Pimlical Android Help

Managing Alarms

Note - Due to a limitation in the Android calendar database, alarms cannot be set at the event time for items in an Android Calendar, but have to be set at least one minute in advance. This limitation does not apply to items in Pimlical's Local calendars.

Make sure that the preference PimlicalAlarmHandling (see below) is set correctly to accomplish what you want.

Spoken Alarms

A very useful feature in Pimlical/Android is an option to speak alarms. When driving, instead of hearing an alarm and wondering what it's for, Pimlical/Android speaks the description field (even identifying advance/past-due notices and telling you how many days past-due or in the future they are). Like everything else, it's a preference setting and you can disable that feature if you don't like it. You can also set a custom Action Tag in an event (NoVoiceAlarm) to prevent that event's description from being spoken when the alarm goes off.

Overview

There are three settings for the preference PimlicalAlarmHandling (Alarm Section of preferences):

None    Alarms are completely ignored by Pimlical in that they will never trigger. If you have alarms/notifications enabled in the built-in calendar application, those will continue to trigger as they did in earlier versions of Pimlical (i.e. the built-in calendar generates the notification and manages issues of snoozing etc.).

Local    This is the default setting. Pimlical's management of alarms is only set for items that are in Pimlical's local calendar on the SD card (this is Pimlical's database - not to be confused with the local calendar that is present on some Android phones). When an alarm triggers, Pimlical manages the alarm itself and provides more powerful alarm and snooze handling for the event. Alarms set on items in an Android calendar will also trigger, but the built-in calendar application (if so enabled) will manage the alarms set in that database.

All    With this setting, Pimlical manages alarms for both the local and Android calendars. If you choose this setting, you will definitely want to disable alarm notifications for all Android calendars displayed in Pimlical (go into built-in calendar application, choose settings and there will be an entry there that allows you to turn off notifications). If you do not disable alarm notifications, you will usually get two alarm notifications - one from Pimlical and one from the native Android Calendar application. You can set the preference: NoAlarmsOnTheseCategories to selectively suppress alarms on certain calendars or categories.

There is a limitation in the built-in Android calendar that alarms must be set at least one minute in advance of the event time and maximum alarm advance is 28 days (Google calendar limitation). Also, the Android/Google calendar does not support post-Start Time alarms (i.e. alarms that go off after the start time). There are no such limitations when using Pimlical to manage alarms and the default setting of 1 minute for the alarm time in the dropdown list appears instead as At Event Time.

When Alarms Trigger

When an alarm triggers in Pimlical, the default action is for Pimlical to display the alarm dialog listing all the alarms that triggered at that time (the window title displays the time that the alarm triggered - in this case 6:34pm). Each item is checked in the list, indicating that if you tap the Done or Snooze buttons, it will apply to all checked items. See note below about using the Android notification system instead.


Tapping the Done button will dismiss all the alarms and exit the dialog - they will not trigger again unless the alarm is reset on the event. Tap the Alarm Icon at top left to silence the alarm and (after having silenced the alarm) alternate between selecting all items and no items.  Tap the 5m+ button (this value is controlled by the preference: AlarmSnoozeButton5) to snooze all selected alarms for the specified amount of time.  Long-press the 5m+ button to snooze the alarm until 5 minutes before the start time of the selected Items..Tap the Snooze button to snooze all the selected items to some different time interval. When you finish managing the snooze settings for those selected alarms, the Snooze Dialog will return to the Alarm dialog with those items that were unchecked displaying so you can manage the remaining alarms.

Tap the Edit button to edit a single item in the list. To use this feature, you must have just one item selected in the list of alarms. Also, you can not edit an item if the alarm itself pops up over an open Edit Dialog (or any child dialogs of the Edit Dialog). If you have multiple items in the list and just one item selected and tap the Edit button, all the other items will be automatically snoozed as Pimlical brings up the edit dialog (you can just pull down on the notification bar and select the Pimlical alarm notification item to bring up the alarm dialog again with all the other alarms).

You can tap the alarm clock icon in the above dialog to immediately silence the alarm sound, vibration (if set) and the speaking of the alarm descriptions (note: some Android devices may continue to speak anyway due to a bug in Android OS), and it will also recheck all the items in the alarm list. Tapping any of the buttons at the bottom of the screen will also immediately silence the alarms.

Pimlical may need to re-read the database prior to displaying the alarms - and after dismissing the alarm/snooze dialogs, the device will display the normal lock screen if it had been powered off, etc.


The Snooze dialog displays the description of the selected alarm if only one was selected, otherwise it displays (Multiple Items) to signal that the snooze will apply to several items that you had selected.

There are five buttons and one drop-down list. The snooze times are all configurable in preference settings (see help section: Alarm Preferences) - so you can choose the four most likely snooze times that you use, and put the rest of them in a drop-down list.

Tapping any one of the four buttons will snooze all selected items for that period of time. By default, the snooze time is from right now, but you can also select To Before Start which sets the snooze time from the start time of the selected appointment(s) (if more than one appointment, it is the first appointment's start time that is used) or select To Before End to set the snooze time using the end time of the appointment.

