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alarm clocks...

  n0de

why are 99.9999% of snooze functions on alarm clocks 9 mins long?, shite question... but it confuses me.



Responses:


  Cecil Adams

I've handled this before, but most 'answer' webpages out there will tell you it's to save money on the timer chip, since it 'only needs to keep track of the ones digit' or something like that.

Brilliant, except nine minutes was the standard even back before digital clocks, when they had dials and hands and those bells on the top.


  Cecil Adams

Of course, these are the kinds of places that still give the pat answer to the Monty Hall problem. But anyway.

Ask most people 'in the know' and they'll tell you that when General Instruments made one of the first clock chips for LED alarm clocks, they set the snooze to a nine minute delay. Most people either still use that chip or copied it wholesale, something that never happens in today's computer chip industry.


  Cecil Adams

So, fine, but why did they chose nine minutes? Well, looking at some of the first analog alarm clock mechanisms you'll see that the part that did the snooze function wasn't all that precise. So, let's say that you wanted a ten minute snooze, which all things considered seems like a good choice. But as I said it's not going to be all that precise. And if you advertise '10 minute snooze' and it ends up being 10 minutes, 30 seconds, you know that some crank is going to call up to complain that he woke up half a minute late and missed something important, due to your faulty clock.


  Cecil Adams

So you, you being an early electromechanical clock maker, set the timer for 9 to 9 and a half minutes. Everyone's (moderately) happy. Fast forward a few decades, the makers of the first digital clock see that all analog clocks have about a nine minute snooze, and say, well, with our new technology, we don't have to have "about 9 minutes" we can have nine minutes exactly! And the rest is history.


  Cecil Adams

At least, that's my theory, and I'm...


Alarm Clock  

No, no, that's completely wrong. I'll tell you what the real answer is, it's...


  Cecil Adams

*wham*


Alarm Clock  

*SNOOZE*


  Cecil Adams

As I was saying, that's my theory, and I'm sticking to it.




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