20    Jun 20149 comments

Nostalgia: Sounds of technologies from the past

We recently wrote about smells that evoke nostalgic memories. Many claim that smell is the most powerful sense, as it brings up memories from the past. Sound is also powerful in that it helps us remember our childhood, and times gone by.

According to a recent article, Ryan Dube explains that for generations of early technology users, sounds of technologies from an earlier time can evoke powerful memories of childhood games, long nights of online chats, and new email messages.

Dube lists five top sounds from a time when technology was simpler and these sounds along with the technology that they accompanied was just being introduced into our daily lives.

1) The whir of the floppy drive:

Do you remember waiting as our computers tried hard to read data from floppy disks?  We would wait patiently as the floppy driver whirred away and we hoped that our disks were not too damaged to be read.

2) Dial-up modems:

Back in the days when one had to commandeer the house phone line to use the Internet, to dial into a local dial-up service, the sound of that connection-in-the-making was memorable. A series of long beeps and static, it was a sound of anticipation for all the online surfing to come.

3) You've got mail:

Back when the Web was new, AOL was the most popular internet service provider. We couldn’t wait to hear the voice saying “you’ve got mail” when we checked for new messages.

4) Dot matrix printing:

The chirping of the dot matrix printers will forever be etched in our minds. The print head would move from left to right as reams of paper slowly pulled past it.

5) Windows 95 Shutdown:

Starting with Windows 95, users had to hit a shutdown button and wait for the computer to shut off. The shutdown sound, 'Tada', let you know that your PC was finally turning off.

What sounds from early technologies do you remember? Do they remind you of your childhood?

Search for your ancestors:

Comments (9) Trackbacks (0)
  1. I've always hated the sound that Microsoft put at the start of the Boot Process. I thought that this Fanfare was egocentric of Microsoft. It said, "Here I am, I'm the best!" As the number of applets and programs started to force their way into the Start Up, we would wait many minutes before we could do squat. I always thought the Fanfare should, somehow, be placed at the end of the Start Up file. This way it said, "OKAY, you can use your computer now!" I've written to Microsoft about this but they never got back to me.
  2. School times without a time piece.

    I recently heard the following chorus play on our local radio station: Re ya Kanana, lefase la boikhutšo. This is Sepedi, one of South African eleven official languages, and the English translation is "We are going to Canaan, the land of rest"

    On hearing this, I was taken back to my primary school days in the early nineteen seventies. During that time both higher and lower primary classes at our school were housed in the same premises. I was in standard 6 in 1972, which was a final class in higher primary. We were all day scholars.

    Higher primary classes used to finish at 2pm, and lower primary classes finished 30 minutes earlier than us. Before they walked or literally ran home, they prayed. That was done after they sang one or two verses of a chorus or a hymn. And this is one of the popular choruses they used to sing. The other one I liked most was: Ngwana wa lehlatswa o boela go bagabo. In English this translates to "A prodigal child is going back to his people".

    When we, the higher primary class learners, heard these sung we knew that we were about to go home. We were not sure how far away that was, because we did not have watches; neither was there any wall clock hanging on one of the class room walls. It was only our class teacher that had a wrist watch.

    And such things can make you speak endlessly about earlier days. Those were the days gone by.
  3. the smell of the old transformer the feeling of the heat coming from
    the old vacuum tube the latent in between the opening fonction and the first sound arriving in the ears and the wonderfull musicality of the old rigs.
    tempus fugit remain the truth !
  4. The hot, burning dust smell coming from the Admiral as the vacuum tubes heated up. Gawd, I'm old
  5. That blue, inky smell from warm paper copies fresh from the mimeograph machine in the school office.
  6. Icq sounds
  7. I worked in an office in the 90s which worked on reports printed out on dot-matrix machines, Every morning one arrived at work to the clackity clack of at least 20 machines spewing out their printouts! Further back in time, I apparently spent my gestation (early 60s) in an bank office which had a ledger machine (a kind of large automated typewriter) which made an even worse clackity clack......probably why I have a very low tolerance for noise to this day!
  8. the sound of a piece of chalk on a chalk board
  9. The sound of rain on the cast iron roof of the house. From the gentle pit a patter to the roar of a downpour. I have a tile roof now and I don't even know when it is raining

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