Chorus of clock chimes
April 24, 2005 11:35 PM   Subscribe

I administer 50 computers in one room, all of which have synchronized clocks. I have a perverse need to make them all chime on the hour. But what sound?

This is a middle school computer lab that I administer and teach classes in, so the sounds must be kid safe, and I would rather avoid noises of bolidly functions (I'm looking at you, jonmc--and take that poptart out of your CD drive!) The sound should be short and something that won't get super annoying super quick. Please post links to WAV or AIF files if you have them.
posted by squirrel to Computers & Internet (37 answers total)
 
The noise from Funniest Home Videos when someone loses their pants.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 12:06 AM on April 25, 2005


Develop a little cuckoo clock that fits into a drive bay. Or a tiny skeleton with scythe popping out of one little door on the front panel and going into another little door. Fifty of them popping out on the hour ought to get their attention. And you could sell such things. (Or is someone already doing that?)

But school budgets are tight and you'd probably have to employee a Swiss clockmaker, so instead I suggest you play a deep, pleasant bell tone, like a single large church bell ringing just once.
posted by pracowity at 12:21 AM on April 25, 2005


The noise from Funniest Home Videos when someone loses their pants.

I laughed really hard trying to imagine this, for some obscure reason.
posted by ori at 12:28 AM on April 25, 2005


'Hi Ho' from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. I once had a lab full of Macs tied together with AppleScript so that they'd perform a few bars of 'Hi Ho'.

Anytime one of the Macs was restarted, it would sound out an audible 'Hi Ho!' and then query the network for another Mac. That Mac would then respond with an audible 'Hi Ho!', and ask that a third Mac to join for a third 'Hi Ho!'. Finally the entire lab joined in and played through the first bit of whistling.
posted by nathan_teske at 12:45 AM on April 25, 2005


nathan_teske, I might actually pay you to write a virus...
posted by weston at 12:53 AM on April 25, 2005


nathan, that's hilarious. Not practical for my purposes, but great anyway.
posted by squirrel at 12:56 AM on April 25, 2005


Have them all say "What time is it Mr. Wolf", and then have make the server say the time.
posted by Chuckles at 1:02 AM on April 25, 2005


My vote would be for something out of 2001... HAL saying "Hello" or something
posted by slater at 1:24 AM on April 25, 2005


The chord at the start of The Beatles' 'Hard Days Night'.
posted by i_cola at 2:34 AM on April 25, 2005


The sound of a sheep. Actually, the sound of several sheep. What I mean is, you want each machine to have a slightly different sheep noise. This page looks promising: sheep noises.
posted by handee at 2:40 AM on April 25, 2005


Give them each a different chime, like the scene from Back To The Future where all the clocks go off at once, and they're all different. I imagine some of the online clock stores would have sample audio online of the chimes of each model.
posted by -harlequin- at 3:01 AM on April 25, 2005


How about some sort of canon - a song with an imitative counterpoint? Something like "Brother John", "Row, row, row your Boat", "We're on the upward Trail". Start each one 4 bars before the next.
posted by klarck at 4:02 AM on April 25, 2005


Blagovest Bells— Zvons Peals of Russian Bells.

Specifically, this one after cleaning up a few background clicks, or this one.
posted by orthogonality at 4:12 AM on April 25, 2005


"Man-na-man-nah! Do doo de doo do!"

That, or the Westminster Chimes. Bonus points for Big Ben tolling the hour.
posted by eriko at 4:24 AM on April 25, 2005


How about the 'ka-ching' (money in the till) from Pink Floyd's "Money"? Short and sweet, maybe recognizable, maybe not. I won't link to a file since everyone has a copy anyway.

OR

Cheech and Chong's "Sister Mary Elephant" saying her famous (forgotten?) "Class" or perhaps her "SHUD UP!"

OR

Audry II saying "Feed Me", from Little Shop of Horrors. Just the first time the plant says this, rather quietly.
posted by Goofyy at 5:17 AM on April 25, 2005


Gnome-Look.org has a nice selection of system sounds. The Borealis stuff is very nice to my ear.
posted by catachresoid at 5:32 AM on April 25, 2005


... or cows mooing, if you are into the herd mentality of the situation. ;-P
posted by mischief at 6:22 AM on April 25, 2005


Call Mr. Plow, that's my name, that name again is Mr. Plow.

