Thursday, February 05, 2004

Behaviour of Alarms in Tasks

If you set an alarm for a Task in the new PIM apps on the T|E and T|T3, that alarm is set by default to go off 5 days in advance of the due date. At first this seemed to me like a design fault, since most alarms I set for a Task, I want to go off on the day it is due, and thus I had to perform some extra taps to set the alarm. However, Tasks has two interesting features in its handling of alarms:

1) If you set an advance alarm, the alarm goes off every day from the advance date until the due date, unless the task is marked completed.
2) If you create a new task for today, but leave the alarm set to go off 5 days in advance, there is no error message about setting alarms in the past: the alarm simply goes off today at the time specified.

The second is a very good feature, the first slightly less so. To see this: suppose I have a task with an alarm, due on the 29th Feb, and the alarm is set at the default 5 days in advance. It goes off on the 24th. I cancel the alarm, but don't get around to the task. Now I might have chosen the time for the alarm knowing that I would not be anywhere embarrassing at that time on the 24th. But now the alarm defaults to the same time on the 25th, which might be a very embarrassing time for an alarm to go off. In other words, if an advance alarm goes on a task, I must either complete the task immediately or think about when I want the alarm to go off again. But we all know that when an alarm goes on a task which one decides to put off, one does just that: puts off thinking about it.