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Symphony For Dot Matrix Printers

Hemos posted more than 14 years ago | from the what-would-beethoven-think dept.

Music 171

nico_DNS writes: ""The Symphony for dot matrix printers is a work which transforms obsolete office technology into an instrument for musical performance. The Symphony focuses the listener's attention on a nearly forgotten technology: the dot-matrix printer. Specifically, it employs the noises the printers make as the sole sound source for a musical composition. Leaving the constituent elements untouched, the process imposes a new order upon them, reorganizing the sounds along a musical structure. ""

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Haiku (2)

YASD (199639) | more than 14 years ago | (#979967)

Yow! Just imagine
Beowulf cluster of these!
(Ouch! Karma deathwish.)


YAY Musique concrete! (1)

mcrandello (90837) | more than 14 years ago | (#979968)

I wonder if Verese saw this coming? Late at night our local college radio sometimes plays 'music' that includes fax machines, line printers, and anything that can be recorded.

Since I'm stuck at work w/o the soundcard can anyone verify if this sounds good?

When I was little... (1)

AntiPasto (168263) | more than 14 years ago | (#979969)

We used to play music with our commadore 64 and epson dot matrix... well... more beats and rythms than anything else... you couldn't vary the speed.


hp scanjet 5p (5)

matticus (93537) | more than 14 years ago | (#979970)

reminds me of the HP Scanjet Easter Egg-

set scanner to SCSI ID #0
boot system while holding down Scan button

you will hear "Ode to Joy" as Beethoven intended it-with the scan motor's whine :)

Opera quote updated... (1)

thrig (36791) | more than 14 years ago | (#979971)

It isn't over until the fat 'matrix sings?

(Sorry, have a fever, should be sleeping.)

Re:Haiku (1)

monkeymcgee (191237) | more than 14 years ago | (#979972)

heroic spent ribbons winter dance of death out of ink or song? It's not haiku, but I felt like doing it anyway

Can we say... (1)

Ryan Kirkpatrick (45) | more than 14 years ago | (#979973)

Some one has way too much time and old hardware on their hands? I wonder if version 2.0 will include support for scanners? One of the older HP Scanjets already has an easter egg that will play "Ode to Joy" with the scanner head.

Wonder what other computer components could be used to make music? Hard disk spinning up/down or acessing, removable media drives, cd-rom trays going in/out, tape drives running, etc... :)
---------------------------------------------- ------------------------------

other sounds.. (2)

chowda (161971) | more than 14 years ago | (#979974)

It would be even cooler if it used other computer noises... typing, fan noise, HD grinding (fsck), monitor degausing(sp?), ink jet, mouse clicks... on second thought maybe that would just sound like my office...

Re:YAY Musique concrete! (2)

phil reed (626) | more than 14 years ago | (#979975)

Since I'm stuck at work w/o the soundcard can anyone verify if this sounds good?

Unfortunately, no. It appears to be Slashdotted.


Re:YAY Musique concrete! (1)

RingTailedLemur (184300) | more than 14 years ago | (#979976)

I like 'em. Reminds me a lot of tribal drumming. There are a couple pieces on The Big Bang that are sort of similar.

Symphony for Nine and Twenty-Four Pins (3)

Snarfangel (203258) | more than 14 years ago | (#979977)

I can hardly wait. Now if they would only add a daisy-wheel percussion section, we'd be all set.

Dot matrix printers still have valid uses (3)

toast- (72345) | more than 14 years ago | (#979978)

Such as a permanent logging facility.

Send the outputs of /var/log/secure, /var/log/messages, or any of your other favourite logs to the line printer.

Hard logs. Good securrity. Hackers: Try erasing these puppies. Better bring a lighter!

Now, Dot Matrix printers to Music would be interesting. They could probably use a few old DEC line printers for good bass.

Later models (24 pin) would be good for higher-pitch sounds.

I suppose old 'typewriter like' printers don't count?

These are gorgeous (3)

dragonfly_blue (101697) | more than 14 years ago | (#979979)

I downloaded these last week, I think somebody around here had pointed them out.

There is something extremely peaceful and soothing to these songs. I looped them back-to-back for an hour or so, and I swear it was among the most transcendant experiences I've had this year.

