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The Perfect Alarm Clock

By Langley in Culture
Tue Dec 05, 2000 at 04:49:44 AM EST
Tags: Hardware (all tags)

I, like many people, have quite a hard time waking up in the morning. Even with a noisy and annoying alarm clock.

I was just curious if anyone has found the perfect alarm clock. One that guarantees it will wake you up on time, or something that at least has a good track record.


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The Perfect Alarm Clock | 108 comments (104 topical, 4 editorial, 0 hidden)
Taz (4.00 / 3) (#2)
by Fireblade on Mon Dec 04, 2000 at 04:46:42 PM EST

My sister-in-law has a Tazmanian devil alarm clock. When it goes off, Taz jumps up out of the top and screams at you. Not recommended for anyone with a weak heart.

Alarm clocks? (3.00 / 3) (#3)
by djx on Mon Dec 04, 2000 at 04:47:16 PM EST

The perfect alarm clock for me would be a hydraulic system set up to dump me out of bed onto the cold floor whenever I program it to. But... since that isn't viable, I use my cell phone and my girlfriend. She calls me until I wake up. This process typically takes one call with about three rings.

Maybe it would work for you, maybe not. BTW- I used to go through three or four of the ElCheapo-brand clock-radios a month.

-<end of transmission>-
A three year old (4.12 / 8) (#4)
by porkchop_d_clown on Mon Dec 04, 2000 at 04:47:34 PM EST

A three year old jumping on your stomach and asking for breakfast is pretty much impossible to ignore.

People who think "clown" is an insult have never met any.
Cats (3.33 / 3) (#25)
by fvw on Mon Dec 04, 2000 at 06:55:28 PM EST

Cats tend to do miracles in that department too....

[ Parent ]
Yep, (4.00 / 1) (#61)
by Phil the Canuck on Tue Dec 05, 2000 at 08:25:17 AM EST

but I have bruises from my "alarm clock". Children are heavier than cats (generally).


I don't think being an idiot comes with a pension plan though. Unless you're management of course. - hulver
[ Parent ]

Re: Yep, (none / 0) (#106)
by fvw on Sat Dec 09, 2000 at 11:32:20 PM EST

But: a) childeren don't lick your eyelids (generally) b) cats have a snooze-button (give them food)

[ Parent ]
Damn! (3.80 / 5) (#5)
by farmgeek on Mon Dec 04, 2000 at 04:48:07 PM EST

I thought someone had found it! I click through only to find someone else still looking.

I have found my wife to be the perfect alarm clock. I set my alarm for whatever time I want to get up, and when it goes off she wakes up and endures me hitting snooze about twice before forcibly pushing me out of the bed.

Now, if I could find a cheap waterproof alarm to wake me up when the shower is over I'd never be late for work.

Seriously, I've found that I have to switch alarm clocks every six months or so in order to keep from getting climatized to the point that I don't hear it. As long as the tone is decidely different from the previous one then this strategy seems to work.

Snooze (3.66 / 3) (#21)
by jabber on Mon Dec 04, 2000 at 06:33:04 PM EST

I hate the snooze button and am not coordinated enough to hit it with any sort of accuracy. Subsequently, I have gotten used to the noise and can sleep through it if I have to. My GF is a snooze-button-mistress. She will whack that thing precisely, even with her eyes shut, and her head turned the other way. Even if I move the clock - she seems to zero in on the sound and off-set the appropriate 3 inches off to the left. She can't sleep if the radio is on. Snooze bothers me and wakes me better than it does her - so I find her ribs to be the ideal snooze button for my needs.

The typical morning goes like this:
Blissful sleep
Shriek from the radio
Jab her in the ribs
Whap of her hand on the Snooze button
Blissful sleep

Rinse, lather, repeat until we're both late or the alarm clock falls to the floor, at which point she can't sleep anymore, and requests my company over morning coffee by pulling the covers off the bed and turning on the ceiling fan.

[TINK5C] |"Is K5 my kapusta intellectual teddy bear?"| "Yes"
[ Parent ]

clock radio (4.00 / 1) (#22)
by komisch on Mon Dec 04, 2000 at 06:38:53 PM EST

Have you tried a clock radio instead of switching alarms so often? I have one and all I do is set it to some station the night before and it works fine.
"You are repose and gentle peace, You are longing and what stills it..." Friedrich Ruckert
[ Parent ]
I tried a clock radio (3.00 / 1) (#23)
by retinaburn on Mon Dec 04, 2000 at 06:53:09 PM EST

But I just slept through it and as a result had very very strange dreams when it was on.

I think that we are a young species that often fucks with things we don't know how to unfuck. -- Tycho

[ Parent ]
Try this... (3.00 / 1) (#28)
by Pimp Ninja on Mon Dec 04, 2000 at 08:00:07 PM EST

Try detuning it. Set it to straight static, the loudest band you can find, or set it just off of a station, so that it's hideously distorted. Then, set it REALLY loud :)


If we demand from them without offering in return, what are we but better-
dressed muggers holding up the creative at the point of a metaphorical gun?

[ Parent ]
'climatized' and country music (none / 0) (#40)
by quam on Tue Dec 05, 2000 at 12:00:35 AM EST

You are the only other person I have come across who also becomes acquainted/climatized with the alarm over time where the alarm eventually has no effect.

It would be nice if there was an alarm clock with numerous/vastly different alarm options. There are so many ring options for mobile phones that it would seem logical that an alarm, too, would have as many options.

I'm sure most of those annoying 'phone songs' would wake me up.

Many here suggest a radio alarm --- music does not wake me. However, country music does. But, I found that I hate country music so much that an alarm waking me up with country music makes me grumpy.

-- U.S. Patent 5443036 concerns a device for encouraging a cat to exercise by chasing a light spot.
[ Parent ]
Bah, there are many of us! (3.00 / 1) (#42)
by edibiase on Tue Dec 05, 2000 at 12:19:49 AM EST

You are the only other person I have come across who also becomes acquainted/climatized with the alarm over time where the alarm eventually has no effect.

During the course of this school year, I've found that there are many times when I'll wake up and have no idea why I'm up! I don't hear the alarm, and don't remember turning it off. I'll just suddenly find myself sitting up in bed (or, more usually, in the bathroom; I don't usually remember the trek from bedroom to bathroot either) with no clue how I got there.

Then, of course, there are the other times, where my dad will come into my room at 6:10 to wake me up. I'll take a look at my alarm clock, and realize that somehow it got changed from "alarm" to "no alarm." I can only presume that I got up without remembering how and then promptly went back to sleep, forgetting the entire thing.

Kinda scary, really. I've set my "alarm" to be 89.3 FM, the local classical music station, which hopefully will be a better way to wake up than a blaring alarm.

[ Parent ]

multi-tone alarm clocks (2.75 / 4) (#46)
by Anonymous 6522 on Tue Dec 05, 2000 at 12:47:08 AM EST

After a few months I get so used to one alarm clock that I won't even wake up to turn it off, I'll just sleep through it. (I have one that is louder than my fire alarm that I sleep through) I have a GE telephone with an integrated alarm clock that has 3 different alarm settings, normal alarm, telephone ring, and ode to joy. This would have been able to get me up in the morning except that it had no snooze.

[ Parent ]
use your phone (2.00 / 1) (#94)
by dave.oflynn on Wed Dec 06, 2000 at 05:15:15 AM EST

I find that using my mobile phone's alarm clock function is extremely effective. Two reasons :

1- You can change the ring-tone. Stops you becoming acclimatised to it's sound.

2- You can make it go very loud! Especially useful if you've had one too many the night before...

[ Parent ]

sleeping through familiar alarms (3.00 / 1) (#96)
by cryosis on Wed Dec 06, 2000 at 08:22:08 AM EST

I have that problem too. I ended up having 4 clocks, a stereo and a mp3 playlist all going off within 15 minutes of each other. The noise is godawful, but it seems to be working.

