Computers often pose a dilemma of power consumption. You’d like to do batch jobs like downloading, system repair or back-ups at night, when you aren’t bothered by it. Then again, it seems a bit wasteful to keep your computer running all night long, especially if it should finish its work in an hour or three. Sure, it’s easy that way, but it’s also an incredible waste of energy.
A much more banal, but no less significant dilemma poses itself when you finish watching a movie, or go out for a cup of coffee. Do you get up and turn your system off, or do you leave it on for when you get back? If you’re one of those people who, like me, have their computer turned on most of the time, chances are you’ll simply forget, regardless of your good intentions.
The answer, my friend, is to be found in automatisation. The more you make your computer able to act autonomously, the less you have to worry about forgetting small things, like powering off your computer. Craig provided 2 Applications To Put Timers Or Conditions To Windows Shutdown earlier this year, and Chris presented a solution to the more detailed problem of powering your PC off after a download. This article intends to revisit shutdown schedulers, but this time from a Mac OS X perspective.
Timer Clock ($0.99)
Timer Clock resides at the simple range of the spectrum. It’s straightforward and very easy to use. You can use it to schedule a reminder (e.g. “Buy milk.”), a restart, putting your computer to sleep, or initiate a full shutdown. In the case of the reminder, it may be useful to set the remind message.
All of these tasks are scheduled along one of two ways. Timer Clock allows you to schedule an action at a given time (e.g. shutdown at 23:30:00, using the 24 hour convention, as shown in the screenshot above). Alternatively, you can specify a duration after which an action is triggered (e.g. go to sleep in 1 hour and 10 minutes).
Once running, Timer Clock shows a big, clean timer as in the screenshot above. If you deviate from your schedule, you can simply pause and resume Timer Clock’s timer. All in all, Timer Clock is a cheap and easy way to schedule computer shutdowns. If a timer provides all the functionality you need, Timer Clock may well be the application for you. If not, do read on.
NIWO Slumber ($4.99)
NIWO Slumber is one step above timer clock in terms of features. It’s also the most expensive app we’re going to be looking at today; but the clean and simple interface definitely warrants the extra money. In its most basic form, NIWO Slumber offers similar timer functionality as Timer Clock. You can set a simple timer to initiate a complete shutdown, restart your computer, put it to sleep, or even just log the current user out.
A very simple addition, but not to be underestimated, is NIWO Slumber’s notification feature. At a set time before your computer shuts down, NIWO Slumber will remind you by displaying a pop-up and optionally playing a sound to go along with it. This way, you won’t forget about a scheduled shutdown and inadvertently lose a lot of work.
On top of that basic functionality, NIWO Slumber allows you to create a large number of templets. Each template defines a different timer similar to the one described above. Using these templates let’s you reuse shutdown timers on the fly, with just a few clicks of the mouse.
If you need even more functionality than the NIWO Slumber shutdown timer templates, it’s time to look at the real power horse of shutdown scheduling. Its simple name belies its capabilities. Rather than allowing you to define multiple timer templates create timers in their image, Shutdown lets you define and activate timers for different scenarios.
As such, you can use Shutdown to schedule a shutdown at a certain time on weekdays, or even on specific days of the week. All of these day-specific shutdown schedules are configured in Shutdown’s date tab. You can easily enable or disable some shutdown schedules by ticking the boxes next to them on or off.
Shutdown also provides the simple timer functionality present in all of these application, allowing you to shut down, restart or log out after a given amount of time. Shutdown’s timer may not be the prettiest of the bunch, but it gets the job done, and the added Date scheduling makes it a definite win for power users.
Shutdown schedulers like those mentioned above can be used together with more efficient sleep modes to keep power consumption within limits. How do you intend to use shutdown scheduling? Let us know in the comments section below the article!
Image credit: Michael Blea / Shutterstock