I tried to adjust the time on my alarm clock. I failed.

Raymond Chen

For some reason, my alarm clock requires that I install an app on my phone. And the app required me to create an account.

I’m going to repeat that: In order to set my alarm clock, I had to create an account with the clock manufacturer.

Anyway, I went through the setup process up back when I bought the alarm clock, and promptly forgot about it.

Most of the United States went from Daylight Saving Time to Standard Time this past weekend, which means that my Sunday morning consisted of walking around the house adjusting the times on the clocks in the house. This is normally a chore that takes just a few minutes.

Until I got to the alarm clock.

I had uninstalled the “Set the time on the alarm clock” app because, c’mon, it’s not like I change the time on the alarm clock every day. I set it once and forget it.

Okay, so I have to go back and re-download the app. And then I try to connect to the clock.

The clock doesn’t respond.

Okay, go download the manual, figure out how to do a factory reset. The clock now reads 12:00AM, like all clocks do when they are reset.

Go through the clock set-up again. The app’s UI is confusing. I can’t figure out how to re-connect to an existing clock or delete an existing clock so I can re-add it. There is a hamburger button ☰ next to the clock, but tapping it has no effect. I eventually figure out that you are supposed to swipe on the hamburger button, not tap it. That exposes the garbage can icon 🗑 for deleting the clock from the app.

Okay, so I’ve deleted my clock. Going through factory reset process. But when I enter my Wi-Fi password, the app just hangs with a spinning circle. It appears to be unable to connect to the clock.

I spent an hour resetting the clock, going through the configuration process again, trying different Wi-Fi networks, resetting my phone, resetting my router, resetting my reset button, nothing worked.

So now I was left with a clock that reads “12:00AM January 1, 2018”. We have progressed so much as a society in the past fifty years.

They say that a broken clock is correct twice a day. This one can’t even manage that.

I unplugged the clock and put it in the closet. Maybe I’ll try again tomorrow.

Bonus chatter: I’m thinking maybe of plugging the clock in at exactly midnight. The date will be wrong, but at least the time will be correct.

Epilogue: I think the problem is that the clock’s Wi-Fi chip is broken. It successfully adjusted from standard time to daylight time back in the springtime. But it failed to adjust automatically for the fall changeover. The clock said “No Wi-Fi”.

Epilogue 2: In the instructions, after “Step 2: Set up with the app”, there is a “Step 3 (optional)” that talks about making adjustments. It is not obvious, but step 3 is not dependent upon step 2, and you can use it to set the time without an Internet connection. I never made it past step 2 and therefore never noticed step 3.

The Wi-Fi connectivity is nice when it’s working (like it was during the springtime) since it means never having to adjust the time after a power outage or time zone change. There are other features unlocked by Wi-Fi, but we never used them.

But it’s all moot now because I returned the clock.

It’s not obvious from the box that you need an app to set up the clock. The person who bought the clock did so for the “project the time on the ceiling” feature, which is a pretty awesome feature. Highly recommended. But maybe not with this clock.