[ Parent ]
ANY alarm clock (3.75 / 4) (#6)
by el_guapo on Mon Dec 04, 2000 at 04:58:09 PM EST

just set it across the room and turn it all the way up...
mas cerveza, por favor mirrors, manifestos, etc.
Nope... (4.00 / 4) (#7)
by SIGFPE on Mon Dec 04, 2000 at 05:01:46 PM EST

...that just trains you to get up, cross the room, stop the alarm and get back into bed while sleepwalking!
[ Parent ]
With you on that (2.00 / 1) (#13)
by blp on Mon Dec 04, 2000 at 05:18:23 PM EST

This happened to me today. I ended up getting up a 7:15 am and just barely making it to my 7:30 am Physics final on time.

I can no longer sit back and allow: Communist Infiltration, Communist Indoctrination, Communist Subversion and the International Communist Conspiracy to sap and inpurify all of our precious bodily fluids.
[ Parent ]

7:30am Physics finals!!! (3.00 / 1) (#18)
by SIGFPE on Mon Dec 04, 2000 at 05:40:43 PM EST

What country do you live in that makes you take exams at that ungodly hour?
[ Parent ]
School Starts at 7:30 AM (none / 0) (#43)
by edibiase on Tue Dec 05, 2000 at 12:24:00 AM EST

At my wonderful ::cough:: high school, we start at 7:30, so technically I could be taking exams at that time.

Which is why I should be in bed right now instead of reading K5 :-)

[ Parent ]

Annoying neighbors, (3.75 / 4) (#8)
by bored on Mon Dec 04, 2000 at 05:03:22 PM EST

I now have an alarm clock that wakes me up every morning at 7 am with a thuwump... thuwump... thuwump,thump,thump...thuwump.. Its my upstairs neighbors stereo, just loud enough that it wakes me up. I don't have to get up for another hour or two, so this proceeds to REALLY get on my nerves. The more it wakes me up, the more angry I get, which wakes me further, until I am perfectly awake.

I have spoken to him about it, and he basically said "sorry won't do it again" and proceeded to wake me the next morning just as loud as before. This of course is the kind of crap that happens with apartments. I can't call the cops even though we have noise ordinances because its not loud enough to violate the noise ordnance outside of the apartment. The bass travels through my ceiling like it isn't even there. So I'm left with complaining to the apartment managers about it. Lot of good that does! The best strategy I have come up with to combat this problem is moving out which isn't exactly a good option right now. The other strategy is to set my alarm clock for 6:00 and play my stereo just loud enough to hopefully wake him. Maybe it will work, but if the last week is any indication it sure doesn't seem to work.

bass woofers (3.00 / 2) (#34)
by spoony on Mon Dec 04, 2000 at 08:56:32 PM EST

i would suggest you to tell him (kindly) to elevate his speakers and at least put his bass speakers on some pillow ...
man i hate those neighbors

[ Parent ]
Bass + Steel = LOUD (3.00 / 1) (#48)
by ZanThrax on Tue Dec 05, 2000 at 02:08:37 AM EST

Subs should never be in direct contact with the floor of an apartment building. Its just rude. The steel structure of apartment buildings lets the low frequencies travel nicely into the adjacent suites.

Before flying off the handle over the suggestion that your a cocksucker, be sure that you do not, in fact, have a cock in your mouth.
[ Parent ]

What you should do.. (3.00 / 1) (#63)
by chutzpah on Tue Dec 05, 2000 at 09:10:28 AM EST

You should point some speakers at the celing and start playing music just as loud at 1:00am, the people who get up that early by choice generally go to bed very early and loud music at 1:00am would be just annoying for them as it is at 7:00am for you. If he complains, then just tell him that you will stop if he stops.

[ Parent ]
My computer! (3.28 / 7) (#10)
by Michael Leuchtenburg on Mon Dec 04, 2000 at 05:10:21 PM EST

My computer wakes me up. It plays loud music and when I get more X10, it'll turn the lights on too. I find it works quite well. With cron, who needs an alarm clock?

[ #k5: dyfrgi ]
[ TINK5C ]
have you considered alarm clocks for the deaf? (4.33 / 6) (#12)
by ism on Mon Dec 04, 2000 at 05:18:18 PM EST

these types of alarms either amplify the sound, or use other signals to trigger your sensory organs. maybe a strobe light? or even better, a vibrating alarm that shakes you.

the rest is willpower. i also have a hard time getting up. i place my alarm clock across the room. however, i get up, walk over to the alarm, turn it off, and go back to bed. sometimes i wake up later and don't even realize i did that. i don't think any alarm solution could overcome my unwillingness to join the land of the living.

of course, my perfect alarm clock would pick me up out of bed, start the shower and plop me in there, while it fixes a nice, hot breakfast.

yet another
these are not recommendations by the way; i have never bought from any of these retailers.

we already have this... (4.50 / 2) (#56)
by revird on Tue Dec 05, 2000 at 06:52:45 AM EST

of course, my perfect alarm clock would pick me up out of bed, start the shower and plop me in there, while it fixes a nice, hot breakfast.

we already have this - it's called "mom" :)

[ Parent ]
Hide it (3.80 / 5) (#14)
by Eloquence on Mon Dec 04, 2000 at 05:22:58 PM EST

When I really have to wake up in time at all cost, I do this: Hide the alarm clock as far away from the bed as possible, best on a high place. The more effort it takes you to put it off, the less likely it is that you will fall back into sleep again.

I think there are also wake up telephone services. I've only used these in hotels, where they've done their job nicely. The attention required to get ready to answer the phone usually wakes you up as well. But then, it might not work when done regularly ..
Copyright law is bad: infoAnarchy Pleasure is good: Origins of Violence
spread the word!

Talking in your sleep... (3.00 / 1) (#35)
by clarioke on Mon Dec 04, 2000 at 08:57:42 PM EST

I used to have a phone next to my bed and I'd answer it when it would ring. When I was asleep, I'd answer it and I wouldn't wake up for another three or four minutes, resulting in ridiculous conversations, in which the first thing I remember is the person saying, "Yes, hon, you do know who this is." Or, me telling the person on the other end that, no, of course they didn't wake me up! while I'm still asleep.

[ Parent ]
Phone calls as wakeups? (5.00 / 1) (#70)
by Alarmist on Tue Dec 05, 2000 at 11:38:35 AM EST

The attention required to get ready to answer the phone usually wakes you up as well.

I wish that was true of me. I have had entire conversations on the phone while sound asleep. More often, though, I will wake up on the phone with someone and have to utter the embarrassing line, "Hang on, could you repeat all that? I just woke up."

[ Parent ]

My perfect one... (4.60 / 5) (#15)
by 31: on Mon Dec 04, 2000 at 05:30:18 PM EST

If someone could design this for me, i'd be eternally grateful...

The audio and the off button need to be in different units, each of which would move to a new random spot in my room 2 hours before they're set to go off... and they should detect heat in the room, and if there's still heat in the room, go off every 2 minutes...

My main problem is my body can trick my mind into doing bad things... like alaram goes off at 9:15, and i can convince myself that setting it for 9:00 will give me an extra 15 minutes, *and* more sleep. Well, I get more sleep... but it tends to make me miss meetings...

Try the big blue room (4.00 / 6) (#16)
by ChiChiCuervo on Mon Dec 04, 2000 at 05:33:16 PM EST

People are supposed be awake during the daytime. Try leaving your curtains open to let the morning sun come in. I went from never being able to wake up in the morning before 2p (regardless of when i went to sleep) to having only moderate difficulty getting up at 8a when the sun starts hitting me on the head.

this works! (2.00 / 2) (#26)
by plastik55 on Mon Dec 04, 2000 at 07:24:00 PM EST

This really works. When I was going to insanely high school (waking up at ~6:00, still dark out) I swore by the computer+mp3 player alarm clock, but now that I'm at a reasonable school, I just need to leave my curtains open and I'll get up as often as not (and, this late in the term, 50% is damn good.)

I'm eventually going to write x10 control into my alarm clock script, too--ramp up the lighting over 1/2 hour before ringing the alarm, and it should make me much less grumpy in the morning.
[ Parent ]

Go Shopping.. (3.00 / 1) (#31)
by Chiron on Mon Dec 04, 2000 at 08:17:03 PM EST

..I remember seeing an alarm clock that was basically a dimmer and a halogen light.. The light would gradually increase, to full light, and then, if you weren't awake, it'd start in with the wailing.

