back to article Pixies keep switching off my morning alarm, says Google Pixel owner

Cult dad rockers the Pixies have apologized to a Google Pixel owner for repeatedly turning off their smartphone's alarm in the morning, presumably when they have important stuff to do. While this might sound like a gaggle of out-of-shape 50-somethings standing over a sleeping beauty and snoozing their wake-up call out of spite …

  1. John Robson Silver badge

    No echo cancellation

    I'd have assumed that they'd be actively filtering out the sounds that the phone was generating when listening for input - seems like a massive input that could be trivially screened.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oh dear

    you have the pixies in a playlist? Soz mate, but I think you have misspelt your "handle". You missed out the letter "r"...

    1. Steve Button Silver badge

      Re: Oh dear

      I don't even know what the Pixies sound like, but I'm giving you a thumbs down anyway (will check them out soon, and find I probably *do* actually)

      I'm thinking that a playlist with Edie Brickell or M. C. Hammer would be more appropriate (off the top of my head). Or The Spice Girls? That's it, I'm out of "STOP!" songs.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Oh dear

        What about by the Supremes: "STOP in the Name of Love"


        Fleetwood Mac: "Don't STOP"

        Journey: "Don’t STOP Believin"

        Queen: "Don’t STOP Me Now"

        The Pretenders: "STOP Your Sobbing"

        MIchael Jackson: "I Can’t STOP Loving You"

        1. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

          Re: What about by the Supremes: "STOP in the Name of Love"

          I wonder what would happen if The Doors "The End" were streamed, the phone would no doubt see fit to irretrievably brick itself.

        2. Doc12

          Re: Oh dear

          "All right stop, collaborate and listen" of course

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Oh dear

        The STOP is before the song starts rather than being part of a verse/chorus

  3. Natalie Gritpants Jr

    Stupid idea to use a playlist as an alarm. So many things that could go wrong and stop it altogether. It relies on: a working internet connection; a working spotify account; a working route to spotify; a playlist that has songs that will wake you up instead of carrying on sleeping; your spotify app not having lost its credentials; a working spotify server; a working setting in the alarm app to launch spotify.

    There are probably more ways to fail than this, but just pick an alarm sound that is on the phone.

    1. John Robson Silver badge

      You do realise that spotify playlists can be stored offline on the phone - requiring no internet connection at all.

    2. VonDutch

      The biggest issue I found with using a playlist to wake me up is growing to dislike a song that I once fond of because it was now associated with being given a rude awakening signalling time to get up and go to work.

      Top tip, put a song you hate at the top of the playlist, and the device just out of reach. It'll wake you up, fill you with the rage you need to get up to turn it off and start the morning with the contempt it deserves!

      1. Steve Button Silver badge

        I'd go for a speech by Margaret Thatcher. I don't think there are many people who would drift back off to that, whether you are a fan or not.

      2. Atomic Duetto

        If your life seems like Groundhog Day

        You want “I got you babe” by Sonny and Cher

        “ Okay, campers, rise and shine, and don't forget your booties 'cause it's cooooold out there today “

        1. My other car WAS an IAV Stryker

          Re: If your life seems like Groundhog Day

          "It's cold out there EVERY day. What is this -- Miami Beach?"

        2. Michael H.F. Wilkinson

          Re: If your life seems like Groundhog Day

          I use "Good Morning" by Blackfoot, and "Chop Suey" from System of a Down, in particular when staying at hotels. The missus tended to object. Can't think why

      3. Francis Boyle Silver badge

        I'd go with the Ramones

        not because I have anything against the band as such but because I have had the experience of being woken by someone playing them far too loudly when I desperately needed sleep and I can attest that playing the Ramones loudly, which I assume is how they should be played, is an very effective alarm indeed.

    3. Wzrd1 Silver badge

      There's a reason I don't allow voice commands be operational.

      Well, two reasons. Hearing loss and my television volume, which can only result in havoc were such a thing active.

      Monitoring every word that I say and every syllable farted, another minus.

      OK, I far entire paragraphs, get over it.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "Monitoring every word that I say and every syllable farted, another minus."

        Was it Amazon who took out a patent on identifying background sounds? The idea being to count up the number of times you flush your toilet so they know to advertise toilet paper to you, etc.

