Friday, February 11, 2005

Using iCal as musical alarm clock

There are various shareware utilities that allow running musical alarm clocks (so you can wake up to your favorite classical piece, pop tune, or rock track). I tried a couple such utilities, and had trouble with all of them for one reason or another. Also, since I already use iCal for calendaring, why yet another program just for week-daily alarms?

this article finally answered my prayers. Executive summary:

  • generate an AAC (Advanced Audio Coding) music file from your favorite CD using
    change its extension from .aac or .m4a to .aiff (yes, that's actually wrong since AIFF normally is raw CD audio --- but apparently iCal plays them just fine!)
  • drop the file in the folder Library/Sounds in your home directory
  • now go to iCal, create a new event at your required alarm time, with a twist:

    • as the sound, pick the file you just selected
    • under repeat, pick "custom"
    • in the menu, pick "weekly", and cross the days on which you want it to ring
      (e.g. Sun, Mon, Tue, Wed, Thu, Fri, but not Sat)
    • press OK

  • And presto!

If you do not want your alarms to show up in your day planner, create a separate calendar "Alarms" for this purpose, and check it off in the "Calendars" pane of the main "View" Panel. The alarms will still ring, but won't clutter your view.