Friday, August 12, 2005

Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Smack!
Nine minutes!?! Huh?

You know, I've always wondered why when you hit snooze it gives you what seems to be a nearly random standard of nine minutes before the second round of annoyance. I decided to research this phenomena a little and see what I come up with. Below are the fruits of this quest... enjoy!

Dear Cecil:

When my roommate's alarm goes off, he invariably presses the snooze bar. This continues in nine-minute cycles until I have to rouse him myself. All the alarms I have seen have a nine-minute snooze interval. Is this a standard number, and if so, where did it come from? --Matt Mc, Indiana, Pennsylvania

Dear Matt:

What a relief to quit dealing with the federal government and get back to the truly gut questions of our time. Although I gotta tell you, dealing with the feds was a piece of cake compared to this one. We consulted with numerous clock manufacturers, clock engineers, and clock buffs and amassed the following theories:

(1) Focus groups found that people preferred a snooze delay of eight to twelve minutes. OK, but then why not a ten-minute interval?

(2) Engineers believe their bosses come to check on them every ten minutes. Ho ho!

(3) Physiologists have found that a sleeper who doesn't want to get up will fall back into a deep sleep if left for longer than nine minutes. Yeah, right.

(4) Five minutes seems too short and ten minutes seems too long. Nine minutes may seem better than ten while not being significantly different. My reaction: Bah. Nine minutes does not seem better; it seems stupid.

(5) On LED (the old red display) clocks, the snooze function will work for only 60 minutes, so you want to fit the greatest possible number of snooze periods into that time. Nine minutes gives you six snooze periods with a minute's leeway each time for pressing the snooze bar. "Nonsense," one engineer commented. No argument here.

(6) "I figured it was actually 512 seconds (29)," one informant speculated. "Or maybe, since the clock is counting (typically) the power cycles from the wall socket, it's because nine minutes is 32,400 cycles, very close to 215 (32,768)." Engineer's comment: Nice try, bub, but clocks don't count that way.

(7) General Instruments, one of the first designers of the chip used in LED clocks in the late 60s, set the chip logic to allow a nine-minute delay. Others continue to use this chip or copied the idea without changing the interval (e.g., National Semiconductor's type MM5370 digital alarm-clock chip--I tell ya, do we research this stuff or what?). Fine, but why nine?

(8) On a digital clock, nine is the greatest interval obtainable by advancing some sort of "snooze counter" on the ones column. But why mess with the ones column? Why not put the snooze counter on the tens column and advance that by one?

(9) In the days of dial clocks, the snooze interval was originally intended to be ten minutes max, but precision was unimportant and engineers were content if they could make the interval nine minutes and change. When the industry switched to digital, clock designers figured the standard snooze interval was nine minutes; "and change" went out the window.

Now we're getting somewhere. Partial confirmation of this view comes from Jay "Pappy" Kennan, a clock collector who took apart an old GE electromechanical clock with one of the earliest snooze buttons. The clock's snooze-gear mechanism was not precise; the snooze interval could be anywhere from nine to nine and a half minutes. Pappy's opinion, seconded by a clock engineer, was that the original, none-too-ambitious designers wanted a clock with a snooze interval in the nine-to-ten-minute range.

So what may have happened was, some early chip designer inspected an old mechanical clock with a snooze button, figured that a nine-minute snooze interval had been ordained by the clock gods, and built it into his chip--and we've been stuck with it ever since. That's my theory, and I'm sticking to it.

Q: When you hit the snooze alarm on a clock radio or alarm clock, the alarm goes off again in nine minutes. Why nine minutes? - Bill Williams, Cornelius, N.C.

A: By setting the snooze time to 9 minutes, modern digital alarm clocks only needs to watch the last digit of the time. So, if you hit snooze at 6:45, the alarm goes off again when the last digit hits 4 - at 7:54. They couldn't make the snooze period 10 minutes, or the alarm would go off right away - or the clock would take more circuitry.

