There are a number of software utilities that turn your Mac into an expensive and very high tech alarm clock.
Set your Mac to start up at a certain time each day, then run specific applications, utilities, iTunes, music, get email, open a browser window, and much more.
That scenario begs a simple question: ‘How many of us keep our Macs in the bedroom?’ If your Mac isn’t in the bedroom, why bother with a utility that acts like an expensive alarm clock, even if it can awaken to whatever iTunes playlist you want?
Good questions, all. My Mac is not in my bedroom, though I have two utilities that help my Mac become that expensive alarm clock. Why? What else can such utilities do of value where I do not have to keep my Mac in the bedroom?
Yes, I must have some kind of fetish or obsessive compulsive issue with time because I have all three, and probably a couple of others, too. ‘
Time is that way. You can never have enough of it, what time you have should be managed better, but all the tools to help us manage and track time take up even more time and need to be managed themselves.
Of the bunch, my favorite is one I paid for, Alarm Clock Pro. I have nothing against Awaken, which I also have, but it’s something of a one trick pony. Wait. That’s not totally true.
Awaken will start your Mac at a set time, manages a bunch of alarms, has a fall asleep timer, an egg timer, and uses the Apple Remote Control, among other things.
Maybe it’s TinyAlarm which is the one trick pony. It sits in your Mac’s Menu Bar, and, on cue, will play a chosen sound at some time you set. Again, it takes time to manage these things. TinyAlarm is free, so I have it on my Mac. I like free.
So, why did I buy Alarm Clock Pro? It has more than one trick. It’s not just for the geeky amongst us, though any utility with 101 options will attract those folks. The rest of us need glitter.
Alarm Clock Pro probably got named because it’s a utility that acted like an alarm clock on your Mac, reminding you to do this or that.
Feature creep is a disease that affects Mac software that has been around a few years, and Alarm Clock Pro is now at version 8.5, so the features are piled on. Or, loaded into, or however features are stacked, tacked on, hung on, or attached.
The list of what Alarm Clock Pro does now is enough to put you to sleep. Sure, your Mac can start up and shut down at specific times you set, but Alarm Clock Pro adds to the basics by letting you play an audio or video file at a set time.
It will open various applications, utilities, or documents. If you keep your Mac in your bedroom it will play an iTunes playlist, play a podcast, open a web site in Safari, send an email with attachments, compose an email (I haven’t tried this feature yet, because I don’t know who it will send the message to or what it will say… that scares me).
Alarm Clock Pro will start or stop a screensaver at a set time, run things in your Mac’s terminal, change the sound volume, or speak a random line of text. Something like, “Alexis, your kids have crawled inside the clothes dryer again!” Or, “Walmart called and wants to know how many pallets of Pampers you want this week.”
Functions like that are just plain handy whether you’re a Mac geek, a soccer mom, or a hockey mom with lipstick and your name is Babe.
In fact, Alarm Clock Pro takes all those functions and lets you string them together as continuous events in some sort of uber function. But, wait. There’s more.
This sweet little utility is full of more surprises than a political convention. One calculates the difference between two time periods or time zones. Try that while you’re napping.
There’s a stop watch with a lap counter; totally handy if you’re trying to run yourself ragged while pulling kids out of the dryer. Again. You can even set up a task list with specific priorities and get Alarm Clock Pro to speak the items.
The possibilities are endless, the time you have is not. Alarm Clock Pro is one of those little utilities that grows on you. As features are added I add them to my daily routine.
Got a timer you like? Share it with other Mac360 readers in the Comments section below.