They also have a distinct 20th century edginess to them; whoever arranged these had quite the mastery of rhythm. ;-)

Re:hp scanjet 5p (1)

YASD (199639) | more than 14 years ago | (#979980)

That's what I was trying to remember. Thank you!


what a way to make music! (2)

Madman (84403) | more than 14 years ago | (#979981)

I can hear it now. Beethoven's symphony in Screech-Major.

Other uses of old dot matrix printers include:

Cheap alarm clock alternative

80 movie props

prop doors open

small boat anchor

Musical Machines (1)

naloxone (142847) | more than 14 years ago | (#979982)

This reminds me of the "disk drive music" tricks for the Commodore64. (Reference Here) [] .

But the history of this very cool idea goes all the way back to one of the old kit-computers where you toggled in the entire program using switches and got results from a couple of LEDs. It produced a different frequency whine depending on how hard the processor was working. Somebody got it to play "Mary Had A Little Lamb" at a meeting of an early Homebrew Computer Club. I can't remember which computer or club specifically, though.

Concerto for Dot Matrix Printer and Orchestra (2)

Bazman (4849) | more than 14 years ago | (#979983)

I remember reading _years_ ago (when dot matrix printers weren't obsolete equipment!) about someone writing a concerto for dot-matrix printer and orchestra. Even got it performed with a real orchestra. Basically the printer starts out just making noises and attempting to get in on the musical act, and by the end of the piece it is harmonising with the rest of the orchestra. The piece finishes with a wild dot-matrix printer cadenza!

Anyone know any more about this? I've tried a couple of web searches but not found anything. We are talking about 10 years ago if I recall right.


Re:Opera quote updated... (1)

Forge (2456) | more than 14 years ago | (#979984)

You mean the DFX 8,000 ?

When *that* matrix sings it usualy brings the
house down.

pizseticata (1)

Karmageddon (186836) | more than 14 years ago | (#979985)

I downloaded it and tested it but there must have been a bunch of noise on my cabling: my SETI@Home suddenly reported that it found Beethoven living on some obscure planet. Highly unlikely.

Emulator? (1)

cameloid (120654) | more than 14 years ago | (#979986)

I don't have a dot-matrix anymore, is there an emulator I can use with a regular soundcard?

Duh! Heh!

Re:When I was little... (1)

AndrewHowe (60826) | more than 14 years ago | (#979987)

When I was at school someone was up to it on a Commodore PET + 4022 printer.
Any advance on that?

It's got a good beat and I can dance to it. (1)

gopherguts (203797) | more than 14 years ago | (#979988)

I'm ashamed to admit that I've found myself tapping my foot to the rhythm of the printer more than once. They've got more sense of rhythm than the average white boy, that's for sure.

5 1/4 disk drive music (1)

Therlin (126989) | more than 14 years ago | (#979989)

I remember many many years ago listening to a song being played by the grinding noises of a 5 1/4 disk drive in an old IBM (then brand new) machine.

I used to have the program but I hardly ever used it. I was always afraid of damaging such an expensive piece of equipment!

Epson? (1)

British (51765) | more than 14 years ago | (#979990)

Can't get on the site, but I wonder if Epson MX-80 printers were used. They were nice, but the noisiest pritners ever.

Was it the Diablo series of printers that had their own soundproofing case?

new musical forms (1)

aat (106366) | more than 14 years ago | (#979991)

This is all nice and interesting, being a new musical form, but how many people are actually going to listen to it?

However, I can imagine musicians sampling this into their own recordings.

My $.02

Dot Matrix Bohemian Rhapsody (1)

xaniamud (147733) | more than 14 years ago | (#979992)

And I thought boy bands were bad!

Very interesting (1)

loomis (141922) | more than 14 years ago | (#979993)

Hmmmm. I just squeaked in right before the server seemed to bow to the traffic. I did manage to get the three mp3's however. Very interesting stuff. I wonder how these things are controled and synchronized and all that? Unfortunately, I couln't grab the documentary quicktime clip or get and pictures to load.

I still have a Printronix P300 line printer! (1)

SlushDot (182874) | more than 14 years ago | (#979994)

I love it. This is what printers were meant to be; 150lb steel behemoths that send men to their deaths; that scare bystanders when they start printing a job; that suck up paper by the 20 pound boxful in an hour. I got mine from the dumpster at my University when they threw it out. Cleaned it up, WD-40'd the hammer array, replaced a couple of burned out bulbs in the buttons, and it's worked fine for the last 5 years and counting. It was hell hauling up the stairs, though. I remember puting a fake arm and leg in the printer at school one halloween. Freaked out a freshman! Tee hee! God, do they still make line printers like this anymore?