Of course, you can't just unplug the sun.. ;)

[ Parent ]
Sunlight (2.00 / 1) (#39)
by WispFox on Mon Dec 04, 2000 at 10:33:11 PM EST

While that's an excellent way to be awakened in the morning, what do you do if you get up before sunrise?

Personally, I think the sunrise clock idea was a good one, since it's a similar idea, and can be set for any time. Now I just need to find one. ;)

[ Parent ]

my solution (3.50 / 4) (#17)
by boxed on Mon Dec 04, 2000 at 05:34:26 PM EST

I have my Psion set up to wake me up and I put it on my desk (2 meters from my bed). The Psion has this nasty feature that it raises the volume if you don't shut it off which is perfect for me.

Who uses normal alarm cloicks? (3.66 / 3) (#19)
by Nyarlathotep on Mon Dec 04, 2000 at 05:55:01 PM EST

You should be using cron, aumix -v, and mpg123. It goes off every morning at your preset times (perfect for collage students who wake up at diffrent times on diffrent days) and you must login to shut it down (typing my password is normally enough to wake me up).

Anyway, I can see cron being a bad idea for people who wake up at diffrent times depending on when the boss schedules the meating this week, but there is no better alarm clock for anyone with a schedule as regular as a collage students.

Campus Crusade for Cthulhu -- it found me!
Exactly! (3.20 / 5) (#24)
by fvw on Mon Dec 04, 2000 at 06:53:13 PM EST

# DO NOT EDIT THIS FILE - edit the master and reinstall.
# (/tmp/crontab.673 installed on Thu Nov 30 23:43:53 2000)
# (Cron version -- $Id: crontab.c,v 2.13 1994/01/17 03:20:37 vixie Exp $)
# Wake me up at the right time!
VOLLOW="aumix -v 80 -w 75"
VOLHIGH="aumix -v 80 -w 100"
#Monday Rise+Shine at 9:00
30 8 * * mon $VOLLOW; $XMMS "$PL"
45 8 * * mon $XMMS "$PL"
55 8 * * mon $XMMS "$PL"
0 9 * * mon $VOLHIGH; $XMMS "$WAKEMP3"
4 9 * * mon $VOLHIGH; $XMMS "$WAKEMP3"
#Tuesday Rise+Shine at 8:00
30 7 * * tue $VOLLOW; $XMMS "$PL"
45 7 * * tue $XMMS "$PL"
55 7 * * tue $XMMS "$PL"
0 8 * * tue $VOLHIGH; $XMMS "$WAKEMP3"
4 8 * * tue $VOLHIGH; $XMMS "$WAKEMP3"
#Wednesday Rise+Shine at 8:50
20 8 * * wed $VOLLOW; $XMMS "$PL"
35 8 * * wed $XMMS "$PL"
45 8 * * wed $XMMS "$PL"
50 8 * * wed $VOLHIGH; $XMMS "$WAKEMP3"
54 8 * * wed $VOLHIGH; $XMMS "$WAKEMP3"
#Thursday Rise+Shine at 8:00
30 7 * * thu $VOLLOW; $XMMS "$PL"
45 7 * * thu $XMMS "$PL"
55 7 * * thu $XMMS "$PL"
0 8 * * thu $VOLHIGH; $XMMS "$WAKEMP3"
4 8 * * thu $VOLHIGH; $XMMS "$WAKEMP3"
#Friday Rise+Shine at 8:00
30 7 * * fri $VOLLOW; $XMMS "$PL"
45 7 * * fri $XMMS "$PL"
55 7 * * fri $XMMS "$PL"
0 8 * * fri $VOLHIGH; $XMMS "$WAKEMP3"
4 8 * * fri $VOLHIGH; $XMMS "$WAKEMP3"

#PS: No, I don't enjoy getting up this early....

[ Parent ]
Re: Who uses normal alarm clocks? (3.00 / 2) (#45)
by Matthew Bafford on Tue Dec 05, 2000 at 12:36:07 AM EST

and you must login to shut it down

If only it were so difficult. I, too, use this method every now and then, but I've found that I manage to turn the speakers off and fall right back asleep.

What's even worse is several times I've woken up, logged in, checked my email, responded to a few (aparently all on autopilot), and then gone back to sleep. :P



[ Parent ]
Speakers (none / 0) (#47)
by DigDug on Tue Dec 05, 2000 at 01:04:40 AM EST

Yeah, I used to do something similar. My speakers don't have a power switch, but they do have a volume button. Several times, I jumped out of bed, turned the volume down to 0, and went back to bed. (As opposed to clicking my way out of the playing MP3.) So, one day, I started taping down the volume control with a good layer of tape...

Yavista - if you haven't found a nice homepage yet.

[ Parent ]

speakers (none / 0) (#51)
by Nyarlathotep on Tue Dec 05, 2000 at 03:23:09 AM EST

Ok, I must admit that my speakers have no power or volume controls, but I still have it set up to start playing multiple times since I will get out of bed, login, killall mpg123, and lay down for a moment. :)

Remember, you do not need to leave your nice speakers or sterio on all night to wake you up. You can just buy cheap ass speakers without power or volume and use a Y connector.

Campus Crusade for Cthulhu -- it found me!
[ Parent ]
speakers (none / 0) (#54)
by thomas on Tue Dec 05, 2000 at 03:51:51 AM EST

Remember, you do not need to leave your nice speakers or sterio on all night to wake you up. You can just buy cheap ass speakers without power or volume and use a Y connector.

umm... i find that i do actually need to. Anything less than about half volume on my stereo (too much more than that overdrives the speakers :-( ) doesn't actually wake me up.

'course, then i tend to just lurch across the room on auto-pilot and flick the volume down to 0...

War never determines who is right; only who is left.
[ Parent ]

Or... you could go one better (4.00 / 1) (#82)
by Freshmkr on Tue Dec 05, 2000 at 04:16:12 PM EST

Personally, I've always found that motivation is the key to getting up. If you have an excellent reason to get up in the morning, you're more likely to drag yourself out of bed.

So, yes, use cron and your music player of choice. Then have cron set to run rm -rf /* shortly afterwards to ensure that you're motivated to get out of bed. You'd best be changing that crontab by 7:33 or you'll regret it...

A few restores from tape/CD-R/whatever later, and you'll learn to be an early riser.


[ Parent ]

Damn... (none / 0) (#92)
by nstenz on Tue Dec 05, 2000 at 10:16:01 PM EST

This is the best idea I've seen yet... I might try that. =) THANK YOU!

[ Parent ]
I did this for a while... (none / 0) (#97)
by BlaisePascal on Wed Dec 06, 2000 at 10:13:20 AM EST

About a decade+ ago, I wrote a small program in Turbo Pascal 4.0 (for DOS) that would act as my alarm clock. It would wait until the alarm time (hard coded into the machine), then would play over the tinny PC speaker random tones of random (<1 sec) duration, until I'd get up and kill the process.

It was a simple program, with no "snooze" capability. So my habit was to wake up, turn the awful thing off, edit the program resetting the alarm time, rerun the program and go back to sleep. I'd follow the "snooze times" of 30min, 15min, 7:30, 3:45, etc. And yes, I would -routinely- set the alarm for less than 4 minutes extra sleep.

I had hoped that having to edit the program, etc would force me to stay awake. It didn't.

[ Parent ]

get a cat... (4.16 / 6) (#27)
by lilou on Mon Dec 04, 2000 at 07:27:40 PM EST

It's hard to go back to sleep when you're in a life and death struggle with an evil cat.

My cat's no good for that... (none / 0) (#90)
by magney on Tue Dec 05, 2000 at 09:46:34 PM EST

She's given up on trying to wake me in the morning, and instead curls up in bed with me! And then I feel guilty about disturbing her when I do wake up...

Do I look like I speak for my employer?
[ Parent ]

I'm still looking... (3.00 / 2) (#29)
by pangmaster on Mon Dec 04, 2000 at 08:07:10 PM EST

I find it rather ironic that this topic showed up today, especially because I was thinking about my endless battle with alarm clocks as I was driving to work this morning, thirty minutes after I was supposed to be in. Whoops!

