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"Message for you, sir"
July 5, 2011 7:47 AM   Subscribe

"Excuse me, but it appears you have been presented with an addition to your in-box. Would you like tea and crumpets with that, my lord?"

Do you still receive email (previously)? If so, perhaps you are tired of your system's built-in email notification sound. Never fear, a brave .wav enthusiast has compiled endless references to the receiving and reading of email. These sound bytes span America's rich TV past (well, mostly Simpsons references), but don't miss the veritable Inbox of Babel toward the bottom.
posted by obscurator (50 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite

 
Man, this brings back memories for sure. WAVs... haha.. it's odd that those were so popular back in the dialup days when it took minutes to download any of them, and they've all but vanished with broadband.
posted by odinsdream at 7:51 AM on July 5, 2011


Smithers! Crank up the auto-computational, I must know if the paperless telegram from the prussian consulate in Siam has arrived, tut tut!
posted by The Whelk at 7:56 AM on July 5, 2011 [5 favorites]


Craig Kilborn from The Daily Show

Oh yeah, I remember that guy.
posted by Dr-Baa at 7:56 AM on July 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yes, you're in deep d'oh now! was my critical error wav for a long time.
posted by nomisxid at 7:58 AM on July 5, 2011


When you die you're forced to relive every single second of every goddamned hour you spent trying to set up all your windows noises to Star Trek computer bleeps.
posted by The Whelk at 7:59 AM on July 5, 2011 [15 favorites]


When you die you're forced to relive every single second of every goddamned hour you spent trying to set up all your windows noises to Star Trek computer bleeps.

For me it was clips from 2001: A Space Odyssey. But yeah, I would not be surprised if that was my hell. Also Nerf Herder is playing, loud and nearby.
posted by penduluum at 8:03 AM on July 5, 2011


I once spent a whole afternoon trying to find a .wav of an Apple II E starting up. It used to sound like there were actual switches turning over in there. (Maybe there were.) I want my Windows box to start up like that... maybe teach it some respect for its ancestors.
posted by Net Prophet at 8:07 AM on July 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


This post was inspired by an email-related anecdote I recently heard. A friend knew his labmate's extreme distaste for the oeuvre of Lenny Kravitz, and thus changed all of his Win notifications to LK "song" snippets, followed by three minutes of silence, and then came the standard "ding" or "sproing" or whatever .wav. The labmate nearly lost it...before realizing what happened and changing them back.
posted by obscurator at 8:08 AM on July 5, 2011 [9 favorites]


This dude's way behind the times. My college roommate had this as her email notification sound way back in 2004. (And no, it never got old.)
posted by phunniemee at 8:10 AM on July 5, 2011


....My old computer had a lot of such wav. files:

* The startup noise was a clip from the opening of Peter Gabriel's song "Big Time" where he chirps, "Hi there!"
* The incoming mail was David Letterman - "Congratulations, skippy, you've got mail!"
* A critical error was Agent Scully: "You have just done something completely stupid."
* Windows shutdown was from HITCHHIKER'S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY: "And so, the universe ended."

....I have resisted the urge with my current computer and I think I may be better off.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:10 AM on July 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


This post was inspired by an email-related anecdote I recently heard. A friend knew his labmate's extreme distaste for the oeuvre of Lenny Kravitz, and thus changed all of his Win notifications to LK "song" snippets, followed by three minutes of silence, and then came the standard "ding" or "sproing" or whatever .wav. The labmate nearly lost it...before realizing what happened and changing them back.

You've just reminded me -- I used to work in a television production company, and our VP of post-production used a then-new computer editing system. One day, one of our interns -- who had a good working relationship with the VP, whose name was "Angelo" -- made a recording of himself saying, "Oh, Angelo!" in a mocking voice, and made that the .wav file for an error on the system.

The first time Angelo started up the computer and heard it, he cracked up and rounded us all up -- "hey, come listen to what Sid did to my computer! This is cool!" And he brought everyone else into the office as we came in to listen to him make his computer say, "Oh, Angelo!" And Angelo would giggle like a kid each time it happened.

