13 Tech Sounds You Just Don’t Hear Anymore

As we move toward an age of quiet gadgets that do everything possible not to get in our way, we’re losing our appreciation for all the magic under the hood. Not long ago, the sounds our devices made reminded us that they were doing something truly important, whether that task was connecting us to the Internet or bringing us back to the beginning of our favorite VHS movies.

A child born today has a greater chance of hearing a real cloned dinosaur roar than a busy signal. But for those of us who lived through the beginning of the PC revolution, these 13 tech sounds will always be hardcoded into our memories.

The Mac OS “Uh-Oh” Sound

Getting error messages is bad enough, but having your computer literally yell at you every time you hit the wrong key is real torture. Nevertheless, many Mac users were amused by the sound of a demonic chipmunk screaming “uh-oh” when they experienced an error. It was cute maybe the first 300 times.

Want to Hear It?

VHS Rewind

Long before the age of Netflix, we rented tapes from the video store and lived in constant fear that, if we forgot to be kind and rewind them, we’d get charged a penalty. So before we could grab that nearly overdue copy of “Sorority Babes at the Slimeball Bowl-a-Rama,” jump in the car, and run three red lights to get to Blockbuster in time to avoid a late fee, we had to sit through five minutes of tape whirring as we waited for the VCR to bring our tape back to the beginning. The most satisfying part of the rewind sound was how the whirring noises seemed to get louder as the gears sped up in their race back to the beginning of the tape.

Want to Hear It?

The Whir of a Floppy Disk Drive

One thing that’s missing from today’s high-speed computing experience is the sense of anticipation. Back in the '80s and even the '90s, we waited with bated breath as our PCs tried to read our data off of floppy disks. As the loud drive head whirred, we crossed our fingers and hoped that a scratch or magnetic exposure hadn’t trashed our term paper. A scraping noise could spell impending doom.

Want to Hear It?

Dial-up Modem Handshake

In the age of 4G and fiber optics, it’s hard to remember a time when we had to use copper phone lines to dial up to our Internet services. But back in the days of CompuServe and Prodigy, we had to enter a local number into our computer’s dialer and then listen as our 2,400 baud modem dialed the phone, the phone rang, and then the two modems made a long dance of beeps and boings that sounded more like Ricochet Rabbit getting into a gunfight or Fred Flintstone foot-driving his car than two finely tuned computers connecting.

Want to Hear It?

Dial Tone

Back in the old days of copper phone wire and real live phone operators, you’d hear a dial tone every time you picked up the phone, just to let you know that you had an active connection. If you didn’t act quickly and dial, the phone would get angry at you and start making louder beeps to get your attention. Today, some VoIP phones still give you a dial tone as a way of emulating that past, but in reality, the need for this noise disappeared the minute people started using digital methods of communication. Still, it was always wonderful to pick up your phone and hear the comforting dial tone that let you know that, yes, you still have service, even when the power in your house was out.

Want to Hear It?

Busy Signal

Remember the days when you had to call a number over and over again just to get through? With services like voicemail and call waiting coming standard today, you never hit a dead end when you dialed a friend. But not too long ago, you could be dialing your mom to tell her that you just got engaged and be blocked by the busy signal — that shrill-voiced virtual bouncer — over and over again, because she was on the phone with your aunt.

Want to Hear It?

Rotary Phone Winding

Today, our cellphones make tones when we hit the numbers just for our own edification, because in reality, the dialing is all digital. However, back in the days before buttons, we had the pleasant, but time-consuming task of turning a rotary dial to make calls. It’s hard not to miss the hypnotic whirring noise that the dial made as it slowly returned to position after you moved it down to a high number like 8 or 9.

Want to Hear It?

Boot-up Beeps

Because the time you spend waiting for your computer to start is wasted time, many computer-makers don’t want to make the boot process any more conspicuous than it has to be. But back in the day, every computer made a satisfying beep noise as soon as you hit the power button. A single beep noise was music to the ears because it meant the computer is “good to go.” Double beeps or triple beeps meant there was something wrong.

“You’ve Got Mail!”

Remember when you actually wanted to receive email? Today, our inboxes are an unholy mixture of Viagra spam and Nigerian banking scams, with a sprinkle of legitimate correspondence thrown in. But back when the Web was new and AOL was the most popular ISP, users couldn’t wait to hear the sound of a man’s voice saying “you’ve got mail” each and every time a new message arrived.

Want to Hear It?

Windows 95 Shutdown Sound

Before Windows 95 launched, PC users always knew exactly when their computers were powered down. With earlier versions of Windows and DOS, you’d simply exit your program to a command prompt, hit the power button and watch as your computer turned off immediately. Starting with Windows 95, users had to actually hit a shutdown button and wait anywhere from seconds to more than a minute for the computer to shut off. The musical shutdown sound let you know that, even if you were across the room, yourPC was successfully turning off, rather than getting stuck.

Want to Hear It?

Dot Matrix Printout

Long before the days of color laser printers that churn out 30 pages a minute, we had dot matrix printing. There was something hypnotically relaxing about the sound of the chirpy print moving from left to right as reams of paper slowly pulled past it. We could meditate to that sound.

