If we know each other in person, and maybe even if not, you’ve probably heard me joke about the “Thousand Dollar Alarm Clock.” Heck, I even wrote about it some years ago, as evidenced by the link there. The poor thing’s not quite as old as my kids… but it dates from before the turn of the millennium, so there’s that. I have used it as my alarm clock almost exclusively since the turn of the millennium, come to think on it.

And then this morning I found the hard way that I’d forgotten to account for the fact that its ancient Windows CE 2.1 operating system couldn’t adjust for a Daylight Savings Time regression (“fall back!”) that had changed dates over a decade ago. Usually I remember that it has the wrong date and adjust it the night before so my alarm goes off on time. (And then re-adjust on the “correct” date. Sigh.) Not last night, though.

Luckily, being on a steady 6:30am wake-up time 7 days a week since I started medication meant that by just before 7am my body went “wait, why are we still asleep” and I bounced out of bed, a bit confused by the lack of alarm. I checked the 620lx and sure enough, it thought we weren’t even to 6 o’clock yet.

Well then.

It was time, as it were, to do something about this for good. Time to let go of an otherwise-useless overpriced not-designed-for-this-purpose hunk of plastic and such. But how to replace?

First, I looked into ways I might repurpose the Raspberry Pi box (the former living-room multimedia machine which was replaced by an Intel NUC a few months ago). A RasPi solution would have serious geek cred, right? Unfortunately, the solutions I found usually involved instructions like “you’ll need a breadboard and a bunch of fiddly wires and a soldering iron” at which point I closed the browser tab and moved to the next search result. In the end, none of those options fit my needs (and abilities).

On the other hand, there was another unused piece of equipment just collecting dust which might suit the purpose: The Samsung S5e tablet. It’s underpowered for the games I play and it still has that nagging bug where if you choose so poorly as to, you know, touch the edges of the device with your fingers then it drops the WiFi connection for a little while. In case you’re wondering why I replaced it as soon as I could afford a better model.

Being an alarm clock on my nightstand, however, is well within its capabilities. So I re-registered it (I’d wiped it clean when I got the newer tablet, originally planning to give it to someone, or something) and installed one of the dedicated “be a clock” apps. It has a power cable, it’s been told when to darken the screen for the night and when to light it back up again, and it has an alarm time set every morning. Tomorrow morning will be the first test. Fingers: Crossed.