So I went and bought myself one of these "intelligent" alarm clock apps for my phone the other day. The idea is that you can tailor make the alarm sounds, the volume, the actual tone, the level of fading in and out etc. More importantly, this one is supposed to wake you gently and subtly, with none of the loud crashing and jumping out of bed like the thunder business we're all so used to.
How does it do all this?
Well the principle is that it has a pre alarm; one that starts ringing at a very gentle and soft level at about half an hour before you actually want to get up. The book, though it's not so much a book as an on phone manual, tells me that it's so soft that it won't wake me if I'm in deep sleep.
It says that we sleep in cycles and that the timing of these almost guarantees that I'll hear it at some point prior to the actual required wake up time, when in light sleep. So, by the time I really want to get up comes, I'll be lying there awake and won't get jolted into the oblivion of a sudden start.
I'll let you know how I get on with it, it's early days, time will tell, there are plenty more fish in the sea, don't be alarmed....
It got me thinking about the plight of alarm clock manufacturers. For so many decades they existed happily as we all owned one of their products. Okay we didn't go out buying them every few weeks, just when our existing one broke or died, but it must have been a pretty steady and regular market.
Then, bang, mobile phones hit and all of a sudden (well over about 20 years) we all now use the alarm on our phones. My last alarm clock, the special one that actually projects the time onto the ceiling at the touch of a button (can you believe the level of technology required there?) is now consigned to the bedside table with its alarm button set firmly to "off". The new smart alarm app cost me less than the price of one battery for my alarm clock.
And what about the people in hotels who had the job of ringing guests with their alarm call? There must be hoards of them wandering around the world looking for jobs, perhaps as alarm clock disposal specialists.
You probably never think about this sort of thing do you?
Well, I do! Not that it helps in any way.