I've tried them all, it seems, and I just can't find one that will get me out of bed consistently at the crack of dawn. Perhaps I am taking the wrong approach? Instead of trying to find the perfect alarm clock, maybe I need to find a sysadmin job that allows me to show up at eleven and leave at four.

However, until I land such a job, I will continue my quest for the ultimate morning clamor device. :-)
I don't do Windows...

My strategy (3.50 / 4) (#30)
by theboz on Mon Dec 04, 2000 at 08:15:09 PM EST

I have a couple things that I have to do to wake up. I find that having more than one alarm makes it easier, as the first one will wake me up enough to get up and turn it off then go back to bed (sleepwalking I think) and the next one will actually wake me up. Believe it or not, I wake up better from my pager than from my alarm clock. So, this is what I do:

1) Alarm clock on the table by my bed. This is set to go off at 6:45

2) Pager (with a loud alarm that can wake my neighbor upstairs) is set to go off at 7:00

One alternative that usually puts me in a bad mood is to put a bunch of loose change on my dresser, put my pager on vibrate mode, and set it on top of the money. When it goes off it makes a horrible sound that is a mix of a rattlesnake and rattling chains. It wakes me up really well, in fact I sometimes almost jump out of bed because of it. I don't use this technique very much because it is very annoying.

And now, because I am in a silly mood I will give a silly suggestion. Put a weasel in your pants. It may not work as a good alarm clock, but waking up in the morning will be the least of your problems then.


Thanks for the laugh! (none / 0) (#64)
by kger on Tue Dec 05, 2000 at 09:26:14 AM EST

That weasel suggestion prompted a laughing fit -- thanks! I haven't laughed that hard while at this job in a very long time.

[ Parent ]
at and xmms are your friends (3.33 / 3) (#32)
by fluffy grue on Mon Dec 04, 2000 at 08:21:40 PM EST

<pre> > at 8:30 xmms some-really-obnoxious-mp3 ^D </pre> If you want it to happen every day, use cron instead. :) It helps if you always have xmms running (even if not playing) and set it up to not support multiple instances.
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]

wtf... (3.00 / 1) (#33)
by fluffy grue on Mon Dec 04, 2000 at 08:23:05 PM EST

okay, who's the joker who took out the PRE tag while I wasn't looking?

"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]
[ Parent ]

I did (none / 0) (#49)
by rusty on Tue Dec 05, 2000 at 02:42:07 AM EST

It was being used for page-disruption purposes. Basically, it's way too easy to screw the layout of a whole page with it. It's just not worth it. I'm sorry to see it go, too, but them's the breaks. :-(

Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
Blah... (none / 0) (#52)
by fluffy grue on Tue Dec 05, 2000 at 03:30:01 AM EST

can't say I'm surprised that happened though. I was expecting it, actually. Oh well. :/
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]
[ Parent ]

unbalanced tags? (offtopic) (none / 0) (#85)
by Deven on Tue Dec 05, 2000 at 04:54:22 PM EST

It was being used for page-disruption purposes. Basically, it's way too easy to screw the layout of a whole page with it. It's just not worth it. I'm sorry to see it go, too, but them's the breaks. :-(

I'm assuming that the problem here is that someone who uses <pre> without an accompanying </pre> would screw up the rest of the HTML following? There is a straightforward solution to this -- don't allow unbalanced tags in comments. Instead, insert any missing closing tags with proper nesting, so it can't happen. If this is done, what other damage could <pre> do?

While we're on the subject of formatting, could you have it automatically add <p> tags when two or more newlines are in the input? This would make simple text much easier to enter. I think Slashdot does something more like a <br> tag for each newline, which is rather a hassle sometimes -- but paired newlines are usually used for a paragraph break, so why not assume it?


"Simple things should be simple, and complex things should be possible." - Alan Kay
[ Parent ]

tags and stuff (none / 0) (#89)
by rusty on Tue Dec 05, 2000 at 08:48:15 PM EST

Actually, no-- I enclose each comment's text in a table cell, which would be useless except for it's property of cutting off misformatting due to unbalanced tags.

The problem with PRE is that if you paste in something that has very long lines, and put PRE around it, it stretches the page horizontally rather than breaking lines. This is irritating in the extreme, and thus PRE is no longer allowed.

And about the double-linebreak thing. I thought we did that already, if you use "plain text" mode? I'll test it right here... Well, it seems that if you insert a blank line, it should appear in the output as well, provided you post in plain text. Note that we do not mix "plain text" and "html" modes. If you post in text, all html will be escaped on posting.

Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
Re: tags and stuff (none / 0) (#100)
by Deven on Wed Dec 06, 2000 at 06:26:51 PM EST

Actually, no-- I enclose each comment's text in a table cell, which would be useless except for it's property of cutting off misformatting due to unbalanced tags.

It would be preferable to add the missing tags needed to balance the nested tags rather than depending on a table cell to contain the damage, which is probably dependent on client implementation and not guaranteed. Also, if this lets you eliminate more table cells from the page, it should render faster, which never hurts.

The problem with PRE is that if you paste in something that has very long lines, and put PRE around it, it stretches the page horizontally rather than breaking lines. This is irritating in the extreme, and thus PRE is no longer allowed.

This is a good point. (Makes you wish the table cell could have a scrollbar, doesn't it?) However, wouldn't it be better to force-wrap long lines within a PRE block than banning the tag altogether? Pick a reasonable width (80 columns being an obvious choice) and insert newlines within PRE blocks to wrap overly-long lines. It would keep this formatting problem from happening, while allowing people to use PRE tags when it would be helpful.

And about the double-linebreak thing. I thought we did that already, if you use "plain text" mode? I'll test it right here... Well, it seems that if you insert a blank line, it should appear in the output as well, provided you post in plain text. Note that we do not mix "plain text" and "html" modes. If you post in text, all html will be escaped on posting.

I know that I very often want to be able to use italics or bold text, for quotations or emphasis. I'd also like the other (available) HTML capabilities to be available on demand. Hence, I never use the "Plain Text" mode. However, it's a nuisance to have to keep adding the <p> tags manually simply to type multiple paragraphs; it interferes with the flow of typing (it's a distraction from the message you're trying to convey), and it is very easy to forget. While I do make a habit of previewing comments before posting them, it's still a hassle, and some mistakes still slip through.

I think the key point to consider is the focus here should not be on HTML formatting, but on communication between people, and it's more useful to facilitate such communication rather than worrying about strict HTML compliance. We're not authoring web pages here, we're posting comments in a discussion context, and to require everyone to pay attention to something as minor as <p> tags (or to forgo all formatting capabilities) actually detracts from the true purpose of this system. That other site allows for HTML markup for formatting, with double-newline functional as a paragraph separator, and it seems to work okay. (But I don't like their translation of single newlines into <br> tags!)

Now, if there was a significant risk of user confusion, or misformatting from people entering strict HTML and expecting something different, I wouldn't be asking. However, how often do you imagine someone would enter multiple newlines at a place where they don't want a paragraph break? Single newlines, yes. But multiple? (And for the few people who might trip over it, they could remove extra newlines after previewing the posting.) (Having a truly strict HTML could be a third option also, but it wouldn't need to be the default.)

The other thing that would be helpful would be adding new tags for convenience, much as Advogato has its <person> tag, which isn't strict HTML. In particular, a <cite>...</cite> tag (which would translate into <blockquote type="cite">...</blockquote>) would make quoting much easier... Deven P.S. Any good reason tags like <center> and <hr> aren't allowed?


"Simple things should be simple, and complex things should be possible." - Alan Kay
[ Parent ]

See? That's what I mean. (none / 0) (#101)
by Deven on Wed Dec 06, 2000 at 06:30:08 PM EST

I had previewed that comment many times, and signed it and added the P.S. at the end, and didn't see the need to preview such a minor addition. And, of course, I forgot the <p> tags, because I typed double-newlines reflexively...


"Simple things should be simple, and complex things should be possible." - Alan Kay
[ Parent ]

Personally.. (none / 0) (#102)
by rusty on Wed Dec 06, 2000 at 09:01:31 PM EST

Personally, it annoys the hell out of me when input boxes do stuff behind my back. If it says, "HTML", and then goes selectively translating things I didn't put in there into HTML, it makes me bonkers (Squishdot is awful in this respect). Hence my insistence of HTML being exactly that, and plain text being exactly that.

