Feeds

back to article Headbanger plays Star Trek theme on floppy drives

Storage is weird, wonderful and sometimes very odd. Did you know floppy disk drives can be used for something other than emergency boots of legacy kit or as cool antiques? It must have been a fairly uneventful day when floppy lovers discovered their drives can be used as "musical instruments" – to play the theme tune to StarTrek …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.

Page:

Anonymous Coward

Geeky

TNG theme was very good

0
0
Joke

To boldly go....

Where no floopy has gone before.

7
0

Re: To boldly go....

I've upvoted you solely because of your typo!

8
0
Thumb Up

Re: To boldly go....

Yeah me posting comments before my usual 3 cups of strong black tea isn't the best time for me to think of something witty. Wish we had an edit function for the posts here.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

This was first done in ...umm 1983??

0
3
Joke

Which is a neat trick given ST:TNG didn't première until 1987 :)

4
1
Paris Hilton

Movie

Not at all, the theme song played was originally composed for the Star Trek: The Motion Picture, released 1979.

3
0
Happy

You're not wrong about the date.

That rival to the IBM PC, the Sirius/Victor 9000, had high-capacity (1.2MB!) Tandon floppy drives running off a custom controller the size of a motherboard. They were variable speed and yes it didn't take long for some clever clogs in Silicon Valley to knock up some Basic code that made them sing.

3
0
Anonymous Coward

So?

Not everyone here will have seen all of these videos, even if you've known about them for years.

I suspect you just wanted someone to post the inevitable XKCD reference:

"...I'm training them not to tell me..."

1
1
Paris Hilton

Re: Movie

This pedant was thinking the same thing.

Paris, uh, the next generation.

0
1
Silver badge
Happy

Re: You're not wrong about the date.

I think we had an ACT Sirius 1 no later than 1982. Before anyone in N.I. saw an IBM PC

And yes tune playing was an early feature.

As was such things unavailable on IBM PC (in USA) as standard then as

Non-glare matt black screen

800 x 400 graphics

GPIB bus

Audio I/O

Parallel port

Serial port

RTCC

1.2M or 2.4M drives rather than 360K

It was the first time you could easily damage a PC by programming. It was possible to program incorrect graphics timing and blow the monitor fuse :)

0
0
Silver badge
Flame

Re: You're not wrong about the date.

"It was the first time you could easily damage a PC by programming. It was possible to program incorrect graphics timing and blow the monitor fuse :)"

I seem to remember IBM PC monitors could be burned out quite easily with a few incorrect settings in the 6845 video timing generator too (I managed it once on a Victor VPC2 PC clone - oops). However, Commodore PETs were first documented as having this 'feature' some years before

Obligatory Wikipedia entry

0
0
Pint

Re: You're not wrong about the date.

Uh...Commodore Pets used tape drives. Floppy drives were not available until the Commodore 64.

0
1

Re: You're not wrong about the date.

rubbish. there was even a diskette drive for the vic20

0
0
Silver badge
FAIL

Re: You're not wrong about the date.

Uh... if you'd been paying attention, you'd have realised that the 'feature' in that little digression was the ability to burn out the CRT drive electronics by messing with the video timing registers - nothing to do with floppy drives.

While the original PET 2001 series systems did have an integral tape drive, there were plenty of floppy drive and a few hard drive options for PETs, linked via the IEE488 bus.

0
0
Silver badge
Facepalm

Re: You're not wrong about the date.

oops... an E fell off somewhere!

0
0

The only problem with floppy drive music that i can see is the lack of volume control, with some of the more compex parts it's easy to lose the actual tune under the background rhythm, the doctor who theme in particular. It's still quite impressive what people do with these things though :-)

0
0
Silver badge

Actually I've read that you can control the volume by adjusting the number of tracks the head vibrates over. Supposedly the more tracks it jumps the quieter it is. I haven't tried it because I don't have either the musical skills to do anything decent or the floppy drives to do it on, but I see no reason to doubt it given the fact that it was a caption on the schematic for a controller board for making floppy drives take MIDI commands.

0
0
Bronze badge

Line printers

Back in the mists of time, ICL engineers were circulating programs that could be run to get line printers to play tunes. With the added bonus that some of them also printed a related ASCII (EBCDIC?) picture.

God, I'm so old....

4
0
Silver badge

Re: Line printers

IIRC, aren't those the same programs that used to sometimes either:

a) shake the printer apart.

b) produce enough noise to temporarily stun unfortunate lusers.

1
0
Thumb Up

Re: Line printers

I heard about the old printer tunes.

These days people are programming small CNC lasers to play music, while etching the logos from the games the music came from.

Portal - Still Alive : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C4OV2UofPFg

Portal 2 - Want You Gone : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=feit1osFiqE

I would really love the G-Code programs for these, I have access to a 6KW Bystronic BySpeed Pro at work and would love to see if the (DAMN QUICK) laser head could keep up with the music!

