My Alarm Clock

2016-12-10-13-18-09My alarm clock was a Christmas gift from my older sister in 1984 when my family was living in Papillion Nebraska (just outside Omaha).  I wanted an alarm clock so I was pleased to receive it, but I do recall mild disappointment because it wasn’t a fancy clock radio combination.  The alarm clock has been used regularly for 32 years and I hope it keeps working.  Devices have supposedly gotten a lot smarter over the past three decades, but I really like my dumb device.

I didn’t get a clock radio, but that’s fine since I don’t listen to the radio much.  When I did listen to the radio a lot, I had my boom box for my room, a Walkman for riding the bus, and when I was older, a stereo in the car.  Instead, my alarm clock just displays the time.  The bright red display can be read in the dark.   The numbers are large enough that the time can be read from across the room and glasses are not required when peering from bed to check the time.

I hate the sound of the alarm–this is a good thing.  I can sleep through a lot, but my alarm is relentless.  Some alarm clocks stop beeping after a minute, but mine will keep producing its throbbing tones for as long as it takes for me to smack the snooze button or switch off the alarm.  The alarm does a good job in waking me.

Apart from setting the time (and alarm time), there is very little maintenance required.  Since it receives power from an outlet, there are no springs to be wound.  There is a backup battery that allows the clock to function if the power goes out, but that only needs to be changed every few years.  There is no need to configure a wifi connection or do any Bluetooth pairing.  There are no online accounts to be created to use it and the clock can be used by anyone in the family without difficulty.

Compared to the alarm clocks available today, mine is a dumb device and I like it that way.  My alarm clock tells the time and wakes me in the morning.  It is reliable and requires minimal effort to use.  I can see the appeal of the fancy, but I plan to stick with my alarm clock from 1984.

 

A toaster that sings

I don’t want a toaster that sings.  I don’t want a toaster that makes polite conversation and suggests assorted bread products.  I don’t want a toaster that comes with a custom app.  I don’t want a toaster that plays games or gives a weather forecast.  I want a toaster that can toast bread.

The whole IoT (Internet of Things) concept is a nifty idea, but I think sometimes it’s taken the wrong way.  It is cheap and easy to add features and so everything is being packed with features that may or may not be useful or necessary just so the device can be labeled “smart”.  It’s easy to pick on toasters (apparently many people do)–it’s something that’s been ubiquitous in kitchens for decades and has essentially one purpose; adding “smart” features doesn’t help it accomplish its purpose better and in some cases complicates and hinders.