back to article Alarming tales: What goes on INSIDE Reg hack's hi-tech bedroom

Mrs Dabbsy is threatening to decamp to the spare room. It’s reminiscent of those radioactive weeks just over a year ago when she was a bearer of unstable atoms but the culprit this time is not an overactive thyroid but my choice of alarm clock. Sleeper Sleep sound, Dabbsy’s not around Source: Wiros Like many professional …

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  1. Peter Simpson 1

    Bright

    Why do the makers of bedside clocks make them bright enough to light the room...even on the dimmest setting?

    A cellphone alarm would never work with me, I'd knock it off the table while attempting to silence it, then step on it as I got out of bed.

    My alarm's in the bathroom...to force me to get out of bed to silence it.

    // The wife gets up when I get out of the shower...

    1. BigAndos

      Re: Bright

      Yeah my old clock was actually slightly brighter than the street lamp outside the window, even on the lowest setting! I almost ended up buying an eye mask!

      I got one recently made by Pure that actually dims or brightens automatically according to the room's light level. Sweet, blessed relief.

      1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        Re: Bright

        My nice Bug DAB alarm thingy is brilliant. Sadly now discontinued. You can separately set the brightness for the clock and display when switched on from off, to barely visible, medium and 'Oh God my retinas!'. It also has 2 alarms, so I can have a buzz then a radio, or 2 radios coming on an hour apart. The screen is also on one of those boingy braided steel moveable things, like some lamps - so you can bring it close to your eyes if they fail to open properly in the morning.

        It also theoretically plays (and records) to SD cards. But it's so picky about which ones it'll accept, and changeable in this, that it would be an incredibly unreliable way to wake up.

        The teasmade on the other hand has a sensor to change the clock back-light depending on ambient light. It varies from as bright as the midday tropical sun to "ve have vays ov making you talk!" spotlight in the face. I have to rest a book against it at night. And I used to sleep with the curtains open and a streetlamp directly outside - which I can't now living in a ground floor flat.

        1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

          Re: Bright

          What's wrong with a watch that has an option to set the alarm as vibrate only?

      2. Red Bren

        Re: Bright

        "I got one recently made by Pure that actually dims or brightens automatically according to the room's light level. Sweet, blessed relief."

        I also have a Pure clock radio with the auto-brightness function. Unfortunately, even the dimmest level is still brighter than the sun. The alternative is to switch off the display completely, but that somewhat negates the clock's primary purpose of informing you of the time by looking at it.

    2. Oninoshiko

      Re: Bright

      Why do the makers of bedside clocks make them bright enough to light the room...even on the dimmest setting?

      THIS.

      Luckily, for me, I have thick walls, so I stick mine on the windowsill, outside the curtain. I do lothe blue LEDs.

  2. Anonymous Custard Silver badge
    Mushroom

    ‘rustling forest’

    ‘rustling forest’ has the effect of making me think my bedroom is on fire.

    Well if that doesn't get you from horizontal slumbers to vertical alertness then nothing will...

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Got the same problem in reverse

    My missus usually gets up before me. Unfortunately I can never sleep properly afterwards, no matter how quiet she is. Added to which I am a miserable bastard in the morning (and to be fair it doesn't get much better through the day).

    Anyway I would love to know who decided to start everything in the morning. Why don't we all relax a bit and start kicking arse after lunch?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Got the same problem in reverse

      Ditto.

      She is in education, so the tables are reversed in holiday times.

      However, if you get cats, it makes no difference anyway because they get to know when the alarm is due and wonder why you are not performing some servile feat for them already and let you know none too subtly.

      1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge

        Re: Got the same problem in reverse

        I find young kids have the same effect, with the added issue that they're less self-sufficient and somewhat noiser too...

        1. John Brookes

          Re: Got the same problem in reverse

          The way my boys are growing, yet utterly failing to modify their (admittedly 100% effective) parent-waking procedure, the cracking of ribs will soon provide the soundtrack to my antemeridian stirrings.

          So tired, so sore...