1
0

Re: Line printers

Check out Symphony for Dot Matrix Printer (1 & 2), if you can find it. You won't be disappointed.

0
0
MJI
Silver badge

Re:Bystronic

I have come across some of their kit!

0
0
Jop
Happy

Another Amiga first

There was a Public Domain/freeware program back on the amiga 500 which let you play tunes using the inbuilt hard drive. Just played with the stepper motor in the drive.

The guy in this article got a larger range of frequencies from his drives, but its still a 20+ year old trick!

0
0
Paris Hilton

Re: Another Amiga first

As much as this Amigoid would like to claim an Amiga First, I had a program on the Commodore 64 which played "Daisy" on the 1541 well before the Amiga.

Paris... dammit, I just don't have anything for this one.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: Another Amiga first

Paris: Because she could get my floppy to hum a tune?

0
0
Anonymous Coward

look up Arc Attack

Screw floppy discs, Arc Attack is musical Tesla coils! Surely those would give a more satisfying nerdgasm?!

2
0

The standard by which all others are tested

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ZwY7zc6m2w

1
0
Silver badge

Re: The standard by which all others are tested

My favourite is Phantom of the Floppera: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dmoDLyiQYKw

1
0
Anonymous Coward

sounds like someone is in dire need of a girlfriend

That's taking geekdom a bit too far

0
3
Silver badge
Thumb Down

Re: sounds like someone is in dire need of a girlfriend

Your cliche is older than 8" floppy drives.

1
0
Silver badge

Re: sounds like someone is in dire need of a girlfriend

"That's taking geekdom a bit too far"

Nonsense sir. There's no such thing as taking geekdome too far.

0
0
Silver badge

Sir

I've just wandered back to El Reg after reading some stuff on the Onion, and I thought I was still on their site (not just the premise, but the wording of the article).

Copyright theft of style? Just kiddin' :P

0
0

Dr Who

This is not a million miles away from what the people creating the original Dr Who theme tune were doing.

1
0

ZX81

There used to be a program for the ZX81, iirc, that would let you play "music" using the hum generated by your TV set.

0
0
Thumb Up

Re: ZX81

Fantastic that someone else remembers the dodgy "music" you could play using an off-tune TV and different black and white patterns on a ZX81.

ahh, those were the days....

0
0
Thumb Up

That link for the imperial march was just weak.. try this one

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qWkUFxItWmU&feature=related

0
0
PTR
IT Angle

Big Ideas: Don't get any - Radiohead cover by James Houston

Nothing ever came close to the ZX Spectrum Radiohead track, as it was actually controlled by a program written on the spectrum.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pmfHHLfbjNQ

0
0
Silver badge

C64 already did it.

And the reason I mention this is because you didn't need several drives next to each other, you only needed 1. And it could actually play certain melodies as well (of course no one ever tried STTNG because that didn't exist at that time, however we did have the original star trek theme).

Of course I have no idea how much damage this could do to the drive, but I do know that after having played the melodies a few times my 1541 drive still works today, now easily 20 years after the facts.

0
0
ACx

A more expensive version:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XRXwWbo_mX0

0
0
Silver badge
Thumb Up

Still got to say, his version of "What is Love" from A Night at the Roxbury is my favourite.

(Not that it's my favourite song in the world, but he's done a great job on it)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xk_XaJ7gE4Q

0
0

I wonder what he could do with paper tape drives?

Illegally ripped music.

2
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: I wonder what he could do with paper tape drives?

Theme tune for "Inspector Morse" ?

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Commodore 1541 and before that the Pet 4040

IEEE488 bus was a wiz for making electro-mechanical music. Plotters / Golf Ball Printers / Floppies.

0
0

Shugart Associates Interface

I'd be more impressed if the standard Shugart Associates interface was used. Appears the step motors are directly connected to an off-camera controller.

0
0

Paper tape drives

Yep, they work too - the magnetic clutch type. Maximum frequency is a bit limited, and it absolutely knackers the tape. That was a long time ago--.

0
0
Linux

All the based on the work of Sammy1Am

The guy who wrote the software this video uses (which is open source) has his own channel :

http://www.youtube.com/user/Sammy1Am

0
0

floppy music

Yawn. Old guys remember minicomputer days when you punched a paper tape and that played music on the paper tape reader when read back.

0
0

cant beat the pdp1

using 4 ouput pins out would play 4 voice music. computer history museum has it.

and that's an all transistor ( no chips here ) machine ...

0
0
Bronze badge
Alert

Re: cant beat the pdp1

Possibly... although I do see rather a lot of references to the PDP-8 on the net. According to www.pdp8.net, they did this by producing EM waves within the system that could then be picked up using an AM radio.

0
0

Page:

This topic is closed for new posts.