Thursday, February 09, 2006

The sound of spam

Some Canadians have turned network data into sound. My reactions:

1) The article calls the sonic output "music," apparently not knowing that music is organized sound. Will the users of this system will feel the same at the end of a workday as if they'd listened to a set of symphonies? I seriously doubt it. Then again, it depends on the listener...

2) I am also curious about how an experienced user (say, who's used it for at least a year) will react to listening to real music. Will the steady tempi of Haydn and Mozart make the user think of "systems running well" while the Romantic surprises and changes of Brahms make them think "network's really out of control"?

3) one problem with this system is that it forces one to keep one's ears listening to something that imitates music. While I think it's good that it gets people listening closely to almost-music, what's to say that, for example, an increasing tempo won't just excite the user rather than make them think "network's getting busy." I wonder if it could also inhibit people from talking on the phone or to coworkers (two things they could do when viewing a graphical output). And aren't computer users really serious music listeners, anyway? Who would want to listen to the network when there are CDs handy?

4) reading thru the Slashdot comments about this brought me to Peep, which uses animal sounds. I like this much better, as the barnyard is something people have been listening to much longer than symphonic instruments (like one commenter said, you can train people to recognize any sort of data output). Similarly, I'm glad to see the Ambient Orb is still around.

In closing, I find this to be clever but not really useful. Stupid Canadians.

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