Zach’s ugly mug (his face)

Zach Leatherman

20/20 Hindsight, a Look Back at ALARMd

22 Jul 2007 Zach Leatherman

Now that the traffic has died down a little bit on ALARMd, I’d like to write a little bit about my experiences with something I don’t think anyone predicted would garner so much interest.

The day I sent the link to the LifeHacker editor, I purchased the domain. My thoughts on the domain were that I should have it just in case I decided to host the clock on the domain for easy access, and I certainly didn’t want anyone else to have it. That turned out to be a good idea since an unnamed internet charlatan purchased a similar domain mere hours after I had purchased mine and pointed it to his website. This same person was going onto various blogs and websites where ALARMd had been posted saying that it was a ripoff of his site, which of course was not true. I’m sure he got some traffic from it, and certainly am curious about the liberties he takes with the truth just to make a buck. Obviously I am not going to post a link to his website, since I do not want him to receive any traffic to his Google Ads machine. I hope that you, as a reader of my website, will trust that anything linked to this guy’s name is not worth any of your time.

The link was posted to LifeHacker, and my meager website went from an average of 50 hits a day to receiving 87000 hits in two weeks. In the end, I got more visitors from stumbleupon than LifeHacker, which is really a testament to that website’s popularity.

It was on delicious popular bookmarks for a while. It actually also ended up being on television. I know, I know, it seems ridiculous to even put websites on television, but it was. A lady named Erin O’Hearn does a segment called “Right Now on the Net” for Channel 6 Action News in Philadelphia. She had a blurb about it and you can even watch it here [Skip to 1:07]. I guess it was also on an internet radio show called “Techtalk Radio” and was featured as their site of the week. You can listen to that podcast here [Skip to 47:09], even though they pronounce my name “Zach-A-Lot” and are obsessed with the “Naked” checkbox. But to be fair, who isn’t obsessed with Naked checkboxes?

And just recently, I put up the domain as a redirect to the site for all the hard-core users still going to it and using it. It’s still getting a couple of hundred hits a day.

So, hindsight. The alarm clock is a device that everyone uses and easily relates to, but also a device that people have low expectations for. Most alarms only have one or two times they go off for, and with only a few options for alerting: buzzer or radio. Most go off every day, even on the weekends when you want to sleep in. But people put up with their crappy alarm clocks because there is literally no good alarm clock hardware out there. And some of the features I’ve put into ALARMd can also be seen in alarm clocks that cost over $100 USD. Ridiculous. I would bet that there is a huge market for someone to come out with an alarm clock that doesn’t suck and costs $40, or maybe people just want to use their cell phones all the time. I wonder if the iPhone alarm is any good. Look for my next project, which will be just as, if not more, stupid as the Internet Alarm Clock.


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Do you ever think you'll take down ALARMd? I ask because I use it every weekday as my most effective alarm (it's the only one that freaks me out enough in the morning to get me actively out of bed).

If you were to take it down, what would you do with the brilliant backend you developed for it?

Zach Leatherman

24 Feb 2008 at 05:51PM

I'll tell you two things straight off.

1. There is no backend for the current version of Alarmd.
2. I'm developing a new version of Alarmd that will feature Google Calendar integration. This version may include a backend, and if so, I will publish the code openly.

But as of right now, you can download the current version of Alarmd to your local computer and run it locally. It'll still need internet access if you wake up to a youtube video, but isn't required if you just use mp3's locally.