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April 10, 2012

The Most Annoying Alarm Clock in the World

And no, it's not your mother.

Do you have trouble getting up in the morning? Is that temptation to hit the snooze button just too hard to resist?

Have you missed meetings because you've overslept? (I don't mean actually sleeping through them, and by the way, you over there, I heard you snoring this morning during my presentation).

If you fall into all of those categories, then we have the alarm clock for you!

In looking for something to write about, I went to my old stand-by, the UK's Daily Mail newspaper. This time I didn't find a hilarious study. Instead, I found this gem about a new alarm clock invented by one Paul Sammut from Hoboken, New Jersey (it doesn't actually say New Jersey, but I don't think there's a Hoboken in the UK, is there?)

Here it is in all its beauty.

(Picture taken from the article as well)

What makes this clock so special? Because it has no snooze button. In fact, there is no way to turn it off other than the proper way which makes sure you're up.

From the article:
There is no snooze button. If you unplug it, a battery takes over. As wake-up time approaches, you cannot reset the alarm time.
It could be the world's most exasperating alarm clock.

Once it goes off, to stop it you must get out of bed, go into the kitchen or bathroom, and punch the day's date into a telephone-style keypad.

That's the only way to stop the loud `ding-ding,' designed to sound like a customer angrily banging on a concierge bell at a hotel.
Is that neat or what? (Please put down that 2x4 you're holding over your head)

Apparently he built the prototype himself and has used it because he has trouble getting out of bed. A friend suggested he sell it, and he raised funds on Kickstarter (a very cool web site where you can propose ideas or products and have people voluntarily fund them or invest in them, which has worked beautifully for a couple of video game ideas). He's raised $150,000 and formed a company to make these clocks, already receiving 400 orders.

Unfortunately, the article doesn't link to Paul's site or anywhere that you can get more information on the clock, and it leaves out some vital stuff.

For instance, it mentions that you have to get up and go into the bathroom/kitchen/wherever to punch in the PIN code to turn it off. Is the thing wireless? Do you have some other object standing on the counter in the other room that's linked to this somehow? We only see the picture of the clock itself. Rather than another picture of the same clock (in fetching white, but still), why not have a picture of the entire contraption together?

I'd also love to know whether this is only being marketed to single people. Because if you're married or living together (or even with a roommate or two!), I can just imagine their reaction to this loud clanging noise going off every morning.

Also, how does it work where you can't reset the time? Is there a switch in the clock that, for example, will cut off the ability to change the alarm time 30 minutes before it's set to go off? An hour? I assume you can reset it at night, so what's the drop dead time ("Ha! I see what you did there" - The Peanut Gallery) for changing your alarm time?

Finally, who in their right mind would pay $350 for an alarm clock? Are you having *that* much trouble waking up in the morning? I guess some people do have that much trouble, but $350? That just boggles my mind.

Especially when a far cheaper alternative would be having your alarm clock on the other side of the room, so you have to get up even to hit the snooze button. How many people, once they're actually out of bed, are going to lie back down? If you do, I'd say you have a lot more problems than just not being able to get up to your alarm clock.

Still, that's the really cool thing about funding projects on Kickstarter. You have a ready-made audience of people who are already putting their money down to say "I want this." If you don't get the people interested to begin with, you haven't lost anything other than time. It's not like you've built a bunch of these things, later trying and failing to get anybody to actually purchase them. If Paul has 400 orders for them already and has raised over $150,000 for the project, more power to him. I hope it's really successful for him.

I just can't see it.

Do you have this much trouble getting up in the morning? What kinds of solutions do you have to avoid the Snooze Button Blues?

(It's probably fitting that I write this on the last day where I *don't* need an alarm clock in a week. Back to work tomorrow!)


  1. Look at you, getting all multi-bloggish!! And about interesting topics in your typically fun Dave kind of way. :) (I approve.)

    I think Kickstarter is a great website and concept. My local entrepreneurial group talks about it quite a lot.

    As for the clock, heck no, it would never work for me. First, I'm not lucid when I wake up. I can barely walk a straight line from the bedroom to the bathroom, let alone think clearly enough to punch in a PIN code on an annoying alarm. It would be quickly beaten to death by the nearest heavy object. No, I'm not kidding! There are all manner of unique alarm clocks - the kind that rolls around the room when it goes off so you have to chase it to turn it off. The kind starts all slow and gentle and increases in volume until it reaches jet engine screech level. Anything that I have to get out of bed, chase or THINK to deal with, I'm going to kill. It's that simple.

    More power to this guy, though! I'm a fan of anyone who comes up with a unique idea and markets it successfully! :)

    - Dawnie

  2. LOL I decided that if I'm going to make a go of this, I want to blog fairly regularly, even if I don't keep up the "once a day" pace. It's what keeps me going.

    I love that. "your typically fun Dave kind of way." :)

    I'm with you on the lucid part of getting up in the morning. This would annoy the hell out of me, and would quickly get returned. I think it's probably better to avoid the $350 rather than bang the hell out of it until you destroy it, though. :)

    My current alarm actually starts out slow and gentle and ramps up, but it never gets the chance to ramp up. I'm took quick to turn it off, and I *never* hit the snooze button. So I have no idea if it reaches "screech" levels or not.

    Thanks for another great comment, Dawnie!!! You're being very helpful in supporting my "Return to Blogging" endeavour. :)

  3. Oh David, David, David. How naive you are. There are PLENTY of us who will get back in bed after getting up to snooze the alarm!!! My father once told me the best alarm clock for me would be one that had a hammer that came out and bonked me on the head. Of course I would get up grumpy every morning, BUT I'm fairly certain that would definitely wake me up. Love the blog, though!!!Have fun!!!

  4. Thank you!!!

    I'm sure there are some people like that, so I'm not doubting you. And I admit that I have no basis in fact for that supposition. It just seems odd to me.

  5. And fine, be mysterious about who you are. :P Though I have an idea.


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