Select a snooze time from the drop-down list, and then tap the Snooze For: button to the left of the list to set the selected snooze interval. Tap Cancel to return to the Alarm dialog.

After tapping one of the snooze buttons, if there were any items unselected when the Snooze button was tapped in the alarm dialog, Pimlical returns to the alarm dialog with the remaining items displayed and all selected. When snoozed alarms go off you can specify a separate alarm sound for them (Preference: AlarmSnoozeDefaultSound).

If there is a mix of appointments, floating events and snoozed alarms, the alarm sound is chosen based upon the first item in the alarms list.

AutoSnooze

Alarms can be automatically snoozed if they are not acknowledged by the user. The default settings provide for automatically snoozing the alarm if it is not acknowledged within two minutes (Preference: SecondsToAutoSnooze). It will then come back ten minutes later (preference: AlarmSoundRepeatInterval) and ring again. Note that you can have a different alarm sound for the snooze alarm. The number of times the alarm will come back after being autosnoozed is controlled by the preference: AlarmSoundRepeatCount (default value is 3). You can set this to a very high value (say 10000) to effectively always have the alarm come back. This preference is useful in situations where the device may be left unattended for days at a time (in which case one would not want to have alarms drain the battery down by constantly, and futilely triggering the alarm). When the alarm is no longer triggered by the autosnooze feature, the notification is still left in the Android notification area so there is a notice that an alarm has gone off - and this notification can be pulled down to get the alarm dialog to display so those alarms can be managed.

Using Android Notification System

When an alarm is snoozed, Pimlical posts an icon in the top status window to indicate that an item is being snoozed. At any time, you can pull down the notification and select that item and Pimlical will then invoke the standard Alarm Dialog so you can then dismiss/snooze the alarm(s). In the notification window, you will see PimlicalAlarm:  2, where the number (2 in this example) indicates how many alarms went off at that time. The time displayed is when the alarm last triggered the display of the Alarm Dialog (or when the alarm first went off if the initial display of the Alarm Dialog is suppressed -- see below).

The notification can use the standard Android Notification Sound on your device if the preference PlayNotificationSound is set to True. It will also vibrate if the preference VibrateOnAlarm is set to True.

Avoiding Alarms on Reminders

You can avoid having Pimlical trigger alarms on advance reminders by using the Action Tag NoAlarmsOnReminder on the target event. When you include this Action Tag, Pimlical creates the advance reminder event with no alarm on it. The alarm(s) set on the original target event will go off normally.

Avoiding Alarms on Certain Calendars or Categories

The preference NoAlarmsOnTheseCategories allows you to suppress the alarms on any number of specific categories and calendars. Just check the box next to the calendar/category name when modifying this preference setting.

Avoiding the Automatic Display of the Alarm Dialog

You can avoid having Pimlical automatically display the alarm dialog by setting the preference: UseNotificationWhenAlarmTriggers to True. When this is set to True, Pimlical will then automatically snooze the newly-firing alarm(s) and post a notification instead. When the snooze interval expires, the alarm dialog will be displayed, but you can postpone that effectively indefinitely by setting the preference: AlarmSoundRepeatInterval to a very large value (such as 10 days!).

Special Considerations

If you hear no alarm sound, go into menu | preferences and select a sound for the two preferences: AlarmDefaultSound (for appointments) and AlarmFloatDefaultSound (for floating events or tasks).

You can remove a pending snooze alarm set on an item by using the popup command Remove Snooze Alarm. Or you can remove the alarm on the item as that will also kill any snoozes set on that item. You can also pull down the notification bar, select the entry for Pimlical Alarm and then dismiss/snooze the alarm(s).

Regardless of whether you pick an alarm sound, a notification sound or a ringtone, the volume for the sound is controlled by the Alarm volume setting. Not all Android devices handle this the same way, and some don't handle it properly at all, so you may have to experiment a bit on some oddball Android devices to determine how the volume level of the alarm sound is controlled. 

If you use DirectSync - remember that it's a good habit to launch Pimlical/Android afterwards in case you created a new item AND put an alarm on it AND that alarm is the next alarm to go off. If you don't launch Pimlical/Android, that alarm might not always sound (in theory it should as Pimlical does cater to this issue, but some devices apparently have an OS issue that does not make it 100% reliable).

Pimlical must have been launched since the phone was rebooted in order for alarms to sound. On most Android devices this happens automatically (as Pimlical tells the Android OS to launch it briefly so alarms can be re-posted), but if for some reason when you reboot your phone you do not get alarms to sound, you may need to manually relaunch Pimlical to ensure the alarms appear.

For an alarm to sound, it must be set at least 15 seconds in advance of the minute when it will trigger. Also, alarms will not ring while the Alarm or Snooze dialogs are displayed. So setting up a reasonably short value for the AutoSnooze feature is recommended.

Some Android phones have no setting for controlling the Alarm Volume (Bug? DDD? (Dumb Design Decision). Although the standard Android OS has such a control,  many Samsung phones for example have no control over it. In that case, set the preference: UseRingtoneVolumeForAlarms to true and then you can control the Alarm volume by adjusting the Ringtone Volume.