          ;-)

      2. Tim99 Silver badge

        Re: Got the same problem in reverse

        We had a cat that could open doors by pulling down the handle and pushing is back paw against the wall. Its record was opening the kitchen and bedroom doors, then gently tapping my sleeping form on the face with a paw, at 4:00 in the morning.

  4. Justin Stringfellow
    Facepalm

    modern life is rubbish

    I was using the BBC radio player app alarm feature until recently on my android tablet, which sits in a dock near the bed. Most recently, it woke at 7.00 one morning as usual, started playing radio 4, at which point the availability of the network connection clearly prompted the thing to opportunistically check for updates, which it found - specifically one for the BBC radio player, which was then promptly partially uninstalled before failing to update... all in all leaving me with about 5s of alarm. Which wasn't enough. I woke an hour late with a vague recollection of the events.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: modern life is rubbish

      The more technology one throws at the morning alarm the more points of failure there are, alas. Android has a few annoyances, one of which is that they don't tend to be able to turn themselves on for an alarm - strange, cos every dumb- and feature-phone I've had from a 3310i onwards has been able to do so.

      And wasn't there a (now corrected) iOS bug from a few years back that stopped the alarm from working? (Albeit on a specific date)

      1. Red Bren

        Re: modern life is rubbish

        My Samsung S3 has a highly configurable "blocking" mode which silences alerts and notifications, apart from certain contacts I specify. It means I can leave my phone charging overnight on my bedside table without being woken up by email/linkedin/charging complete beeps, but family can still contact me in an emergency and the alarm still wakes me in the morning.

      2. jonathanb Silver badge

        Re: modern life is rubbish

        iOS struggled with the change between Summer time and Winter time twice a year. I'm not entirely sure they have fixed it yet.

        I have had two Android phones now, the original Samsung Galaxy S, and the Galaxy Note 2. I haven't had any problems with the alarm clock on either of them.

  5. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    Radio 4

    It's amazing how quickly you can go from 'asleep' to '05.43, anything to avoid the godbotherer slot'.

    And it's so quiet and yet so irritating, the other half sleeps right through it... I have been known to turn it off simply on the sound of the audio amp going live, before a word of speech.

    Of course, when they start Farming Today a little early, it doesn't work half as well.

    1. Ian K

      Re: Radio 4

      The real danger with R4 is that the alarm goes off when they're in the middle of a "here's the latest on the euro-finance bill"-type piece. That sort of thing would have you struggling to maintain consciousness at the best of times; first thing when you're barely awake to start with it's a guaranteed lapse into coma.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Radio 4

        That's why they have "thought for the day", even cripples have been known to rise from the bed to turn it off

  6. Jerky Jerk face

    Ive got into the loud, abrupt world-is-ending blast of an alarm - it wakes me up instantly and i can turn it off within a few seconds. My gf however, seems to be able to ignore it completely for about 10-20 seconds before she really wakes up.

    As long as i hit the STFU button fast enough, all is well.

    Good luck :)

  7. Dave 126 Silver badge

    >Gadgets that light up the room are no good either since they are no less likely to disturb the wife.

    Aw come on Mr D, you write for a technology website: Surely some sort of facial recognition system and head-tracking narrow-beam spotlight contraption bolted to your bedroom ceiling is the answer?

  8. SirDigalot

    why not try

    a vibrating pillow alarm clock they are designed primarily for deaf people, since an alarm clock is fairly useless..

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: why not try

      I was thinking that. Or he could get one of those pillows that has a speaker built in and a headphone cable. Then you just plug into phone or iPod for your own wake-up sound.

      As for putting the phone in aeroplane mode, why not just disable the beeps for tweets, linked-ins and emails. Admittedly that doesn't save you from being woken by text, but then I don't tend to get early morning texts.

      1. Marcelo Rodrigues

        Re: why not try

        "As for putting the phone in aeroplane mode, why not just disable the beeps for tweets, linked-ins and emails. Admittedly that doesn't save you from being woken by text, but then I don't tend to get early morning texts."

        Sony mobiles have an app, called "Smart Connect", that allows You to choose actions to be performed when something happens.

        Mine goes to silent mode, if a charger is plugged, between 23:00 and 7:00.

