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View Full Version : Can I trust this to wake me up?



SoftPhill
2008-08-28, 11:28
I really like the idea of this machine and i have 2 duets and 2 SB3 already so am a keen user. I am just really uneasy about using it as a clock. Previously i tried using a SB3 and by the time morning had come around it had lost its connection so its clock so just sat there being very off. In the end i reverted to a standard radio alarm to make sure it would go off in the mornings

What about the Boom?

Is there a fail safe in place so that the alarm will revert to a standard sound if the network connection is lost. Plus is the clock local or is it sourced from the web?

Is anyone else concerned this could be an issue?

andyg
2008-08-28, 11:28
I have been using it as my alarm clock for a while, some others have as well. It has a local clock and backup alarm in case the network goes down.

bpa
2008-08-28, 11:35
If alarms is setup to play a radio stream as an alarm sound and if stream is not available when alarm goes off then Random mix of audio track will be used.

Boom has a local clock and a local power source to keep time in case of power cut. Boom also remembers the next alarm time so that if disconnected it will sound a alarm generated within Boom (currently a 5 tone alarm).

SoftPhill
2008-08-28, 11:35
thanks for the quick reply, that is good to know it will not fail me (although i would quite like a lie in every now and then)

Mark Lanctot
2008-08-28, 11:37
Is there a fail safe in place so that the alarm will revert to a standard sound if the network connection is lost.

Yes, currently it will play firmware-generated tones. It's enough to wake you up for sure.


Plus is the clock local or is it sourced from the web?

Driven by SC/SN when connected. If connection is lost, it uses its built-in (i.e. local) real-time clock.


Is anyone else concerned this could be an issue?

Boom's alarm has never failed for me since I first received it in late April. It has gone off every weekday morning and some weekend mornings ever since, several times a day since that feature was introduced to 7.2.

pippin
2008-08-28, 11:42
Can I trust this to wake me up?

No. There are drugs on the market tha will keep you asleep under all conditions.
In all other cases: Yes.

ChrisOwens
2008-08-28, 11:43
In addition to the built-in backup alarm, Max Spicer did a ton of work on the SqueezeCenter alarm code to help us get ready for the Boom launch, so you will find it much improved!

Thanks Max!

Mark Lanctot
2008-08-28, 11:50
Boom has a local clock and a local power source to keep time in case of power cut.

I never tested that functionality but I do remember some discussion about it. We should be specific here so no one has false impressions of what Boom will do, but here it is as I understand it:

- Boom will play an alarm from SN/SC if connected

- Boom will fall back to Random Mix from your library if an Internet stream is selected as an alarm but unavailable when the alarm activates

- if Boom loses contact with the server, it will maintain its clock and play a firmware tone alarm on schedule

- Boom *will not* play an alarm if it doesn't have power. This is the same as my cheap clock radio. The battery is for maintaining the RTC in the event of a power loss, because a likely cause of the server going down is a house-wide power loss. On restoration of power, if the server doesn't come back up, Boom will with the correct time, and it will play the scheduled alarm.

A situation which I didn't remember testing:

- if Boom is connected to SN and the chosen SN stream is unavailable when the alarm goes off, what happens? It can't revert to Random Mix. It would be good if it played an SN ambient sound instead.

andyg
2008-08-28, 12:00
On Aug 28, 2008, at 2:50 PM, Mark Lanctot wrote:
>
> A situation which I didn't remember testing:
>
> - if Boom is connected to SN and the chosen SN stream is unavailable
> when the alarm goes off, what happens? It can't revert to Random Mix.
> It would be good if it played an SN ambient sound instead.

Yeah not sure we covered this case. How about the Ambulance Sound
Effect? ;)

dean
2008-08-28, 12:02
On Aug 28, 2008, at 11:50 AM, Mark Lanctot wrote:
> - Boom *will not* play an alarm if it doesn't have power. This is the
> same as my cheap clock radio. The battery is for maintaining the RTC
> in the event of a power loss, because a likely cause of the server
> going down is a house-wide power loss. On restoration of power, if
> the
> server doesn't come back up, Boom will with the correct time, and it
> will play the scheduled alarm.

