My wife can attest to the fact that the snooze button on my alarm and I have a love/hate relationship. It hates to see me sleep in and I love smacking the crap out of it. I guess you can say my alarm clock and I have mutually abusive relationship, as well. It’s gotten to the point that I had to place my alarm on the other side of the room, so that I’m forced to get up in order to hit snooze – in the hopes that I just decide to give up and wake up. That also doesn’t seem to work every time, as I now shuffle from my bed to the alarm and back to bed like a zombie. Perhaps I need to get to bed earlier, or perhaps I need a more insistent alarm to make sure I am up.
I’ve never been one for alarm applications on my BlackBerry smartphone – I’ve had the same old alarm clock for almost a decade. Maybe that’s why it’s so easy to hit snooze or turn off. I know it so well, I can use it in my sleep (honestly!). I need more of a challenge to help me wake up. When I first heard of the puZZed application, I didn’t take it too seriously. Now after using it, it may replace a decade old toxic relationship with my old alarm.
puZZed was developed by qbotron, who also developed the time tracking app ZoneIn, the idea capturing InstaNote and the photo transforming Stampt. You can check out all of their applications in BlackBerry App World, right here. puZZed is available for BlackBerry smartphones running OS 4.6 or higher, including those running OS 7. The current version is 1.4.5 which has an initial file size of 258KB
Cost: Free (can purchase additional puzzles from within the application)
Rating in BlackBerry App World: 4/5
The idea behind puZZed is to make you wake up before you can turn off the alarm. I know the idea of an alarm itself is to wake you up, but as I mentioned before, that isn’t always the case. Rather than an annoying tone that can be turned off with a flick of a switch, a tap of a button or a fling across the room, you need to solve a puzzle or equation before the alarm turns off. These aren’t simple problems to figure out effortlessly, nor are they asking you to solve for x; you have to make sure you’re awake enough to figure them out (unless you can do mathematical equations in your sleep, then you’re allowed to sleep in smarty-pants). When you first install the application, you get two types of puzzles for free; followed by the option to purchase 3 other puzzles to keep you off the bed and on your toes. Once you purchase additional puzzles, you activate an option to randomize the puzzles to really keep you guessing!
Set up is fairly easy. Step one is to set the time you want the alarm to go off; very similar to the way you set the native alarm. You can then indicate whether or not you want the alarm to sound only on weekdays. You must then choose a sound to wake up to. You aren’t able to tap into the ringtones and alerts that are preloaded on your BlackBerry smartphone, but you can choose from one of the ones you have hopefully installed; this includes music as well. At this point, you can then choose the volume level and vibration type (long, short or none). Finally, a handy test button allows you to try out your selection before you set it to be the background noise you hear while solving a puzzle. Now you’re ready for step two.
Step two involves choosing what type of puzzle you want to wake up to. Sorry, you don’t get to see the actual puzzles; that would be cheating. Once all are installed, you can choose from Math Puzzles (solving equations), Type the Quotes (type the exact phrase that you see), Match the Signs, memory Puzzle or Highest Number. Choose wisely and you’re done! At the very top of the menu is the alarm on/off switch, as well as the option to view the alarm status icon (just like the native alarm does). The icon for puZZed will also change when the alarm is activated. It goes from a blue speech bubble with “zz” displayed to a red speech bubble with a puzzle piece and an exclamation mark.
Once the alarm goes off, you have to get the answers, or task completed correctly before turning off the alarm. You cannot press the end call button to exit or hold it to power off – you have to figure the thing out.
Now there is one way you can turn off the alarm, it’s the ever resourceful battery pull. Of course, in some cases, puZZed comes with what is called the Ultimate Feature which accounts for this. With this feature, puZZed will know when the battery is pulled so once your BlackBerry has restarted the alarm will continue. At this point those who are using BlackBerry smartphones with OS 7 will see that this feature is absent.
Now qbotron claims that this is your “final defence from sleeping in”; but I think that title is reserved for my 4 ½ year old son on weekends. puZZed, while it may be an annoyance, is a necessary annoyance. It’s easy to set up, but not so easy to turn off (unless you are running OS 7). The developer is open to more puzzle suggestion so be sure to let them no what they can do to keep you from hitting snooze. You can pick up puZZed from BlackBerry App World.