“New Age” Alarm Clock Makes Sure You Wake Up

Remember in class last week (I think) when we all participated in the activity to redesign a new alarm clock? Well, apparently we weren’t the only ones daring enough to stand up to the task. Just this September, Paul Sammut released his new “most persistent” alarm clock ever: The Nixon Ramos Alarm Clock the market. You can read about it here, but basically, it’s a new type of alarm clock that just doesn’t let you sleep past the alarm. The alarm clock does not let you reset the wake-up time once it goes off, and it does not let you unplug it — it just operates by battery if you do. Freeman jokes that there are two ways to turn off the alarm: to go to the wireless keypad (in a different room) and type in the date, or “smash it to smithereens.”

So what makes this alarm clock well (or poorly) designed? Well for starters, making the sleeper move into the next room to enter the date surely gets them out of bed and on their feet. Also, the feature that prohibits a reset of the wake-up time takes away that whole ‘snooze’ feature that causes so many of us to miss class or be late for our jobs. It’s longest snooze is one minute — the alarm sounds for 10-seconds, waits only one minute, and then goes off again until the sleeper enters the correct date on the wireless keyboard. theramos I’ve included here a picture of The Ramos Alarm Clock to demonstrate its aesthetic appeal. You can even personalize the wooden finish to your liking.

The alarm clock runs pretty expensive ($200-$800), so I suppose I’ve found its flaw. I tend to wake up right away when my alarm rings, so I’m not sure how much I’d be willing to pay if I had the problem of not waking up. I think it’s safe to say, though, that The Ramos asks for a lot of money, that a lot of people aren’t necessarily willing to shell out. Not to mention, if you had a roommate, the alarm clock would easily earn the title of the most bothersome alarm clock in the world. I would hate to wait for my roommate to enter the date before her alarm clock stops ringing.

I suppose there’s not really much about how to program the wake-up time specifically and personalize the features. Dare I assume it to be easy and straight forward?

What do you guys think of the design of this new alarm clock? If you’re one of those people who can’t leave the snooze button alone, would you buy this alarm clock?

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Wow! The Design of an Everyday Thing!!

So here we are, racking our brains to come up with a new technology (or an improvement on a technology that already exists) and we’re like, “man, this is harder than I thought it would be,” or, “man, I already have a gadget that does that…”. But now, I’m like, “man, I wish I would have thought of this!” Google Books engineer, Dany Qumsiyeh presents this video about his brand new design of a page-turning, digital scanner that converts paper books into completely digital books!

Let’s take a moment and relate this back to all our class discussions regarding Norman’s The Design of Everyday Things. Now, first things first, I know there is much, much more that needs to go into the development before this page-turning, vacuum scanner hits the market. Let’s keep that in mind, but let’s still talk about how well designed this scanner is at first glance. Norman presents this whole idea about¬†affordances —¬†the perceived and actual properties of the thing. He argues that affordances of an object are perhaps the most fundamental properties that tell the users how it operates. Let’s look at the affordances of this scanner: because of its prism shape, there is really only way to set the book on it! And I’m sure there is a button (or two) to tell the machine to start and stop, but assuming those are straight forward, the user doesn’t have to do anything while the machine flips the pages and scans the content of the book. When we look at the scanners we’re using right now, we have to turn the pages ourselves and worry about the orientation and the margins, and — ugh, it just becomes so inconvenient!! What do you think about the design? Is it as clear as a glass door (that’s funny because if it’s a glass door, there isn’t a way to tell if you should push or pull and so it’s really not ‘clear’ at all)?

This machine is awesome! Nowadays, paper is obsolete and, dare I say, forgotten. Everything is digital! I was already complaining about how inconvenient it is to flip the pages myself, so I won’t go there again. Dany claims that the machine involves a 40-second set-up! 40 seconds! What do you guys think about it? Is it really that big of a break through? Is it designed well enough (according to you or Norman) to make it big time in the Market?

Here’s one last thing: the best part of all of this remains that all these plans are open sourced with open patents, meaning even you guys can experiment and expand on it. Milestone 3 idea, anyone???

Give me back my iPhone, Grandpa!

Also, get off Facebook and don’t say LOL, ’cause you’re old and old people just shouldn’t.

More and more recently, that old man meme about how Grandpa can’t understand iPhones, Linux, or the cloud is showing up more and more often. Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols of computerworld claims that the joke is becoming “increasingly irrelevant.”

The article, Grandpa the programmer, argues that older people (baby boomers) are just as competent in using new technology as are us younger folks. I know I’m asking you think way back to the beginning of the semester, and I know how hard that might be, but bare with me please. We spent more than one class discussing the notions of technology immigrants and technology natives, where we labeled those people born into the Digital Age the natives and those who have, at a later point in their lives, adopted new technologies the digital immigrants. If I remember correctly, we (yes, me too) argued that it was practically infeasible for technology immigrants to adapt to the Digital Age environment entirely. Now, jump to the reading for this week (if you read it). In chapter one, Norman argues, to some extent, that digital immigrants have a hard time adapting to new technologies. He gives several charming anecdotes regarding this idea that when new, more intricate gadgets come to the market, people, particularly older people not accustomed to the maturation of technology, just don’t know how to work them! These seemingly true stories magnify Norman’s persuasion and credibility. I mean, I totally want to believe him that the maturation of technology is growing at a speed that digital immigrants just cannot keep up with, right?

But now, we have Vaughan-Nichols writing in plain contrast to this idea that has been brought up time and time again. I think we were so into telling our own stories about our own grandmothers and grandfathers not knowing what to do with an iPad that we didn’t even think about the age of the creator of the iPad. Apple is seemingly the leader in producing brand new, state of the art technologies — probably the most popular gadgets that old people can’t figure out. But the CEO of Apple, is no spring chicken! He’s plenty old enough to be a grandfather and he must understand technology in order to develop such innovative ideas and successfully bring them to the market.

I understand that Vaughan-Nichols is talking a lot regarding the actual creation of the code, and that’s much different than just adapting to a tangible product. But didn’t we say last week that older people were more about Facebook because they didn’t have the time or the skill for all the HTML included in Myspace?

I’m not going back on my argument that it’s more difficult for people not born into the Digital Age to pick up a brand new gadget — mostly because my grandma asked me where the keypad was on my phone at dinner last Sunday and because my mom continually asks me for the meaning of those stupid text message abbreviations. But I think it’s super interesting to think about the creators of these technologies that us young kids are infatuated with. They could be my grandfather!

What do you think? Does the baby boomer generation understand technology and all it has to offer? Or were you right saying that they cannot ever entirely grasp new gadgets?