Historically speaking, there's another element to the answer. Clock experts say when snooze alarms were invented, the gears in alarm clocks were standardized. The snooze gear was introduced into the existing mix and its teeth had to mesh with the other gears' teeth. The engineers had to choose between a gear that made the snooze period nine-plus minutes or 10-plus minutes. Because of the gear configuration, 10 minutes on the nose was not an option.

According to these clock historians, engineers chose the shorter snooze, figuring "less than 10 minutes" seemed more punctual and marketable than sending people back to dreamland for "more than 10 minutes." The public became accustomed to this, and clock makers have generally stuck with it.

General Electric-Telechron marketed the first snooze alarm in 1956.

But not all snooze alarms buzzed every nine minutes. In 1959, Westclox released "drowse" alarms that could be set for either five or 10 minutes of snooze time. Later Westclox marketed clocks with a seven-minute snooze alarm.

Still, nine minutes is the norm.

If you smack a snooze button, you ain't sleepin' alone. According to USA Today, more than a third of American adults hit the snooze button every morning an average of three times. Snooziest group? The 25- to 34-year-olds - 57 percent of them hit the snooze button daily. Peppiest risers? It's the seniors. Only 10 percent of Americans over 65 regularly use their snooze button.

I put together a little poll to see what people do in the morning when the alarm goes off.

Snooze Quiz

How long do
you snooze?

Me? Snooze? No way!
(sleep-in time = 0 minutes)
Oh, I only hit it once.
(sleep-in time = 9 minutes)
2-3 times
(sleep-in time = 18-27 minutes)
4-5 times
(sleep-in time = 36-45 minutes)
6 or more times
(sleep-in time = 54+ minutes)
I actually don't even turn off my alarm.
I sleep right through!
I don't own an alarm clock...
I am either really late or really early.

 Current Results

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Fly away... Yep, go fly away!

Boy, time flies! I can't beleive it's been a month since my last post!

Well, I should probably update my profiles... last week was my birthday! (Mandi, thanks for the CD! I LOVE it!) It went by pretty uneventful... it just didn't feel like my birthday, you know what I mean? Tommorow is my wife, Amy's, birthday! We're thinking of going to the zoo and have a few friends over on Saturday nite for some drinks and fun! Amy woke up with a slight sore throat... please send her your heal fast thoughts so she will get better later today!

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Monday, June 20

This morning Jamie left yesterday's 'Mister Rogers' calendar quote on my desk. What is says hits true! Here goes:
The greatest loss that we all have to deal with is the loss of the image of ourself as a perfect person.

Pretty good, huh?

Thursday, June 09, 2005


I find it interesting to find out what your favorite creative writers/musicians find creative and inspirational. When we go to them for our outlets, where do they go? It's a big chain!

Mike Doughty

Douglas Coupland (for Mandi!)

Dan Brown

Michael Crichton

Who are your favorites and are there any links to what they are inspired by?

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Mister Rogers, it's you I like, it's you

Jamie has a 'The World According to Mister Rogers' daily calendar and it is very inspirational! Here are two of my favorites:

What I have heard from creative people over the years is that their early urges toward unique self-expression were respected and supported by some loving adult in their young live--someone who would even let them paint a tree blue if that's what they felt like doing.


I believe that adults' successful work with children is based on our having been children ourselves and having felt good enough in those early years so that we came to believe that childhood was a time of real value. If we were loved and valued ourselves in our own childhood, we then have the opportunity to love and value the childhoods of others.

One thing Jamie told me was that he was a pastor. I didn't know that. It never revealed itself in the show.

Peace out!

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Powerful Revelations...

Powerful revelations through a song.

Grey skies are going to clear up...

Put on a happy face.

I went for a 2 1/2 mile walk with Maddie yesterday. It was really nice outside! I had gotten some new 'walking' shoes in April and they are now worn in and were really comfy! Before my arch of my foot would get painful 1/3 of the way in and now it didn't hurt at all. Good Times!

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Interesting content...

Sally, the Tranny Fish