Re:YAY Musique concrete! (1)

RingTailedLemur (184300) | more than 14 years ago | (#979995)

Wierd...I can still get to them just fine.

I have the mp3's downloaded. Want me to mail them to you? I'll give them to anyone who wants to mirror.

Not news (1)

oh shoot (79863) | more than 14 years ago | (#979996)

Isn't this old news? The sites were posted in an earlier thread.

The link is posted in this comment. []

Does this mean we can all be karma whores and submit user posts as news?


Bad idea... (1)

ocelotbob (173602) | more than 14 years ago | (#979997)

Telling technocrap collectors like myself about a project like this one gets me thinking. I personally have an Epson LQ 500, and at my office we've got a couple OTC 850s, and Oki 320, and a Fujitsu 3300, all collecting dust. Now, I'm sure I can create a nice dot matrix quartet or quintet. Now throw in an Epson Stylus 800, though it's an inkjet, it's actually got a rythmn to it when it's charging it's printheads.

The horror... (5)

Golias (176380) | more than 14 years ago | (#979998)

Stuff like this almost makes me wish I could go back in time to the beginning of the century, so I could hunt down all the minimalist composers and kill them.

(by stabbing them over and over again... for several minutes... in the same location... with almost imperceptible variations to my rhythm... until those listening to the murder would fall into a trance-like state of understanding the structure of what I am doing.)

And when I was little... (1)

nick_danger (150058) | more than 14 years ago | (#979999)

We set up AM radios next to our Apple II's -- before FCC mandated EMI shielding -- and use processor RF harmonics to play tunes.

Slashdotted (1)

miracle69 (34841) | more than 14 years ago | (#980000)

Mirror Mirror

On the Wall

Who has the fastest Mirror

Of them All?

Re:Musical Machines (2)

naloxone (142847) | more than 14 years ago | (#980001)

Okay, I looked it up. It was an Altair 8800 at the Homebrew at the Peninsula School. The whine was picked up as radio interferance, and the first song done this way was "Fool On the Hill" by the Beatles. It was also predated by a "music" program for the PDP-1, but this was the first one for a "home" computer.

This is all out of Steven Levy's excellent book "Hackers: Heroes of The Computer Revolution." Most of it is available online here [] .

Re:I've been bored.... (3)

troc (3606) | more than 14 years ago | (#980002)

I remember using the tape drive switch on a BBC B microcomputer to make music and you could even make it make speech-like noises of you clicker it on and off at the right frequency.

It was a fairly heavy duty switch but one had to replace them every now and then doing that...


The BBC would also sing to you as it operated, you could tell what it was doing by the electronic noises it made :)


This used to happen with mechanical calculators (1)

kenf (75431) | more than 14 years ago | (#980003)

I remember people writing music routines for mechanical scientific calculators, the old
monsters made by Marchant and others.

We used to have rooms of these things for statistics classes when I went to college, although I can't remember anyone doing a multipart score. Maybe someone at MIT?

Re:5 1/4 disk drive music (1)

saltlyck (181308) | more than 14 years ago | (#980004)

Yeah, no kidding I remember that and I still have that old IBM pc under the guest bed, never damaged it and played the old floppy drive for all of my friends. Ahh revilee on a floppy drive, can't beat that.

Paul Panhuysen (1)

gardenhose (85937) | more than 14 years ago | (#980005)

Paul P. did this much earlier (mid 80s if I recall correctly)... you can find it on CD at better record stores (look under the 20th Century Composers section if they have one, if not, get out of Sam Goody) -- He did it manually instead of over a network, but the sound and "message" remained the same.

.matrix (3)

Wah (30840) | more than 14 years ago | (#980006)

It's the new TLD for cyberscifi and classical music.

Coolasmovie.matrix , Wagner.matrix

And they thought jello could start fires....

Re:Dot matrix printers still have valid uses (1)

Kailden (129168) | more than 14 years ago | (#980007)

I never thought of having logs print "real-time". That's cool and all, but it sounds like a tremendous waste of paper...but I can;t really tink of anything right now that would be as cracker-proof. (as if anything is. I guess you could re-direc5t the queue, but you'd have to think of that) As far as line-printers for music....that is SICK. Although I'm into tech as much as any /. reader, there are certain things about my life that I can't stand... One is staring at a monitor all day, and two is the sound of dot-matrix printers! I was happy to see those things go!

Mirror ? (1)

michael.creasy (101034) | more than 14 years ago | (#980008)

Anyone have a mirror ? Or someone email the files and I'll put up a mirror.

I listened to these a few days ago... (2)

Azog (20907) | more than 14 years ago | (#980009)

I downloaded these and listened to them a few days ago.

Unfortunately, the MP3's on the web site seem to be just short excerpts of the the whole symphony.

Now, I listen to a lot of music, from classical to rock to various electronica. I was impressed by this - I had expected it to be kind of a gimmick, or kind of a joke. But what I heard actually sounded musically interesting. Better than a lot of modern music, anyway. If I saw the whole thing available on CD I would buy it.

Your opinion, of course, may vary.

Torrey Hoffman (Azog)

Re:Emulator? (1)

ocelotbob (173602) | more than 14 years ago | (#980010)

I dunno about the emulator for the sound card, but IMAO, you wouldn't get the same ambiance of an old dot matrix printer and it's printhead sliding back and forth. You can probably pick up a printer at a junk store for no more than $5-$10, so it won't be that big of a loss of fundage

Re:Mirror ? (2)

michael.creasy (101034) | more than 14 years ago | (#980012)

mirror here []

Re:When I was little... (2)

sinan (10073) | more than 14 years ago | (#980013)

When I was little ( i.e. when I was 30 yrs. old in 1977) , there was a program that did this on an HP 2108 CPU with a paper tape reader. I don't remember the tune now tho'...


Current Epson ink jet printers (1)

Tyrannosaurus (203173) | more than 14 years ago | (#980014)

They could probably also use many current Epson ink jet printers. Mine plays a little tune every time I turn it on.
I've never understood why those printers make so much noise. The whiring and buzzing seems to last for about 30 seconds! My HP deskjet doesn't make any sound at all on power-up.

Re:Musical Machines (2)

Sloppy (14984) | more than 14 years ago | (#980015)

Well, if we're gonna talk about non-printers making music, then I may as well plug my VT100 Oddities page [] , since a VT100 can make music too. Sort of.


Music to my ears (3)

Calloravion (83881) | more than 14 years ago | (#980016)

And I thought my printer only hummed because it didn't know the words...

Now if only they could synchronize your hard drives to the printer music, so you could get a higher range. Throw in the fans and the modem and you could do a quartet.

Re:Haiku (2)

YASD (199639) | more than 14 years ago | (#980017)

Thanks, moderators
Glad you appreciate art
Won't repeat offense

How much karma have I?
That, my friends, is The Question
Dent knows The Answer


Diva spark source (2)

Galahad (24997) | more than 14 years ago | (#980018)

When I worked for an unnamed analytical instrument company, we were working on a new solid state spark source that was called "DIVA" (and I can't remember what it was an acronym for). It had distinctly different pitches depending on the power output of the spark and the VP of engineering (who was very old school) wanted to have the firmware drive the source to play the Star Spangled Banner on powerup as an embedded pun on the name.

We never did do it, though.

Re:Dot matrix printers still have valid uses (1)

ebh (116526) | more than 14 years ago | (#980019)

Let's not forget the one application for impact printers that ink-jets and lasers will never fill: multipart forms.

"Copy 7 - Destroy"

Re:I listened to these a few days ago... (2)

Azog (20907) | more than 14 years ago | (#980020)

Another note:

What this reminded me of most was parts of "Selected Ambient Works Volume II" by Aphex Twin. Tape loops and noises that sort of come together, much more than the sum of the parts, and induce a trance-like state... mmmm.

Torrey Hoffman (Azog)

Forgotten technology? (2)

Chemical (49694) | more than 14 years ago | (#980021)

Dot-matrix nearly forgotton? Not quite. It may not be used too much on the desktop anymore but dot-matrix printers are still very widely used for largescale print jobs. The company I work for has several very large Printek and IBM dot-matrix printers used for printing invoices, house bills, and ton's of other stuff off our AS/400. Nothing else can match their speed or flexability. Nothing can top them when it comes to printing on forms. It just pumps out hundreds of them out nonstop for hours. Many of them have multiple tractors allowing different types of forms to be printed on a single printer without changing paper. Printek's new printers are capable of doing barcoding on dot-matrix. Dot-matrix technology is developing, not disapearing.