    4. Confucious2

      Requires internet connection?

      I’m not sure about Google, but I assume it is similar to Alexa. I wake up to the radio each morning and, on the admittedly very rare occasions, when it can’t connect to the internet it just uses a standard alarm noise.

      If you like waking up to an alarm noise every morning, good for you, but some of us prefer either the radio or our own songs.

    5. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      >Stupid idea to use a playlist as an alarm.

      Since I set John Cage's 4′33″ as my alarm I have slept soundly and woken refreshed every morning

  4. _Elvi_

    .. Boots ..

    And in other news, Its been reported that Fairies wear Boots.

    Video, at 4 ..

    1. Alien Doctor 1.1

      Re: .. Boots ..

      I gotta believe ya

      1. Scott 26

        Re: .. Boots ..

        Yeah I saw it, I saw it, I tell you no lies

    2. Wzrd1 Silver badge

      Re: .. Boots ..

      And in other news, Its been reported that Fairies wear Boots.

      Not news here, did 28 years in the army.

      Oh! Was that my outside voice?

  5. Ben Goldberg

    I am surprised that android cannot embed some form of "ignore this command" digital watermark in the sounds coming out of the speaker.

    1. Wzrd1 Silver badge

      Jesus help us. Digital watermark for audio to be detected?

      Rather than detecting what is playing on the bloody speakers and filtered back to be ignored?

      You do realize that the world is analog, don't you? While I do think in rather binary terms, I also think in algorithmic terms for analog processing.

      The latter, cheaper in CPU and pre-processing costs, not to mention free processing on the users processors.

      1. DavieKrokkett

        I still have computers from the 1990's, the 2000's, and 2010's... everything from about 2007 onward has that ability if you set it up correctly. My OG Droid Razr (circa 2011) has that ability. You are grossly underestimating what computers and phones can do. Phones (and computers) have been able to filter out distinct voices for over a decade now, close to two decades. At least, if I read your comment correctly. If I did not, and you were tongue in cheek making the point I am emphasizing, I apologize.

  6. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

    I have this problem with my phone too...

    Which I've mentioned before in this forum. I don't have any streaming account on my phone, let alone a playlist. The only other app that has user-defined schedules on it is for TP-Link light bulbs and mains sockets. These also, once or twice have failed to toggle at their preset time. I can't comprehend how apps can fail a basic "on/off at a specific time" trigger as, of course, the designer would put a guard in there against the interrupt mechanism not firing at exactly the right microsecond. Anyone writing a program in 8080 assembler would know to check for a range of times (just like you do when comparing floating point numbers for equality), so why has technology moved backwards?

    I've now bought a Proper Alarm Clock, but have yet to commission it because even that has got a myriad of settings in a pidgin English instruction book that I CBA to read at the mo (no doubt until I oversleep by an hour... again).

    1. katrinab Silver badge

      Re: I have this problem with my phone too...

      I don't think either iOS or Androd have cron, so likely the reason is that the app isn't running at the specified time. Certainly, on iOS, there is a near-zero chance that the app would be running at the specified time.

      I use Home Assistant server to schedule my light bulbs and mains sockets.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Seems like a good excuse to be 4 minutes 33 late

  8. A. Coatsworth Silver badge

    Unles his list is ~14 songs long, the issue should ot reappear every couple of weeks.

    This situation highlights one of my pet peeves with Spotify:its randomizer is hot garbage. In my case, in a list of 1000+ songs, it usually ends up playng 3 from the same album back to back, which should be unlikely.

    1. TheRealRoland

      Buy that lottery ticket when it happens again ;-)

    2. TSM

      > Unless his list is ~14 songs long, the issue should not reappear every couple of weeks.

      Depends how long it takes him to wake up. Some people are heavy sleepers; he might not wake up properly until several songs into the playlist. My wife certainly doesn't wake up when her radio (we're old fashioned) starts playing. It wakes me up though!

      1. cookieMonster Silver badge

        Sounds like your wife’s alarm is working exactly as required.

        Now go put the tea on like a dear.

    3. notyetanotherid

      > ... playng 3 from the same album back to back, which should be unlikely.

      Isn't that what 'random' is about? A tiny probability of occurrence does not mean that it won't happen in a random system.

      Spotify already made their randomize function less random because customers complained on precisely this false premiss:

      1. A. Coatsworth Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Ok, now that was interesting.

        I think we can't trust our little monkey brains with anything!

        Funnily enough, I had an iPod 3G, eons ago, and that one didn't feel truly random either. I guess my "golden standard" for shufling songs was whatever WinAmp did back in the day

  9. T. F. M. Reader Silver badge

    I don't use any voice commands...

    ... do no first hand experience, but I still don't buy it. Shouldn't the phone (and the various Alexas, Siris, and the rest) only react to the owner's voice? And if the story is true the bug seems to be quite generic: at the very least the phone should subtract whatever is coming out of its own speakers, otherwise it becomes possible to control it, to a degree at least, by sending a voice message...

    1. Wzrd1 Silver badge

      Re: I don't use any voice commands...

      Indeed, I dread thinking what my voice command of "shit!" would bring.

      Fuck brings only nightmares...

    2. arachnoid2

      Re: I don't use any voice commands...

      No hence why it’s a bad idea to have a smart door lock attached to a smart speaker. It’s not unknown for some nee do well to shout through the letter box” Alexa open the front door”.

  10. The commentard formerly known as Mister_C

    "Cult dad rockers"? Nah

    IT career advisors, Shirley.

    "Wanna grow up to be, be a dBaser"

    1. Steve Jackson

      Re: "Cult dad rockers"? Nah

      Seven upvotes? You won the internet this morning

  11. Tez

    On the occasion when my alarm goes off on my pixel and I am not in a position to just swipe it away it helpful says just say stop to stop the alarm, but infuriatingly struggles to respond. I believe this relates to it not opening the Bluetooth headphone microphone and listening for the command and switching off the phone's microphone because Bluetooth headphones are connected.

    I feel that people at Google must not be using pixels because lots of this stuff really should have been fixed years ago.

    1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge

      Alexa Wakeup

      I have a number of Alexa routines to ease me into the day, gentle chimes & the ability to verbally (muffled) select a snooze interval, turn on a kettle & flash a bedside lamp the closer I get to actual get up time.

      I agree with the earlier comment about being woken up by the same favorite song, it rapidly turns to hate.

      1. Wzrd1 Silver badge

        Re: Alexa Wakeup

        I use old phone ringer tone to wake up, as I'm nearing awaking anyway, getting enough rest and all.

        I'm also known for sleeping only 4 hours, then awakening, crashing every couple of months for 16 hours or so.

        Old army habits die really hard.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The straining of a bladder approaching zero ullage and the bathing hippopotamus sounds of a snoring partner, conspire to first awaken and then mitigate any risk of getting back to sleep.

    Which would be great if it didn't happen at 05:30.

    1. Wzrd1 Silver badge

      Lost my wife a bit over a year ago, so no snores to awaken me beyond my own, which are loud enough to actually occasionally awaken me - and the governor of the next three states over.

      The bladder, yeah. That and ironwood that awakens me if I try to roll over.

      Golf tees can be painful to roll over upon.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Golf tees? Aren't they those things you rest your balls on when driving?

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Dear God

    Curious, I had a quick listen to that track. Do you REALLY like that kind of - er - music?

    Well, I guess it takes all sorts.

    1. hayzoos

      Re: Dear God

      Have an upvote for expressing your opinion.

      I can tolerate a lot of music and other stuff. My own musical taste probably elicits a similar response from many a folk.

      As such, I do no subscribe to the theory of hate a favored song after using it as an alarm/ringtone/notification sound.

      I have used AC/DC's Hell's Bells as an alarm, through an approx. 1.21GW sound system turned up to 11. Pink Floyd's Time has served the purpose as well. Many a good wake up tune out there and I was doing it long before the smartphone.

      I do agree with using a personally annoying song to motivate oneself to arise with vigor and purpose.

    2. Wzrd1 Silver badge

      Re: Dear God

      Music is in the ear of the beholder.

      While, I was a musician for many years, military related hearing loss robbed me of such enjoyment. So, I do as I did when the phone wasn't always ringing, ignore that which I didn't like.

      Which also means, my filters work while asleep and I'll ignore anything I've not keyed mentally to arouse me, music, ringtones, gunshots (OK, actual gunshots will awaken me quickly and mine will be out and aimed precisely before I'm fully awake - it's happened a few times, but target acquisition means knowing what one's target is before engaging, another military thing).

      Music to my ears would be my wife bitching at me, she died a bit over a year ago.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Dear God

      Yes, it trumps 99.9999% of the one song rehashes that dominate the current music scene (Ed Sheeran excluded as a court has stated that it was different from the Marvin Gaye song)

  14. ssharwood

    Dad rockers? C'mon Doolittle is a timelessly classic album. Arguably a precursor to Nirvana and much of the 90s Indie scene.

    If I didn't work here. I'd be telling The Reg to pull up its socks

    1. Excellentsword (Written by Reg staff)

      I am a dad, I like the Pixies. Ergo, dad rock.

  15. MachDiamond Silver badge

    Problem spotted, User Error

    Having any sort of voice assistant activated is not a great idea as it means your device is an eavesdropping device you have installed yourself. If you don't "have any secrets" get one of those bedside alarms with the built in camera that connects to the cloud, why don't you? Right? If you live with somebody, it's decent odds you are also having sex, so, no secret there.

    1. Wzrd1 Silver badge

      Re: Problem spotted, User Error

      News for most civilians, not news for those who served in the military.

      While vox on devices is novel, I've been treated to find my own morale call home transcribed automagically, within a specific database I actually did have to review.

      Suffice it to say, sexual moaning isn't, ahem, well transcribed by the AI at all.

      The word unintelligible comes to mind.

      Still, your objection is valid and shared. I don't have a damned thing set for vox. I also spot check my traffic through my proxy server, just to be sure.

      True no one, not even oneself is the first rule of security.

      Besides, I dread what a machine would make of a command of "fuck me"...

      1. skswales

        Re: Problem spotted, User Error

        As usual, Zappa has already gone there ...

  16. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

    Well that's weird

    I woke up with this song playing in my head this morning, even though the only place I've heard it is the aforementioned final scene of Fight Club, and that a long time ago.

    1. upsidedowncreature

      Re: Well that's weird

      It’s been used (well, quieter acoustic versions have) in a couple of TV adverts in the UK in recent years.

      edit: a package holiday company a few years ago and the current Apple Airpods ad.

  17. Ironclad

    Vamos ChatGPT

    Pixies, a mighty and powerful band, now also the bulwark against AI World Domination.

  18. arachnoid2

    It just needs someone to make a malicious song with all smart device naming features in the lyrics and the world will come to an end.

  19. Harlock

    Pretty sure that is Kim saying STOP!

  20. golfcaddy

    Sorry not sorry

    The band's frontman has apologised, but of course he's not sorry because now thousands of people, like me, who have never heard the track or played it on Spotify before, are playing it on Spotify to see what all the fuss is about.

    I must admit to quite liking it, so I've now added The Pixies to my playlist. As if there wasn't enough royalty coverage this week...

    1. Excellentsword (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: Sorry not sorry

      They're one of the all-time greats.

  21. Zazu56

    Lucky… or not so much?

    I honestly can’t remember the last time I needed an alarm to wake me up. I seem to have an inbuilt clock that wakes me around 6:00am every day.

    1. Spanners Silver badge

      Re: Lucky… or not so much?

      Is that like the one that wakes me up every 3 or 4 hours, every night?

  22. milliemoo83

    What about...

    Waking to the dulcet tones of Robin Williams, Good Morning Vietnam style?

  23. CookCrapple

    False! Elite iPhone user is an Oxymoron

    Another case of the isheep making something bigger than it is without fully understanding it first. I don't know why they're so obsessed with Android. We don't care about Apple! Don't be mad at us. You wasted your money and you're stuck in a ecosystem that owns you and not the other way around. Get in line buy your status symbol lol secretly it means not tech savvy, but we know you think it means rich! And that's okay. Cool do that I guess. Keep your iMessage and we'll use Signal a far more superior/secure messenger. I'll pass on the color bubble with the digital racism that it is.

    This is completely preventable even in his case/no matter the track, you enable "night mode" set your sleep schedule and enable do not disturb under that. Now you have an alarm no matter the track that can only be heard by you and not the device. You will have to hit the stop button physically. DYOR

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Other stories you might like