Alarmed 1/17/12


In the classroom Alarmed can help you manage your lesson time, allow you to schedule calendar type events and be a useful wake-up tool to start your day. As a bonus this week I am including a keyboard shortcut for iOS5.
On Friday I realized I missed my Thursday deadline for posting the new app of the week. Whether you noticed or not, I am including a bonus iOS tip as an apology for my late posting of my ‘App of the Week’. Look for the bonus tip at the end of this article that benefits anyone tired of hunting for the underscore when typing in their e-mail username.
Alarmed brings several time related features together all in one app. Reminders works like a calendar. Timers can be set to count up or down and wake up or set a timer so you can fall asleep to your own music or book. This straight forward app is only for iOS devices and is free but includes an Extras Package for $1.99.

REMINDERS: If you don’t use the calendar that accompanies your school e-mail, or you rather keep personal events off your school calendar, you can use the Reminders feature in Alarmed. I like the ease of scheduling events and you can schedule in 15 minute increments; whereas, your school email jumps to 30 minute presets. The ‘Super Reminder’ settings allow you to schedule the event to repeat, type a message and change reminder sounds. With a ‘Nag Me’ option Alarmed will sound off every minute, or every hour, until you acknowledge the reminder. Students can use reminders when they need to bring something to school. Teachers can schedule extracurricular events or meetings before or after school.
TIMERS: This was the initial reason why I downloaded Alarmed. I often tell the class “five more minutes” and I don’t stick to it. With a tool like Alarmed, I can manage my class time better by tapping any of the custom timers I create for myself. Timers can run simultaneously, paused with one tap and can take advantage of the ‘Nag Me’ option like in Reminders. By default the timer is set to count down but it can be set to count up (like a stop watch).
WAKE-UP This feature is what you expect, it’s an alarm clock. I was pleasantly surprised to also find a sleep timer also.  I like the ability of the sleep timer to play either from your own music or from an audio book. At first it may seem worthless to start listening to a book while drifting off to sleep but I learned that the book will play only for the time you select and place a bookmark where the timer stopped.  The ‘Full Screen Wake-Up Panel’ displays the date and time. It’s important to note that Alarmed must be running in the active foreground when you go to sleep. You can let the screen lock. If you accidentally exit Alarmed, a backup alarm is scheduled in place of the full-featured wake alarm.
I enjoy setting the different sounds for my reminders, timers & alarms. Alarmed offers nine different categories which include over 80 sounds.  Alarmed is rated five stars with over 10,000 downloads.
The mini user’s guide, included with the app, will explain more in detail. Alarmed is a fully functional free app, but if you decide to purchase the Extras Package you will get:

   DayMinders (repeating reminders throughout the day)

·            Flashlight mode in wake-up panel
·            14 extra special custom sounds
·            ‘shake to snooze’ for wake-up alarms

Now for the bonus!

In a recent iPad class we were exploring the keyboard settings. I had a custom shortcut ‘onw’ for “On my way”. Instead of typing out the complete phrase, all I have to type is three letters and the keyboard will suggest the full phrase. By clicking the space bar on the keyboard I can accept the suggestion and be on my way. (yes, I realize I just made a pun) I created this and haven’t really used it, but it was brought to my attention that it’s difficult to tap through the keyboard to get to the underscore. Anyone who accesses their e-mail through Safari on their iOS device has to use the underscore for their school e-mail username. A keyboard shortcut for your username could prove very helpful so I have attached the step-by-step instructions to this article which includes screen shots. For those who don’t need screen shots follow these five easy steps.
1.       Go to your Settings.
2.       In the General section choose Keyboard.
3.       Click Add New Shortcut.
4.       Type in the phrase or word you want to appear with the accompanying shortcut text.
5.       Click Save.
Special Thanks to Trish Swanson, of Wadsworth City Schools, for this idea. I believe the username shortcut will prove to benefit many users whether it’s for their school e-mail or any other word or phrase that is used on a regular basis.