My parents collect clocks. Specifically, cuckoo clocks. The kind of clocks that make noise every hour. They call it a chime, but it’s really noise.
Since I set my parents up on an iMac a couple of years ago and that makes me their official, unpaid, Mac system administrator, I get to take a few liberties when I check out or upgrade their Mac. Did you know your Mac can tell time? Open System Preferences, Date and Time, select a voice, and your Mac will announce the time. Or, simply install a cuckoo clock, make your Mac go totally retro.
Due to my parental influence and the twenty seven eleven talking, singing, chiming clocks in their home, I have an affinity for a cuckoo clocks. Imagine a cuckoo clock utility for Mac users.
That’s where Cuckoo comes in. It’s a cuckoo clock for your Mac. There was a time when our Macs would chime on the hour, half hour, or quarter hour.
We could change the chime sound to this or that, otherwise, it wasn’t exactly an important high tech version of an automated aural cue. At best, it was digital reminder that another 15 minutes of our lives had disappeared.
The chimes are gone in OS X Snow Leopard and have been replaced by hourly, half hourly, or quarter hourly voices which announce the time, instead of simply chiming.
Choose from three male and three female voices, or select Show More Voices and choose from a list of others, most of which are much worse.
Assume that you really want to annoy your cuckoo clock keeping relatives, install Cuckoo, the preference pane that keeps on paining. It’s a cuckoo clock in your Mac.
Cuckoo is what you expect it to be, and not much more. Instead of using your Mac’s built in time announcement (Alex is the best), use Cuckoo and select from a variety of cuckoo clock-like sounds.
There’s a pure cuckoo, which sounds like a typical cuckoo clock. A wineglass tink. A digital watch beep. A real cuckoo clock sound. And the deep chime from a Campanile, one of those Italian bell towers. Cuckoo lets you set the sound, the volume, and five minute increments or hourly or anything in between.
Wait. There’s More
But not much more. Cuckoo also has exceptions and won’t play your selected chime if the screen saver is running (which assumes you’re not nearby, therefore, not in need of a friendly chime reminder.
Cuckoo can also be set to not chime when you’re in either iChat or Skype, or when iTunes, Front Row, or a DVD is playing. That could get annoying. The preference pane can also be set to not chime between specific hours of the day (perfect for when you leave your Mac on at night while you sleep—you don’t need the hourly reminders).
If you fork over the $6 license fee, Cuckoo then gives you access to all your Mac’s system sounds. Wait! Is there more? Not really. I’d call Cuckoo a one trick pony, but it’s really a minimum trick curiosity for Mac users who want more than a digital voice telling them that yet another 15 minutes of life has passed by.
Other timing and timer devices are available for Mac users, including Merlin Becker’s Kuckkucksuhr, which is a cuckoo clock Dashboard Widget. These are great little utilities for Mac users who not only want to think different, but listen different as well.