Archive for July, 2009

Wake better

July 16, 2009

I have a confession to make: I have always hated chumby’s three standard alarm tones, i.e., those available to you when you set a “Quick Alarm” on chumby.  As we were hurrying to ship chumbys in early 2008, the standard alarm tones just didn’t receive a lot of thought.  We gave you a standard beep, a bugle reveille, and the most cacophonous and obnoxious klaxon horn you ever heard.  It’s not like this was a horrible product flaw or anything:  the tones work, some people actually like them (particularly those people who require some really loud and annoying sound in order to get out of bed), and not too many people complained.  I let it go at the time because someone who wanted to wake to something nicer from chumby could always choose from thousands of streaming internet radio stations, podcasts, Pandora Radio or a whole bunch of other music choices.  But we could have done better.  And one of the nice things about chumby is that we can get around to improving things that need improving and then update everyone’s chumby automatically over-the-air…voila!

So we finally got around to fixing this — and now I can sleep at night :^)

I spent a bit of time and asked people (it was a fun parlor game) what they thought would be the nicest sound you could possibly wake to.  One suggestion was a sexy voice saying, “Good morning, Honey, you’re so wonderful and desirable,” but I already hear that every morning (uh huh).  Another almost-compelling suggestion was the sound of “frying bacon” but, without the accompanying smell (we’re still working on that), it doesn’t quite do it.  Eventually it became clear.  It’s birds!  But which bird had the most beautiful song?  Consultations with leading ornithologists (I really did have these) weren’t conclusive, but a few favorites emerged.  European Blackbird, Hermit Thrush, Musician Wren.  All nice, really nice.  But, after listening to many of these, I decided to go with the Nightingale — just so lovely, yet still shrill enough to rouse you.

But we didn’t stop there.  No, sir.  There were other opinions and we listened!  Someone suggested the sound of their Granny’s old chiming clock — if you’re a synesthetic, we found “the sound of chintz.”  Then I saw a “zen” alarm clock that would wake you by physically striking a Tibetan gong.  Cool.  A bit “new agey” for my own taste, but interesting.  So if you’re pining for the Lamas rather than the fjords, now there’s a chumby alarm tone for you!  Goes nice with our Zen Garden widget too.  Start the day with a little Samadhi before your chumby flips to the weather forecast and the horrible news headlines.

Try the new tones and let us know what you think.  But if you stick with that damned Klaxon, now you have only yourself to blame.

And of course you can still go the Neil Young and Chopin route too.

And make sure you try out the sleep timer on chumby — you can fall asleep to various waves, rain, or other sleep-inducing sounds and your chumby will turn itself off after a few minutes.  Stand-alone “sleep sound generators” sell for $50-$150 — your chumby throws in this capability for free!  Such a deal, what are you waiting for?