KAlarm - A Handy App that Gets Little Attention

by Ostatic Staff - May. 25, 2011

There are a few applications that are so handy as to be almost indispensable and yet seem to get very little attention. Some applications are written of time and time again. But I've seen very little on KAlarm. Perhaps it's because KOrganizer Reminder Daemon is integrated into KDE PIM and seems rather full-featured. But whatever the reason, I personally use KAlarm for my reminders.

I use KAlarm quite a bit because I don't have a hard-fast 9 to 5 schedule. So when I make an appointment it can be difficult to remember. That's where KAlarm comes in.

Unlike KOrganizer it doesn't revolve around a daily calendar. Instead one just sets up reminders. I might use it to remind me of doctor or hair appointments, family get-togethers, favors I've committed to, or just anything that could get lost in my day to day routine.

The nicest feature is the choice of alarm. You can send an email reminder, run a command alarm, use a display alarm, or set an audio alarm. Email alarms can be sent to yourself or someone else, so it can be used to set up a future email to anyone. These are particularly handy. I send myself an email to remind me of upcoming appointment usually. You can set them to be sent out at a certain day and time. I like to have email set up so it will arrive the morning several hours before the appointment so I have time to get ready and get there. Sometimes I send one the night before so I can prepare.

The audio alarm is great as a more traditional alarm clock. If I need to get up earlier than I think I might, I can set up an audio alarm to go off at a particular time. The only problem I've encountered is that once you tick the Repeat box, there doesn't seem be a way to shut it up until you kill the whole app. I'm sure there is, but I just try to use a sound that's loud and long enough to wake me with one play.

The display alarm will display some text, run a command or script, or display some file contents. I'm not sure when I might ever use that, but it's probably handy for someone - someone who needs a silent alarm while using the computer. But you can set up a sound or beep to accompany the display alarms if desired.

The command alarm triggers a command. This could be used to run nightly backups among many other things. Really, the possibilities are wide open on this one (and that same component of the display alarm). I've just never used it.

There is a "Recurrence" tab on the configuration screens. There are settings for volume and fade for the sounds. The display alarm has font and color settings. You can set up templates for alarm types you might use repeatedly. You can import alarm files and birthday stores from KAddressBook.

For one of those smaller less flashy K apps, KAlarm sure is appreciated here. Thank you, David Jarvie.