If you have a question - email it! Common questions will be answered here.
XP loads, Alarm loads, it says something about SysTray error then there is no icon...
This is a long-standing issue in XP that only seems to manifest on some systems. You will probably find one or
more othewr icons missing from the system tray (safely remove hardware? power meter?).
It seems the best workaround is to log off and log back on again. Alarm v0.14 (and later) no longer gives error messages if it can't create/manipulate the systray icon, so
startup will be cleaner.
I capture a gamma profile, but applying it says sanity check would have an all-black display?
Your graphics card responded to the gamma ramp enquiry, but it returned bogus data (all nulls). It is likely attempts
to set a gamma would be ignored, but in case it isn't, setting all nulls would set the mapping for everything to be
0, or black...
More advanced graphics cards will not work with Alarm's way of accessing gamma correction tables as they use
a more involved method. That said, more advanced graphics cards ought to come with a driver that puts this sort of
control into Control Panel somewhere...
Can Alarm report on my CPU temperature?
This is being considered, but only if there is a legal API to access this information. Direct hardware
access or jiggery-pokery will not be implemented.
The menu list tells me the months and days in German, but everything else is in
This is because Alarm uses your "system settings" to determine the months of the
year and the days of the week - and your computer is obviously set to "German" in the
Regional Settings option.
What's RISC OS?
A story of many missed opportunities... though thankfully people did wake up and realise
the power of the ARM processor, even if RISC OS was woefully mistreated for a decade...
It's the friendliest and most logical operating system that I have ever used. There
are some things I like about Windows and wish RISC OS did like Windows, but there are
numerous things I wish Windows did like RISC OS...
Go search for RISC OS on Google, you'll find more info than I can refer you to here!
Why can't Alarm set up a gamma profile itself?
Honestly? Because I have to take a value, say "1.43" and translate that into a 'curve'
which will be further translated into a value to store in each of the 256 locations in
the gamma profile.
Without gamma, it is linear. In other words: 1=1, 2=2, 3=3, 4=4, and so on.
With gamma, it is according to a calculation. The gamma curve you may have seen is simply
a visualisation of this calculation.
And I'm not that good at maths. Or, in brief, "'cos I'm not smart enough".
[I'll get there some day]
Why the "bloatware" in Alarm?
I write a short utility to convert numbers. I wrote a short utility to convert different
measurement systems. Both were merged into one and given a system tray icon. This icon
was so I could 'convert' at any time without wading through the Start menu rubbish, or
closing windows to find a shortcut on the backdrop...
I wrote the gamma correction into VeroDes as it was the project I was working on
at the time (it's still there now!). It worked, it was called at start-up, but it had no
way of telling when the system came out of hibernation. It was not resident long
The battery monitor was a separate application with its own system tray icon.
So we have three system tray icons (Alarm, Convs, and BattMon) with
a gamma corrector lurking somewhere else. The actual code for this 'bloatware' is really
not that large, so I thought "why not merge all of this into one application". I was about
to until I thought of Alarm. It's the one utility that I have written that
is always loaded and active.
The rest, as they say, was pretty obvious. :-)
Why is your help file patronising, telling me how to remove a registry key?
For editing registry keys, you need only tell me the key's location and the value to set
it to. On the other hand, you'd need to explain it to my mother in a way that won't cause
her to lose the will to live in five seconds (I'm not sure that it is actually possible!).
Therefore it is hard to write a help file for people of unknown ability. I've taken
some liberties in assuming that you know the meaning of things like doubleclick.
You may indeed feel that is patronising, and for that I apologise.
Here in France I have helped some people get to grips with email and - hand-on-heart -
more that one of them has begun the instructions with something like: First turn on
computer, big button on front.
It is hard to write documentation to appeal to a variety of abilities. I hope I've not
failed, because I really would like Alarm to appeal to everybody that thinks an
alarm clock is a neat idea...
What's all this 'registry poking' for?
In order to get Alarm to behave differently, you need to tell it how you want it
to behave. This is accomplished by creating string values in the system registry (that big
scary mess where everything but everything keeps its settings) and setting the actual
values of the strings to something specific.
As an example, a string value could be called "TimeZoneDebug", and its actual value
could be "True". If you know how to use RegEdit, try adding that and see
what happens the next time you click the right mouse button over an alarm in the
What is "Meep!"?
Ticky-tock alarm clocks and old phones ring.
Modern landline phones purr while mobiles play all manner of stupid sounds -
including That Seriously Annoying Green B***ard.
Old '80s computers beep.
Your average 'travel' alarm clocks, and most computer warnings, are mere pathetic
meeps in comparison. No wonder they don't wake me up!
I think my friend had the right idea when his answering machine screamed
CORNHOLIIIIIIOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! at you. I don't have a clue what it means
(something to do with Beavis and Butthead, I think), but it certainly gets your
Maybe I should get Alarm to play a sample of an actual ringing alarm clock? What
Hints & Tips
Hints and Tips straight from the programmer and the beta tester (hey Ewen!)...
Your favourite TV programme on twice a week? As you cannot set alarms to repeat on
arbitrary days, the easy answer is to set two alarms that repeat weekly!
Don't forget the built-in copy'n'paste is the absolute quickest way to clone an alarm.
Simply highlight the alarm message and press ^C, then in the second copy of the
alarm, all you need type as the message is ^V!
So you like my new alarm notification window, but really you prefered the old way?
No problem! Simply go to Alarm's options in the system registry, usually:
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\VB and VBA Program Settings\Alarm
and go into the 'Settings' key.
Add a new string value, call it "OldStyleReport" and set its contents to be the
word "True" (without the quotes, in both cases).
UNOFFICIAL 'EASTER EGG' FEATURE:
Do you live in one timezone (i.e. CET) and watch TV in another (i.e. GMT)? If so, there is
a hidden facility that you might find rather useful.
Simply open Alarm's help, go to the alphabetical Index and double-click on
the entry entitled Timezone Tweak.
(sorry, you'll need to poke the registry again)