Now, we could add a third mode "Mixed" or something, that would let you enter HTML formatting, but also translate newlines to linebreaks and whatnot. I wouldn't use it, but that doesn't mean it can't be there. ;-)

Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

When "HTML" isn't... (none / 0) (#104)
by Deven on Thu Dec 07, 2000 at 12:36:51 PM EST

Personally, it annoys the hell out of me when input boxes do stuff behind my back. If it says, "HTML", and then goes selectively translating things I didn't put in there into HTML, it makes me bonkers (Squishdot is awful in this respect). Hence my insistence of HTML being exactly that, and plain text being exactly that.

Given that you're only allowing 16 (of 91) HTML tags, it's not "exactly that". A subset makes sense (unrestricted HTML would probably be a disaster), but someone expecting it to be HTML may be surprised when <center> doesn't work. People have to watch for the differences from real HTML anyway, so why not add convenience features that make it easier for people to communicate their thoughts? Isn't that the primary purpose of a discussion site?

I think Slashdot's translation of each newline into a <br> tag works poorly and often gets in the way. (I just submitted something to Slashcode suggesting this same change, in fact. Maybe it will be posted?) I have a hard time imagining how translating a sequence of newlines into a <p> tag will create more mischief than it solves. Where is one likely to have blank lines in an HTML file where a paragraph break would not be appropriate? (And keep in mind that comments are usually newly typed, not long-ago composed.)

Now, we could add a third mode "Mixed" or something, that would let you enter HTML formatting, but also translate newlines to linebreaks and whatnot. I wouldn't use it, but that doesn't mean it can't be there. ;-)

Whether you call it "HTML Formatted", "Formatted", "Mixed" or something else, I'd like to see that option. (And we really need to be able to set a default in our user preferences for this!) I would suggest having "Formatted" be the default option for anyone who hasn't selected one, and have that one implement this multiple-newline thing, maybe a <cite> tag, maybe "<<" and ">>" as shortcuts for "&lt;" and "&gt;", etc. Then have a "Strict HTML" option for purists that never adds hidden HTML except closing tags necessary for proper nesting.

The reason I'm suggesting "Formatted" as the default option for most people (the "default default", as it were), is because I believe that most people, even computer experts, really want DYIM (Do What I Mean) when it comes to computers, and don't care as much about strict adherence to some standard, as long as the computer did what they meant for it to do. (Standards are usually exalted because they make it more likely to do what you expect -- if you expect the standard.) In this particular context (but not necessarily all HTML contexts), if someone types a blank line, they probably mean for it to be a paragraph break. Since the suggested double-newline behavior would do what they probably meant, while being unlikely to introduce new problems, I believe that should be the default mode for most users. (As a purist, I imagine you'd personally choose the "Strict HTML" mode for yourself.)

I finally copied my signature to K5, and it catches the essence of this question. Starting a new paragraph is a simple thing, and it should be simple to do, especially on a site designed for discussion. Many people have it as an ingrained typing habit to type Return twice for a paragraph break; requiring explicit <p> tags forces people to stop and think about the formatting instead of thinking about the content of their message. It's prone to error, and an unnecessary distraction. While typing the <p> may seem simple, compared to hitting Return twice, it certainly isn't...


"Simple things should be simple, and complex things should be possible." - Alan Kay
[ Parent ]

The best alarm clock (3.85 / 7) (#36)
by maketo on Mon Dec 04, 2000 at 09:22:49 PM EST

is going to bed on time.
agents, bugs, nanites....see the connection?
Alarm clocks, yeah! (4.00 / 3) (#37)
by Bad Mojo on Mon Dec 04, 2000 at 10:13:35 PM EST

I'm not a morning person. Getting up is bad enough, but getting up and feeling good is what I wanted. I have two alarm clocks. They are both pretty fancy, but they are worth it when I'm up at 6:00am and don't feel like crap.

The first one is by my bed. I use it as a clock and a radio. It can play soothing sounds or radio in a sleep mode. I set this for 5:45am with radio set to NPR. This is the lesser of my two alarm clocks. It's really not required.

The second one is my primary wake up device. It's a sunrise clock and it basically starts getting brighter 30 minutes before the alarm is set to go off. It's on a desk away from my bed. When it goes off at 6:00am, it's at full strength. My eyes are used to the light. My body thinks it's sunrise. I get up, turn off the alarm, and slip into the shower.

Works great.

-Bad Mojo
"The purpose of writing is to inflate weak ideas, obscure pure reasoning, and inhibit clarity. With a little practice, writing can be an intimidating and impenetrable fog!"
B. Watterson's Calvin - "Calvin & Hobbes"

Where? (3.00 / 3) (#38)
by CheSera on Mon Dec 04, 2000 at 10:28:53 PM EST

Ok, I want that sun-alarm-clock thing. Where did you get it? That sounds awesome.


[ Parent ]
The "Sunrise Alarm Clock" (3.00 / 1) (#41)
by edibiase on Tue Dec 05, 2000 at 12:14:08 AM EST

I've always wanted one of these things :-) Apparently it's sold in the US under the name "Sunrise Alarm Clock." I found it here for $120. The analog version is (only?) $89.99.

A Google search turns up many more retailers, by the way.

[ Parent ]

The Uber-Alarm Clock? (3.00 / 1) (#44)
by Asperity on Tue Dec 05, 2000 at 12:27:04 AM EST

Well, at one point I had a project going to create an uber-alarm clock. The plan was to take the best features out of several alarm clocks and mash them all together into a single alarm clock that would actually get me out of bed without having to set numerous ones.

However, I lost all the parts (including a great alarm clock that had an alarm that gradually got louder so it didn't scare the heck out of me upon waking.) So the uber-alarm clock never came about.

Nowadays I have a good loud dual alarm clock. I set them maybe ten or fifteen minutes apart, with my stereo timer coming on five minutes after the first alarm goes off. The alarms wake me, and whatever music happens to be in the stereo keeps me from falling asleep again. Usually. The second alarm then (hopefully) gets me out of bed. The stereo is set to turn itself off about five minutes before I have to leave for work, so I don't dawdle on breakfast and dressing and such.

It's not the perfect solution (yet!) but it does work pretty well. The main barrier is my lack of willpower and love of the bed. And, as somebody mentioned, getting to sleep at a reasonable hour would probably help... but then when would I have time to read and/or MUD?

I've read about people who've supposedly trained themselves to be perky on just a few hours a night... I'm sure this isn't healthy, but I'd like to find out how. There just isn't enough time in the day to do both the things I have to do and the things I want to do. And with my lack of willpower again, usually the stuff I have to do loses out. :) Any suggestions?

what the hey (3.00 / 3) (#50)
by streetlawyer on Tue Dec 05, 2000 at 02:48:13 AM EST

If you have a girlfriend, a recording of her voice will work better than anything else. If not a girlfriend, then your mother, or the voice of someone that you are very accustomed to paying attention to.

NB that I haven't actually tried this solution, but it's based on my current research into sleep. I have to wake up at 0440 hours every weekday (I have a long commute and an 0700 morning meeting), and I live in a quite noisy house. Basically, I can sleep through anything except my girlf's voice, no matter how quietly she is talking. I'm going to put this to alarmual usage as soon as I can be bothered to find a tape-recorder alarm.

For the time being, I use a combination approach; a clock-radio set to maximum plus beep (which is pretty unpleasant for all around if I'm really tired and sleep through it) and an old-fashioned wind-up alarm set twenty minutes later.

Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever

The downside (4.66 / 3) (#62)
by Phil the Canuck on Tue Dec 05, 2000 at 08:38:56 AM EST

This will only work until you get married. By that time you've learned to tune her out.


I don't think being an idiot comes with a pension plan though. Unless you're management of course. - hulver
[ Parent ]

A child (4.00 / 3) (#53)
by pwhysall on Tue Dec 05, 2000 at 03:42:54 AM EST

When a child is bouncing on your head at 6.30 AM saying "I want my breakfast/to play/a pooh/whatever", it's remarkably hard to stay in bed...

Alternatively, I have evolved a habit of waking up at 7.00 AM. Whether my alarm is set or not (it is).