Just to be clear, there is no battery in Boom. There is a "supercap"
capacitor that powers the RTC for a day or so when the power goes out.

Since it's a capacitor, it shouldn't fail during the lifetime of the
product.

-dean

JJZolx
2008-08-28, 12:06
The thing to do, if you have any doubt, is to use it _with_ your current alarm clock. Set the Boom to go off a couple minutes before your old alarm clock.

Eventually, you'll be convinced one way or the other. :)

Mark Lanctot
2008-08-28, 12:08
Just to be clear, there is no battery in Boom. There is a "supercap"
capacitor that powers the RTC for a day or so when the power goes out.

Since it's a capacitor, it shouldn't fail during the lifetime of the
product.

-dean

Even better. Those coin cells that maintain the RTCs in computer motherboards have a 5-year life.

iPhone
2008-08-28, 14:39
I really like the idea of this machine and i have 2 duets and 2 SB3 already so am a keen user. I am just really uneasy about using it as a clock. Previously i tried using a SB3 and by the time morning had come around it had lost its connection so its clock so just sat there being very off. In the end i reverted to a standard radio alarm to make sure it would go off in the mornings

What about the Boom?

Is there a fail safe in place so that the alarm will revert to a standard sound if the network connection is lost. Plus is the clock local or is it sourced from the web?

Is anyone else concerned this could be an issue?

Even during the early nightly's, it never failed to wake me up in the morning (in the beginning, it did wake me a few times it shouldn't have {all part of Beta Testing though}). For the last 6 weeks, it has performed perfectly as an alarm clock. Only going off when set, no issues with SC or SN, or the server being off.

But I must say I prefer to wake to my wake-up playlist best, so I keep mine set to SC now. If anybody has been using an SB3 with auto sensing powered speakers as an alarm clock, using a Boom to replace that will amaze you.

Michaelwagner
2008-08-28, 19:49
I seem to recall from the beta test discussions that someone suggested "Good Morning" by the Beatles as a good wakeup song. The rooster and all, very out-on-the-farm.

Now, we just need a pig.

SoftPhill
2008-08-29, 02:33
But I must say I prefer to wake to my wake-up playlist best, so I keep mine set to SC now. If anybody has been using an SB3 with auto sensing powered speakers as an alarm clock, using a Boom to replace that will amaze you.


This is interesting - if set to SC can it bring your SC out of sleep using WOL before going off itself?

max.spicer
2008-08-29, 02:34
If alarms is setup to play a radio stream as an alarm sound and if stream is not available when alarm goes off then Random mix of audio track will be used.

Actually, it's more general than that. It checks that something is playing and if, for any reason, it isn't it picks some tracks at random and plays them instead. This covers your internet connection being down when trying to play internet radio, but also covers missing mp3s on your server, broken playlists etc etc.


Boom has a local clock and a local power source to keep time in case of power cut. Boom also remembers the next alarm time so that if disconnected it will sound a alarm generated within Boom (currently a 5 tone alarm).

The one thing it can't do is sound an alarm if it doesn't have power. Boom needs power to produce the alarm noise. It can therefore survive a power cut during the night that also takes out the server and your network, but it must have power (nothing else needed) at the time of the alarm in order to wake you up.

Max

max.spicer
2008-08-29, 02:48
I never tested that functionality but I do remember some discussion about it. We should be specific here so no one has false impressions of what Boom will do, but here it is as I understand it:

- Boom will play an alarm from SN/SC if connected


Yes.


- Boom will fall back to Random Mix from your library if an Internet stream is selected as an alarm but unavailable when the alarm activates

Pretty much true. It's not strictly Random Mix in the normal SqueezeCenter sense. It just picks ten random tracks and plays them. This fallback behaviour also covers much more than just an internet stream failing. See my other post in this thread.


- if Boom loses contact with the server, it will maintain its clock and play a firmware tone alarm on schedule

Yes. It's worth noting that this will only cover you if the Boom was last connected to SqueezeCenter within 24 hours of the next alarm. Boom's BACKUP clock only has a 24-hour alarm - it can't cope with alarms that only go off on Mondays and Thursdays, for example. If, for example, your server goes down on Monday, and doesn't come back, and you have an alarm set for Wednesday, Boom's BACKUP alarm won't be able to sound the Wednesday alarm. The reason being that on Monday when the server was last up, the Wednesday alarm wasn't within the next 24 hours, which is all Boom's BACKUP alarm can cope with.

