The Windows XP startup sound is eternally engrained in my thoughts, these tinkling chimes bringing again reminiscences of AIM, Civilization III, and countless hours spent attempting to obtain music by way of Napster and Kazaa adopted by countless hours spent attempting to take away the viruses I unintentionally downloaded by way of Napster and Kazaa.
The sounds of Windows are as a lot part of computing historical past as the rest you’ll discover, and the Twenty Thousand Hertz podcast is doing a two-part series on the history of the startup jingle. It begins earlier than computer systems had been even in a position to have startup sounds, and it traces their evolution by way of composers like Brian Eno and musicians like Robert Fripp and the Seattle Symphony. The first episode is out now, and it’s each a superb hear and a humorous time capsule. You’ll know instantly once you began utilizing computer systems as quickly as you hear the correct startup sound.
The present additionally makes the case that startup sounds are about extra than simply startup sounds. You can inform loads concerning the state of expertise by the constancy of the audio; you’ll be able to perceive how an organization considered its merchandise by the vibe it was attempting to speak, and you’ll hear computer systems go from sci-fi funkiness to on a regular basis actuality. The Windows 98 sound even morphs from mono to stereo, as if to say, “look what we can do now!”
In case you’re feeling further nostalgic, right here’s an ideal video of each Windows startup and shutdown sound, again to again. (And don’t miss Microsoft’s slow-fi variations of them both, or the a cappella group that’s scary good at imitating them.)
Some are positively higher than others, however the actual lesson right here is you want a startup sound. Windows 8 didn’t have one in any respect, and you understand how Windows 8 turned out.
Twenty Thousand Hertz has carried out a number of tech-related episodes earlier than, the Netflix “ta-dum” sound, the Xbox startup sound, and Minecraft’s unusual sound effects. But nothing brings me again like Windows XP.