        I believe Samsung has something on this lines too...

        1. Darryl

          Re: why not try

          Lama for Android can do a lot of interesting things based on time, location, connections, etc. as well

        2. Nick Pettefar

          Re: why not try

          IOS7 has a whole Do Not Disturb settings page, fairly comprehensive and quite welcome. The new alarm sounds are pretty good.

  9. Anonymous Custard Silver badge

    Automation?

    As a thought, if the mobile solution works other than for operator error, why not automate the process with an app like Tasker or AutomateIt? (for Android anyway, I'm sure there must be similar for iOS).

    Then you could set things up nice and fancy based on calendar, timer and even perhaps location (GPS or connected wifi) so that it wakes you up using your preferred vibration/noise during weekdays only and only when you're at home.

  10. Jim Lewis

    This is where the oft-maligned Pebble smartwatch can shine.

    First, set your mobile to have a black-out period, simple in Android, you can add people like the missus to an exempt list so emergency calls get through.

    Second, set your alarm safe in the knowledge that your wrist will vibrate you awake silently at the given hour.

    My wife usually doesn't notice me leave first in the morning.

    1. Ralph B

      Indeed

      Or one of the other wrist-band alarm clocks available - such as the Lark.

  11. Roby

    Why do you have to sleep in the same bed? Have sex in one bed, sure, but you don't have to sleep in the same one. It can be very good for marriages not to sleep in the same bed.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It can be very good for marriages not to sleep in the same bed.

      Yeah, I tried telling her that too. But it's apparently not OK if said separate bed is in another house.

    2. Jediben

      It's not the sleeping in another bed that's the problem, it's the sharing of it with another woman!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        te-he

        Is it you or her that is sharing the bed with the other woman?

        No need to answer that, it is nearly beer O'Clock.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        It's not the sleeping in another bed that's the problem, it's the sharing of it with another woman!

        Funny that, she told me that too. Personally, I'm hurt by the assumption.

        And I'm dead sure I hid the flowers.

      3. DiViDeD Silver badge

        It's not the sleeping with another woman that's the problem

        It's the staying awake with her beforehand that does the damage

    3. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

      @Roby

      Yes, but not sleeping in the same bed means that you effectively have to make an appointment for sex. It also removes the opportunity for a quickie when neither of you can sleep, or when you both wake up early.

      I certainly don't get nearly as much since my wife decided she could not stand being disturbed by my early starts to get to work. At least that's the reason she gave for wanting to sleep in another room....

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: @Roby

        There is probably an app for that. At one point, for reasons I am not able to determine, I was even getting adverts on websites that seemed very close to inviting me to make appointments for intimacy with strange ladies, though these seem to have stopped now.

        Oh, you meant with your significant other. Sorry.

    4. earl grey
      Joke

      Sex in one bed?

      Why use just one (bed, that is...)

      Two alarms for me...one next to bed; t'other in the bathroom set to go off 5 minutes later. Wife at other end of house. Sex? What's that?

    5. Shooter
      Childcatcher

      Someone had to say it...

      No sex for us please, we're British.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Vibrating wrist alarms

    I'm using a Jawbone Up as an alarm clock, almost silent, 4 alarms (staggered 10 mins apart ).

    Have also used the FitBit One as an alarm clock as well. Just strap to wrist (surprisingly comfortable) and sleep.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I'm using a Jawbone Up as an alarm clock

      Up where?

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I accidentally trained myself to wake before the clock..

    In my entirely misspent youth, I built an alarm clock by hooking up a buzzer and a battery to one of those "flip for a digit change" bare clock mechanisms you could buy in electronics shops.

    The problem was that a buzzer during daytime in a busy city seems to become an air raid horn after your ears have spent a night at country noise levels, so I spent a week with near heart attacks (don't ask me why I didn't subject the thing to lethal levels of violence, I still haven't worked that one out) and being pretty much on time at work - until I started waking up a couple of minutes before the damn thing so I could kill the buzzer. I presume part of that was some brain subroutine keeping track of how many minutes had "flipped".

    Eventually, the clock and my need for sleep collided on a weekend, and the clock lost. But that waking up before the alarm has remained.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I accidentally trained myself to wake before the clock..

