It’s About Time!!

by PocketGoddess on March 17, 2004

Bob’s Alarm

 


Bob’s Alarm is a very easy to use application with a lot of power. I didn’t expect much at first, basing my expectations on the low price and small memory footprint, but I was completely wrong. The main screen is very simple, showing nothing more than a digital clock with three large buttons at the bottom of the screen. Those three buttons control the alarms, timers, and stopwatches at the heart of Bob’s Alarm. You can have up to 255 different events, which should be more than enough for just about anybody. You’ll also see the time and name of the next event, which is surpisingly useful. The best thing is how easy the application is to use. When first installed, Bob’s Alarm already has two alarms, two timers, and two stopwatch set up so that you can quickly get up and running.

Everything is so well-designed that Bob’s Alarm is a pleasure to use. I love how you set the time by tapping on the large digits on the screen. Instead of having to you a tiny little time picker that requires you to tap on tiny little arrows that are easy to miss, you just tap on the top of the digit to advance or the bottom of the digit to go back. Very easy, no matter how poor your eyesight and/or coordination! You can name each alarm, which is necessary so that when the alarm goes off you can see what you needed to be reminded of. You can set the repeat with just two taps– I especially like the ability to set an alarm for one day a week, every weekday, weekends, daily, or a custom repeat, though it is not possible to set a monthly or yearly repeat at this time. Settings brings up a screen with several different options on three tabs. The Tones tab is where you choose the sound that is played when the alarm goes off. You can choose from a WAV file, a Midi file (the standard Palm OS alarms) or one of Bob’s alarm sounds. You can also control the volume, pause, speed, and tone of the sound. The timing tab give you the ability to control the length of time the alarm sounds, how often it repeats, the snooze length, and the alarm time out. You can also choose to have the alarm activated by a timer. The Misc tab lets you choose whether or not you want your Palm OS device to vibrate when the alarm goes off.

 


The timer and stopwatch functions are exactly what you might expect, so there’s no reason to cover them in detail. Other details of the application include the ability to silence all alarms by tapping the little speaker on the left side of the menu bar. The program preferences let you choose whether the device should use “home” or local time, which is handy for frequent travelers. You can also use either a 12 or 24 hour clock, choose to snooze or dismiss alarms with a button press or Graffiti swipe, and select the directory you put WAV files in on your memory expansion card.

The other main portion of the program is the event manager, where you can see a list of all of your events in Bob’s Alarm. You can filter them by type (alarm, timer, or stopwatch) and whether they are on or off. This provides a handy way of seeing all of your alarms in one place and lets you quickly jump between them so you can change the options, times, etc. as necessary. It’s also the only way to create new alarms.

I’ve been using Bob’s Alarm quite heavily for a couple of weeks now and I’m amazed at just how useful it has become. The ability to control the exact sound for each alarm and timer means that I don’t even have to look at my Zodiac when an alarm goes off– the sound tells me what I need to do next. I used to have LOTS of repeating events in Agendus, and that made things pretty cluttered. Now that I have Bob’s Alarm, I’ve cleaned out all of those repeating appointments and my days are looking much less overwhelming. That doesn’t mean that Bob’s Alarm is perfect, but it’s pretty close. I wish that it supported the Palm OS Notification Manager, so I would see a list of missed alarms by tapping on the status bar. I’d also like to see a few more color options and themes, but that’s already in the works in the latest beta version. Bob’s Alarm requires a scant 139K of memory on your Palm OS device and is available at PalmGear or Handango for only $4.95. A surprisingly full-featured application for a very small price.

PocketGoddess Rating for Bob’s Alarm: 4.5 out of 5

MegaClock


Megaclock is just that– it really contains every time-related function you could possibly need or want, and then some. One tap on the top-right hand corner of the screen will show you what I mean, as Megaclock has a General view with a clock and monthly calendar, Digital Clock, Analog Clock, Alarms, Timers, Stopwatch, Events, World Time, Moon Phases, Sun rise/set, City Time, Internet Time, and Time Calc functions. Each one is accessible with a single tap of the stylus, or an optional Graffiti shortcut. There’s too much here to go into detail on every function; suffice it to say that if you need the most fully-featured clock application available for the Palm OS, Megaclock is it!

