Squalor Survivors logo

Kirby Alarm

Kirby Alarm US$24.95 from Kirby Software. Reviewed September 09, 2006. Available from: http://www.kirbyfooty.com/

[talking about FlyLady's 45 min. on/15 min off method]
Now, there have been times when I've been in pretty deep that I didn't religiously take a break every 45 min, but I did try to do it at least every 90 min., b/c it's easy to get burned out! And there have also been times (during illness) that I've taken breaks more often than every 45 min. Anyway, the main point [...] is to remind you to take breaks. Use your timer. If your kitchen timer is broken use an alarm clock, your cell phone or even your computer so you don't forget to take a break and have a glass of water. BetterNBetter

First things first, this review applies to the Pro version, Kirby Alarm Pro 4.3. I would normally review the free version of the software, but I just had to try out the functionality in the Pro version, available as a trial version for 30 days. A freeware version is available, currently Kirby Alarm 2.1, an approx. 2.5MB download.

Secondly, it occurs to me that this software may not be suitable for the demand-resistant—if only because it's one thing to throw a cheap alarm clock across the room, quite another to hurl your monitor or PC. That said, I think Kirby Alarm could be very helpful to those squalorees who will respond to personal triggers and reminders they set themselves. And it hits the sweet spot for those who love a very structured day.

In a nutshell, Kirby Alarm allows you to set alarms for yourself. The list below is just a small sample of the sorts of reminders you can put into this application. You can use it to remember that you want to:

  • Return to the chatroom after a 15-minute challenge.
  • Take the wet laundry out of the machine instead of letting it molder for three days.
  • Pay a bill before the due date passes.
  • Take meat out of the freezer to defrost in time for dinner.
  • Take library books back before they become overdue and incur fines.
  • Take short breaks away from the computer, if you habitually spend long hours in front of the screen. (This is what I am currently using it for.)
  • Follow the closing of an Ebay auction.
  • Make a phone call.
  • Take your medication
  • Keep appointments
  • "Watch unmissable" TV programme episodes
  • Document your billable hours.
  • Pick up three items and put them away.
  • Put the trash out on trash day.
  • Do anything at a certain time, if you're the sort of person who tends to get totally wrapped up in your cleaning, once you get started.
[Adding a new alarm in Kirby Alarm Pro]

You can set recurring alarms, you can set it to pop up a message on your computer, read the message to you (in a manly robotic voice), tell you the time, sound an alarm, or send you an email, plus other options. You can also set it up to play sound files—at one point, my reminder to start fixing dinner was Homer Simpson demanding loudly "Where's my burrito?!"

Support for this program is excellent. It's actually very easy to use, but I had trouble setting two alarms to go off between 9am and 6pm, every day except Wednesday -- one at five minutes to the hour, telling me to get away from the computer ("Get up and move around, pick something up and put it away"), and another one at five minutes past the hour, telling me to get back to work ("Now get back to work"). I sent the maker, Ian Cook, an email and 22 minutes later I had an answer that exactly answered my question. (By the way, the answer was that the start and stop of the valid times setting has to be exactly the same as the first and last actual alarm times, i.e. for my scenario, the start and stop times were 9.55am and 5.55pm. )

So in summary, if you spend a lot of time at the computer and you need to be reminded to do things in the real world, Kirby Alarm can help you out.


Until you value yourself, you won't value your time. Until you value your time, you will not do anything with it. M. Scott Peck