Posts Tagged ‘alarm clock’

Alarming News

13 May 2009

Dear J-

I’ve actually been waking up on time this week; I chalk part of it up to having a clock I can actually read in the dark, and the rest to having a new control scheme to get used to. I now have a snooze button I can use — trying to limit myself to one ten-minute snooze — and a ridiculously easy snooze at that, as some magic circuits have made the rim of the clock entirely touch-sensitive. It worries me, though. If it becomes too easy to turn off, or snooze, then impending disaster awaits. Perhaps I should leave both radios plugged in and turn on one at random for the next morning.

I develop a pretty good muscle memory over time — the old radio required that I pick out one quarter-inch knob and turn it precisely ninety degrees clockwise to shut the alarm off; the snooze bar was broken, and the clock backlight was a burned cinder of a thing — and still I managed to regularly shut the radio off without coming fully awake. Maybe the touch-sensitive snooze will be good for me, then; if I fumble at the controls, it won’t shut off, it’ll only snooze. On the other hand, you could always go with something like a clocky, which goes off and then runs around the room to hide.

Here’s a final shot at clock-radio design, then; we wouldn’t have counted on such excellent multi-touch screens and controls had Apple not come out with the iPhone, and Microsoft not pioneered in their Surface software — throw one of those in, let it rotate through at least seven control schemes throughout the week. Heck, let the user design their own control scheme and add it to the list; when I say control scheme, let’s say it’s something as easy as tapping and dragging a button into a box — or throw winding a knob through 900 degrees along with it. Point is, make the rotation random and make each day different, with no hint of which shut-the-alarm-off control will pop up at the waking time; break the habit of muscle memory, and make sure you need to be awake to use the controls. Hmm; it might work as an iPhone OS application …