      I built a bodge-tastic alarm clock in my youth. The parts were:

      1x Scalextric 12v transformer

      1x 6v Piezo buzzer

      1x 6v Bulb in series with the piezo

      1x cheap plug-in timer

      This contraption made a quite annoying sound which woke everyone in the house at stupid AM...

      Except me.

    2. tony2heads

      Re: I accidentally trained myself to wake before the clock..

      Had the same experience as a teenager with a mechanical alarm clock on a sloping shelf at the head of the bed. As it rang it 'walked' down the shelf and hit me on the head. I woke up the next morning to avoid the same fate.

      Later in life I had a cat who came into the room and walked up my stomach to purr into my face to say that it was time for his breakfast.

    3. Wize

      Re: I accidentally trained myself to wake before the clock..

      My grandfather could sleep through anything. It was quite some time ago (the hight of geek technology was to have a "cat's whisker" and be able to pick up radio from America in the middle of the night, which he woke the house to hear when he got it working, but I digress)

      His solution to waking up was to put an alarm clock (the type with the two bells on top and a hammer running between them) and sit it on an old tin tray. He was the only one that it didn't wake in the whole tenement.

  14. TRT Silver badge

    If you leave your smart phone plugged in to charge overnight, beware that the floaty and noisy grounding on some chargers can affect the touch screen to the point of making it virtually unusable. Although it does make a fair simulation of life with e.g. Parkinson's disease.

    1. The First Dave

      Grounding? (I presume you mean Earthing), but either way all modern chargers are double-insulated, which means that they have a plastic earth pin, and even those that have a metal one MUST NOT connect it to anything.

      1. Graham Dawson Silver badge

        Newp, grounding, at least on the DC side.

    2. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

      Leaving aside the technical terms, thanks for that information, TRT! I have been convinced for some time that my phone's screen is less responsive when plugged in, but couldn't think of a reason. I'd decided I was deluded, but apparently not!

      1. TRT Silver badge

        When you enter the gates of pedant city... :-D

        Yes, the earth grounding of the user's finger as opposed to the floating, capacitively coupled and potentially noisy ground that comes from the charger and into the phone.

        There are articles on it, if you want to search for them. The practical upshot of it is that you should stick to the charger supplied by the manufacturer as that's been tested with the device; anything else and you take pot luck.

  15. Simon B

    I just enjoyed the article, it made me smile :)

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If you're dreaming of circling vultures, Alistair, I'd look to blame your employer before your alarm...

    A suggestion: Back when my Blackberry Playbook was functioning, I used to put it under my pillow at night and listen to music while I went to sleep. It could be quite loud from my perspective - ear compressing the pillow - and yet utterly silent the moment you picked your head up.

    You could try a similar trick. Hell, for the price of an alarm clock, you could probably find a PlayBook!

  17. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

    All hail the mighty teasmade!!!

    Teasmades aren't a thing from the 70s! How very dare you! They're a thing from now. I have one on my bedside table. A very nice one, bought from Amazon last year for £50. It's wonderful to wake up to a cuppa in the morning.

    Now admittedly there are some issues. You have to use teabags, because the chances of me successfully manipulating pot, cup and tea strainer at early o'clock are pretty close to zero. But I have found that fruit teas are very nice. As they take longer to brew, giving valuable extra snoozing time, and they fill your bedroom with a wonderful fruity aroma. That being the upside of the usual fruit tea problem, they smell so much better than they actually taste.

    I can also confirm the jet engine issues. Even from the opposite side of the bed, the quick-boil kettle is incredibly loud in a quiet room, after hours of restful slumber. However, in my case this is a good thing, as I'm perfectly capable of turning off the loudest alarm clock, even if it's on the other side of the room - I can sleepwalk over to it, switch off, and be back in bed asleep before conscious thought has had a chance.

    I can confirm though that climbing into the shower, with a scalding hot cup of life-giving tea on the windowsill - ready for perfect drinking when you get out 5 minutes later - is a wonderful thing.

    Now, if only someone could come up with the baconsarniesmade...