Some of the highlights include the ability to set 20 different alarms, four each on five pages. That allows you to organize your alarms, and handy checkboxes let you activate and deactivate each one with a single tap. The Alarm Settings screen is nicely streamlined, allowing you to control the days, alarm sound, ability to snooze, and the alarm title all on one page. You can have up to four timers, and the stopwatch preferences allow you to set the buttons on your device to control various functions, which would be perfect for use in athletic training and events. The Events view allows you to input a list of events and see the time either until or since in seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, or years. This may not be the most useful part of the program, but it is pretty fun– you’ll never wonder again just how long it is until your next vacation, and if your child wants to know exactly how old they are in minutes since birth, you’ll be able to tell them in a flash.

 


The World Time function is self-explanatory, though it should be mentioned that the list of cities is quite large and it is possible to add new ones with their GMT offset, longitude, and latitude. The phases of the moon, sunrise/sunset, and city time functions are also rather handy, as is the ability to set a chime to go off as often as every 5 minutes to an hour, which is useful to ensure that you don’t lose track of time. One other helpful thing is the status bar at the bottom of the application, which you can use for quick access to the three parts of Megaclock that you find the most useful, or use the most often. I have mine set to the Date on the left, Alarms in the middle, and the Timer on the right. They each have a small icon and space for the relevant time information. If you have a countdown timer going, the status bar will show you the countdown so that you don’t have to stay in the Timer part of the application in order to see how much time is left. If you have alarms set, the space will show the time of the next alarm.

Megaclock is available at PalmGear and Handango for $14.95 and requires 330K of space on your Palm OS device. If you want to have the “kitchen sink” clock application for Palm OS, this is the one to choose. It’s comprehensive, fully featured, and still very easy to use.

PocketGoddess Rating for Megaclock: 4 out of 5

Palmary Clock

 


Palmary Clock is arguably the “prettiest” clock application I’ve seen on a Palm OS device. It features four main functions: Clock, Calendar, WorldTime, and Sunrise/Sunset. Each of the time-related functions is rather straightforward, but Palmary Clock provides “eye candy” as well– full theme support, as well as hi res + graphics on compatible devices. The user has extensive control over the appearance of the clock, including the skin, the background, horizontal and vertical alignment, dial and hand opacity, and the rotation of the dial. The monthly Calendar view is useful for quickly checking the date, and features similar appearance controls to the Clock view. I wish though that it would work with either the built-in Datebook or third party applications like Agendus or DateBk5– it would be great to be able to tap on a calendar date and jump to one of those programs.

 


World Time allows you to see the date and time at four world cities at a glance, and like Megaclock, it is possible to add your own cities if the ones you’re interested in aren’t built into the application. A sunrise/sunset calculator is also included, which allows you to check the times either by city or by directly plugging in the GMT offset and location of the city. Each of these four main functions is accessible either by tapping on the menu icon in the status bar of your hi res + device or by using a Graffiti stroke; tapping on the Clock doesn’t do anything. Palmary Clock also has an alarm function, though it is listed in the Options menu instead of in the Main menu. Starting the Alarm function brings up a screen that lists all of your alarms, if you have any, or gives you the option to tap the New button to create a new alarm. The Edit Alarm screen allows you to choose the repeat of the alarm, the time, the sound, the sound repeat options, and the name of the alarm.

Palmary Clock might be the best choice for someone who leaves their Palm OS device in the cradle at work all day and would like to have a pretty desk clock on their handheld. The application has a nice mix of functionality and style and fits right in the middle between Bob’s Alarm, which serves mainly as a powerful alarm clock, and MegaClock, which includes almost every time-related function imaginable. Palmary Clock is $9.95 at PalmGear and Handango and requires 370K of space on your device, plus extra storage for any skins you may choose to add.

PocketGoddess Rating for Palmary Clock: 4 out of 5

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: