History Main / BeepingComputers

23rd Sep '16 1:53:44 PM FordPrefect
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* In an example which might have started this trope, some old text terminals clicked or beeped every time a character was printed on screen. This traces back to noisy teletypes which these terminals replaced; the idea that printing could be silent did not occur immediately after technology made it possible. A similar evolution happened with cell phones: even now, you can configure something as advanced as an [=iPhone=] to play DTMF tones when number keys are touched, simply because users of touch dial phones are sometimes used to them. All that beeping has a purpose: feedback. With each number having a distinct sound you can tell when you misdial a common number, it sounds wrong. On a real touch tone phone, pressing two keys at the same time produced a clearly wrong noise. With address books and call logs it's all kind of pointless on a modern cell phone. DTMF tones are still relevant - automated phone systems use them to know the selection you've just made. While there exists newer systems that support voice recognition in which you can just speak your selection clearly into the mouthpiece, most also support DTMF tones as a fallback in cases where the user will have difficulty in speech recognition situations. For example, a noisy environment or heavy accent. Additionally they are actually how telephone exchanges know what number you dialed. Phone lines were designed for the transmission of sound, so they transmitted everything, including dialled numbers, by sound. That is why even some more modern phones with auto-dial etc. still play the "number" through when connecting. You could, many years ago, hold the handset up to a TV commercial playing DTMF tones for a phone number, and the number would be dialed. (the commercial has long since stopped playing). However, this is not relevant in modern cellular phone situations where the number is transmitted digitally out-of-band, in this case the DTMF is only relevant for interacting with automated phone systems.

to:

* In an example which might have started this trope, some old text terminals clicked or beeped every time a character was printed on screen. This traces back to noisy teletypes which these terminals replaced; the idea that printing could be silent did not occur immediately after technology made it possible. A similar evolution happened with cell phones: even now, you can configure something as advanced as an [=iPhone=] to play DTMF tones when number keys are touched, simply because users of touch dial phones are sometimes used to them. All that beeping has a purpose: feedback. With each number having a distinct sound you can tell when you misdial a common number, it sounds wrong. On a real touch tone phone, pressing two keys at the same time produced a clearly wrong noise. With address books and call logs it's all kind of pointless on a modern cell phone. DTMF tones are still relevant - automated phone systems use them to know the selection you've just made. While there exists newer systems exist that support voice recognition in which you can just speak your selection clearly into the mouthpiece, most also support DTMF tones as a fallback in cases where the user will have difficulty in speech recognition situations. For example, a noisy environment or heavy accent. Additionally they are actually how telephone exchanges know what number you dialed. Phone lines were designed for the transmission of sound, so they transmitted everything, including dialled numbers, by sound. That is why even some more modern phones with auto-dial etc. still play the "number" through when connecting. You could, many years ago, hold the handset up to a TV commercial playing DTMF tones for a phone number, and the number would be dialed. (the (The commercial has long since stopped playing). playing.) However, this is not relevant in modern cellular phone situations where the number is transmitted digitally out-of-band, in this case the DTMF is only relevant for interacting with automated phone systems.
29th Jul '16 2:55:33 PM TheGreatUnknown
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* ''VideoGame/{{Fallout3}}'' continues the ancient, tape drive, room-size computers of previous two games. Beeps included. Interaction with a computer terminal in said game series also produces beeping noises when the terminal screen is refreshing or when the player interacts with the terminal during the hacking minigames.

to:

* ''VideoGame/{{Fallout3}}'' ''VideoGame/{{Fallout 3}}'' continues the ancient, tape drive, room-size computers of previous two games. Beeps included. Interaction with a computer terminal in said game series also produces beeping noises when the terminal screen is refreshing or when the player interacts with the terminal during the hacking minigames.
29th Jul '16 2:55:15 PM TheGreatUnknown
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* ''VideoGame/{{Fallout}}'' continues the ancient, tape drive, room-size computers of previous two games. Beeps included. Interaction with a computer terminal in said game series also produces beeping noises when the terminal screen is refreshing or when the player interacts with the terminal during the hacking minigames.

to:

