A Homebrew Computer Alarm

(Originally published on January 7th, 2010)

I wanted to wake up to NPR. There’s a good alarm application for the Mac called Alarm Clock which allowed me to play an arbitrary iTunes playlist on schedule (with bells and whistles such as gradually increasing the volume), but the free version couldn’t deal with playing audio streams (such as, in my case, wnyc.org).

No problem — I used cron as well as OS X’s built-in wake-on-schedule functionality.

First, in System Preferences > Energy Saver, I set a schedule to wake up the computer on weekdays at 6am. Then I edited the crontab: in Terminal I typed

crontab -e

and typed in the editor

1 6 * * 1-5 osascript /Users/strozek/wnyc.applescript

The above tells OS X to run the command osascript at 6:01am Monday through Friday. The script I pass to osascript is the following script:

set volume 2
tell application “Safari”
open location “http://wnyc.org/flashplayer/player.html#/playStream/fm939″
end tell
delay 20
set volume 2
delay 20
set volume 2.75
delay 20
set volume 3.25
delay 20
set volume 3.75
delay 20
set volume 4.25
delay 20
set volume 5

And voilà! I just need to remember to keep the computer plugged in at night and not close the lid.