Provided you look at your Boom before going to bed to check it's connected, you'll be fine. This isn't really any different to looking at your standard alarm clock before going to sleep to check that it's plugged in.


- Boom *will not* play an alarm if it doesn't have power. This is the same as my cheap clock radio. The battery is for maintaining the RTC in the event of a power loss, because a likely cause of the server going down is a house-wide power loss. On restoration of power, if the server doesn't come back up, Boom will with the correct time, and it will play the scheduled alarm.

Yes.


if Boom is connected to SN and the chosen SN stream is unavailable when the alarm goes off, what happens? It can't revert to Random Mix. It would be good if it played an SN ambient sound instead.

A very good question! I'll have a chat with Andy about this.

Max

max.spicer
2008-08-29, 02:50
This is interesting - if set to SC can it bring your SC out of sleep using WOL before going off itself?

I don't think so, at present. There's an open bug for that IIRC.

Max

max.spicer
2008-08-29, 02:55
The thing to do, if you have any doubt, is to use it _with_ your current alarm clock. Set the Boom to go off a couple minutes before your old alarm clock.

Eventually, you'll be convinced one way or the other. :)

I specifically made the Boom snooze time adjustable so you can even have it roughly in sync with your other alarm if you like. I actually use two alarms, but not because I don't have confidence in SqueezeCenter's alarm (even though I wrote the thing!). I have a Boom on one side of my bed, by me, and my wife has a normal alarm on her side. Both are set to go off at the same time and we both tend to snooze them at will. Between the two, they just about manage to get us out of bed within, say, half an hour of the alarm going off. One alarm alone probably wouldn't do it - too easy to turn off and go back to sleep. :-)

Max

jo-wie
2008-08-29, 02:56
@IPhone: Do you sleep in your kitchen? ;-)

Just had a look at your signature.

pippin
2008-08-29, 03:09
Yes. It's worth noting that this will only cover you if the Boom was last connected to SqueezeCenter within 24 hours of the next alarm. Boom's BACKUP clock only has a 24-hour alarm - it can't cope with alarms that only go off on Mondays and Thursdays, for example. If, for example, your server goes down on Monday, and doesn't come back, and you have an alarm set for Wednesday, Boom's BACKUP alarm won't be able to sound the Wednesday alarm. The reason being that on Monday when the server was last up, the Wednesday alarm wasn't within the next 24 hours, which is all Boom's BACKUP alarm can cope with.


Hmm.. Now that I think about it: What about the other way 'round. If Boom has an alarm set for Monday and the server is down will it play the same alarm on Tuesday, even if no alarm is set for Tuesday?

max.spicer
2008-08-29, 03:27
Hmm.. Now that I think about it: What about the other way 'round. If Boom has an alarm set for Monday and the server is down will it play the same alarm on Tuesday, even if no alarm is set for Tuesday?

It will if the server does not come up between the backup alarm going off on Monday and Monday's alarm time being reached on Tuesday. The server reprograms Boom's backup alarm every time an alarm goes off or a new alarm is scheduled. If the server isn't around to do this, Boom just has to soldier on and do the best it can. Extra alarms shouldn't really be a problem - the main aim is simply to wake you up if there's been a power cut overnight.

I'm not 100% certain about this answer, by the way. It's possible that the backup alarm clock actually clears itself once it's gone off. I suspect not, however.

Max

Mark Lanctot
2008-08-29, 06:27
Provided you look at your Boom before going to bed to check it's connected, you'll be fine. This isn't really any different to looking at your standard alarm clock before going to sleep to check that it's plugged in.

Playing devil's advocate here...

I have my off screensaver set to time, large, no seconds. When an alarm is due there's also a little bell icon on the right. If Boom loses contact with the server, its display reverts to exactly the same thing. So actually I can't tell just by looking at it.

Of course I'd know if the alarm goes off with the firmware tones because that would be a clear indication to me that something's not right. :-)

There's been a lot of requests for custom icons in the display and I am loath to suggest another, but perhaps there can be some indication that Boom is operating in backup mode? Enhancement request?

