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?


9 Responses to “Wake better”

  1. Andrew Says:

    What am I waiting for? I’m not paying $200 to add another advertising stream to my house. I know you are a business and want to make money but I’m a consumer and value my time more highly than you do.

    I think the concept of the chumby is fantastic, a standalone internet connected device that can render useful streams of information but you give all that excitement up when you force me to sit through unsolicited advertisements.

    Plus I have an iPhone now and, quite frankly, it is like having a chumby in my pocket that works anywhere without commercial interruption. Do you think Apple would have considered forcing advertisements onto their iPhones to lower the price of the hardware?

    • Niki Dinner Says:

      Forcing ads on a chumby? You’re kidding, right?

      Anything ‘free’ on iphone, app wise, is LITTERED with ads. Anything remotely good for the iphone you have to pay for. itouch users get even more screwed over because we have to pay 10 dollars for an OS upgrade (Which, by the way, apple charges, not an independent developer).

      I’m not saying either device is without flaws, but the ads on a chumby are SO infrequent that it rarely interrupts the experience. Plus, I never have to pay for an OS upgrade, so I’m willing to have an ad or two for that. Maybe someday chumby.com will have a premium service with no ads for a fee, but it just seems like a waste of money as of now.

      I’m not saying iphones are crappy (they’re wonderful!) but dissing chumby for ads is just dumb. Portability, well…yeah, I can’t really argue against that. At least when I plug it in it’s very quick. Although there’s tweaks to put a battery in it (if you want to void the warranty). So…there’s your portability.

      The iphone and the chumby are two different devices and can happily (oexsist in my home (and do!).

  2. alicia Says:

    i’d just like to say how totally excited i am about these new alarm sounds! thank you!

    love my chumby.

  3. Mahlen Says:

    At Tassajara Zen Mountain Center in northern California, the way they wake the camp for morning zazen is to have someone run through the camp ringing a bell. I got a little early (like at 5 AM) and recorded it, and by making it the only sound file in a little USB drive and putting that in my Chumby, I’ve made that my morning wake up sound. It’s *almost* a little too soothing to wake up to (my wife never seems to hear it), but I love being able to do that (along with the myriad other things a Chumby does).

    Thanks, Chumby-ers!


  4. Chris Arrrrr Says:

    Can I say how tired I am of the same complaint of how many ads people believe they will see. I have owned a Chumby for a year and a half and have yet to feel bothered by ads.
    Heck, I dunno that I even run into many. And, being that it is a FREE network, well, I mean, a few ads, really, get over it.
    We live with ads on everything, that is our culture, do what you do with everything else – tune it out.

    Great ideas on the new wake ups. I love sleeping to the sound of rain, too. Amazing.


  5. Col Says:

    I need the klaxon myself and still sleep through it. My other half’s chumby (we had to have 2) is still using the nightingales but she is now looking for something else. See out local birdies sound quite similar but start as the sky starts to glow a little .. around 4am. Guess who it wakes up every morning now after a little conditioning :)

    So now she is regretfully looking at other sounds out of necessity.

  6. Col Says:

    oh .. and ads .. maybe because I’m an australian user I don’t get them all? I think I have seen maybe a dozen in 2 years with 2 chumbys .. generally just the community service ones I think about violence against women. They are so rare I enjoy watching them subject irregardless.

    I also have an iphone .. no comparison compared to the spamming I get on that via free apps. Now thats annoying enough I may have to pay for an app soon :(

  7. Felix Says:

    I have an “alarm” set up on mine that I call “night time” which is set for when I really ought to be in bed. It goes into night mode while playing white noise via one of Chumby’s Sleep Sounds channels for ~90 minutes (it can take me quite a while to fall asleep sometimes). Of course, I set it to not display that alarm screen and to not use the backup alarm (since that would defeat the purpose of this “alarm”). I find that more convenient that the sleep timer, especially since I just set that once, and it keeps doing it every night!

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