I’ve written about a couple of Alarm Clock utilities for Mac OSX. They allow you to use your Mac as a timer or Alarm Clock, and can either display messages when it’s time to wake up or can play sounds or music from your iTunes library. I recently stumbled on a great program, with the same features and a really nice interface, for Linux.
The name of the program, cleverly enough, is… wait for it… Alarm Clock!
That’s right, Alarm Clock is an alarm clock for your Linux system. Alarm Clock runs as a Panel applet, patiently waiting until your alarm is due, then it pops up a window (if you want), or plays music (if you want), to let you know that the time has come.
What’s cool about Alarm Clock is how customizable it is. Instead of always popping up a message, if you want you can have Alarm Clock start a particular program. Let’s say you use a “regular” alarm clock to wake up, but when you go to your computer, you want to have your blogs and news feeds waiting for you.
Just tell Alarm Clock to run a command (instead of a pop-up window or noise) when the alarm goes off, and you can do just that! It’s simple, actually. Let’s assume that you use Firefox as your web browser and Google Reader as your RSS/Atom feed reader. In order to have your blogs ready and waiting for you when you sit down, you would just tell Alarm Clock to run the following command:
The “firefox” part of the command tells your computer to start Firefox, while the rest tells Firefox which web page to open.
In addition to this, you can use Alarm Clock to shut down or reboot your computer, in case you fall asleep and forget. In case you don’t forget and are sitting at the computer, but have forgotten to turn off Alarm Clock, it’s probably best to ask for confirmation, so you can tell it NOT to shut down your computer in the middle of your work!
In addition to those nice options, Alarm Clock does offer the standard pop-up window and music to wake you up. You can set the volume on the music, which can be constant, or if you don’t want to wake up to loud music all of a sudden, you can have Alarm Clock gradually increase the volume of the song you pick.
But Alarm Clock doesn’t need to be used simply to wake you up. It can be used to remind you to take a break. I’ve written about these “forced breaks” kind of programs before, and Alarm Clock offers one feature (the ability to display a dialog window full screen), which makes it perfect for this kind of thing. Simply set and activiate alarms scheduled to go off at regular intervals (every hour or two), then have Alarm Clock throw up a full-screen notice that you have to deal with, reminding you to take a break.
All in all, I’m really impressed with Alarm Clock. It’s got a ton of features, is really easy to set up, and does what it says, when it says (which is important for an alarm clock). Alarm Clock is completely free, and can be downloaded from the Alarm Clock website