game has an Exit button


You really ought to read the instructions…


Product Information


34 thoughts on “Gem Hunter for Pocket PC Review”

  1. Gadgeteer Comment Policy - Please read before commenting
  2. I’ll admit that I’ve been curious about XM radio for some time….but the question I haven’t heard answered…is whether they work at all indoors.

    Specifically, would it work from my cubicle at work.

    It is the one place where I can’t get radio…. I also barely get cellular….

    I really don’t want to buy it and then find out the answer is no….since I can’t think of any other reason to justify having it otherwise.

    The Dreamer

  3. The answer is yes and no…sorry. I can pick up a signal from within my house but, the room I am in has no ceiling. The roof is on top pf me and the signal seems to get through. I also cannot get cellular reception so I don’t think you can draw a parellel between the two. The good folks at XM are going to hedge their bets and tell you no. These are pretty power birds they have up there in outer space. I have been able to get a signal as I drive most of the way through a tunnel (short one). You get a lot of bounce effect with the signal. An office building is going to be tough, unless you are near a window. I would suspect that you have something more significant than a thin wood roof over your head. The call to XM is free. Give it a try.

    Eric Smith

  4. I purchased Satellite radio in February and I decided to go with Sirius for $12.99 per month. While it is more costly by $3 per month, Sirius allows me to stream its music stations on any high speed Internet connection using my password. Talk stations (news, entertainment, etc. may not be played via the Internet.) It sounds as if this new XM PC device is limited by location but has better sound quality. Has anyone compared the XM device with the Sirius streaming feature?

  5. I’m a huge XM fan too but I’m not a fan of this review. It has some major omissions and mistakes. Here they are:

    1) You do not need a southern facing window for XM if you live in or near a major metropolitan area in the continental US. XM has over 800 terrestrial repeaters located around the country that provide a signal even if you don’t have a direct view of the satellite. These allow XM to work in cities where tall buildings block the signal (e.g., NYC) and in tunnels, near mountains, etc. Since the vast majority of the country’s population live near repeaters, you can likely put the antenna anywhere you want in your house.

    2) Even if you don’t live near a repeater, XM’s 2.3 GHz satellite signal passes through wood and a variety of insulation materials, meaning it may come straight through your roof. If so, you can just point the antenna south irresepective of where a window is. (If you’re in a steel or metal frame building, this won’t work.)

    3) The whole issue of commercials is very misleading, The Sirius stations are not all commercial free. Sirius, just like XM, rebroadcasts content from a variety of external providers, (e.g., CNN on XM), and you will hear those commercials. Sirius is commercial free on its music channels. XM is commericial free on 60% of its music channels. That being said, XM strictly limits commercials on the channels that provide them and it is nothing like the 20+ minutes/hour of commercials you get on regular AM/FM radio. You may get 1-2 minutes of commercials per hour and XM guarantees it will never go above 5 mins/hour on the 40% of channels that provide them. For what it’s worth, I don’t mind the 1min/hour of commercials I hear on the channels I listen to. (XM commercials tend to be somewhat irreverant.)

    4) Both XM and Sirius have digital signals but they are NOT CD quality. XM’s music channels have roughly 16kHz bandwidth and are heavily compressed using proprietary codecs. (Similar for Sirius.) The general consensus seems to be that some people care about this strongly but most people either don’t care or can’t hear the difference. You certainly won’t notice the difference in your car at 60mph on the highway. Also, for what it’s worth, I think XM has better audio fidelity than does Sirius, but your milage can and will vary. Finally, the codecs can also be updated by the companies on the fly as technology improves.

    I’d suggest if you’re interested in XM, you might check out, which is one of the several popular fansites created by XM users.


  6. Thanks for filling in the detail Fritz. A little more than most want to know but, thanks just the same. This was not a review about the merits of XM vs Sirius…figured if people were interested, they would do their own research.

    As far as CD quality, not talking codecs…just how it sounds to me on my PC with my speakers. No osciliscopes hooked up at my house. Just a set of ears that I guess may not be as discerning as yours :confused:

    BTW, do you have XM PCR?

