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The good kind of Noise. And the non-racist kind of White.
July 5, 2008 12:16 PM   Subscribe

Simply Noise. Streaming white noise for your auditory zen needs. That is all. That is enough.
posted by wendell (40 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite

 
Pink noise is where it's at, man
posted by yort at 12:29 PM on July 5, 2008 [4 favorites]


This is old school, and will soon be replaced by a blank blue screen with no sound.
posted by Tube at 12:31 PM on July 5, 2008


Pink noise for Macs only? Sounds about right.
posted by wendell at 12:38 PM on July 5, 2008 [2 favorites]


ssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss
posted by 2or3whiskeysodas at 12:47 PM on July 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


(that was in advance of the inevitable request for lyrics)
posted by 2or3whiskeysodas at 12:47 PM on July 5, 2008


They're cheating. I totally hear the loop.
posted by sourwookie at 12:48 PM on July 5, 2008


It even comes with a little window so you can watch the ant races, just like old times.
posted by Countess Elena at 12:56 PM on July 5, 2008


I was all set to come in and give you static for this, but it's a pretty neat thing.
posted by never used baby shoes at 12:59 PM on July 5, 2008


Yeah, the gap in the loop makes this "web application" go from ridiculous to absolutely pathetically useless. How can I "zen" to this? It's just a 30.8 second mp3 they are playing -- http://www.simplynoise.com/white.mp3 - and it's non-trivial (e.g. out of the range of possibility for these "let me buy the black Macbook before we drive to BarCamp in Peoria" saddlesores to loop an mp3 without a small sub-1152 sample skip. Let's ignore that most perceptual codecs try to optimize away this stuff when we ask why these with-high-probability-Digg-gamers didn't just loop a PCM file. If these too-bad-we-can't-buy-toplevels-in-sweden sub-SEO types waited a month they could have synthesized the white noise using Flash 10. But I really overestimate their knowledge of what "noise" is let alone how to properly synthesize it. My simple noise is the delicious popular page, if you take the std. deviation of the number of "Top N" things posted up on there (TOP 14 MISTAKES YOUR GARBAGEMAN MAKES WITH JQUERY) and regress it against the # of votes, that's some fucking noise. And oh, look, who's on first today
posted by neustile at 1:07 PM on July 5, 2008 [10 favorites]


turnmeondeadman
posted by Fuzzy Skinner at 1:10 PM on July 5, 2008


Not a loop, but still oddly soothing: The sound of jelly (jello) wobbling.
posted by carsonb at 1:32 PM on July 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


I can't slide my frigging orb.
Stressing.
Please advise.
posted by Dizzy at 1:32 PM on July 5, 2008


You could always tune the radio between stations, but I guess that would be too obvious.
posted by Sys Rq at 1:35 PM on July 5, 2008


a great activity while listening to this? tune your tv to a station thats all static all the time (the visual equivalent of white noise). now, breathe deeply and, using your thumb and forefinger, 'grab' a circle of static and 'move' it around on the screen...trippy, right?
posted by sexyrobot at 1:45 PM on July 5, 2008


Yort wins. As for the site:

At the spa, Marge and Homer lie in mud baths. A woman's voice intones soothingly, "All is well...all is well." Suddenly, a man's voice cuts in: "Turn tape over!" The tape rewinds, then resumes its gentle chanting. The Simpson parents sink blissfully into the mud.
posted by Garak at 1:51 PM on July 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


My TV only makes blue in between stations.
posted by shakespeherian at 1:53 PM on July 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


I just tormented my gf with this...She does radio telemetry research and listens to static for hours and hours, so obviously this was sort of a nightmare.
posted by schyler523 at 2:02 PM on July 5, 2008


"The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel..."
posted by BeerFilter at 2:12 PM on July 5, 2008 [2 favorites]


I can't slide my frigging orb.