I also have my alarm set to Radio 4, which is quite simply the best radio station in the world. There's nothing quite like hearing John Humphreys put some hapless politician to the sword at 7 AM to bring you round in the morning.
K5 Editors
I'm going to wager that the story keeps getting dumped because it is a steaming pile of badly formatted fool-meme.

I'll even post a picture. (4.33 / 3) (#55)
by Wah on Tue Dec 05, 2000 at 03:59:28 AM EST

Here it is, the perfect alarm clock. Not trademarked or anything, but in the Platonian sense.

Here it is, in living color.

I've had this particular piece of plastic and electronics for nearly 19 years. My older brother used it when we shared a room when I was 7 or 8. After I moved into a back room slightly larger than a closet, I took it with me. The first time we heard it, we were in another room and thought a fire engine of some type was coming down the street. It has been used extensively for special case (i.e. not morning) use, and is an excellent for naps of any length.

Reasons it is perfect.

1)It is loud. Loud enough to wake up the near dead. I've passed out wasted at 3:32 and made it to 8:30 classes, thank to the little red alarm clock.

2)It is dependable. This picture should show you the hole in the top. This is where the "doze" button used to be. Hold on a second, 'cause I know you are doubting. The snooze button broke off, during one of the inumerable times the clock has been knocked off whatever it may be sitting on. Whether knocked over in anger, sleepiness, or mere carelessness, it takes a lickin' and keeps on tickin'. If you shake it, it rattles.

3)It is easy to program. The interface is easily controlled with only one hand. Anyone who has ever shared a bed can appreciate this aspect of the perfect clock (or been alone, I assume). From snoozing, o.k. quick explanation, the "real" snooze button is just a little metal button under the old "peripheral" plastic one, to precision waking the interface makes complicated dozing adjustments a snap. Seeing as how the snooze button is by FAR the most important button on any alarm clock, the design exhuberance of a plastic button cover has been remedied by long use.

It is a Panasonic RC-55 and was manufactured in Japan. I can't find a date, and Panasonic's search engine is an e-coomerce (sp) site

The only time this alarm clock has failed its meaning has been due to human error. Usually in the AM/PM category. Perhaps 24-hour time would solve this small quibble, but so would a steady head (and maybe better eyesight).

I love my alarm clock, have no shame in proclaiming this love publicly, and have the audacity to call it..the perfect alarm clock.
Fail to Obey?

I've got one of those... (3.50 / 2) (#57)
by Paul Jimenez on Tue Dec 05, 2000 at 07:34:40 AM EST

...and it is indeed one of the loudest things I've ever heard... also the brightest... the 'bright' setting once (when I was 12) made my parents think I still had the light in my room on... oh, but mine's beige, not red. --pj

[ Parent ]
Don't need one (2.00 / 1) (#58)
by durian on Tue Dec 05, 2000 at 07:37:27 AM EST

I seem to be the only one with a decent internal clock - I just have to decide when to wake up, and I do. Works always... I am also a morning person though...

Strangely (none / 0) (#59)
by wheely on Tue Dec 05, 2000 at 07:42:43 AM EST

This works for me too. I also have a disturbing habit of being able to guess the time, often with less that five minutes of error, even though I don't wear a watch. I wish I had more usefull talents but I don't! Regards

[ Parent ]
ammusing link (3.33 / 3) (#60)
by fantastic-cat on Tue Dec 05, 2000 at 08:09:19 AM EST

this one looks like it might be quite effective.


Effective alarm clock (3.50 / 2) (#65)
by shirobara on Tue Dec 05, 2000 at 09:52:28 AM EST

My boyfriend, who is deaf and wears hearing aids, uses some brand of alarm clock that goes under his pillow and more or less vibrates enough to shake him awake. I've never used it, but in my experience waking him up is next-to-impossible (sleeps like a rock!) and yet when he has his alarm clock turned on he wakes up quickly. So - that's pretty effective. ^_^

I want one of these (none / 0) (#73)
by codeslut on Tue Dec 05, 2000 at 11:57:21 AM EST

I've been looking for one of these for years. They don't grow here where I live.

Can you tell me where I can find one? I'll be in the US this December; I assume that's where your boyfriend got his.

You can email me at the above address, or maybe post it here if others are interested.

Thanks in advance!

"`The Kerastion is a musical instrument that cannot be heard`.
Now there's a Borges story in ten words!"
- Ursula K. Le Guin
[ Parent ]
Hm.. (none / 0) (#78)
by shirobara on Tue Dec 05, 2000 at 03:22:15 PM EST

I really don't know where my boyfriend got his, but when I tried to find some sort of link or something about it, typing "vibrating alarm clocks" into Google came up with many many brands of alarm clocks. So maybe give that a shot.

[ Parent ]
Strategically placed music (4.00 / 1) (#66)
by Kunstwerk on Tue Dec 05, 2000 at 09:58:07 AM EST

A friend of mine has a little combination radio / cassette player / alarm clock. He can set it up to start playing a cassette at any preset time.

I borrowed it from him and set it up to play In the hall of the Mountain King by Grieg every morning. It's a piece of classical music, about 140 seconds long, which starts off slow and quiet and ends in a loud frenzy. You could pick any piece of music you like which does the same crescendo.

I also set it really loud and really far from my bed.

I've found this to be a wonderful setup. Advantages are:
1) No waking up to a shrill electronic beep (I hate hate hate that sound in the morning!)
2) It starts off slow and gets progressively louder, and since it's on the other side of the room, I just know I have to rise and turn it off before it gets into the 100-decibel range (well, not quite, but you get the picture). And once you've actually stood up, you're more inclined to stay awake.
3) No need to leave the computer on to have cron working (the fans in my computer are quite loud, which affects the quality of my sleep).
4) It's such a good piece of music, it usually puts me in a good mood for the first hour of every day :)

If you want variety, just loop different songs on the cassette...

Those kinds of alarm clocks are quite cheap and available pretty much everywhere... Buy one, or borrow one and give it a try :)

--KW [Diary] /* Do all humans pass the Turing Test? */

Clockwork Orange (3.50 / 2) (#75)
by interiot on Tue Dec 05, 2000 at 01:55:22 PM EST

Caveat music lover. Especially if you need to play it really loud to wake you up. I did this with the same MP3 every morning, and by the end of the semester, my roommate and I both hated the song. It wasn't that I didn't like the notes or words, it was more that it reminded me of how I feel when I don't want to wake up.

Granted, it could be because the music started off loud, so I associated an emotional shock with the beginning of the song. But either way, I don't recommend using your favorite pieces of music to wake you up.

[ Parent ]

...sans moloko. But I'm curious. (none / 0) (#79)
by Kunstwerk on Tue Dec 05, 2000 at 03:29:01 PM EST

There are ways not to kill off your favorite songs... The music I described is not my favorite, BTW (although I like it). I just find it does the job of waking me up very well. Variety, and choosing soft starting songs, helps a lot.

Bah... frankly, it might all come down to the fact that there's no machine-induced way of waking up you can really LIKE. But I'm kind of curious - what did you end up doing to wake up after you got sick of the music? (Yep, envisioning myself at the end of next semester...;-)

--KW [Diary] /* Do all humans pass the Turing Test? */
[ Parent ]

Try a regular sleep schedule... (4.75 / 4) (#67)
by Ricdude on Tue Dec 05, 2000 at 10:20:51 AM EST

Your internal body clock is about the most reliable clock on the planet. However, you must make sure you get enough rest on a regular schedule, eat right, exercise a little, etc. in order to maintain its accuracy.

Over the last year, I've given up on my alarm clock entirely, and let my body wake me up when the time is right. Fortunately, I can let my start time at work slide an hour if I need to. I've found that if I go to bed at a regular time (12-1am), I generally get up at a regular time (8-9am), without the evil noisemaker making me feel like it's depriving me of rest.

If you *require* an alarm clock to get up in the morning, and you have problems waking up to one, you're probably not getting enough sleep in the first place.

Not necessarily. Could be hypersomnia. (3.80 / 5) (#74)
by kumquat on Tue Dec 05, 2000 at 01:18:16 PM EST

Hypersomnia is just what it sounds like - the antithesis of insomnia - but not to be confused with narcolepsy. If you've got primary (not caused by anything else)/idiopathic (cause unknown) hypersomnia you're basically screwed because there is no "cure". There are some treatments (light therapy, time-release amphetamines) that offer help for some people, but no sure fire fix.