    1. Putters

      Re: All hail the mighty teasmade!!!

      Used to have an early - 1950's/1960's (I'm not THAT old, but did like picking up old tech) teasmade on the bedside table. One of these if I'm not mistaken :

      http://www.retonthenet.co.uk/vintage-hawkins-patent-tecal-electric-teasmade-1950s-alarm-clock-teasmaid-tea-maker-caffettiera-3295-p.asp

      Had a very slooooooow boiling kettle - would start hissing and gurgling about 15mins before achieving boiling point. If you woke up during this phase it was "nice". Then it would eject the boiling water - hopefully into the pot you'd placed adjacent to the machine, and the whole thing would counterbalance forward with a hefty clonk, the light would come one and it would buzz like a demented vibrator. Waking up at this point was "not nice" !

      Never satisfactarily solved the problem of keeping the milk cold in the teacup overnight though (old enough to pre-date cheap mini fridges) ...

      1. Black Rat
        Thumb Up

        Re: All hail the mighty teasmade!!!

        Am glad to know I'm not the only one with a soft spot for a Goblin. My 'Swift' was a real lifesaver in my shared house student digs.

    2. Sir Barry

      Re: All hail the mighty teasmade!!!

      "Now, if only someone could come up with the baconsarniesmade..."

      Just get this baby and put a timer on your plug socket:

      http://www.hamiltonbeach.com/breakfast-breakfast-sandwich-maker-25475.html

    3. Mage Silver badge

      Re: All hail the mighty teasmade!!!

      Popular from late 1950s. The one in the pic has 1966 on. Where did the 1970s date come from?

      Perhaps a winch with cord around your ankle and plug winch into a time switch.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: All hail the mighty teasmade!!!

        There's nothing like a good Goblin in the morning!

  18. Alex Berry

    You're doing it wrong

    Perhaps a slightly unfair title, but still..

    There are plenty of apps that manage alerts and stuff far better. I, for instance, use Locale.

    After 11pm at night, if my phone is plugged in to the mains, all alert noises are switched off and the phone turns to silent non-vibrate, except for alarms. Come 7:30 in the morning this is all enabled again, and because all the alerts came in on silent I don't get a suddeny cacaphony of bells, whistles and shrills that would cause me to destroy my phone in slumber-induced rage each morning.

    Even more helpfully, when I'm at work my phone knows and turns back on it's STFU mode, so I don't make my 3 colleagues mugs of tea look like something out of jurrassic park every 5 minutes.

  19. Kevin Fairhurst

    touchscreen failure is down to non-standard iphone charger

    use official charger & cable and it will work fine. I had mine plugged in to a belkin one and the touchscreen had that problem!

  20. g e
    Pint

    Simples.

    Just stick your phone on vibrate and put it under your pillow.

    If you're wise enough to have a recent-ish Android phone then just turn Block Mode on for e.g. 23:00 - 06:00 and no errant plonkers will disturb you with their notifications between those hours.

    Cancel the alarm simply by placing the palm of your hand on the screen (with gestures enabled in settings)

    Friday pint for all.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Simples.

      +1

      In fact, I've found that by getting up at a regular time, the need for an alarm pretty much goes away.

      Early to bed, early to rise, makes one healthy, wealthy and wise.

      Also good for nocturnal activities.

    2. Ralph B

      Re: Simples.

      Just stick your phone on vibrate and put it under your pillow.

      Grand idea. But when do you charge the phone? Or is it attached to a charging cable while it's under the pillow? If so, you must be a quieter sleeper than me. I'd end up strangling myself.

      1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge
        Coat

        Re: Simples.

        I'd end up strangling myself.

        Which is, in a oblique way, a solution too :)

        The mac with the piano string, please.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Observation

    Has anyone else noticed that the requirement for a silent first alarm only exists where the first alarm is his?

    My mrs is a doctor working shifts. When she's on earlies, she makes as much noise as she damn well likes. When she's on lates, god help me if the stairs creak.

    Life, eh.

