The MIT Media Lab has come up with Clocky, an alarm clock that rolls away and hides when you hit the snooze button.

Clocky prototype

When the alarm clock goes off and the snooze button is pressed, Clocky will fall off of the bedside table and wheel away, bumping mindlessly into objects on the floor until he eventually finds a spot to rest. Minutes later, when the alarm sounds again, the over-sleeper must get up out of bed and search for Clocky. Because you employ multiple senses to find the clock, you are sure to awake before disabling the alarm. Small wheels enable Clocky to move and reposition himself, and an internal computer helps him find a new hiding spot every day.

–From the press release by Gauri Nanda

(via CNET Extra)

I saw this CNET headline — Microsoft battles piracy with free software — and my first thought was that they were using some GPL’ed/BSD’ed/etc. tool for tracking or some such. No, they’re just giving away free software to people who will let them remotely verify that their OS installation is legit. Which makes perfect sense once you get out of the open-source/Free software (with a capital F) mindset.

In other news, I feel like I’ve spent the entire month of October rebuilding, recovering, restoring, repairing, reinstalling and retrofitting computers.

Strike that. I have spent the entire month doing that. *Sigh*

My alarm clock is a stupid mofo. Of course, considering that I got it specifically because it was simple to operate and didn’t have any strange features, that shouldn’t surprise me. But it’s beginning to piss me off that I have to turn the alarm function completely off every morning to shut it up, and then remember to turn it back on every night (because if I do it immediately after turning it off, it just starts up the alarm cycle again). I’ve woken up late (i.e. initial flying-open of eyes takes place more than 15 minutes after the desired time) about six times since getting this clock, which is more than I’ve done in the last five years, maybe even more than in the last 10.

And the corker is that any other clock I might get is going to piss me off just by its existence. I mean, have you shopped for bedside alarm clocks recently? They’re all postmodern sculptural chunks of weird, and badly balanced for trying to hit a specific button when your nervous system isn’t quite up to par. Boss-types trying to unravel the mystery of a chronically late worker should ask if their clock is the type where the only button you can find in the dark is snooze, and the OFF button doesn’t work if you’ve hit snooze so you have to wait for it to go off again or make your bedpartner do it for you. My last radio worked that way for the last year of its life, but only because the OFF button (which was nicely marked with a little raised bar) refused to work consistently and had to be rattled like a machine gun. The last thing a sleepy person wants to do is play Braille with an array of trendy little buttons, all alike, just to get out of bed. The second to last thing is knocking the radio over because it’s taller than it is wide, or hitting the volume control with an errant finger.

Now that I think about it, the last thing a sleepy person wants to do, actually, is get up. So clock hatred comes naturally. Good thing you can’t get arrested for a hate crime against a clock. Yet.