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Alarming tales: What goes on INSIDE Reg hack's hi-tech bedroom

Wakey, wakey, hands off snakey

This is your early morning call

We tried a teasmade. For readers too young to remember, a teasmade was an alarm clock popular in the 1970s that boiled water at an allotted time and pumped it into a ceramic pot, welcoming you back to the land of mortgages with a fresh cup of tea. It sounds like a nice idea but the noise produced by what is effectively a kettle with a clock on it positioned a few inches from your head is akin to that produced by an Airbus A380 if you choose to sleep in the middle of the runway at Heathrow.


Tea’s ready
Source: Cory Doctorow Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike

Recent years have seen me return to the good old mobile phone alarm, set to vibrate. Of course, it needs careful preparation involving resting the handset on textiles or some magazines. Experience has taught me that a vibrating mobile phone lying directly on a wooden bedside table causes the whole house to resonate to its foundations like a tuning fork.

The crunch came this week when I inadvertently forgot to enable flight mode, thereby allowing every dickhead under the sun to jolt the two of us awake repeatedly with their automated texts, sponsored tweets and relentless LinkedIn invitations.

Worse, smartphone manufacturers seem to have designed their touchscreens to play silly buggers when an alert goes off in the middle of the night. During the daytime, a simple swipe or tap or predetermined gesture is enough to silence the device. At night, the slider keeps bouncing back like someone attached a rubber band to it, while gesture recognition is suspiciously unrecognised.

This invariably leads you to swipe and tap and fiddle in vain with the device as the buzz and the bing-bongs keep churning out. I swear you can hear it giggling as you you mutter “For god’s sake shup uuuuuuup” and your spouse harrumphs next to you.

The other night, not only could I not get flight mode to kick in, my clumsy endeavours to silence the cacophony of midnight alarms led me to inadvertently accept a LinkedIn connection request from a window cleaner living in Brazil and send myself a text that woke the two of us again five minutes later.

By the time my intentional wake-up vibe buzzed in the morning, I was so drowsy that I managed the not-unremarkable feat of not only failing to trigger the snooze function, but in attempting to do so apparently putting a voice call through to the French emergency services.

Alarm clock

Don’t waste it
Source: Photo Extremist

Hence wifey asking to be released from this torture by being allowed to sleep somewhere calmer, such as on the kerb of the street.

We went through enough sleepless nights when starting a family. Now that the kids are growing up, we were looking forward to becoming empty nesters.

Instead, I have inexplicably turned my smartphone into a virtual screaming baby. ®

Alistair DabbsAlistair Dabbs is a freelance technology tart, juggling IT journalism, editorial training and digital publishing. He is concerned that lack of sleep is interfering with his ability to generate new business. On the other hand, he now has access to a potential market of Brazilian citizens with clean windows.

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