* ''VideoGame/{{Fallout}}'' ''VideoGame/{{Fallout3}}'' continues the ancient, tape drive, room-size computers of previous two games. Beeps included. Interaction with a computer terminal in said game series also produces beeping noises when the terminal screen is refreshing or when the player interacts with the terminal during the hacking minigames.
31st May '16 9:16:06 PM Kuruni
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* In an episode of ''Series/{{Smallville}}'', Chloe highlighted a section of a picture on a computer. The computer, on its own, then highlighted a portion of that section and beeped. I'm not familiar with that kind of software.
** "You seem to be searching for plot points! Would you like Word Assistant to help?"
*** "The program I used to hack the Pentagon with my [=iMac=] isn't compatible, what should I do?"
*** "Where has my list of Kryptovillains been saved?"
** If you have the zoom/magnification tool selected, it does work in some graphics programs; GIMP is one, at least under Linux.
* An {{egregious}} example occurs in an episode of ''Series/{{NCIS}}'' featuring the RealLife freeware space simulator [[http://www.shatters.net/celestia/ Celestia]]. The actual program has no sound effects at all.
** Actually, almost ''every'' episode of NCIS (especially those after Tim [=McGee=] joins the regular cast) involves multiple uses of this trope. For example, in one of the first two seasons of NCIS, Tony and Kate boot up a victim's computer, only to have it tell them that the C: drive has been reformatted. The line that bears this message is green, blinking, and beeping, all at once.

to:

* In an episode of ''Series/{{Smallville}}'', Chloe highlighted a section of a picture on a computer. The computer, on its own, then highlighted a portion of that section and beeped. I'm not familiar with that kind of software.
** "You seem to be searching for plot points! Would you like Word Assistant to help?"
*** "The program I used to hack the Pentagon with my [=iMac=] isn't compatible, what should I do?"
*** "Where has my list of Kryptovillains been saved?"
**
software. If you have the zoom/magnification tool selected, it does work in some graphics programs; GIMP is one, at least under Linux.
* ''Series/{{NCIS}}'':
**
An {{egregious}} example occurs in an episode of ''Series/{{NCIS}}'' featuring the RealLife freeware space simulator [[http://www.shatters.net/celestia/ Celestia]]. The actual program has no sound effects at all.
** Actually, almost ''every'' episode of NCIS (especially those after Tim [=McGee=] joins the regular cast) involves multiple uses of this trope. For example, in one of the first two seasons of NCIS, Tony and Kate boot up a victim's computer, only to have it tell them that the C: drive has been reformatted. The line that bears this message is green, blinking, and beeping, all at once.
all.



* Also occurred in ''Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration''. The LCARS interface chirps, beeps or bleeps every time it shows a new word, plots a planet in a star chart or changes a value in a number-filled spreadsheet.
** There is actually a point to this: Giving feedback to the user, since an absence of mechanical keys means you cannot "feel" anymore whether you actually pressed something.
** With the tricorders you can actually get a good idea of what it's reading based on the particular whirs, beeps, and whistles. This is probably by design, as the tricorders have such tiny screens that they can't possibly show all the data the EverythingSensor collects.

to:

* Also occurred in ''Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration''. The LCARS interface chirps, beeps or bleeps every time it shows a new word, plots a planet in a star chart or changes a value in a number-filled spreadsheet.
**
spreadsheet. There is actually a point to this: Giving feedback to the user, since an absence of mechanical keys means you cannot "feel" anymore whether you actually pressed something.
** With the tricorders you can actually get a good idea of what it's reading based on the particular whirs, beeps, and whistles. This is probably by design, as the tricorders have such tiny screens that they can't possibly show all the data the EverythingSensor collects.
something.



** Just wait until something needs to happen! Malfunction? Just watch in big letters "MALFUNCTION" in the screen with a nice "zooming in" sound. Ask to find a route, get more nice sound effects. This goes on and on.
** Don't forget the mobile FLAG computer. Always blips and many lights flashing for no reason at all.