  7. I think we might have different opinions on what people want in a review, particularly on a site known for accurate and detailed reviewing. By the way, I like Sirius too; those comments were simply for comparison.

    Anyway, I think you need to amend your review, particularly the pros & cons sections, because what is currently written there is simply wrong. E.g., “CD Quality” actually implies something quite specific; it doesn’t simply mean that the guy doing the review cannot tell the difference. That would be like writing “Porsche Quality” on my Nissan because it’s fast enough for my purposes. Also, I think your need-for-a-window comments are misleading and inaccurate and may needlessly discourage people from getting XM, which is too bad, because I’m sure we agree that satellite radio is a wonderul thing.

  8. Cannot remove the “windows” comment because I am basing it on what information is provided by XM Radio…not on one of their fan’s opinions. I agree that for some people, XM PCR may work anywhere in there house. For others, they will need to adhere to what parameters are being supplied by XM Radio.

    BTW, when I move my antenna away from the window and place it on the table…facing South…I can notice a significant degrading of signal strength and a clipping in the station being received.

    As for the CD quality issue, that is also a quote from the XM Radio website.

    Curious as to the experience you have had with your XM PCR. Of course you do have one don’t you?

  9. As much fun as it is may be to argue, I think I’m going to try to tone this down a bit.

    I’ll respond to two points you raise. First, XM nowhere makes the claim their signal is “CD Quality,” and they couldn’t make that claim without getting sued. For the record, XM’s channels have essentially the same bandwidth as do standard commercial FM radio stations. XM generally sounds better than FM for many reasons, including the lack of multipath and other types of distortion and the absense of subcarriers. Without a doubt, it is possible to receive an FM signal that is higher audio quality than XM, and in fact, many of us living in big cities can and do. (What you’re really paying for with XM is the programming and ubiquity of the signal.)

    Now, on to your question: Do you think that if I didn’t own a PCR, that would somehow make your review more accurate? I just do happen to have one, along with a SkyFi, Boombox, and all the trimmings. And in the interests of full disclosure, I also happen to own stock in both XM and Sirius…

  10. Dreamer,

    You can buy an XM radio and try it out without activating it. Even radios that haven’t been activated can receive a bunch of stations for free. So, you can buy the radio and see if you get reception without the bother of activation (which is pretty trivial anyway). If it doesn’t work for you, just return the radio.


    Originally posted by TheDreamer
    [B]I’ll admit that I’ve been curious about XM radio for some time….but the question I haven’t heard answered…is whether they work at all indoors.

    Specifically, would it work from my cubicle at work.

    It is the one place where I can’t get radio…. I also barely get cellular….

    I really don’t want to buy it and then find out the answer is no….since I can’t think of any other reason to justify having it otherwise.

    The Dreamer [/B]

  11. Fitz…for what it’s worth to you, this is copied right from the FAQ page on the XM Radio site:

    “How good is the sound quality of XM PCR?

    The sound quality of the XM PCR is equal to any XM Radio model such as the Delphi SKYFi, and is comparable to CD quality.”

    That’s cool that Sirius offers the streaming option to its customers. The only problem with streaming is that it takes up some portion of your bandwidth. Do you notice any degradation in your Internet speeds?


  12. Eric,

    There is a little bit of degredation in speed, plus the sound quality isn’t that great and then there are the other usual problem you can encounter with streaming audi (reset streams, etc). But, if you are in the situation like Dreamer described, it might be a solution.

    I just realized that buffasnow1 had mentioned the streaming audio previously. DOH. 😮

    Judie :0)

  13. Eric, I can see what causes confusion about this, so shame on their marketing department. Strictly speaking, I suppose, anything “is comparable to CD quality,” it just might not compare very favorably. Nonetheless, their marketing hype doesn’t change the fact that XM does not by any stretch of the imagination provide what is known as Redbook CD Quality, due both to XM’s lossy compression and its much lower sampling rate. What they most have in common is they’re both digital.

