Life is full of minor annoyances. Work. Children. Alarms. Mac users can choose from dozens of ways to be annoyed digitally.
iCal alerts. Beeps and bonk alert sounds (with no notification as to what they mean). Flash advertisements that won’t turn off. Wouldn’t it be cool to use your Mac as an alert and alarm system, like a timer, or alarm, but you control? Yes, of course it would.
The Alarm Clock You Control
The problem isn’t so much that we don’t like alerts and alarms, it’s just that we don’t always get to control what or why they’re alerting or alarming.
Take iAlarm as my example of the day. It’s a Mac alarm clock without the clock part.
iAlarm is basically a digital countdown timer which counts from now to whenever and then runs an alert which you choose.
So, you get to choose when the alarm goes off, and what happens when it does. It’s hard to image an alarm that can be simpler or easier to use.
Easy enough, right? Enter the time you want the alarm to go off. Click Test to test. Click Off to turn it off. Click Set to set it ready to go.
So, setting the time is easy. What about the alarm itself? What’s the alert? Choose from one of six for your alarm. There’s the ubiquitous beep noise. Hopefully you’ll remember what the beep actually means when it goes off.
You can also set iAlarm to Speak mode and it speaks an alert or warning or greeting. Weather pulls up a weather report for your location (in the US) but doesn’t speak it, so you still have to get up and check your Mac.
There’s an option for the alarm to play a National Public Radio (US, of course) Podcast, or play a selected playlist from iTunes. Wait. That’s only five.
Number six is for advanced Mac users. iAlarm will play an AppleScript which you can program to do all sorts of little things. iAlarm is decent. Not the best Mac alarm clock or the one with the most features, but I’m betting it has the most pricing options.
What Should You Pay?
On the iAlarm web site (as of this writing), there’s no mention of a price tag or a way to buy online. On the MacUpdate description, iAlarm is listed with a 99-cent price tag which makes it an affordable commercial app, but then the developer asks for a donation of $5.75 which makes it donationware. On the Mac App Store (as of this writing), the price tag was $1.99 (but listed as 60-percent off).
I don’t know what the price is, but iAlarm works decently and behaves well regardless of the price. At 99-cents it’s a bargain for alarm-minded Mac users. It’s not bad at $1.99, and ditto for say, $4.99. After that it needs more options to justify the price tag.