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August 26, 2007 6:54 AM   Subscribe

There are good beeps and there are bad beeps. Beep beep beep beep beep. Previously: 1, 2, 3.
posted by jiiota (30 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
My Favorite beep. Still.
posted by cccorlew at 7:06 AM on August 26, 2007 [3 favorites]


Well, the writer of the first link is wrong on one point:

Interactive music is not linear. There's no beginning, middle, or end—unlike, oh, I don't know, every other piece of music ever written in the history of mankind! All compositions, from the most complex symphonies to the simplest nursery rhymes, have a beginning, a middle, and an end. And they always play in exactly that order. Completely sequential. Linear in one direction, like life, time, and entropy.

There's been serious composers who've done non-linear music before. I don't know any names, but I know it's out there. I remember a piece on NPR about a guy who'd written orchestral music on a spiral without any bar markings, so that things weren't always happening at the same time every performance, and shifted relative to each other in funny ways. I guess it still has a start and a finish, but anything in the middle is harder to pin down.
posted by Arturus at 7:10 AM on August 26, 2007


Beep beep'm beep beep yeah :)
posted by Poolio at 7:17 AM on August 26, 2007


The Annoy-A-Tron.
posted by BeerFilter at 7:31 AM on August 26, 2007 [1 favorite]


The missing YouTube link to Andy Rooney just kind of writes itself.
posted by StickyCarpet at 8:03 AM on August 26, 2007


The missing YouTube link to Andy Rooney just kind of writes itself.

Get off my lawn.
posted by jiiota at 8:11 AM on August 26, 2007


There's been serious composers who've done non-linear music before. I don't know any names, but I know it's out there.

A couple of notable figures there: John Cage (more: 1, 2) and Iannis Xenakis (more: 1); in general, we're talking about stochastic music. It's fun stuff; I did a markov-chain-driven Mozart reconstruction project in college at one point.
posted by cortex at 8:16 AM on August 26, 2007


First link's really great, second is... incomprehensible! But as someone with an interest in synths and sound design, thanks for the insight.
posted by Ted Maul at 8:19 AM on August 26, 2007


There's been serious composers who've done non-linear music before. I don't know any names, but I know it's out there.

A couple of notable figures there: John Cage (more: 1, 2) and Iannis Xenakis (more: 1); in general, we're talking about stochastic music. It's fun stuff; I did a markov-chain-driven Mozart reconstruction project in college at one point.


Don't forget Terry Riley's brilliant In C.
posted by Ted Maul at 8:21 AM on August 26, 2007


The most annoying beep I ever heard was the smoke detector that decided to emit one VERY LOUD short beep per minute, presumably to let me know its battery was dying. Mounted eleven feet up the wall. On my honeymoon. At two in the morning. The proprietor of the B&B, who had married us that afternoon, had to bring a ladder to shut the damn thing off.
posted by localroger at 8:34 AM on August 26, 2007


Your wife says you were smokin'
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 8:49 AM on August 26, 2007 [3 favorites]


*swipes mp3 of old telephone from third link, sets up new ringtone, waits for call*
posted by disclaimer at 8:52 AM on August 26, 2007


This company manufactures devices to get rid of annoying beeps.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 8:53 AM on August 26, 2007


Speaking of interfaces, the Flash interface for the myspace link is the best use of Flash I've seen in a while.

Also, I'm feeling freaky because I like some of the sounds presented, for example "09. Freezer Whitstable" in the first widget.

I guess it must be the last Sunday in August.
posted by mistersquid at 8:58 AM on August 26, 2007


The Beep Test. Beep Baseball. Oh, and: Beeping in Vietnam.
posted by progosk at 9:05 AM on August 26, 2007 [1 favorite]


Progosk: I love the beep test.

My favorite bit from the first article is here:
In the first version, Joe Britt, one of our founders, told me to make the low battery sound "as horrifying as possible," which I did, all tritones and nasty harmonics. But people were actually frightened by the abrupt noise of the [alert], and so didn't understand it meant "plug me in!" The second time around, I wanted to make the alert more onomatopoetic and came up with this, now universally known as [sad clown]. I have been told that new users have associated "sad clown" with "low battery" on the very first listen, which I count as a personal triumph.
posted by jiiota at 9:20 AM on August 26, 2007


Heartbeeps
posted by poppo at 9:38 AM on August 26, 2007


ccorlew: Ellen Feiss was the first thing I thought of when I saw this thread.
posted by candyland at 10:01 AM on August 26, 2007


BeerFilter,

The comment on the Annoy-A-Tron site is seriously funny.
posted by dozo at 10:50 AM on August 26, 2007


This has me thinking. Why does my microwave oven have to beep nastily with every keypress? Why not a gentle tone? Why can't appliances have more chimes and friendly noises? It all reminds me of the Baby Jesus doll from Saturday Night Live, a nativity scene figurine that used the worst Hong Kong 10-cent electronics design to make the sounds of the baby savior.
posted by calhound at 11:19 AM on August 26, 2007


Why not a gentle tone?