    The difference is actually much easier to hear than you might expect. Try listening to almost any music that has trumpets, e.g., on one of the jazz, 40s or classical channels. For whatever reason, XM’s compression can distort trumpets horribly and it’s painfully easy to hear when the signal is uncompressed. I’ve had friends who don’t know the first thing about hifi audio or signal processing ask me what the hell is wrong with the music when that happens…

    Anyway, I think that it is especially because XM’s marketing department is misleading about this, it’s important for reviewers to accurately call them on it. Just for reference, Sirius has the same type of problems, as do most systems that use lossy compression schemes, such as MP3 players.

    Originally posted by redbike2001
    [B]Fitz…for what it’s worth to you, this is copied right from the FAQ page on the XM Radio site:

    “How good is the sound quality of XM PCR?

    The sound quality of the XM PCR is equal to any XM Radio model such as the Delphi SKYFi, and is comparable to CD quality.”


  14. Perhaps then it would be better to say that both XM and Sirius sound quality is comparable to MP3 at 128khz?

  15. This question has received a lot of debate on other forums. Since XM doesn’t use MP3 but rather something called CT-aacPlus, it’s hard to make a clear comparison. That being said, I think most people would agree XM sounds much better than a 128kb/s MP3 recording. I’d probably compare it to 160 – 192kb/s MP3, which are what I use on my IPod, but this is completely subjective and different music to different people will sound better or worse.

    For the matter at hand, I would just say that XM has high fidelity audio and leave it at that.

    One of the cool features of XM and Sirius is that they can both supposedly download new codecs to devices as they are developed, so the music quality should only improve over time.


  16. I’m new to this board, so I’ll keep my comments simple. Satellite Raidio is great. It gives me an opportunity to listen to new music, and learn more about the artists. XM 150 (comedy) makes the stop-and-go traffic of an obnoxious commute not only bearable, but a breeze. I hate being in a car without it.

    I have the Delphi portable unit for home, and have it hooked into my PC already. I’ve been curious about the benefits of the XMPC version, and this review has answered some of my questions. It also introduced me to Media Center; I’ve been looking into a timer for XM recording, andf this one is the best I’ve found. The benefits of the PC version v what I have:

    1. Less cabling arounf the computer. No need for an additional power source.

    2. Programming the recorder seems easier; I don’t have to remember to turn on the separate XM box.

    3. Being able to just hit a button to remember the info on a song is worth it’s weight in gold. Again, I listen to a lot of new music, and really enjoy downloading it (I always try the Apple Store first on my iBook; if it’s not available, off to Kazaa). I cannot tell you how many times I’ve scrambled for a scrap of paper, interrupting whatever I’m doing.

    I think the debate over sound quality is a moot point. It’s great, and I cannot tell the difference between a CD and the XM on my system. It’s WAY better than FM. That is a fact.

    Re: reception. I live in an area where I do not get a constant signal while driving. (due to mountains). Mother nature WAS here first. I do get great sound at home, with partial (2-3) reception from the satellite, even thru trees.

    If you appreciate music, entertainment and nostalgia, satellite radio is for you. This system for the PC seems well thought out; I may need to indulge.

    Thanx for all the info.

  17. Damn right XMSR and SIRI stocks have been sky rocketing, but pulling back now. SIRI is the money maker. Tip: buy on Wednesday, sell after 4th of July weekend. Reason: many will be selling stock before 4th of july weekend to lower exposure of the 3 day holiday in which bad news can come out while they’re on vacation. It is a historical statistics that buying a few days before any majore holiday weekends will get you good gains. I’ll be back a week after 4th of jUly to tell you the results : ) hehe.

    SIRI and IGCE looks like good targets for Wednesday Entry for me.


  18. I will never pay for radio. period.

    I will however, pay for radio + GPS enabled intelligent traffic/weather maps to help me avoid traffic congestion and know what the weather is going to be like anywhere I go.

    Until XM adds this form of additional services, satellite radio is simply a waste of satellite bandwidth and technology.


  19. flamaest,

    Do you have cable or satellite TV? I bet 25 years ago people would have scoffed at the idea of paying for TV broadcasts. Now, TV is almost worthless without the value enhanced cable channels – that you pay for.