Hard-drive races play this song, doodaa doodaa (1)

jabber (13196) | more than 14 years ago | (#980022)

Nothing like paying a little extra for firmware logic that causes wear and tear on your hardware. :) The dotmatrix symphony uses the technology as it's meant to work, so does (arguably) the HP scanner hack. But what about hard-drive races?? (I wish I had the link handy.. it's probably in the Jargon File somewhere.)

Next: New from Nvidia, a graphics driver that sets your monitor sync out of range, to the tune of "Flight of the Bumblebee".

Really, it makes me wonder. Are these Easter Eggs the reason why most software is late? Or do they just get written out of boredom when someone else drops the ball, and coders have nothing better to do.

Re:Concerto for Dot Matrix Printers (or car horns) (2)

egerlach (193811) | more than 14 years ago | (#980023)

Yes, I remember that well. I'm pretty sure it was by a Winnipeg native composer by the name of Victor Davies. He also did a symphony using car horns, which I saw performed on TV once. Very well done, very musical.

A small description of that concert is available here [] .

Victor Davies' website is at [] . I recommend you check some of his music out. He is a phenominal composer.

Re:YAY Musique concrete! (1)

SEWilco (27983) | more than 14 years ago | (#980024)

"There are a couple pieces on The Big Bang that are sort of similar."
Yes, those musical pieces using the creation of universes as instruments are impressive. Great bass, but there's this annoying hiss that never seems to end.

I don't know when the next new performance around here is, as I don't know the tour schedule.

Re:Epson? (1)

ocelotbob (173602) | more than 14 years ago | (#980025)

Now that I saw this thread, I'm starting to regret sending my MX-80 to the Goodwill. Thing was loud, cranky, and beeped like a VW when you sent a ^G to it. I'm serious, write a file that only has a ^G and echo it to your printer port, you'll swear a car's honking at you.

Re:I still have a Printronix P300 line printer! (1)

mcrandello (90837) | more than 14 years ago | (#980026)

They are taking donations [mailto] , you know :-)

Re:hp scanjet 5p (3)

Eil (82413) | more than 14 years ago | (#980027)

Anyone got an mp3 of this, for those of us without the magical musical hardware?

umm... (1)

styopa (58097) | more than 14 years ago | (#980028)

Am I the only one who finds this mildly disturbing? Sure the idea is creative and unique, but dot matrix music? Well, whatever floats their boat.

Re:These are gorgeous (1)

ArcticChicken (172915) | more than 14 years ago | (#980029)

You're right ... someone else pointed that site out just this past Sunday in the Computers and the Noise they Make [] article.

Aha! There's the comment [] !

Reminds me of Bill Ding (1)

danboy (48146) | more than 14 years ago | (#980030)

John Hughes the third Used a dot matrix printer for percussion and ambience on his band Bill 'Ding's Trust in god, but tie up your camel' Cd. The concept has always intrigued me. it's great to see the concept expanded upon. next step?

Re:Hard-drive races play this song, doodaa doodaa (1)

SEWilco (27983) | more than 14 years ago | (#980031)

What you really have to wonder about is the code review process which has an approval method for Easter Eggs. I can see it in games where there's a market for publications with game secrets, but why make a word processor larger with them?

Can-can! (1)

gughunter (188183) | more than 14 years ago | (#980032)

I went on a tour of an FAA air traffic control center many years ago. They had a line printer that could play the "Can-Can." Millions of dollars of machinery and thousands of lives hanging in the balance, and that's the most vivid memory I came away with...

Re:other sounds.. (1)

scorbett (203664) | more than 14 years ago | (#980033)

Don't forget PC Speaker! I remember playing old SSI games (ages ago), which used the PC speaker for sound effects. Actually sounded pretty good (at the time).

Re:These are gorgeous (1)

selpcmac (192446) | more than 14 years ago | (#980034)

Personally, I think this is great--a creative, imaginative way to recycle!

