Life Hacks: A True Time Hack

by Paul Wilson


carnival_clock.jpgLately, as I’ve been working more and more on the web I’ve noticed a problem—I lose track of time. Sometime I lose track of days. I just got back from having dinner with a friend and I told him how I dip my head into the Internet and sometimes I forget to come up for life.

I know many of you whose primary income comes from online ventures have similar struggles. I become so in grossed in what I am doing that I don’t realize that I am allowing life to slip by. As amazing as the Internet is, actually living a healthy balanced life is more amazing.

So I decided to do some hunting to see if I could find something to help me come back to reality. One idea I came up with was being reminded of the time. I know that Microsoft Outlook has reminders that I could set but there’s nothing I hate more than having my work placed in the background when Outlook has a reminder pop up (really annoying Microsoft!).

An idea I had was to see if I could get my computer to announce the time. I figured if I could setup my system tray clock to announce the time every hour I wouldn’t get so lost in cyber space.

I did a search in google using the keywords: talking clock computer, and received 2.1 million hits. I found a lot freeware computer clocks, but none of them supported Vista, and honestly it seemed that they were designed by geeks that didn’t know how to write simplified instructions. I figured I would waste more time trying to figure out how to install it than if I just continued on being lost in the web—which defeats the whole reason of having the clock.

I did finally find a clock that was simple to install and seems to work really well. The company that creates the software is Provenio Software Corporation and the website is (download Say the Time).

Here are the reasons I’ve decided to go with this software over the others:

  1. It works just fine with Vista. I am finding this more and more important since it seems nothing really works with Vista right now (again Microsoft really annoying, and don’t get me started on your docx extensions!).
  2. It has a customizable countdown clock. I have to say that I really like this function a lot. I get paid by the project and not necessarily the time I spend on the project. I use this function to push myself to get my projects done faster.
  3. A visual world clock. I probably spent too much time playing with this feature. However, since I have a lot of my programming done offshore I really like knowing that I can’t expect an email from India when it is 4am their time.
  4. Customized spoken reminders. I have to admit this is what sold me on Say The Time. All the other clocks I saw on the web only focused on the time (which was the original reason for my search). Yet, with Say The Time I was able to write notes to remind myself. These notes where then spoken when the time came to remind me. VERY COOL!
  5. Hot female voice! Let’s be honest if I am spending so much time on the Internet that I need a clock to remind me to get a life, I really don’t have much of a life! So, it’s definitely a big benefit that the computer voice is an attractive female voice (pathetic I know)!

The downside to this clock is that it is not free. My mistake was trying out their free 30 day trial of the clock. Once I did this I was hooked on their software. The price is 24.95; I’ve justified the cost in recognizing that enjoying a real life (and Second Life doesn’t count) is worth $25!

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