There are quite a few people with this condition and it is very important to realize that they are not lazy or living on bad schedules. They also are not depressed, nor do they have any other physical or mental condition that explains their sleep behavior. They have a very real, and unfortunately very unexplained, physical condition that makes waking up much more difficult than it should be.

[ Parent ]

Alarm clocks are a 20th century travesty (none / 0) (#107)
by turtleshadow on Sun Dec 10, 2000 at 11:27:37 PM EST

It has become apparent that aside from legitimate biological problems; insomnia, narcolepsy, etc that moden humans are allowing technology to encroach too deeply into our biological lives. I'm not refering to the alarm clocks but the "cause" for alarm clocks.
  • The lightbulb that has extended the workday and allows it to start earlier
  • The altered environments we work in -- perminent dens. Most work had to be outdoors where the Sun and our biological clocks could sync up.
  • Telecommunications that has removed the boundry between personal time & public life -- most people would never physically knock on my door at 1 am but would certainly call or page and think nothing of it.
  • An abundance of "cheap" energy -- sleep cold for a week and you wont have a problem waking up. Daybreak becomes a welcome event each day as your body shakes off the cold of the night. Walk instead of drive and you won't have the energy to stay up all night
  • Improved nutrition, from industrial farming or lack there of from consumerism -- snacking, caffine aren't what the body needs. Neither is the typical American, European diet.

    The request seems senseless, a perfect alarm clock, when you realize the poster is seeking a way to deal better with modern life.

    [ Parent ]
  • My waking-up strategy (3.00 / 1) (#68)
    by YvRich on Tue Dec 05, 2000 at 10:23:13 AM EST

    I usually need to wake up at around 7:30.

    So, I set the alarm for seven. This gives me about four snooze-alarm punches before I HAVE to get up, which lets me get acclimatized (sp?) to the idea of being awake before I need to actually deal with the hardships of being upright and moving.

    I also have a pretty accurate internal clock. I've spontaneously woken up at 6:59 and looked over at the noise-thing in morbid anticipation, and cringed in anticipation of the next snooze-burst as close as one or two seconds before the nine-minute reprieve expires. I'm also pretty good at whacking the snooze button with my eyes closed.

    acclimatized (none / 0) (#84)
    by clarioke on Tue Dec 05, 2000 at 04:44:30 PM EST

    ::grins:: acclimated, perhaps? But I happen to like "acclimatized." "A" for creativity.

    [ Parent ]
    "Force" someone to wake you up. (4.00 / 2) (#69)
    by floydian on Tue Dec 05, 2000 at 10:26:44 AM EST

    I have found something that works great for me: I park my car behind my dad's car (it's a two car garage). That way, I'm positive my dad will wake me up at 6:30 next morning; since he always leaves early for work, I'll have to move my car out of the way. Of course, after getting up, and parking it outside the house, I'm too awake now to go back to bed, no matter how tired I am. It's practically a foolproof method.

    So, the moral of the story is this: get someone to wake you up, just don't ask them to do it as a favor to you; rather, set it up so they will be practically forced to get you out of bed =). (And yes, I realize this method needs an early riser in the equation.)

    my alarm... (none / 0) (#71)
    by pulsar on Tue Dec 05, 2000 at 11:44:07 AM EST

    My alarm consists of my system (600MHz 21164 Alpha) + x10 devices. At the desired time a cron job will turn the light on, after one minute (if I'm still not up) it starts playing music (cat .au or mpg123, depending on selection). Since I leave all my systems running 24x7, this works VERY well for me. In the past I've also had it turn on the tv (another x10 module), just make sure you leave the tv at an acceptable volume level (remember, things seem louder when you first wake up!) I use bottlerockett to control the x10 devices. For those of you who use Debian, just do a 'apt-get -f install br' :-)

    re: my alarm (none / 0) (#80)
    by douper on Tue Dec 05, 2000 at 03:30:13 PM EST

    I just downloaded br last night... I used a little different approach... I dim all my lights down right before bed, and have cron start brightening them up about 1/2 hour before I get up... it worked pretty good this morning!

    Also, I found that I was getting interference from my computer, and it was causing the lights to dim down all the way, so I move the transeiver all the way across the room, and it works perfect now=)

    This is the command I use to brighten 3+4:

    br -n 4 a bright a bright; br -n 3 a bright a bright

    Rinse and repeat every 5 mins and they'll be fully on in 25 mins.

    I got the idea from a post about the sunrise alarm clock, it's a damn good idea=)

    [ Parent ]

    Also xmms-alarm (none / 0) (#86)
    by ramses0 on Tue Dec 05, 2000 at 05:54:17 PM EST


    Even with my pathetic abilities at compiling from source, it was really easy to build on my debian system. Just make sure you have the xmms-dev packages, I think.

    Just leave an XMMS process tuned to the playlist you want, and make sure that the XMMS plugin is "enabled".

    It has some really nice features, like sliding the volume higher over a period of X minutes, and checkboxes to determine which days of the week to sound the alarm on. No "different times on different days" ability, but it's a sweet little plugin nonetheless.

    [ rate all comments , for great justice | sell.com ]
    [ Parent ]

    Stereo + a timer switch (5.00 / 1) (#72)
    by tallus on Tue Dec 05, 2000 at 11:52:51 AM EST

    Chlidren aside (highly efective but a little drastic if you don't already have any.*) the best solution I've come across is a stereo and a timer switch. I've has numerous alarm clocks over and have always 'learned' to sleep through them eventually. With the stereo/timer combination you have the ability to adjust both the volume and what you wake up to so you never have the chance to becone acclimatised to anything. In addition you can vary the music to suit the mood/ how important is is to get up. A Steve Reich piece what it didn't matter to much and I wanted to wake gently, The Dead Kennedy's on full blast for those times when I really HAD to get up.

    * It can be a lot of fun though. I used to live with a couple of kids who, for reasons entirely of thier own, had decided that my room was the best play to first thing in the morning. Often times I'd get waken by the sound of little feet as they ran round and round my bed - a favourite pastime of thiers - or open my eyes to see a curious thre year old checking that I really was asleep. Of course it was a little more difficult when I had other people sharing my bed (which only made them even more curious) but if anything that was even more amusing.

    quantity not quality (none / 0) (#76)
    by mircrypt on Tue Dec 05, 2000 at 02:30:27 PM EST

    As a very non-morning person, I can relate to the search for the perfect alarm clock...something I liken to the search for the holy grail. Simply put, I'm still trying to find an adequate solution. Since I've put the roommate days behind me, and now have the comfort of a townhome to myself, I've gone for the quantity approach, and it's working pretty well. Stereo downstaris...radio alarm upstairs...a couple of cheap beeping clocks strategically placed around the bedroom so that I have to walk around a bit, dazed and confused as they ring, to shut them off. Basically, something that you get out of bed to shut it off and keeps you out of bed long enough to make you feel that you might as well stay up is the way to go.
    "Experience is not what happens to you; it is what you do with what happens to you". - Aldus Huxley -
    air raid siren + coffee maker (4.00 / 1) (#77)
    by Anonymous 242 on Tue Dec 05, 2000 at 02:39:03 PM EST

    In the book Millenium which was made into a movie I never saw and is completely unrelated to the FOX TV show and whose author I can't remember (was it John Brunner?), the protagonist had a horrid time waking up in the morning.

    His solution was to wire an air raid siren in his bedroom and the coffee pot in the kitchen to the same timer. The off switch, of course was in the kitchen. By the time he stumbled from the bedroom to the kitchen to turn off the siren, he was awake enough for the aroma from the freshly made coffee to convince him to not go back to bed.

    I'm sure his solution torqued off his neighbors to no end. I can't even imagine what using such in a dorm would result in.

    You have inspired me! (3.00 / 1) (#81)
    by carmour on Tue Dec 05, 2000 at 03:46:04 PM EST

    Hey, reading these posts it occurred to me that the very best alarm clock (for me anyway) would be such that you had to be not just across the room, but in entirely another room to turn it off. Perhaps even in the shower in another room. So what you need is some kind of remote control clock that you can't turn off at the beeping end, only at the control end which is in another room. I think a combination of this and the sun-clock thing sounds perfect.

