the perfect alarm clock

February 3rd, 2008


The Philips USA AJL308 Clock Radio. Capsule review: Fatally Flawed. Pro: You can play mp3 or MPEG-4 .avi (!) files off an SD card. Con: For some stupid reason, you can’t trigger either one as your alarm. Also, the sound quality and the screen quality are awful. It went back to Target.

I’m a total idiot for alarm clocks. I seriously have drawers and drawers of them lying dormant, the battery powered ones still ticking the hours away to themselves. In my search for the perfect awakening, I have bought probably 15 alarm clocks in my life, and each is flawed in some fairly intrinsic way.

After 33 years of near-constant iteration, I’ve decided The Perfect Alarm Clock must:

  1. It must allow me to wake up to an mp3 of my choosing — without extra background noise.
  2. It must allow me to set a wake up schedule that takes into account weekends where I don’t have to wake up at a set time.
  3. It must have a display that is big and bright enough for me to see it without my glasses.
  4. …but not be *so* bright that it’s like I’m sleeping with a shard of kryptonite next to my bed. Ideally it’s completely dark or super super dim until I touch a button or something.

Right now, we’re using a $50 Memorex CD alarm. Its problems are:

  1. It’s a CD player, so we don’t really wake up to the sound of music. I wake up to the pppppttttooooooeeeeeee sound of the crappy CD drive spinning up.
  2. It’s SO BRIGHT that I have an index card over the display, because even on the dimmest setting it’s bright like the noontime sun.

So my friend Jon suggested that I have this nifty little linux eee laptop, and maybe I could use that for an alarm clock. And: maybe I can. I found an GNOME app descriptively named “Alarm Clock” which lets me set an mp3 for us to wake up to and set a fairly elaborate schedule that excludes weekends. There’s no snooze button, but I think I could work around that — what I’m finding inexplicable is that I can’t seem to find a full-screen linux digital clock app or screensaver. Seriously, that’s all I want, and I can’t seem to locate it. I tried setting up an xwindows screensaver thingy for gltext, and that works, but it’s *so small*.

Anyhow, any thoughts? I can’t believe I’m the first person to try and use linux as their alarm clock. Also much appreciated would be alternatives that satisfy alarm clock conditions #1-4.

SIDENOTE: This looks promising, but I can’t bring myself to spend that much for an alarm clock. Yet.

~Jeff

5 Responses to “the perfect alarm clock”

  1. […] room?Thanks in advance for any insights you have. More of my maniacal ranting on alarm clocks here: http://ldopa.net/2008/02/03/the-perfect-alarm-clock/Thanks again,~Jeff Offline […]

  2. tmoli42 says:

    To me, one of the more important characteristics of an alarm clock is that it must have a sufficient difference between ‘sleep’ and ‘alarm off’ bttons so that I don’t wake up due to the mental exertion required to tell if I may have turned it off while operating it with half asleep fingers.

  3. Topher says:

    I find my iPhone works great. You can set separate daily or even weekend alarms. And on a Mac you can create your own custom ringtones from mp3s via the latest version of GarageBand. I still keep my old Sony alarm by the bed to I can read the time but eventually, it will get the hammer…

  4. çiçekçi says:

    Thanks in advance for any insights you have