It's really easy and inexpensive to incorporate an unsophisticated noisemaker into a piece of hardware: a little minimal-moving-parts widget that goes "weeep!" sharply every time you fire a burst of electricity at it beats something with a decent little speaker and some memory &c when it comes down to budget decisions.

Which would explain why you don't see it on the low-end models, anyway. And the beep has become such an established feedback mechanism on keypad-driven appliances that momentum alone is probably preventing folks from bothering with audio niceties. They're selling microwaves, not mp3 players, they might say; or, missing the point in the opposite direction, they build a goddam mp3 player into a microwave and can't figure why it won't sell.

Give it time.
posted by cortex at 11:25 AM on August 26, 2007


The NYC subway turnstiles beep when you swipe your card successfully. They beep when you don't. It's the same beep.

So people will continue to false start into turnstiles, or pause to look down before entering, because the MTA won't splurge for a second beep.

More evidence the MTA could care less about the rider's experience.
posted by kingfisher, his musclebound cat at 12:37 PM on August 26, 2007


Metafilter: sinfully pleasurable schadenfreude
posted by localroger at 1:15 PM on August 26, 2007


calhound, mostl likely because your microwave doesn't have microprocessor control over the waveform; it probably has a single output it can set, which turns on the beeper that's meant to let you know your turkey is ready. That same beeper, with all its loud goodness, is toggled on for a brief instant to let you know you've just touched a button.
posted by localroger at 1:17 PM on August 26, 2007


Why does my microwave oven have to beep nastily with every keypress? Why not a gentle tone?

What would a 1/10th of a second "gentle tone" sound like?

It would be better to "click" the piezo unit, but maybe that shortens its lifetime.

Note most of our appliances are using a piezo device, not an old-school magnet speaker.
posted by five fresh fish at 2:45 PM on August 26, 2007


My roommate found this Samsung Microwave next to the dumpster one day, and it made the most pleasing beep I can imagine. It has a really simple, well labeled, obvious interface — and it beeps so appropriately!

For instance: it beeps when counting down on 2, 1, and 0, alerting you that it's about to finish. If you use it to cook, and you don't open the door when it's finished, it beeps again after 30 and 60 seconds. It is awesome.

Unfortunately when we got it, it was barely capable of boiling water. We swapped the magnetron out of another microwave, and it works superbly now!
posted by blasdelf at 3:34 PM on August 26, 2007


blasdelf, why? Why do you want it to beep every 30 seconds? No, blasdelf. No. We can tell when the microwave shuts off because- well, because it's no longer on. Likewise with the coffeemaker. When it stops gurgling, it's done.

I could handle maybe- maybe- a tiny, pleasant, single chirp when these things have finished. I would prefer no beeps at all until they can make them less ear-piercing.

My last coffeemaker- Mr Coffee- beeped five times, five very long and very loud beeps. I don't live in a mansion- it's right there, like twenty feet away from me. By the fifth beep I have usually gone past becoming aware that the coffeemaker has finished and have moved on to wanting to throw it out the window.

Bad blasdelf.
posted by jiiota at 4:08 PM on August 26, 2007


Alien Staring Contest
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:31 PM on August 26, 2007


[thinks about installing two magnetrons in one case]

Bad idea.

Surely you folk can weild a screwdriver, eh? Pop the case off and snip the beeper. Or put a piece of tape over it; that can really make the thing much more tolerable.
posted by five fresh fish at 4:38 PM on August 26, 2007


The beep every 30 seconds turns out to be really awesome. It only happens when you walk away and forget that you were cooking something. It would be a good feature even if the beep was shrill — but no this beep is so goddamn pleasant. It sounds like a Japanese Brass Bell.

fff: The magnetrons were surprisingly standardized — they were just mounted at different angles in each microwave.
posted by blasdelf at 3:32 PM on August 28, 2007


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