Feature creep

9 April, 2010

I am losing great chunks of my life, eight minutes at a time. ‘I know,’ I thought, ‘I will buy an alarm clock that doesn’t have a snooze function. Problem solved.’

No. Technology marches on. My requirements for an alarm clock (shows the time, makes a noise once every 24 hours, and is otherwise quiet and unlit) are ridiculously Neanderthal; apparently an alarm clock is no good unless it is literally singing and dancing.

I do not want a radio, an iPod dock, or bright colour-changing lights. I refuse to lift weights when I just woke up. I do not care about the temperature in Tokyo or the time in Venezuela. I do not want pink. I do not need it to be USB anything. It should not have wheels. I do not want it to fly around the room. It should not double up as a mirror or a photo frame. I do not wish to know the phases of the moon. The shape of a rotary telephone does not particularly inspire me to get out of bed; neither does a small plastic poledancing woman or a man hitting a gong. I do not want it to spy on me. I definitely don’t want it to talk to me. A projector is not required. Alien Hatching Eggs should not feature anywhere. Explosives should not be implied in any way. It should not blend.

Have I been seduced by the Unix philosophy, or am I just getting old and jaded? Must I build my own alarm clock?



  1. I have a brass classic alarm clock. Unfortunatly it is by no means silent and has a particulary load tick which is why I don’t use it. It is also quite hard to read in the depth of night.

    • Yup. Does not meet requirements.

  2. you’re a phd student – you don’t need to get up – you don’t need to know what time it is – these are distractions from research 🙂 🙂

    • True 🙂 but my boyfriend lives in the Real World and I want to stay in approximately the same timezone (and observe the same planet’s rotation period, for that matter).

  3. If you do end up making one of those alarm clocks, can I commission you to make me one too?

    • Sure! Unfortunately, I am not very good at Getting Things Done. It took me six years to get around to making the laserdisc clock, so don’t hold your breath…

      • Oh thank god, i was going blue just then!

      • Six? I thought the cut off point was five! Or was that the average…? *worries*

        I don’t have an alarm clock, I have a mobile telephone. You can’t read texts on it due to the screen cracking problem, but it will make noise at approximately the same time each day. *shrugs* Win some, lose some.

      • I think the average GTD-time is a function of age and the length of juicytangents.txt, and as such is only going to get worse.

        What do you do when the clocks change?

  4. I read this many moons ago, but lack of interweb has left till now to shed some light on the subject.

    I own a nice clock which meets said requirements and put simply, you don’t *want* an alarm clock.

    What you’re after is a *travel* clock. Nice simple chaps that are designed to be run on one battery for a very long time in places where you’d have to recharge it using mangos. As such, no lasers, no thermometers, no helicopter blades. Just time. Just alarm.

    Though the one I got for Japan did have a back light if you pressed a button. Handy for night-time time-reading.

    And I suppose my digital watch does the minimum requirements too.

    Alternatively, cheap ones which light up the whole room are ten a penny, so buy one of them and put something in front of it at bedtime.

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