    1. Darryl

      Re: Observation

      Yep, I agree. Seems like when she's up and I'm trying to sleep is the only time that my wife likes to practice juggling pots and pans

    2. ecofeco Silver badge
      Paris Hilton

      Re: Observation

      And then they cluelessly wonder why you're cranky.

  22. David Shaw

    there are a couple of sleep-cycle apps (SleepBot Android) (Sleepcycle.com iPhone) that claim to track your sleeping pattern through the accelerometer. I haven't tried them as it seems you have to currently leave your individual 'fragile feature phone' next to you on the pillow! Their operating theory in my opinion is good tho', as my "must take children to school-bus alarm" sometimes needs to shriek at me, sometimes I am just awake to catch the first tentative trill.

    the idea is that if you wish to wake up at 6:59 (plus or minus a few minutes) e.g. on Monday the bio-sensing alarm might wake you at 6:47 - just as you're lightly dozing, with a 'ping' before you are about to plunge deeply into a REM phase where even BIG BEN wouldn't work, whilst Tuesday 7:01 would be the correct time for the gentlest 'ping'?

    if these 'phone on pillow' apps are version 1 , then version 2 could stick in a vague neural network(*), bit of AI, type in each night your intoxication level as another seed to the algorithms & this might work...Looks like pillows need individual accelerometers/Nike+/FitBit/attachments - USB, firewire & SCSI interfaces, and your domotic systems could wake you non-aurally - as mentioned by a previous poster - just at the right moment, with a soothing 110V 500nanoamp leakage (psu floating at half-mains with a bit of EM filter leakage) as mentioned by another previous poster or by shining a focussed 4 watt LED into your eyes, or the rotating feather method. (*)Use of BeagleBoard, Arduino, RaspberryPI and crowdsourced funding of around $6M might get the perfect alarm system by next week?

    1. phil dude
      Linux

      Sleepanalyser...

      @David Shaw. Sir, I use my venerable "spare" Nokia N900 and I have the excellent SleepAnalyser app on it, which is written in python , apparently. It lives under the pillow.

      Free and open source ;-)

      It monitors movements and gives you a wake up window. It also has "dream mode" where you can have sounds/music file played until you pass out. You can adjust its sensitivity in insane amounts. You can infact execute any command to wake you.

      A truly useful tool for getting enough sleep, and best of all it stores a record...!

      As to the question of two bodies in a bed, in some parts of Europe couples sleeping on a single mattress is called the "french" bed. Germans have two single beds joined together....

      Needless to say a huge king size works too ;-)

      P.

    2. wiggers

      Electric sheep...

      There's a great app called Sleep As Android that does a similar thing, only wakes you from light sleep unless you tell it there's a 'drop dead' time you absolutely must be awake. The alarm starts very quietly and gradually gets louder, so you can turn it off before it wakes your neighbour. After a while your subconscious is programmed to recognise the sound at very low levels. And no sliding gestures required to turn it off, just jab at the big red square.

  23. Sealand
    Pint

    Well written, and all too familiar.

    I have an electronic alarm clock with the usual nasty beep sound and the phone with a church bell going off next to the bed. The trouble is, when being ripped out of my sleep, I'm not exactly the sharpest of knives, so if I get a phone call, I tend to swipe for snooze, in fact taking the call. Very confusing for the caller. I have different sounds for alarm and a call, so you'd think I could tell the difference, but no.

    Have a great weekend everyone ...

  24. Armando 123

    Best alarm clock

    Get a beagle with a small bladder. After two carpet cleanings, you are AWAKE at the quietest whine.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Best alarm clock

      After two carpet cleanings, you are AWAKE at the quietest whine.

      Not in my case. He'd end up sleeping in the bath or shower.

    2. Black Rat

      Re: Best alarm clock

      AWAKE at the quietest whine..

      or the tapping of nails of the kitchen floor

      and tentatively touching dark lumps on the floor with an outstreched big toe trying to figure if it's a sock, a toy, half eaten dog chew or something unpleasantly squishy on the way to let them out. Illuminated only by the intermittant glow of the wifes mobile phone flasing to say she's got mail.

  25. Fading Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Sun alarm clocks

    I have one of those sun alarm clocks that 30 minutes before the alarm goes off (option of radio, birdsong, waves, beeps or frogs) slowly and gently lights up.

