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Opening Arguments

Aw, just 9 more minutes, please

This is just too fiendish to contemplate:


There is no snooze button. If you unplug it, a battery takes over. As wake-up time approaches, you cannot reset the alarm time.

It could be the world's most exasperating alarm clock.

Once it goes off, to stop it you must get out of bed, go into the kitchen or bathroom, and punch the day's date into a telephone-style keypad. That's the only way to stop the loud 'ding-ding,' designed to sound like a customer angrily banging on a concierge bell at a hotel.

It was invented by Paul Sammut, a 25-year-old engineer who lives in Hoboken. During the day, he builds and researches underwater robots and vehicles at the nearby Stevens Institute of Technology.

He started working on the gadget because he was finding it hard to get up and make it to work on time after college.

I think a clock like that would wake me up once, if you get my drift; after that, I'd probably Elvis it (what he did to TV sets in hotel rooms). The snooze alarm is one of the greatest advances in civilized living since indoor plumbing. It takes some time to find the right number for your circadian rhythms, but once you do, your mornings will be less stress, more bliss. What works best for me is to set my alarm for 45 minutes earlier than I really want to get up, which allows me five snooze alarms (actually five, but the last one doesn't count since, you know, you have to really get up then). Something as traumatic as getting out of bad and taking on the day should not have to be accompished all at once. Got to kind of ease into it.

Ever wondered about those nine minutes, by the way?

Clock experts say when snooze alarms were invented, the gears in alarm clocks were standardized. The snooze gear was introduced into the existing mix and its teeth had to mesh with the other gears' teeth. The engineers had to choose between a gear that made the snooze period nine-plus minutes or 10-plus minutes. Because of the gear configuration, 10 minutes on the nose was not an option.

According to these clock historians, engineers chose the shorter snooze, figuring "less than 10 minutes" seemed more punctual and marketable than sending people back to dreamland for "more than 10 minutes." The public became accustomed to this, and clock makers have generally stuck with it.

I may have mentioned this before, but I call Dutch my snooze-alarm cat because he begs for treats every nine mintues. He is not amused. Well, he is -- he's a cat! -- but not by stuff I understand.

Posted in: All about me


Tue, 04/10/2012 - 11:51am

All clocks have snooze alarms. Some just need to be hit harder than others. Perhaps with a hammer.