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I dont know whether its a function of ageing or just
intolerance of bad design, but I notice my environment is
increasingly infested with things that go beep, sometimes
often but often not often at all. Firstly, Im not really
interested in keeping up with which things have which beeps.
a high frequency square wave is characteristically
not easy to pinpoint directionally - the high harmonic content
bounces off the surroundings so if something beeps it can
easily sound like it is coming from somewhere irrelevant.
Thirdly, there are devices that have never beeped, and then
they suddenly beep how am I supposed to recognise what it
is that is making that untraceable but interminable sound,
and more importantly, what is it telling me? Which brings me
to fourthly, a beep has almost no meaning. It simply indicates
a desire to communicate, but not the communication itself.
Therefore, my message to devices the world over is: say what
the bloody hell you mean! Dont just beep, actually say so.
Tell me what the problem is.
In this day and age, it isnt difficult to implement a speech
synthesiser to tell me in English what exactly the situation is.
However, in any day and age, people will always want to
make a cheaper nastier version of what someone has nicely
made and charges a lot for. Anticipating this, and
anticipating a lifetime of stone age square waves, what about
a type of mark-space ratio based meaningful language-like
'words' that can be accepted in societies the world over, so
that we can tell what the problem is, and which anonymous
slab of technology is having the problem (and where the
bloody hell it is).
Human sounds for appliances
A meaningful variant. [tatterdemalion, Jan 19 2015]
This is an old Idea
Well, the Idea was implemented in a different context than described here, but it is still an old Idea. [Vernon, Jan 20 2015]
Change beep to meep. That is the answer.
[Ling, Jan 21 2015]
||Yes, please let technology march on, instead of just beeping at us. Like the modern hearing aids, that instead of just beeping at you when the batteries are low, say " battery " in your ear, in your choice of sex and accent.
||Or take the morse code route, like Nokia's old SMS ringtone.
||Perhaps all of our devices are just swearing at us and being censored by the universe.
||It would be very easy to retain the "beep" sound, yet embed a
low rate code via PCM effectively as a QR code, that would
identify both the device and
the issue via a smartphone app, i.e. "Ian, your pacemaker battery
has less than three
minutes remaining before auto-shutdown
||One variation linked. Also there has been some mention of microwave ringtones. Everything should have downloadable ringtones.
||All such status information hould be said in a sultry French accent, to the tune of "Je t'aime"
||// microwave ringtones //
||Great for long-range alerts, but the magnetron is bulky and heavy.
Audio frequencies are easier to detect.
||I wear an insulin pump that makes several different kinds of
beeps, so one knows what is going on. I must admit that
when I hear an *exterior* beep, I still look at my pump. So
even though [Vernon] says this is baked, I want to bun this.
||Eventually, you'll get to a beep-language like R2D2, so you may as well get Ben Burtt to help design it from the get-go.
||My dishwasher says, at appropriate times, "The dishes
are washed and dried." I find this quite remarkable,
considering he's Polish.
||My dishwasher makes a whining noise and drips water from
||Paper plates, works for me.
||[not_mrm] That's an unusual name - I'm glad it hasn't stopped him getting employment though.
||Do they always use square waves ? .. "did not know that.