    I now wake up half an hour before I need to.....

  26. MJA

    I love the observation on touch screen phones gaining a life of their own during the night.

    I thought I was the only one struggling with every last ounce of concentration just to turn my alarm off. It literally looks like it's jumping out of my grasp, only ever making it half way across the screen towards being disabled.

    I have an opposite problem too - when I can't sleep I sometimes play rainfall on my iPod. Often I'll wake up a few hours later in pain with an earbud millimeters from penetrating my eardrum, or the sound has morphed into the sound of a chainsaw or something. I've found some remarkable sleeping positions that allow me to lay on my side but prevent the earphones being squashd into my brain :).

  27. briesmith

    Wrist savaging watch

    There is an enormous range of wristwatches - some of them quite well made - that will gouge a hole in the wearer's wrist at a preset time rather than making any noise.

    Get one of these and some antibiotic plasters and you'll be fine.

  28. auburnman

    My biggest problem with my phone as alarm clock is I'm never awake enough to realise if my fumblings equated to 'Snooze' or 'Off'. I got into work VERY late a few weeks back 'cos of it. I'd quite like an alarm app that audibly tells you 'Snooze Selected' or 'Alarm Deactivated.' (And in an ideal world, it would activate the microphone and listen for a few seconds after that so you could change it from one to the other by shouting at it.) I realise I could search the store, but the problem is everyone and their dog appears to have done an alarm app and I can't be arsed trawling through thousands of them to find the best one.

  29. Justicesays

    Maybe a use for one of these ..

    http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/richardhaberkern/soundlazer

    Bonus points for some kind of head/ear targeting device.

  30. Frankee Llonnygog

    Mildly NSFW

    This alarm is intended to wake women via intimately applied vibrations: http://sabotagetimes.com/camouflage/the-orgasm-alarm-clock/

    I feel sure Trevor is ingenious enough to find a way for it to bring men upright at the crack of dawn

    1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Mildly NSFW

      "Bugger off, Darcy, I’ve got all the cock-a-doodle do I need…"

  31. John Deeb

    try your body clock

    Whatever the alarm, I always wake up a few minutes before it goes off, nearly every time. Problem solved! At some point I even didn't bother to set it any more although the act of setting seems to tune it better.

    But if it would go off, it would be just some quiet radio station. If you need more I think you just don't sleep enough hours or you're living out of sync. The body has its own clock, surprisingly precise actually. Temperature, blood pressures, digestion, all on the clock if not drained of battery juice! If you can arrange a somewhat regular life (eg fixed dinner hours, caffeine restraint, etc) that same clock will wake you up on time if one goes also to bed more or less on time. And without filling the late evening with bright screens or other activating stuff!

    The remaining problem then is not your alarm clock but your ADHD lifestyle :)

    1. Paul Kinsler

      Re: try your body clock

      This sort of thing mostly works for me, although I wake seconds earlier, not minutes. If not, then the light from my trusty old Zaurus's screen (as it wakes) wakes me, and if not that, then it's really rather pleasant alarm chirp.

      The most exciting radio alarm event I've had was when Mark F decided to play Ministry's "Jesus built my Hotrod" on 4ZZZ at 6:55 one morning, just in time for my usual wakeup. Thanks, Mark!

    2. Gene Cash Silver badge

      Re: try your body clock

      Sanctimonious git.

      Sure, my body has a clock. It wants to go to sleep at 7am, and wake up at 3 or 4pm. It's been that way for over 40 years now. The moment the sun comes up, I get sleepy. Not a moment before. Unfortunately my employer (and most of the rest of the planet) disagrees with that schedule. At least they do understand enough to let me stumble in at 10am.

      One problem is anything that awakens me roughly, with a nasty buzzer or bell, gets the fist of doom. I went through clocks at a horrendous rate.

      I did find a clock that emits a nice soft church bell bonging as an alarm. It was so nice, I immediately bought 3 more to avoid the "only on the market 2 months" syndrome. The only problem was that hitting any of the buttons other than the snooze bar meant "alarm off" but this was solved by removing the button caps.