* Somewhat averted in Asimov's "The Last Question", when the supercomputer was softly clicking (and some lights were flashing) when routinely sorting data, but once it was asked a difficult question "The slow flashing of lights ceased, the distant sounds of clicking relays ended." Of course, no future computer ever makes a noise when working.
** Justified because the story was written when analog computers were still prevalent - and were of course replete with relays and valves which clicked and lit up. See "Contemporary computers" under Real Life
* In Literature/{{Discworld}}, one of the many strange peripherals on Hex is a device whose sole apparent purpose is to go "parp" every fourteen minutes.

to:

* Somewhat averted in Asimov's "The Last Question", when the supercomputer was softly clicking (and some lights were flashing) when routinely sorting data, but once it was asked a difficult question "The slow flashing of lights ceased, the distant sounds of clicking relays ended." Of course, no future computer ever makes a noise when working.
**
working. Justified because the story was written when analog computers were still prevalent - and were of course replete with relays and valves which clicked and lit up. See "Contemporary computers" under Real Life
* In Literature/{{Discworld}}, one Literature/{{Discworld}}:
** One
of the many strange peripherals on Hex is a device whose sole apparent purpose is to go "parp" every fourteen minutes.



** Averted in ''Literature/GalaxyOfFear''. Zak Arranda expects SIM to beep or chime or something after he's entered some codes into it, but hears nothing.



* Music/ThrobbingGristle's [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5amEt8d6Qk0 "IBM"]] uses the sound of a computer cassette loading, along with other electronic bleeps.
** In a similar manner, some beeping sound effects to represent a computer are used in Aaron Carter's [[https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=DTe_JMgPAjU "My Internet Girl"]].

to:

* Music/ThrobbingGristle's [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5amEt8d6Qk0 "IBM"]] uses the sound of a computer cassette loading, along with other electronic bleeps.
**
bleeps. In a similar manner, some beeping sound effects to represent a computer are used in Aaron Carter's [[https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=DTe_JMgPAjU "My Internet Girl"]].



** Considering that the game takes place in the 1960's, it is kind of justified.
** The beeping noise they used might actually have been taken from a ''hard drive'', ironically. It sounds exactly like the hard drive from a computer this editor used to use at school (it may have been a [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IBM_PS/2 PS/2]]).
** The drive is actually a Seagate ST-225 or similar drive, which while once ubiquitous, wasn't introduced until the 1980s.



* ''VideoGame/{{Fallout}}'' continues the ancient, tape drive, room-size computers of previous two games. Beeps included.
** Interaction with a computer terminal in said game series also produces beeping noises when the terminal screen is refreshing or when the player interacts with the terminal during the hacking minigames.

to:

* ''VideoGame/{{Fallout}}'' continues the ancient, tape drive, room-size computers of previous two games. Beeps included. Interaction with a computer terminal in said game series also produces beeping noises when the terminal screen is refreshing or when the player interacts with the terminal during the hacking minigames.
** Interaction with a computer terminal in said game series also produces beeping noises when the terminal screen is refreshing or when the player interacts with the terminal during the hacking minigames.



* Parodied in ''{{WesternAnimation/Futurama}}'' in which Professor Farnsworth tries telling Fry that he has to wait for two specific beeps from the computer before analyzing is done. The computer seems to deliberately mock Fry by beeping in everything but the specified way.

to:

* Parodied in ''{{WesternAnimation/Futurama}}'' in which ''{{WesternAnimation/Futurama}}'':
** Parodied, when
Professor Farnsworth tries telling Fry that he has to wait for two specific beeps from the computer before analyzing is done. The computer seems to deliberately mock Fry by beeping in everything but the specified way.



** Don't forget Boxy, Calculon's robot sidekick who's basically a mainframe on tank treads. He can communicate anything with a single, nondescript beep.

to:

** Don't forget Boxy, Calculon's robot sidekick who's basically a mainframe on tank treads. He can communicate anything with a single, nondescript beep.



** Not as much as you'd think. (Well, beeping aside.) A lot of field installations tend to be of the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" variety, especially when it's a computer being used for a fundamentally non-IT business. This was even more the case before PC OSes were both advanced ''and'' reliable, which didn't really happen until the early 2000s. Even today, it's not uncommon to find small businesses that are still on Windows 98 (and XP is even more common); businesses uniformly outfitted with the latest-and-greatest are the exception, not the rule. Add in the fact that industrial setups often have some kind of specialty equipment that might ''only'' be compatible with whatever system it was initially designed for back when it was initially manufactured (and for which a modern replacement might cost serious money), and it's not surprising that there's systems still in use out there that seem positively ''ancient'' by modern computing standards. Nobody's going to accuse ''Arthur'' of documentary realism, but it's not ''that'' far removed from reality.