....Then we started work for the day. And for several hours, we all heard it happening again and again, as Angelo did his work on the computer:

"Oh, Angelo!"
"Oh, Angelo!"
"Oh, Angelo!"
"Oh, Angelo!"
"Oh, Angelo!"

At about noon, Angelo came out of his office and walked over to Sid the intern's desk and begged him to get rid of it.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:16 AM on July 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


I used the Monty Python "Message for you, sir" as my "incoming IM" sound for most my college career. Good times.
posted by Johnny Assay at 8:17 AM on July 5, 2011 [4 favorites]


When I got my first computer and went to college I thought it would be awesome to use hilarious .WAV files for everything. That lasted about two days before I realized how incredibly annoying it was. Unfortunately the roommate I had throughout most of college never figured it out.
posted by ghharr at 8:18 AM on July 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


"When you die you're forced to relive every single second of every goddamned hour you spent trying to set up all your windows noises to Star Trek computer bleeps."

Yes, but then you get to go to Star Trek heaven.
posted by longsleeves at 8:19 AM on July 5, 2011 [4 favorites]


If your workmates have become tired of the zany sounds you've installed on their computers, it's probably time to screenshot their desktop, make that their desktop background, then turn off their desktop icons and drag their bottom panel down to near-invisible thinness. Hilarity will surely ensue.
posted by flabdablet at 8:23 AM on July 5, 2011 [7 favorites]


This reminds me of the time my mum set up the computer startup sound to be the entire X-files theme, and made me work out how to fix it by myself.

I think she was trying to stop me going into an IT related career.

(It worked.)
posted by Silentgoldfish at 8:25 AM on July 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh, man, I changed the error sound on my Apple IIgs...to the phrase Ahnold says when he's in the can in the original Terminator. Problem is, I forgot to change it back before my mom used the computer...so she got a lot of error sounds like this...

"Fok yoo, azhool"
"Fok yoo, azhool"
"Fok yoo, azhool"
"Fok yoo, azhool"
"Fok yoo, azhool"

She was *not* pleased when I got home.
posted by notsnot at 8:27 AM on July 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


longsleeves: "Yes, but then you get to go to Star Trek heaven."

Computer: arch.
posted by Apropos of Something at 8:28 AM on July 5, 2011 [4 favorites]


My college roommate had this as her email notification sound way back in 2004.

Given that, in 2004, I'd had an email account for 20 years, I must object strenously to the term "way back in."

And get off my lawn.

MATLOCK!!!
posted by eriko at 8:31 AM on July 5, 2011


In 2011, do email programs actually still make noises when you receive new mail?
posted by pla at 8:31 AM on July 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Do you still receive email

Geocities came and went.
AOL came and for all intents, went.
USENET came, and for all intents, went.
Myspace, the same.

I could go on. Email predates them all, and is still used today.

In 2011, do email programs actually still make noises when you receive new mail?

Only miconfigured ones. :-)

Seriously -- most of them can, and if the user wants them to, should. Me? DIE IN A FIRE WITH THAT BEEPING NOISE....errr, ahem, sorry, I mean I'd prefer they did not.
posted by eriko at 8:33 AM on July 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


When you die you're forced to relive every single second of every goddamned hour you spent trying to set up all your windows noises to Star Trek computer bleeps.

When I worked in software tech support, a number of our callers had that theme. It's probably pretty cool when you're alone, not so much when you're spending half an hour on the phone with me trying to figure out why your MIDI controller won't work.
posted by schoolgirl report at 8:36 AM on July 5, 2011


And I too had "Message for your, sir!" as my incoming email sound.
posted by schoolgirl report at 8:36 AM on July 5, 2011


I once spent a whole afternoon trying to find a .wav of an Apple II E starting up. It used to sound like there were actual switches turning over in there. (Maybe there were.) I want my Windows box to start up like that... maybe teach it some respect for its ancestors.
posted by Net Prophet at 11:07 AM on July 5


Apple IIe being switched on after 15 years.
posted by longsleeves at 8:57 AM on July 5, 2011 [4 favorites]


