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quidity (1296)

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A relapsing reformed physicist.

Journal of quidity (1296)

Tuesday April 02, 2002
01:09 PM

Design and Alarm Clocks

[ #3934 ]

I find it very hard to get out of bed in the morning (and I do mean "morning", that thing that ends sometime around the middle of the day). This hasn't been made any easier by the recent death of my alarm clock.

Now, being a practical sort of person, I set off in search of a new one. Before I headed off into town I decided what I wanted from my clock:

  • Big numbers - I wear glasses during the day, but clearly cannot when I'm in bed, or just as I get out of the shower.
  • Loud noises - In the past I've sometimes woken up when my alarm stopped ringing, rather than when it started, two hours too late.
  • A minimum of buttons, no switches - Solid state electronics won't break, switches wear out after a year or so and push buttons don't like me spilling coffee on them (as witnessed by far too many keyboards). Avoiding things which might break is good.
  • No clutter - I want to know what time it is, I don't want to know about the weather (I have a window to show me that) or the time in New York (I'm not a journalist, international crisis mediator or stock trader). I don't want to hold down three buttons all at once to enter alarm setting mode. I'm easy to confuse, and an alarm clock should make life easy, surely.
  • Cheap - No more than the cost of the night before which caused the hangover I need to escape the morning after.

But could I find such a thing? No. In the end I settled for an old fashioned, quartz-movement beeping job with a little dial to set the hands of the clock and a big button to press to switch off the buzzer. Technology may have moved on in the last fifty years, but the lowly alarm clock has only gained bloat, time zones and wall projection.

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  • Go get Big Ben 10 [] or the twin bell jelley []. It's a clock that requires you to remember to wind it regularly but it will wake the dead. My father had a vintage one that spoiled me for life on anything less. It's funny, too, that I can only read analog time doesn't compute.

  • My requirements for an alarm clock don't even feature the time.

    Without my glasses, I can't focus beyond about a foot (if that much). The digits for me would have to be around wall size.

    Instead, I use my palmtop as an alarm. I can set four alarms and I can soundly sleep through them. Mind you, I've slept through a fire alarm before.
      ---ict / Spoon
  • Most of my life I've been unable to wake up to an alarm clock due to my rather extreme tolerance for annoyance. Little buzzy things do not wake me. Extremely loud things -- well, let's just say that setting a loud alarm clock within arm's reach of the bed results in me turning the alarm off in my sleep and waking up four hours later.

    The solution to this was an insanely loud alarm clock/radio, placed in the bathroom, set every night before I go to sleep. I'm forced to wake up -- not by the clock, but by


    You are what you think.
  • I just trained myself to wake at a certain time. :-)