. . .something the world could use a lot more of

Playing music on printers is older than most of us (5)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 14 years ago | (#980035)

From "Mechanical Music Digest(tm) Archives":
http://www.foxtai []

I heard that some joker put a print file in the hopper which contained the image of the print chain. When _all_ the hammers struck the chain at the same instant it dislodged from its drive wheels and flew through the plastic window of the machine. The repairman muttered, "I've seen this problem before. Wonder what causes it?" Even then there were "viruses" running around to wreck havoc upon the unsuspecting. -- Robbie

Except that was probably someone trying to do a cannon shot...

(Also from the same source): Introduction & Line Printer Music [] .

Since I can't seem to find anything really good on line printer music, I'll share some anecdotes which were shared with me.

The "chain" on line printers (which holds the letters) used to have all the characters in ASCII (or EBCDIC, I presume) order. Notably, A-Za-z was present in unadulterated form. The problem with this is that anyone printing A-Za-z (interpolate for yourself, please) would fire 52 solenoids at once, frequently blowing the power supply (Or as mentioned in an article linked above) firing the chain out of the printer. The solution was to move the characters around the chain and have the printer translate by means of a lookup table (presumably). In any case, some people did go through the effort to figure out where the characters had been moved to on some printers, but this effectively killed line printer music. How do you do a good cannon shot without being able to fire them all at once?

In any case, it's much the same as using a dot matrix printer; You fire off combinations of characters to generate different sounds. The thing here is that making music with line printers dates from the early seventies if not sooner; Since I'm from the late seventies, it predates me. People were making music with line printers before dot matrix printers existed.

It's worthwhile to never forget your roots.

Even older music... (1)

Animol (120579) | more than 14 years ago | (#980036)

"Remember the dot-matrix"?

Hell, I can remember many a Monday I didn't want to get up for school, as Dr. Demento was on at 1AM on monday mornings. I distinctly remember a piece entitled "Symphony for full orchestra with a typewriter" - how's *THAT* for old-school tech producing music?

If anyone knows who that's by, or how to find a copy of it, please mail me - it's been lingering in my mind and I've been waiting for an appropriate time to mention it.

Re:Dot matrix printers still have valid uses (1)

_xeno_ (155264) | more than 14 years ago | (#980037)

Maybe, but there's still a problem with that:

Oh no, I think we've been cracked! Let's go look at the logs. Lesse, 2000 lines on my log (that's almost 34 pages full of information), and now I need to find all instances of the IP address hmm...

How do you grep on a dot matrix output? (Or, if you're like me, just do a pattern search via less on paper?)

Hmm, line 324 - access from .. nope, not right... next line... access from no, still not right... hmm...

Potato powered? (1)

tadas (34825) | more than 14 years ago | (#980038)

Now if only we could find someone who uses potatos to power the printers...

I wonder... (2)

TheFallenWeeble (204107) | more than 14 years ago | (#980039)

Are they going to use C# for the programming? It seems oddly appropriate.

Quick, hide! They're arming themselves with fruits and vegetables!

I still have my IBM ProPrinter X24E(?) (2)

antdude (79039) | more than 14 years ago | (#980040)

Sheesh, what a loud thing! In fact, I used it during my whole four years in college (1994-1998). My roommates and neighbors could hear it! Haha!

Reminds me... (1)

rmerrill (203895) | more than 14 years ago | (#980041)

of the book "Hackers" by Steven Levy when they used to make music out of the DEC computers at MIT...

Re:Hard-drive races play this song, doodaa doodaa (1)

omnifrog (93180) | more than 14 years ago | (#980042)

While I realize that some may consider Easter Eggs to be a pointless waste of program size, the amount of room devoted to such eggs is really very small. Furthermore, they are a creative outlet for the programmers. It's a way to give an individual touch to a product that is shrink wrapped and sanitized. When I see an easter egg, I feel like I have some insight into the author and for me, as an engineer, it is somehow comforting.

Dotmatrix printers not obsolete!!!! (1)

gelfling (6534) | more than 14 years ago | (#980043)

Newsflash !!!!!!!!!!
Dotmatrix printers not obsolete !!!!!

Try printing 7 part forms on a laser printer. Anybody who has to deal with any organization that uses forms probably knows this. This is why wide carriage 1050cps impact printers are still pretty expensive.

Ripley's Believe it or Not (1)

MagusX (132779) | more than 14 years ago | (#980044)

I seem to remember seen something along these lines on the old Ripley's Believe is or Not show a while back.