Oh man, the shame. Back when Windows 95 was the new hotness I used one of those programs that allowed you to choose a set of sounds for each event and it would randomly rotate them. So not only did you have a PC that was spewing silly quotes all the time, but they were not the same quotes every time. The one I remember the most was the red X crash dialog ("This program has performed an illegal operation") which was a rotation of "What we got here is... failure to communicate" from Cool Hand Luke plus "The new phone book is here! The new phone book is here!" from The Jerk plus probably a 2001 HAL quote.
posted by Rhomboid at 8:58 AM on July 5, 2011


My old Windows 95 laptop played a clip of "Welcome to the Machine" by Pink Floyd on startup. It should be required for all computers.
posted by kensch at 8:59 AM on July 5, 2011


I used the Warcraft II Death Knight's "I'm alive" for a startup sound way back (via)
posted by jeffburdges at 9:01 AM on July 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Hah, The Daily .WAV is still around! And dear gods, "Fifteen years and counting..." makes me feel old, because I probably visited the site in it's first year or two, looking for funny WAVs. There are lots of clips from 2001: A Space Odyssey, Star Trek series and movies, and a few Holy Grail clips.

The OP site also has other collections, including Simpsons sounds, which the Daily WAV was asked to remove in '97.

More WAVs of the past: Mac OS classic sound pack, and Windows 95 sound packs (under the Multimedia header).
posted by filthy light thief at 9:04 AM on July 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


"You've got mail ....PATTERN BALDNESS!"
posted by The Whelk at 9:05 AM on July 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


For years, my email notification sound has been from the UK version of AOL, a prim and proper british woman saying, "You've got post!"
posted by AzraelBrown at 9:10 AM on July 5, 2011


UK AOL sound files, and ringtones from BBC, NPR, NBC, and other randomness.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:16 AM on July 5, 2011


This was my shutdown sound for many, many years. Only one I ever bothered to customize; the rest I turned off.

(Do you also wish for SMAC sounds? Here you go~ Mostly just tech and faction voices.)
posted by curious nu at 9:25 AM on July 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


This will be good company for my Flying Toasters screensaver.
posted by me & my monkey at 9:41 AM on July 5, 2011 [4 favorites]


Huh. Apple ][ Pascal is so not ready for the desktop.
posted by flabdablet at 9:58 AM on July 5, 2011


Email WAVs have given way to MP3 ringtones and SMS tones. I don't know if this is a net gain or loss.

If you thought "INCOMING MESSAGE" all the time was annoying, give Archer's ringtone a try.

What annoyingly customizable sound notification will our grandchlidren gleefully enable?
posted by infinitewindow at 9:59 AM on July 5, 2011


What annoyingly customizable sound notification will our grandchlidren gleefully enable?

I don't know, but I fear it will involve advertising.
posted by rmd1023 at 10:04 AM on July 5, 2011


My college roommate had this as her email notification sound way back in 2004.

The fact that I live in a year when someone can write "way back in 2004" suddenly makes me feel really, really old.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 10:09 AM on July 5, 2011


If you thought "INCOMING MESSAGE" all the time was annoying, give Archer's ringtone a try.

I'm sorry, but that is no Cat Party.
posted by The Devil Tesla at 10:11 AM on July 5, 2011


I had a friend, back in the Windows 3.1 days, who was trying to set his Windows shutdown sound to be the ending music from an anime movie (Urusei Yatsura Beautiful Dreamer if you are).

None of us know exactly how but he managed to get that 5+ minute .wav set to be all of his system sounds. Including mouse clicks. By the time he managed to get it undone he never wanted to hear that song again.
posted by sotonohito at 10:33 AM on July 5, 2011


The list of system sounds I used at various times before I got bored with having any system sound at all is quite long... These were only slightly spoiled by the fact that I was so short on hard disk space I had to have all my media files on an external hard drive. So my email notification for ages wasn't actually Homestar, it was a click and whirr as the hard drive sleepily got itself started, followed a few seconds later by Homestar.
posted by ZsigE at 10:44 AM on July 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


"You've got mail ....PATTERN BALDNESS!"

Multiple plaids? I'm a naked robot and even I know that's a fashion no-no.
posted by maryr at 11:09 AM on July 5, 2011


Back in 1998 I had a wav file called parp.wav which was a perfect little fart noise on a trombone or a tuba - some brass instrument anyway. I definitely got it from the Internet - but have never been able to find it since.

