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September 2, 2004 12:01 AM

Broken: Timex Nature Sounds alarm clock

B00005ML6Z.01.LZZZZZZZJeremy Frank writes:

This problem doesn't effect me, as I am a morning person, but my alarm clock is really broken. I have a Timex Nature Sounds alarm clock. Note that on the right is a large silver snooze button. On the left, however, is an almost equally large, same colored ALARM RESET button. If your alarm goes off at 7 am, and you hit it, you don't get another 5 minutes, you get 24 hours.


IMHO any alarm clock which lets you hit "snooze" is broken. It's not a real alarm clock unless it sounds an airhorn before up-ending your bed. :)

Posted by: Alden Bates at September 2, 2004 01:52 AM

Don't get me started on alarm clocks. Astonishingly poorly-designed devices at best.

It combines the worst usability aspects of:

- having to operate often (set alarm time, on/off/snooze)

- complex, poorly-learnable combinations of buttons for common tasks (press & hold this while pressing that, then that)

- no differentiation in controls (text only)

- very poorly designed mechanics (my on/off button is a slider - with 4 (four) positions) - It needs two hands, long fingernails AND a steady upright posture to operate.)

All in a highly compromised user environment (dark, sleepy) (this one isn't their fault, but it should be their motivator!)

Posted by: DaveC426913 at September 2, 2004 09:06 AM

Alden Bates has it right

Posted by: me at September 2, 2004 05:27 PM

Very true, Alden. I've yet to find a good alarm that doesn't have a snooze. I just want it to always go off, 7 days a week. I should never have to set it, I should never have to check if that little red light means "On" or "PM".

Posted by: T. Bradley Dean at September 2, 2004 08:37 PM

"effect" or "affect" ?

The AM/PM light used to indicate "AM" before the smarter clock makers (probably Chinese) realised this was easily confused with the band setting.

I guess the real problem here is the integration of two types of devices that have completely different main purposes (alarm clocks and radios) since no one has got it right yet.

The best way to solve all the above criticisms, is just get a radio with a big ON/OFF switch and a separate old fashioned alarm clock (the kind with the big bells on the top for deep sleepers) and then push the radio's ON button when the alarm goes off!

Posted by: Charlie Richmond at September 3, 2004 09:05 AM

I have a good little device - it's only an LED clock with an alarm and snooze - no other features.

The snooze is the biggest button, by far. If you slap all the buttons at once, only the snooze will take effect. On/Off is a switch, so that you can't accidentally turn the alarm off.

Posted by: Mark Hurst at September 3, 2004 11:01 AM

I'v never had an alarm clock that could consistantly get me up in the morning until I met my cell phone alarm clock.

Posted by: Nathan Hughes at September 5, 2004 09:22 PM

I've noticed that many, many dual-alarm clock radios share an undocumented "feature": one must adjust or check the alarm times EVERY day, or the alarms might not sound the next morning. I suppose it's a bug in some dual-alarm IC that's used by several clock manufacturers.

Posted by: Paul Goble at September 7, 2004 02:58 PM

Another "broken" feature about LED alarm clocks is that the readouts are TOO BRIGHT, at least for my sensibilities at nightime.

I like a dark room while I sleep, and I have to turn the clock to the side so the time is not blaring itself at my eyeballs while I am attempting to embark towards the Land of Nod.

An LED readout dimmer button? I've been looking, and it does not appear to exist yet. Hey, maybe I should try getting a patent on it...

Posted by: Alex Yourke at September 9, 2004 12:34 PM

I have a radio alarm next to my bed, turned down low, so it wakes me up gently, but is not intrusive enough to need to use Snooze. I also have a basic, loud alarm clock at the other side of the room, set to go off 15 minutes later. This forces me to get up, but at least I am expecting it. I find this system highly effective.

Posted by: David at September 11, 2004 06:01 PM

how do you get the sounds or noisesin alarm clocks, is it a chip or what?

Posted by: joe parrish at November 15, 2004 03:15 PM

Alex Yourke: I had a Morphy Richards brand clock radio alarm, with an automatic photocell-based dimmer. I've never seen another one like it, and it unfortunately got broken when my son poured hair conditioner into it.

My current alarm uses a 24-hour clock, which has solved the stupid am/pm mixups I used to have.

Posted by: zeem at January 7, 2005 08:25 PM

Take a look at the Zen Alarm Clock from Now and Zen. It's a simple, silent, analog-faced clock with a progressive TUNED REAL METAL chime and no snooze button. It produces a sweet sustained note with each chime. It's never failed to wake me up happy in fifteen years.

It's expensive, but it's totally reliable and actually pleasant to wake up to.

Posted by: Dael at January 13, 2005 06:36 PM

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