* In an example which might have started this trope, some old text terminals clicked or beeped every time a character was printed on screen. This traces back to noisy teletypes which these terminals replaced; the idea that printing could be silent did not occur immediately after technology made it possible. A similar evolution happened with cell phones: even now, you can configure something as advanced as an [=iPhone=] to play DTMF tones when number keys are touched, simply because users of touch dial phones are sometimes used to them.
** All that beeping has a purpose: feedback. With each number having a distinct sound you can tell when you misdial a common number, it sounds wrong. On a real touch tone phone, pressing two keys at the same time produced a clearly wrong noise. With address books and call logs it's all kind of pointless on a modern cell phone.
** DTMF tones are still relevant - automated phone systems use them to know the selection you've just made. While there exists newer systems that support voice recognition in which you can just speak your selection clearly into the mouthpiece, most also support DTMF tones as a fallback in cases where the user will have difficulty in speech recognition situations. For example, a noisy environment or heavy accent.
** Additionally they are actually how telephone exchanges know what number you dialed. Phone lines were designed for the transmission of sound, so they transmitted everything, including dialled numbers, by sound. That is why even some more modern phones with auto-dial etc. still play the "number" through when connecting. You could, many years ago, hold the handset up to a TV commercial playing DTMF tones for a phone number, and the number would be dialed. (the commercial has long since stopped playing). However, this is not relevant in modern cellular phone situations where the number is transmitted digitally out-of-band, in this case the DTMF is only relevant for interacting with automated phone systems.
* Many PC units to this day have internal speakers which the BIOS uses to indicate the status of the hardware; they normally sound a single beep shortly after the initial power-on to indicate a lack of major problems. Multiple or unusually long beeps are used to indicate specific hardware errors that prevent the computer from booting up; their exact meanings are usually listed in a printed troubleshooting guide.
** You can find the beep codes [[http://www.pchell.com/hardware/beepcodes.shtml here.]]
** The reason BIOS beep codes exist of course is that when your video display is not working, or you're not able to load enough of your operating system to display text, driving a primitive speaker requires almost no software support.

to:

* In an example which might have started this trope, some old text terminals clicked or beeped every time a character was printed on screen. This traces back to noisy teletypes which these terminals replaced; the idea that printing could be silent did not occur immediately after technology made it possible. A similar evolution happened with cell phones: even now, you can configure something as advanced as an [=iPhone=] to play DTMF tones when number keys are touched, simply because users of touch dial phones are sometimes used to them.
**
them. All that beeping has a purpose: feedback. With each number having a distinct sound you can tell when you misdial a common number, it sounds wrong. On a real touch tone phone, pressing two keys at the same time produced a clearly wrong noise. With address books and call logs it's all kind of pointless on a modern cell phone.
**
phone. DTMF tones are still relevant - automated phone systems use them to know the selection you've just made. While there exists newer systems that support voice recognition in which you can just speak your selection clearly into the mouthpiece, most also support DTMF tones as a fallback in cases where the user will have difficulty in speech recognition situations. For example, a noisy environment or heavy accent. \n** Additionally they are actually how telephone exchanges know what number you dialed. Phone lines were designed for the transmission of sound, so they transmitted everything, including dialled numbers, by sound. That is why even some more modern phones with auto-dial etc. still play the "number" through when connecting. You could, many years ago, hold the handset up to a TV commercial playing DTMF tones for a phone number, and the number would be dialed. (the commercial has long since stopped playing). However, this is not relevant in modern cellular phone situations where the number is transmitted digitally out-of-band, in this case the DTMF is only relevant for interacting with automated phone systems.
* Many PC units to this day have internal speakers which the BIOS uses to indicate the status of the hardware; they normally sound a single beep shortly after the initial power-on to indicate a lack of major problems. Multiple or unusually long beeps are used to indicate specific hardware errors that prevent the computer from booting up; their exact meanings are usually listed in a printed troubleshooting guide.
** You can find the beep codes [[http://www.pchell.com/hardware/beepcodes.shtml here.]]
**
guide. The reason BIOS beep codes exist of course is that when your video display is not working, or you're not able to load enough of your operating system to display text, driving a primitive speaker requires almost no software support.



