What features would your ultimate alarm clock include?

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Ever since I posted my Chumby review last week, I’ve been thinking about features that I’d include in an ultimate alarm clock if I could have everything that I wanted. I had actually goofed around with an idea of creating a clock a year or two ago, but didn’t get very far. My whole idea centered around my Mac, which would do all the work in my basement, but then send all the info to my bedroom via WiFi at alarm time. The chumby review has me considering revisiting the project again. Here are some of the feature ideas that I have…

1. Wake up by playing a tune from a specific playlist in iTunes – I already wrote an applescript to do this.
2. Play the local national news – I think I can get this from NPR, but I would like to investigate other methods of grabbing a quick audio update of the national news on demand.
3. Play the local weather forecast (audio) – I have this covered.
4. Speak any calendar events and to-dos that I have scheduled for the day.
5. Speak the current time at specific intervals during the wake-up cycle.
6. Interface for changing the clock settings will be a PDA or phone with WiFi – Settings will be through a simple web interface.
7. All of the audio will be sent from a Mac in another room, to speakers in the bedroom – An Airport Express might accomplish this task.

Those are the main features I’d like to have to start with. As you will notice, I don’t really care about displaying information on a screen except for a way of changing the alarms. I really only want a very simple clock readout. All the other main features will be audible. I know I could use a laptop in the bedroom to do all of this, but I don’t want to use a device that has a fan or makes any other noises (hard disk access, etc.). I want it to be completely silent until it’s time to wake me up. :o)

What features would you choose if you could create your own ultimate alarm clock? Share your ideas.

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12 thoughts on “What features would your ultimate alarm clock include?”

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  2. For years I religiously set an alarm clock so I wouldn’t be late for work, airport, etc. All that until a friend taught me ‘mind over matter.’ Now I consider the alarm clock an unnecessary crutch. I hate the things. Instead, before going to sleep at night, think about what time you want to get up and ‘set your circadian clock.’ Works like a charm. I don’t even own an alarm clock anymore and certainly don’t miss the disgusting thing.

  3. How do you set your circadian clock? Is it really just a case of picturing what time to wake up?

    Julie- That is a complicated alarm system! I get excited when I have alarms for different days!

  4. Abdul Sami Mughal

    i certainly have the experience of a circadian clock.. or whatever it is called… you do need to concentrate on what time you wanna wake up before you go to sleep.. it works normally.. but its not fool proof… you need a good nites rest to b able to wake up properly… but only when wakin up

    on other things da alarm works jus fine…

    it is basically a feelin of restlessness i guess that takes over u around dat time… till u get the job done !!!

  5. bjswan:

    And I suppose you use paper and pencil instead of a PDA huh? ;o) Just kidding… I applaud your low tech way of waking up, but I doubt it would work for me very well. I usually feel sleep starved, so I never want to get up in the morning. I also don’t like to hear an alarm (buzzer) and jump straight out of bed. I have to gradually ‘think’ about getting up. That’s why I want music, news, weather and other things to listen to before I finally drag myself out of bed.


    I forget to list that I’ll have separate alarms for Monday through Friday and then the weekends :o)

  6. Julie, Paper & Pencil?? NEVER! Gadget obsessed, YES; alarm obsessed, NO. The mental alarm clock does take concentration and practice but now it even works when I’m sleep starved which is most of the time. Start practicing on weekends or days when it doesn’t matter when you get up.

  7. well, let’s see, i would like one that goes into my subconscious and shake me until i wake up, then play music in my head to keep me awake (would require a chip in my brain or something =P).

  8. I have been pleasantly surprised by the effectiveness of the iPhone’s alarm clock. I set an alarm for Monday and Sunday individually, and Tuesday-Friday are the same. There’s an extra “get up early” for when I have an early flight or whatever, which is the only alarm I really need to remember. I don’t have to worry about batteries, traveling, or timezones – I just set it on the dresser and it wakes me with the tone I have set for that day.

    I’m a slow riser, too, so the snooze feature lets me get a few extra zzz’s, if I need them. Other cell phones I’ve had were so irritating to turn on and off or set that I never used those features. The iPhone’s interface for the alarm clock is so simple that I had it set up and switched after using it in a hotel for a week. I just never went back to my alarm clock once I got back home!

  9. An alarm that plays tunes first, and then after some interval an alarm and then be able to silence/snooze the alarm portion.

  10. Has anything ever been built from this wishlist ?
    I am actually going to build a clock with some of the “wished”functions.
    Stand-alone device (Real physical alarmclock, not an app !)
    connection to wifi (set multiple alarms \ events)
    connect to webpage that can hold work or school schedule and maybe even connect to outlook events.
    settable wakeup type (slow\mood light, sound, music e.g.)
    Big SNOOZE button
    Large Display, AUto Dim in Dark, Set to different colors.
    Quick Setting of alarm
    2nd (LCD display for setup and display alarmstatus, date etc.
    and more…

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