I should really cross post this to Ask.
posted by Jofus at 11:25 AM on July 5, 2011


Ha! Man, what was the name of the System 7-era utility that allowed you to assign sounds to custom events? Was it Kaboom? That's a tough term to search for, not surprisingly.

This also reminds me of another trick that made the rounds back then, which was to give custom icons to sound files and then dump 'em in your startup folder. Back then, as Mac OS loaded, it would show the icons of the various extensions it was starting up as it loaded them. As such:

1. Create 10 second clip from "Who Am I?"
2. Give it a Cosette icon
3. As you're booting up, right after Appletalk loads, boom: "AND SO JAVERT, YOU SEE IT'S TRUE! THIS MAN BEARS NO MORE GUILT THAN YOU! WHO AM I? TWO-FOUR-SIX-OH-OOOOOOOOONE!"

Of course, one was never enough. It probably took my parents' computer 15 minutes to boot if you included the various Les Mis, Star Wars, Friends, Animaniacs and Monty Python clips that played this way.
posted by SpiffyRob at 11:30 AM on July 5, 2011


a prim and proper british woman

Joanna Lumley!

saying, "You've got post!"

I do now. </Roy from IT Crowd>
posted by dhartung at 12:20 PM on July 5, 2011


For years my Windows 95 Startup (yes, NOT shutdown) sound was from one of the early scenes in Monty Python's Holy Grail: "You're not fooling anyone, you know, you'll be stone dead in a moment." And it was usually right.

Now the only "custom" notification sound I have is on my Droid phone, it's the bleepity-blat sound of "the book" from the original H2G2 radio show. I still have a little nerdgasm every time I hear it.
posted by Greg_Ace at 1:29 PM on July 5, 2011


+1 for Warcraft2 sounds! I think it had something to do with them being available as separate wav files in the install dir. I used to have the chundering sound you'd get from clicking too many times on an orc ship as my ICQ message notification sound. For years.

I don't bother to customise my computer sounds anymore, but I have Slayer's Raining Blood as my ringtone.
posted by Joe Chip at 3:09 PM on July 5, 2011


My college roommate had this as her email notification sound way back in 2004.

2004 is 'way back'? wow. I am old.

In 2004 I'd had an email account for at least 15 years (I have files in my mailreader dated 1997, and it's not because a computer lost a calendar battery). Admittedly, I'd never customised the incoming message sound, largely because I used a mail reader and read my email off-line. (Oh the joys of terminals, packet transfer, and metered on-line time.)
posted by jlkr at 3:40 PM on July 5, 2011


For a while I was guilty of having Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry as Wooster and Jeeves doing something like "Will that be all sir?" "Yes, thank you Jeeves, that'll be all" on system shutdown.

Nowadays I just like a computer to make as little noise as possible, other than audio I actually want to listen to, like iTunes.
posted by randomkeystrike at 4:01 PM on July 5, 2011


jlkr In 2004 I'd had an email account for at least 15 years (I have files in my mailreader dated 1997, and it's not because a computer lost a calendar battery).

Aww man... Now I have geek-cred-proof envy. I got my first email account around the same time you did (pretty much the dawn of "real" email, though technically I had a FIDO account from a year or two earlier), but don't seem to have anything remaining from before March of 1999. Stupid ISPs and their 1MB quotas.
posted by pla at 3:31 AM on July 6, 2011


When I was in college, I was far too amused with myself and spent a lot of time customizing my computer. (In my defense, it was the first computer I'd ever had to myself.) I forget what my startup sound was, but I know I had the screen set to display Bun-Bun from Sluggy Freelance leaping at the viewer and shouting, "Time to die, nerd-boy!" I had a really angry cat for the error message, and my shutdown sound was Marvin the Martian: "Oh, I'm going to blow it up. [10-second explosion sound]"

I did a lot of custom icons, too. At one point, my desktop basically looked like an ongoing game of Age of Wonders, with the various programs represented by the character art.

Ah, memories...
posted by Scattercat at 5:46 AM on July 6, 2011


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