TNG theme was very good
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 …
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.
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
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 :)
"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
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
In the 70's I was in the ATC and I remember at a summer camp meeting my very first computer - probably 73 or 74. The RAF was showing off to us kids but it must have left a good impression for me to work in IT later.
I remember they played various "proper" military band tunes and also some music that appealed to our age range. Cant remember what but I think I liked Deep Purple in that era so it was probably something like that.
... one of the guys taught the disk drives on a PDP-10 to play music on the SA-10 attached IBM Winchester. Then he learned to make the washing machine sized disk drive "walk" across the floor ... I had to fire him when he did it in front of Ken Olsen, who was visiting our lab. Was very hard on the hardware ...
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