theatlantic:

The Mechanics and Meaning of That Ol’ Dial-Up Modem Sound

Of all the noises that my children will not understand, the one that is nearest to my heart is not from a song or a television show or a jingle. It’s the sound of a modem connecting with another modem across the repurposed telephone infrastructure. It was the noise of being part of the beginning of the Internet.

I heard that sound again this week on Brendan Chillcut’s simple and wondrous site: The Museum of Endangered Sounds. It takes technological objects and lets you relive the noises they made: Tetris, the Windows 95 startup chime, that Nokia ringtone, television static. The site archives not just the intentional sounds — ringtones, etc — but the incidental ones, like the mechanical noise a VHS tape made when it entered the VCR or the way a portable CD player sounded when it skipped. If you grew up at a certain time, these sounds are like technoaural nostalgia whippets. One minute, you’re browsing the Internet in 2012, the next you’re on a bus headed up I-5 to an 8th grade football game against Castle Rock in 1995.

The noises our technologies make, as much as any music, are the soundtrack to an era.Soundscapes are not static; completely new sets of frequencies arrive, old things go. […]

When I think of 2012, I will think of the overworked fan of my laptop and the ding of getting a text message on my iPhone. I will think of the beep of the FastTrak in my car as it debits my credit card so I can pass through a toll onto the Golden Gate Bridge. I will think of Siri’s uncanny valley voice.

But to me, all of those sounds — as symbols of the era in which I’ve come up — remain secondary to the hissing and crackling of the modem handshake.

Read more.

There’s something strangely comforting about this sound.

  1. nothinginthatdrawer reblogged this from theatlantic
  2. scu reblogged this from theatlantic and added:
    The Mechanics and Meaning of That Ol’ Dial-Up Modem Sound Of all the noises that my children will not understand, the...
  3. muddledmoogle reblogged this from soulofayoungman
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  5. soulofayoungman reblogged this from theatlantic and added:
    Definitely check out http://savethesounds.info/
  6. primuscapio reblogged this from theatlantic
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  11. s-m-i reblogged this from theatlantic and added:
    Everything about this.
  12. davidbobzien reblogged this from theatlantic
  13. tablogs reblogged this from shepherdsnotsheep and added:
    My childhood
  14. mariposaduende reblogged this from halfgirlfriend
  15. oldsampeabody reblogged this from theatlantic and added:
    The sound of my childhood. Chills, man, and I’m not afraid to admit it.
  16. rs reblogged this from theatlantic and added:
    The Mechanics and Meaning of That Ol’ Dial-Up Modem Sound
  17. morethanalittlelost reblogged this from theatlantic
  18. hepatosaurus reblogged this from theatlantic and added:
    I should be embarrassed to admit that I actually got chills listening to that, buuuuuut I’m not.
  19. brianlovesthis reblogged this from theatlantic and added:
    There’s something strangely comforting about this sound.
  20. shepherdsnotsheep reblogged this from carolynmalachi
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