Any number of Looney Tunes noises.

Star Trek fighting music.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:25 AM on April 25, 2005


I like the sheep idea. Or Wild Eep, especially if you modified the file and changed the tone for each machine.
posted by crunchland at 6:26 AM on April 25, 2005


Yeah, crunchland, I used to be a big fan of modifying existing Macintosh prompt sounds. I remember there was this special tool for a while that you used to take resources in and out of the system file. Take them out, modify them in SoundEdit16 (damn you, macromedia!) and then put them back in. Ah, those were the days. You know, a really slowed-down chu-toy might be just the ticket. But there are many good options here. Thanks to the posters. I love russian bells. I wish i had a whole disk of those peals.
posted by squirrel at 6:44 AM on April 25, 2005


Half say, "Marco!" The rest say, "Polo!"
posted by SPrintF at 7:21 AM on April 25, 2005


Linking -harlequin-'s and Goofyy's ideas together, you could emulate the start of Time by 'the' Floyd...
posted by benzo8 at 7:29 AM on April 25, 2005


If they're synced perfectly (e.g., through ntp), you could have each machine play a different sinusoidal component of a more complex sound.
posted by Eamon at 7:42 AM on April 25, 2005


tree frogs
posted by nofundy at 9:05 AM on April 25, 2005


"They're all exactly 20 minutes late!" from Back To The Future is your only choice. (I'm paraphrasing)
posted by inksyndicate at 9:10 AM on April 25, 2005


The opening clocks chiming in Pink Floyd's 'Time.' Might be a bit much.
posted by OneOliveShort at 9:30 AM on April 25, 2005


If you give each one a slightly different sound, and set them so they don't all chime at quite the same time, it won't get on your nerves as fast. It's hearing exactly the same sound over and over again that makes system sounds so irritating.

Ideally, you'd get a bunch of different bell sounds — including some with a pause before the bell rings — and set each computer to play a random one on the hour. That way, you get a brand-new peal of bells each time — much more like a real belltower than what you'd expect from a roomful of computers.
posted by nebulawindphone at 9:57 AM on April 25, 2005


Meg Ryan's orgasm from When Harry Met Sally, timed to start on one computer and move around the room.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 10:13 AM on April 25, 2005


The number of YESs could vary to indicate the hour.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 10:15 AM on April 25, 2005


Sorry, missed the Middle School part.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 10:17 AM on April 25, 2005


perv
posted by crunchland at 10:20 AM on April 25, 2005


The old NeXTSTATIONS came with a ton of sounds, including a cricket sound. It didn't take much work to get a dozen NeXTs chirping at random intervals.
posted by b1tr0t at 11:59 AM on April 25, 2005


nathan, do you have that applescript handy? It sounds fantastic. I had that idea months ago... make a virus that self-propagates and coordinates the playing of a MIDI file of a symphony across many computers, each playing a different instrument. It would be fantastically benign.
posted by odinsdream at 1:14 PM on April 25, 2005


Not an answer really, but your question reminds me of this, which is pretty cool. (They *do* have sound files there, and the sound of a dot-matrix printer might be really cool to announce the hour.)
posted by koeselitz at 1:41 PM on April 25, 2005


How 'bout the sound of fireworks launching and exploding?
posted by me3dia at 3:04 PM on April 25, 2005


Screw a sound! Have them all eject and then close the CD-ROM drive in synchrony. If they all have the same model drive, it's spooky how predictably long it takes.

Also, if your system fans are under motherboard control, you could stop them all for 5 seconds. Not enough for the heat to damage anything, but long enough for the fans to stop turning and for the sudden silence to really creep some people out.
posted by Myself at 5:06 PM on April 25, 2005


Screw a sound! Have them all eject and then close the CD-ROM drive in synchrony. If they all have the same model drive, it's spooky how predictably long it takes.

Sounds good until the first kid gets their pop knocked all over themselves. :-)

Yeah, yeah, yeah, they shouldn't be drinking pop in the computer labs, but accidents WILL happen
posted by shepd at 6:24 PM on April 25, 2005


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