To reiterate, this has NEVER happened to me since I started testing Boom in April, but some might not have as stable a server as I do and these people might also be using time, large, no seconds screensaver. Actually I had to take down the server to get Boom to play the backup alarm, and I only did this a few days ago.

max.spicer
2008-08-29, 06:50
Playing devil's advocate here...

I have my off screensaver set to time, large, no seconds. When an alarm is due there's also a little bell icon on the right. If Boom loses contact with the server, its display reverts to exactly the same thing. So actually I can't tell just by looking at it.

Of course I'd know if the alarm goes off with the firmware tones because that would be a clear indication to me that something's not right. :-)

There's been a lot of requests for custom icons in the display and I am loath to suggest another, but perhaps there can be some indication that Boom is operating in backup mode? Enhancement request?

To reiterate, this has NEVER happened to me since I started testing Boom in April, but some might not have as stable a server as I do and these people might also be using time, large, no seconds screensaver. Actually I had to take down the server to get Boom to play the backup alarm, and I only did this a few days ago.

I think that sounds like a great enhancement request. For some reason my Boom has always used a different font size on backup, so it never occurred to me.

Max

Mark Lanctot
2008-08-29, 07:13
I think that sounds like a great enhancement request. For some reason my Boom has always used a different font size on backup, so it never occurred to me.

Enhancement filed:

http://bugs.slimdevices.com/show_bug.cgi?id=9331

Michaelwagner
2008-08-29, 11:49
Boom needs power to produce the alarm noise.
True, of course, but does it need to be electric power?

How about a clockspring that the boom always kept wound when power was available, that ran a small generator when the boom alarm went off and no other source of power was available?

But seriously, folks, if you live in a place that power failures are frequent, or the consequence of not waking up is high, get a small UPS. The boom only needs 30W, considerably less when not playing music while you sleep. Sometimes, past a certain point, the simplest solution is to rely on another technology for backup. The boom would wake up, sound the internally generated 5 tone noise, and you'd be awake.

stigerj
2008-08-29, 17:06
On Aug 28, 2008, at 11:50 AM, Mark Lanctot wrote:[color=blue]
Just to be clear, there is no battery in Boom. There is a "supercap"
capacitor that powers the RTC for a day or so when the power goes out.

Since it's a capacitor, it shouldn't fail during the lifetime of the
product.

-dean
Unfortunately this very capacitor in my Nakamichi SS3 failed, so when the power is lost even for a few seconds... all settings are lost. Not sure what the lifetime of the unit means (MTBF?). I'm looking at purchasing one of these... just would be nice to have another 'head' that can go on the wife's nightstand, like the Nak unit.

dean
2008-08-29, 17:13
On Aug 29, 2008, at 5:06 PM, stigerj wrote:
> Unfortunately this very capacitor in my Nakamichi SS3 failed, so when
> the power is lost even for a few seconds... all settings are lost.
Are you sure that this isn't a battery?

Keep in mind that _all_ this capacitor does is act as a backup for the
clock during modest (less than a day) power outages. All other
settings are maintained in flash memory.

> I'm looking at
> purchasing one of these... just would be nice to have another 'head'
> that can go on the wife's nightstand, like the Nak unit.
You can always order another one of them and sync them. :)

-dean

stigerj
2008-08-29, 17:23
You can always order another one of them and sync them. :)
-dean

Yeah, Thanks I know that, but I think that might be a hard sell for my wife, both the cost and the size. So I don't think I'll be going that route unless I can trade in my Nakamichi. =)

If two units are sync'ed will snoozing or canceling the alarm on one Boom be duplicated on the other?

thanks.

-Jeff

dem
2008-08-29, 17:52
But seriously, folks, if you live in a place that power failures are frequent, or the consequence of not waking up is high, get a small UPS.
Then you get to wake up whenever the power goes out and the UPS starts beeping!

With a Duet and A2's in the bedroom I don't use my old WaveRadio for music any more, but I keep it around because the alarm will still go off with the power out.

jgs
2008-08-30, 16:52
Boom *will not* play an alarm if it doesn't have power. This is the same as my cheap clock radio.

Different from the last few cheap clock radios I've had though.