Monday, September 10, 2007

My alarm clocks are better than yours.

Well, to exploit a common Internet fad, that is - to take an opinion, inflate it with some arrogance, and state it as fact, the original sentiment being "My alarm clocks are awesome". But yes, the post is about alarm clocks, so the cheesiness is not reduced by much. Our cat somehow unplugged the one in the living room, and plugging it back in reminded me of how awesome it is.

What's the worst thing about an alarm clock? Besides waking you up when you need to be up; you know, it's supposed to do that. Setting it, of course. Both of my alarm clocks needed to be set once, when I first got them. And one, when I moved to NC, to change the time zone.

I got my first alarm clock for Christmas, I think from my youngest brother. I wasn't impressed with it at first - the brand, Emerson, is known for low quality. But I set it - which was a real pain because it doesn't have hour/minute buttons, just Up and Down. And almost no acceleration, so if you need to change the time by 12 hours, it can take almost 5 minutes - no joke. So I did not start out liking this clock. Then my brother pulls the plug, after I had just set the time and date. "What'd you do that for?" I asked, not too happy. He plugs it back in - and get this - it counts to the current time, then the current date, then the year. Even after a 2 hour power outage it kept the time.

The real test came when I moved from CA to NC. It was unplugged for a week as I drove across the United States. And it wasn't the first thing to get unpacked, either - you know my computer was the first thing out, up, and running. But when I plugged it in - sure enough, it jumped to the right time and date - minus three hours, as it was displaying California time. A quick adjustment using the Time Zone feature fixed that in a hurry. So technically, exploiting that, I guess it does have hour advance, since it doesn't display the time zone anywhere, so no need for it to be exact.

Here it is - as always, click the image to see it larger.

Now for the clock in the bedroom. What I wanted was a clock that could display 24 hour time, known to most Americans as "military time" and thus looked down upon, but I think it's a better system. I won't get into that here, though. So I looked online, and the results were not promising. Only the crappiest travel clocks supported it, and they cost upwards of $40, and then with shipping fees. So we went to Walmart, and I got my next alarm clock.

This clock is cooler in its own ways, only it doesn't set itself. Setting it is as easy as you can expect with any alarm clock, only you don't need to hold a TIME button, just slide a slider to Set Time, and hit Hour and Minute until it's right. This clock also shows the date, day of the week, and the temperature. It has no radio, but what it does have - that little swivelling gizmo on the left - is a projector. It's one of those neato clocks that beams the time onto your wall or ceiling - ceiling in my case. I tried to photograph the projection, but it wouldn't come out right. The only really bad thing is the face doesn't illuminate. However, this is a full-on travel clock - it does have batteries in it, and continues to work unplugged (nice if the power goes out). It can be set to "sleep" where it won't display anything at all to save power, but will display the time on the face and turn its projector on for like 5 seconds if you hit a button, I think the big one on top. And the alarm works at waking me up - not all do.

All in all I can't complain. I think we did alright with our alarm clocks. There are some other nifty ones out there, but I like ours.

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