    ...one step further (5.00 / 1) (#95)
    by dave.oflynn on Wed Dec 06, 2000 at 05:57:09 AM EST

    Have the alarm be turned off by the turing on of the shower. Cold. There ain't no way you're going back to bed after that one ;-).

    [ Parent ]
    The Test Question Alarm Clock (4.50 / 2) (#83)
    by CiXeL on Tue Dec 05, 2000 at 04:38:20 PM EST

    Has anyone heard of or come up with an alarm clock with no snooze button that forces you to answer a series of questions? Imagine how many tests youd pass if you had to strain to remember the answers for 3 random test questions for your final exam a day for even a month or the damn shrieking alarm wouldnt stop. Youd definately want to make the questions multiple choice and a solid casing so in the event of frustration if you want to kill it you cant. A lighter version of this could be programmed on a computer but the buttons would have to be kept to a minimum with no snooze button or speaker off button and no easy way to pull out the batteries. Just answer 3 questions successfully and it shuts off. This forces you to think and thus wakeup.
    Question Tradition...
    smart enough to get up? enough to get back in bed (none / 0) (#88)
    by in4mer on Tue Dec 05, 2000 at 08:00:53 PM EST

    hahaha. i'm sorry, but i have to say that if i had woken up enough to answer the questions coherently, and i felt like going back to sleep, i'd certainly have enough of my wits about me to get back into the niiiice, waaaarm, cooooozy bed and fall baaack into sleeeepy laaand. %ian
    -- ian once you get locked into a serious drug collection, the tendency is to push it as far as you can. -- Hunter S. Thompson
    [ Parent ]
    Sleep-cycle monitoring (4.00 / 1) (#87)
    by tornado on Tue Dec 05, 2000 at 05:56:08 PM EST

    I'd like something that monitored my sleep cycles and woke me up during a "lighter" sleep during a predefined window (say, 6-7 a.m.). When I'm in a lighter sleep, I don't have much trouble waking up.

    When my alarm goes off when I'm in a deeper part of the cycle, I can walk across the room and hit snooze or turn it off without waking up. Multiple times. Drives my wife nuts.

    Any sleep researchers want to try something like this on me? I'm guessing the equipment woulnd't be cheap.

    "I like [Mac OS X] significantly more than I like Windows NT, which is better than 95 or 98 in the way that smallpox is better than Ebola." -- Kyrrin

    X10 is the way to go. (none / 0) (#91)
    by schmoli on Tue Dec 05, 2000 at 10:08:52 PM EST

    I also use X10 devices to power my morning. I have them situated in great places, plus I purchased the X10 alarm, which when sounded makes a HORRIBLY loud noise. I start by turning on coffee maker, followed 5 minutes later by my lights, then tv, and finally a series of the crazy alarm once every minute for 5 minutes (if I wake up before the last one, I'm in the shower or kitchen so I don't hear the other tones). This is a sure-fire way of getting my ass out of bed. Once I added a electric blanket on high but the heat just made me sleep longer (and wake up sweaty), plus it was a bit of a fire hazard. One word of advice, playing your favorite MP3 just doesn't work, as they never seem to wake me up. (except Beastie Boys "No Sleep Till Brooklyn").

    Be careful with music players (3.00 / 1) (#93)
    by 0xA on Wed Dec 06, 2000 at 03:54:41 AM EST

    I have a hell of a time with this, always have.

    About 5 years ago I bought an alarm clock with a tape player in it, you could set the tape to start playing as the alarm. I put Guns N' Roses' Welcome to the Jungle on a tape over and over again (most annoying song I could think of). It worked great for about a year and then the clock gave out and I couldn't fix it.

    One problem. To this very day every time I hear that song I get really uncomfortable, then really bitchy for about half an hour. Pavlov's theories in action I guess, all I can say is if you go the cron -> xmms route don't use a song you like.

    My solution (4.00 / 1) (#98)
    by spraints on Wed Dec 06, 2000 at 10:54:21 AM EST

    While I was growing up at home, my dad would come down to my room and tell me to get up, so I'd hit the snooze and then get up the next time it went off since I didn't want to bother him again.

    I think college was when I learned to use the snooze button very effectively, and typically having roommates who were gone by the time mine went off was usually a low enough deterrant level for hitting Snooze. So I got pretty good at hitting snooze. Then I started missing stuff (like classes and an on-site interview with a large corporation--boy did I feel dumb being in a nice condo of theirs and sleeping through the interview) because I would hit snooze, or sometimes turn off the alarm before I woke up. So the alarm clock got placed across the room.

    At one point in college, I entertained thoughts of cracking open my alarm clock and seeing how easy it would be too make it a multiple alarmed clock so that I could choose a different sound to wake me up each day.

    Pretty quickly after putting the alarm clock across the room, I got some good experience at jumping out of bed, slapping the snooze, and then going back to bed. I even did this when I was in the top bunk of a bunk bed and I had to get down to turn it off.

    Now that I'm married to a woman who refuses to use the snooze button, I wake up when the alarm goes off, hit the snooze (because the alarm is on my side of the bed), which is very quickly followed by the sheets getting thrown off me and the lights coming on (the light switch is on her side of the bed). That's the best solution for me. Hopefully this training will eventually make me get up whenever an alarm goes off, not just when my wife is there.

    no alarm at all... (5.00 / 1) (#99)
    by eMBee on Wed Dec 06, 2000 at 05:34:44 PM EST

    ...just study yourself and find out how much sleep you need. with enough training you can wake up very close to the time you want to get up.
    if i want to wake up at a certain time, i usually just concentrate on that time, and mostly i'll wake up just in the right moment. (if i didn't then i didn't get enough sleep the nights before)
    if i had something very important, i'd set the alarm anyways, just to be sure, and in most cases i'd wake up 5 minutes before the alarm goes off
    of course getting to bed in time and getting the sleep you need is important for this to work
    but even if this night you won't have enough time for that, having slept sufficiently the days before should be enough, (just don't cut short on your sleep to often)
    having a job with flexible hours is another advantage :-)
    i told my supervisor before he hired me, that the most important thing for me is to get enough sleep, and if i work late one evening (for whatever reason) i will be late to work.

    greetings, eMBee.
    Gnu is Not Unix / Linux Is Not UniX

    By Jove, I think he's found it! (none / 0) (#103)
    by leviathan on Thu Dec 07, 2000 at 09:17:49 AM EST

    Well, it's working for now, and I'm hoping not to spoil it.

    It's an old fashioned wind-up clock with two bells in the top. That makes enough of a racket that I can put it across the room and it'll still wake me (those electronic beeps just don't cut it), and it's got a fiddly little catch you have to swing round to stop the alarm, so it's harder to do until you wake up.

    I'm trying not to overuse it though. I'm only setting it way after I should have got up, so if it goes off I know I'm already late, and I'm not setting it on weekends or days off. Like penicillin, overuse weakens the effects.

    I wish everyone was peaceful. Then I could take over the planet with a butter knife.
    - Dogbert
    alarm clocks? (none / 0) (#105)
    by steven on Sat Dec 09, 2000 at 10:32:54 AM EST

    i'm at highschool, so i need to be at school every week day at 8:30am. i wake up *every* morning, week day or not, at 6:43am - 2 minutes before my alarm clock is set to wake me up. this is good during the week, but not good on weekends when i get to bed at around 6am. enter the magic of the siesta :D

    i think the years of not wanting to be awoken by the annoying beeping noises has made me wake up in time to stop the noises happening in the first place. maybe when i get a nice sounding alarm clock i'll actually want to hear the noises it makes - those bose alarm clock thing look pretty cool.

    anyway, it's 1:52am, time to go get 4 hours 51 minutes sleep ;)


    waking up (none / 0) (#108)
    by fattulip on Wed Dec 13, 2000 at 06:36:44 AM EST

    Very simple method, get married, woken up every day at the same time if I like it or not, more often than not dragged to the shower as well!

    The Perfect Alarm Clock | 108 comments (104 topical, 4 editorial, 0 hidden)
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