Want to Hear It?

CRT TV On and Off Sound

Today, our flat-panel TVs and monitors turn on and off in silence. Unless they have very conspicuous status lights, we often can’t tell whether our screens are on or off. With tube TVs, there was a wonderful pop of the tube powering up and the crack of it powering down.

Clicky Keyboard

While some gamers and typing traditionalists still use mechanical keyboards, all notebooks and most desktops today come with loathsomely laconic letters. When IBM ruled the desktop, PC keyboards produced a terrific tactile sound for every key you hit. To serious typists, this symphony of springs is more beautiful than Beethoven’s Ninth, because it gives them audible feedback that their strokes have registered.

Want to Hear It?

This story was provided by Laptopmag.com, a sister site to LiveScience.

Copyright 2012 LiveScience, a TechMediaNetwork company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • ToyotaPH continues it’s strong sales in February
    ToyotaPH continues it’s strong sales in February

    Toyota Motor Philippines (TMP) sustains its strong sales in its February performance. Toyota’s strong performance last month was due to the  high demand of the Vios, with sales of 2,012 units and of course the rest of Toyota’s line up such as the Fortuner, Innova, Wigo, Hilux, Avanza and Corolla Altis. Toyota’s luxury brand, Lexus, recorded 60 units last month. …

  • No apology, but Noy seeks understanding
    No apology, but Noy seeks understanding

    There was no apology, but President Aquino yesterday expressed regret, took “full responsibility” and appealed to the nation for “deepest understanding” for the Jan. 25 Mamasapano raid in which dozens died, including 44 police Special Action Force (SAF) commandos. “To every Filipino who has felt failure or has been hurt because of the events related to this operation, it is with abiding humility that I ask for your deepest understanding,” Aquino said in a speech before the 246 new graduates of …

  • MVP on endorsement: Thanks, I’m no politician
    MVP on endorsement: Thanks, I’m no politician

    Businessman Manuel V. Pangilinan is grateful for Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago’s praise and presidential endorsement, but says he is not a politician. In an interview on the sidelines of the launch of the search for The Outstanding Young Men (TOYM) of the Philippines 2015 Wednesday night, Pangilinan dismissed the idea of running for president in the 2016 elections. “I’m not a politician, I’m just an ordinary business person,” he added. Santiago endorsed Pangilinan as a presidential candidate …

  • No Lenten break in operations vs lawless groups – AFP
    No Lenten break in operations vs lawless groups – AFP

    The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is not suspending its offensive against the Abu Sayyaf, New People’s Army (NPA) and other lawless groups during the Holy Week, an official said yesterday. Lt. Col. Harold Cabunoc, AFP public affairs office chief, said the AFP leadership is leaving it up to area and division commanders whether to raise the alert status in preparation for the Holy Week. Those deployed in areas where there are ongoing law enforcement operations against terrorist groups …

  • Probe harassment vs human rights lawyer, CA orders AFP
    Probe harassment vs human rights lawyer, CA orders AFP

    The Court of Appeals (CA) has ordered the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to investigate a human rights lawyer’s claim of harassment, including surveillance, by several military officers. In a 22-page decision, the former Special Sixth Division of the appellate court granted the petition for writ of amparo and habeas data of Maria Catherine Dannug-Salucon. The CA ordered the AFP to identify the officers behind the surveillance and file charges against them. The CA ruling said …

  • Noy vows to dismantle bata-bata system in PNP
    Noy vows to dismantle bata-bata system in PNP

    President Aquino vowed yesterday to dismantle the culture of factionalism or the bata-bata system within the Philippine National Police as he continued the search for the next PNP chief. Speaking at the Philippine National Police Academy (PNPA) commencement exercises here, the President said the country needed solidarity among leaders and members of the police force so that the policemen would be effective protectors of Filipinos. “Our challenge to the next chief of our national police force: …

  • Envoy to expats: Retire, invest in Phl
    Envoy to expats: Retire, invest in Phl

    Retire and invest in real estate in the Philippines, especially now that the country has made it to the top 10 retirement destinations in the world. This is the message being spread by the Philippine embassy in Washington, with Ambassador Jose Cuisia Jr. leading the refrain in meetings with various Filipino-American communities in the US. In his talks, Cuisia said that an affordable cost of living as well as warm climate and people are just some of the things that make the Philippines a top …

  • PNPA spotlight falls on Ampatuan grandson
    PNPA spotlight falls on Ampatuan grandson

    The stigma of being a namesake of the principal suspect in the 2009 Maguindanao massacre did not prevent Cadet First Class Andal Ampatuan III from entering and graduating from the Philippine National Police Academy (PNPA). Ampatuan III, now with a rank of police inspector, is a grandson of former Maguindanao governor Andal Ampatuan Sr. The younger Ampatuan was among the 246 graduates of the PNPA “Lakandula” Class of 2015. Ampatuan III’s mother is Bai Rebecca Ampatuan, a daughter of the …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options