IANAD
posted by forallmankind at 2:14 PM on July 5, 2008


Only 30 seconds looped? Phooey. I was hoping if I recorded enough of this then I'd eventually have a copy of every song ever produced.
posted by rlk at 2:38 PM on July 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


I can listen to this for free? What happens?
posted by Senator at 2:43 PM on July 5, 2008


1. cat /dev/urandom > /dev/dsp
2. ...
3. Profit!
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 3:07 PM on July 5, 2008


WHAT?
posted by subgear at 3:11 PM on July 5, 2008


Slick design, not-bad idea, horrible technical implementation. First, the loop glitch -- then, as yort pointed out, a poor understanding of the acoustics of noise. White noise is to between-station static as pink noise is to crashing ocean waves. The former tends to be as irritating as the latter tends to be soothing.
posted by treepour at 3:17 PM on July 5, 2008


cat /dev/urandom > /dev/dsp

Catting weird things to /dev/audio.

In plainer words for people who don't use unix or linux: You can "cat" or "concatenate" any data file to "standard output" in Unix/Linux. It basically spews the contents of the "file" as raw data. So, for the command "cat /dev/urandom > /dev/dsp", /dev/urandom is the "file", and the output of that data is being sent to /dev/dsp, which is part of the audio functionality in most modern unix/linux systems.

That simple single command is calling up the pseudorandom noise generator built into most unix/linux systems as a "file" to be read and output to the audio subsystem, outputting the random data stream as sound - generating white or pink noise.

It's a clever, yet dramatic demonstration of a real-world example of how unix-like systems differ greatly from something like MS Windows.

Since unix-like systems treat all "devices" and/or "objects" in the system as "files", it means that you can even output the raw data stream of your processor, or your system bus, or your mouse to /dev/dsp or /dev/audio. Or your entire harddrive. If you have any raw WAV audio files on your drive, they'll be played as normal, but the rest of it will be interesting gibberish.
posted by loquacious at 3:38 PM on July 5, 2008 [4 favorites]


1. Breathe deep
2. Loop noise
3. Read loquacious explanation
(Repeat till zen achieved)
posted by hal9k at 4:16 PM on July 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


A discernible (audible) loop point will make this pretty much worthless for a lot of people. Did these folks think no one would notice, or something? Folks who really need white noise for a good night's sleep are still advised to spring for a proper white noise generator that does not loop.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:54 PM on July 5, 2008


Linux users can also fire up whitenoise and/or gnome-whitenoise for this sort of thing done right.
posted by /\/\/\/ at 5:09 PM on July 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


The site itself says "Check back soon for improved noise" so I remain hopeful the SimplyNoisers will follow up with something that can provide a much more near-perfect white noise experience even for us poor slobs on Windows. They obviously should've slapped a big "BETA" label on it.

Still, it is especially relaxing when used together with Instant Crickets.

Instant Rimshot
posted by wendell at 6:23 PM on July 5, 2008


What does white noise do, and how does it do it? Wikipedia just gives me math type things.

That sound of wobbling jelly is very disturbing.
posted by oxford blue at 9:11 PM on July 5, 2008


That sound of wobbling jelly is like the sound of cunnilingus performed in a wading pool on the back of a moving truck. It is in no way soothing. Seriously.
posted by Dreama at 9:56 PM on July 5, 2008


A familiar sound Dreama?
posted by oxford blue at 10:15 PM on July 5, 2008


No, just a thought I had.
posted by Dreama at 7:09 AM on July 6, 2008


oxford blue: take a look at http://gnaural.sourceforge.net/ for an explanation about white noise. This piece of software can generate white noise with a kind of soothing beat which you can use to study or relax, or to blend out sounds while trying to sleep..
posted by marcelm at 10:08 AM on July 6, 2008 [2 favorites]


gnaural's an incredible piece of software. thanks for pointing it out.
posted by boo_radley at 9:44 PM on July 6, 2008


No, just a thought I had.

Or-a, maybe just a dreama he- had-a.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 10:27 PM on July 6, 2008


Whoops, left out an "a".
posted by flapjax at midnite at 10:28 PM on July 6, 2008


Big deal, our TV did this in the 60s.
posted by bwg at 2:42 AM on July 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


Ahhh... this is probably going to be seem a little strange. We hear better on this channel. Don't ask me why. Well... ah... I guess I will call her. Carol Anne. Ah... it's mommy, sweetheart. Ah, we want to talk to you. Please answer me baby. Please answer me. Please talk to me, bunny.
posted by bwg at 11:27 PM on July 8, 2008


That sound of wobbling jelly is like the sound of cunnilingus performed in a wading pool on the back of a moving truck.

Sold!
*downloads*
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 8:15 AM on July 9, 2008


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