** Annoyance is only exacerbated when it eventually turns out to be someone's wristwatch.



* Programs for some older home computers were encoded as bleeps and noises on cassette tapes, in a manner similar to the telephone modems of the day. The ZX Spectrum and TI-99/4 home computers play these noises while loading programs.
** If you have a vintage computer that loads programs off tapes, you can play the tapes into a modern computer and burn them to CD or save them to MP3. Then you can play the audio into the old computer and it should load the program without wearing out your vintage tapes.
*** There's websites & groups now where people share archives of their old tapes for posterity and to help replace broken/bad ones or for use in emulators.
** The Supercharger adapter for the Atari 2600 game console likewise allows loading of data from cassettes. These sounds are not intended for the user to hear. But tones indicating the loading status, and matching a graphical feedback, are played through the TV speakers.
* '''Contemporary computers still make a variety of unintentional noises when operating.''' Even taking the loud and soon-to-be-hopefully-obsolete hard disk drives out of the question, modern [=CPUs=] under load rapidly cycle no-power and full-power states. The metal on the heatsinks used to keep those modern [=CPUs=] from melting expand and contracts very quickly as the thermal power fluctuates, which turns into faint vibration, i.e. sounds. Yes, if you listen closely, you can literally hear a modern CPU working, with the exact noise changing with the workload. If you have any audio hardware installed, current (as in, Voltage) microfluctuations from all the computer's components going into similiar load-halt cycles will also produce some faint noise on the audio hardwares output. There's a number of similiar effects that will probably prevent computers from being truly silent for as long as they use electricity.
** Those sounds can actually be a security risk, leading to a class of [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Side_channel_attack side channel attack]] called [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acoustic_cryptanalysis acoustic cryptanalysis]]. An attacker can, for instance, learn something about cipher keys and/or data being processed, based on characteristic sounds of encryption, decryption, signing, etc., and the amount of time spent on each. That said, [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_engineering_(security) social engineering]] always has been, and always will be, the most effective attack in general.
** Some people that have hyperacusis (ability to hear a greater range of pitch/volume) can hear some of the noise the radio is picking up. A very few people that also have synesthesia that lets them experience sound through other physical senses can use it to diagnose very basic hardware issues.

to:

* Programs for some older home computers were encoded as bleeps and noises on cassette tapes, in a manner similar to the telephone modems of the day. The ZX Spectrum and TI-99/4 home computers play these noises while loading programs.
**
programs. If you have a vintage computer that loads programs off tapes, you can play the tapes into a modern computer and burn them to CD or save them to MP3. Then you can play the audio into the old computer and it should load the program without wearing out your vintage tapes.
*** There's websites & groups now where people share archives of their old tapes for posterity and to help replace broken/bad ones or for use in emulators.
**
tapes. The Supercharger adapter for the Atari 2600 game console likewise allows loading of data from cassettes. These sounds are not intended for the user to hear. But tones indicating the loading status, and matching a graphical feedback, are played through the TV speakers.
* '''Contemporary computers still make a variety of unintentional noises when operating.''' Even taking the loud and soon-to-be-hopefully-obsolete hard disk drives out of the question, modern [=CPUs=] under load rapidly cycle no-power and full-power states. The metal on the heatsinks used to keep those modern [=CPUs=] from melting expand and contracts very quickly as the thermal power fluctuates, which turns into faint vibration, i.e. sounds. Yes, if you listen closely, you can literally hear a modern CPU working, with the exact noise changing with the workload. If you have any audio hardware installed, current (as in, Voltage) microfluctuations from all the computer's components going into similiar load-halt cycles will also produce some faint noise on the audio hardwares output. There's a number of similiar effects that will probably prevent computers from being truly silent for as long as they use electricity.
**
electricity. Those sounds can actually be a security risk, leading to a class of [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Side_channel_attack side channel attack]] called [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acoustic_cryptanalysis acoustic cryptanalysis]]. An attacker can, for instance, learn something about cipher keys and/or data being processed, based on characteristic sounds of encryption, decryption, signing, etc., and the amount of time spent on each. That said, [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_engineering_(security) social engineering]] always has been, and always will be, the most effective attack in general.
** Some people that have hyperacusis (ability to hear a greater range of pitch/volume) can hear some of the noise the radio is picking up. A very few people that also have synesthesia that lets them experience sound through other physical senses can use it to diagnose very basic hardware issues.
general.
2nd May '16 5:58:46 PM KamenRiderOokalf
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A relative of the ExtremeGraphicalRepresentation and ViewerFriendlyInterface. Compare PacmanFever, which applies to video games instead of computers.