      1. ecofeco Silver badge

        Re: try your body clock

        "Sure, my body has a clock. It wants to go to sleep at 7am, and wake up at 3 or 4pm. It's been that way for over 40 years now."

        So I'm NOT the only one!

  32. Andraž 'ruskie' Levstik

    Alarms... what are those

    I mostly given up on alarms... I can have 6-8-10 etc... many alarms all set to max loundness and they'll work for the first week or so... then... I'll just sleep through them...

    Good thing cats are around...

  33. Devinogilvie

    Fitness Bracelets With vibration wrist alarms FTW

    Having this same problem for years, struggling and struggling to find an even workable solution I inadvertantly found the jackpot! I recently became interested in the fitness bracelets from Jawbone and FitBit and decided to try a few. While I am neither convinced or impressed with their performance in their intended purpose i found a much more relevant use. Both the Jawbone UP and the Fitbit Flex that I tried have a vibration motor that can be set to an alarm. Since they are worn on the wrist this vibration is silent to the person next to you but give an amazing and effective wake up to the person wearing it. in our home this has completely solved our off timed wake-up issues. Also See Zband for $50 should be out soon and may be another alternative.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The perfect thing for Mr. Dabs!

    How about a neon sign transformer with one lead connected to your big toe and the other to your genitals?

    Just use a timer switch to control the main power and I guarantee that you will wake up and the electroconvulsive effect will prevent you from making a sound before you can hit the snooze button.

    You WON"T be falling back to sleep after that.

    Might want to use a silicone bite guard though to avoid damage to your tongue.

  35. unitron

    Just wait a few years...

    ...and you'll find yourself awaking regularly at bladder o'clock.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Great business idea!

    There's a fortune in store - an absolute fortune, my boy! - for the first person to create the 21st Century Teasmade, which also produces a bowl of yummy hot porridge. With cream, naturally.

    Mind you, it would be a bad start to the day if you overturn it in bed.

    1. davemcwish

      Re: Great business idea!

      Maybe not with the cream, but you can, at least in my part of England, get porridge that only needs water. So all you need to do is to dig out your retro teasmade and you're done.

  37. TwinPalms

    Echoing the wrist band idea.

    Someone else mentioned something similar; I wanted to reiterate how great this solution could be. There are a number of wristband devices - I am not particularly enamored with wristwatches as alarms - that are silent, that vibrate or otherwise make direct pressure to wake you. I have used a FitBit device; it was odd for only a day or two and then my sleeping self seemed to embrace it. Non-violent, non-noisy. I suppose you could use many forms of vibrators. Hmmm, no, strike that comment. Try these for research:

    http://www.dudeiwantthat.com/gear/gadgets/zband-silent-alarm-clock.asp

    http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/use-vibration-to-wake-up-like-158869

    http://www.fitbit.com/flex

  38. OzBob

    A tech holding down a relationship with a woman for more than 1 hour and less than 120 quid?

    It'll never catch on!

  39. ecofeco Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Got a chuckle from me

    Oh how I can relate.

  40. two00lbwaster

    For Android users

    I use Juice Defender (BETA) Ultimate on Andorid (I tried it for 'free' by getting the APKs elsewhere and then bought it off of the Play store because I was so impressed with it.)

    I can create separate schedules for the weekends and weekdays. I can set the phone to go into flight mode on a schedule and also for it to turn the phone to a different alert setting, vibrate for example, during those schedules. The side benefit is that my phone battery lasts for 2-3 days now too.

    The only thing missing at the moment is for Google to tie the alarm clock to the calendar so that I can get the phone to automatically use a different alarm setting if it's a bank/public holiday or I have a holiday scheduled into my calendar.

    This really needs to be done as it would mean that my mainly useless memory won't lapse and forget to turn off / on the alarm at the beginning or end of the holidays!

  41. Nym

    Get up in a bad mood and stay that way

    and I'm retired. So I'm the miserable old bugger you hate to see walk in the door...

    1. Graham Lockley

      Re: Get up in a bad mood and stay that way

      'Start every day off with a smile and get it over with'

      W C Fields

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