    I look at satellite radio the same way – but with a benefit. I pay for cable TV, but I still have to endure commercials on most channels. With satellite radio, I have the exact type of station I want to tune into without any commercials and without suffering through the painful “morning DJ” chit chat.

    I was skeptical about “paying” for radio, too – before I got Sirius. Now, I will have it in every vehicle I ever own. It is worth the $13 a month for me.

    BTW, there is a Weather Channel station for whatever part of the country you live in. No traffic congestion /GPS yet – maybe someday.

    Judie :0)

  20. If anyone out there misses their morning DJ insanity, there is channel 152…..nothing but that morning madness 24 hrs a day.

    (One to skip for me too……)

    As for paying for radio: $10/month is like buying lunch at work 2 times. I’d gladly trade the food where I work (hospital) for the pure listening enjoyment anytime!

  21. Is it possible to bring this signal into one computer in the house and then stream it throughout the house to multiple computers?



  22. I spoke with a Sirius rep yesterday. He said that the new Audiovox line of satellite receivers will soon be marketing a product that allows the subscriber to carry music with them on their waists. I can’t wait!

  23. I became convinced of satellite radio the first time I drove from San Jose to LA. 5 hours with a meager selection of country, western, spanish, plus a few christian stations. [We forgot to bring our CDs.] We were dyin’ by the time we came within range of LA stations!!

  24. Hi Josh,

    I don’t know about XM radio, but the basic Sirius subscription includes a password that permits the user to stream music, via a computer with a high speed internet connection, at no additional charge. No fancy software is available or required.

  25. I’m looking forward to the XM walkman, which was announced at the Q1 shareholders’ meeting earlier this year. (I’m getting awfully tired of lugging the SkyFi Boombox everywhere…)

    Originally posted by buffasnow1
    I spoke with a Sirius rep yesterday. He said that the new Audiovox line of satellite receivers will soon be marketing a product that allows the subscriber to carry music with them on their waists. I can’t wait!

  26. By the way, in case anyone’s interested, XM announced its current subscriber numbers today:

    This quarter XM hit 692,253, an increase of 209,178 over the previous quarter.

    That is an average increase of 2324.2 subscribers per day (or 69,723 / month).

  27. Sorry, I don’t think XM or Sirius work outside of the continental US. For sure not Sirius. I work at the company that built the Sirius satellites – its antennas were only designed to cover the US.

    I think Alcatel is working on a European version.

  28. Neither XM nor Sirius work in England.

    XM covers the continental US, plus much of Alaska, Canada, Mexico and surrounding waters.

    Most of Europe, however, already has satellite radio service. Check out Their receivers are a generation ahead of XM’s (and two ahead of Sirius) so you might want to see them just for the coolness factor. (I particularly like the Hitachi model.) Worldspace doesn’t have XM’s variety but if you’re an English speaker stuck in the boondocks, I’m told it’s a Godsend.

    Also, if I remember correctly, the European Space Agency announced earlier this year that it would be devoting some aging satellites to developing a new commercial European satellite radio service. (Search on for details.)

    Originally posted by mterk
    [B]Does anyone know if XM receives a signal in England?
    -Mike [/B]

  29. Originally posted by mterk
    [B]Does anyone know if XM receives a signal in England?
    -Mike [/B]

    As stated earlier: No.

    Besides, Europe has a good terrestrial digital radio network as well as Worldspace, and other people looking to launch an XM Radio style service too.

  30. The software that comes with the XM PCR is somewhat sub-par, but there are lots of third-party packages available that do some amazing things.

    XtremePCR is a free alternative to the stock software that does a lot more, and does it better:

    Last week TimeTrax came out, it rips MP3’s directly from the satellite radio, with full artist and song names on them. Leave it running overnight and you end up with a directory full of MP3’s.

  31. GSML:

    I’ve been seriously thinking about buying a satellite radio package that I can use in both my car or home. The software that you’ve provided links to look very interesting! Have you tried the TimeTrax software yourself? If so, what bitrate does it record songs at?

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