to:

A relative of the ExtremeGraphicalRepresentation and ViewerFriendlyInterface. Compare PacmanFever, PacManFever, which applies to video games instead of computers.
13th Apr '16 1:12:13 PM CaptainCrawdad
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** And better yet, it's a Creator/WilliamShatner freak-out.
13th Apr '16 1:11:28 PM CaptainCrawdad
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* Windows: Whenever a Message Box is displayed, a ''short sound effect'' is played. Under default settings, it's a sound effect very akin to a beep. The name of the [[http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms680356.aspx function that does it]] is quite explicit...
** If you don't have a sound card or onboard audio enabled (either because you disabled the drivers in the Device Manager on purpose for whatever reason, you installed a expansion card that is for some reason conflicting with the sound card/onboard audio for resources, or the drivers have become corrupted), windows '''will''' revert to beeping using the PC speaker whenever a message box is shown.
** Windows used to be replete with useless noises whenever things happen or actions are taken: computer startup, computer shutdown, minimizing a window, un-minimizing a window, closing a window, ending a program, clicking on anything, using a dialogue box, error messages, etc. Often this annoying behaviour is copied in window managers and software applications in other operating systems when attempting to seem as "user friendly". Even Linux applications can fall prey to this.
** It's quite common, perhaps even a [[MemeticMutation meme]], to find songs with windows sounds set to the music. Or even ''as'' the music.

to:

* Windows: Whenever a Message Box is displayed, a ''short sound effect'' is played. Under default settings, it's a sound effect very akin to a beep. The name of the [[http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms680356.aspx function that does it]] is quite explicit...
** If you don't have a sound card or onboard audio enabled (either because you disabled the drivers in the Device Manager on purpose for whatever reason, you installed a expansion card that is for some reason conflicting with the sound card/onboard audio for resources, or the drivers have become corrupted), windows '''will''' revert to beeping using the PC speaker whenever a message box is shown.
Windows:
** Windows used to be replete with useless noises whenever things happen or actions are taken: computer startup, computer shutdown, minimizing a window, un-minimizing a window, closing a window, ending a program, clicking on anything, using a dialogue box, error messages, etc. Often this annoying behaviour is copied in window managers and software applications in other operating systems when attempting Users sometimes bought new sound packs to seem as "user friendly". Even Linux applications can fall prey to this.
** It's quite common, perhaps even a [[MemeticMutation meme]], to find songs
customize the cacophony of noises that Windows would generate with windows use. Without a soundcard, the PC speaker would make the noise, which invariably sounds set to like a crude beep. As computing got more mainstream, the music. Or even ''as'' noises began to get sidelined. Now, the music.MessageBeep function will only trigger in limited circumstances, making Windows use largely silent.
27th Feb '16 11:42:21 AM CaptainCrawdad
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to:

* ''Series/{{Daredevil}}'' has this occasionally. For example, when Ben watches Fisk's press conference and realizes that his editorial will be moot, he deletes the file with a definitive bleeping sound.
14th Nov '15 2:00:43 PM ScorpiusOB1
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Added DiffLines:

[[folder: Other]]

*It's easy to find on Internet or in compilations of SFX StockSoundEffects for computers, that sound as if they were mechanical devices or something far different to any RealLife one.
[[/folder]]
29th Oct '15 11:54:06 AM SpinneretSystems
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to:

* The Elliott 903 computer (or at least one example at The National Museum of Computing, Bletchley Park) has a switch to allow engineers to listen to CPU operations.
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