Re:Haiku (what, again?!) (1)

YASD (199639) | more than 14 years ago | (#980045)

Okay, premature
Rushed to get in karma post
While it was still true

Ack! Help! Cannot stop
Self-expression in haiku

<THUD!> Ah. That's better. Thank you...


Didn't Peter Gabriel Do This (1)

Marillion (33728) | more than 14 years ago | (#980046)

In his song "Intruder" off the untitled album commonly known as "Melting Faces" It sounds like he sampled a dot matrix printer and pitched bended it. Way cool. I think it would have been in the early 1980's.

Revenge of the dot-matrix printer (2)

Aero (98829) | more than 14 years ago | (#980047)

One of my dorm-mates once used his dot-matrix printer to get back at some rudeness on his roomie's part. Said roomie had stayed on the phone till about 2 AM arguing with his girlfriend, and my friend was trying to get some sleep before an 8 AM exam. Didn't work out too well.

So my friend waits till a night when the roomie comes home drunk. He lets the roomie sleep for about an hour, then sends a half-megabyte text file to the printer.

All bolded.

With the printer set to half-speed mode.

That was the last time the roomie kept my friend needlessly awake.


*You've* been bored? Check these guys out... (2)

ArcticChicken (172915) | more than 14 years ago | (#980048)

Take a look at this story [] from The Payphone Project [] !

Printers with MIDI Ports! (2)

EXTomar (78739) | more than 14 years ago | (#980049)

How long before someone figures out how to stick a MIDI port and hardware on it for fun MIDI action? I can see it now...

"Why are you hooking your printer up to your SoundBlaster MIDI port?"
"To make it sound better."

So did Aphex Twin (1)

zrk (64468) | more than 14 years ago | (#980050)

He's got an instrumental song that's beat is driven by dot matrix printers.

I can't remember which song, nor which album it's on, but it's definitely worth a listen.

Re:More haiku (1)

slickwillie (34689) | more than 14 years ago | (#980051)

A dot-matrix printer at Andover
Played the same tune over and over
"Make that thing stop"
Said a sleepy sys-op
"I'm still nursing my IPO hangover!"

Still not haiku?

the sound of rain (1)

jbarnett (127033) | more than 14 years ago | (#980052)

The Symphony focuses the listener's attention on a nearly forgotten technology:

The sound of your web site getting slashdotted because you came up with something pretty dam cool?

Nope you don't heard that much, the hard drives grinning, swapping away, the "clicks" of the network router when the leds are blinking to fast, the sound of your network admin screaming "where the hell is this bandwidth going?"

Ah the sound of victory

Re:Hard-drive races play this song, doodaa doodaa (1)

jabber (13196) | more than 14 years ago | (#980053)

Still, the previous point holds.
How does a developer justifiy a mini flight sim in Excel? How did the "netscape engineers are weenies" EVER get past a code review?

Re:And when I was little... (1)

slickwillie (34689) | more than 14 years ago | (#980054)

When I was in college, people used to set up their radios on the school mainframe (CDC 3150). One operator was adept at naming which job was running by the tune it played.

This Reminds Me Of Something. (2)

istartedi (132515) | more than 14 years ago | (#980055)

Does anybody out there have a copy of LONE.EXE? I have searched for it on the web in vain.

This was a program that played "The Lone Ranger" music through the PC speaker. The really impressive thing about it was that it was supposedly written on a pre-PC computer that used a similar instruction set and architecture to Intel (can anybody cite an example of that?).

Anyway, another really impressive thing about this program was that it was only 4k for something like 5 minutes or more of music, albeit in an electronic sounding format. I had a copy of this on my old 286, and I saved the hard drive. Unfortunately, it used an interface standard that predated ISA. I've been told it's possible to adapt the drive, but I have neither the time nor the money to look into it, and it may not be on there anyway.

This is also of some historical interest, as it is possibly one of the earliest "PC music" programs. It may even be 25 years old or more, so until I find it, I'll just have to make sure that nothing damages the old hard drive because it may be a "historical artifact".

hrm (1)

jbarnett (127033) | more than 14 years ago | (#980056)

Hrm, I still got 2 Dot Matrix printers, I like to print ASCII porn out on them, it sounds sexy when it prints to.

Perhaps Useful computer music (1)

jabberw0k (62554) | more than 14 years ago | (#980057)

How about a MIDI or maybe even wave-oriented daemon for *nix that gives an indication of the system state?

I'm thinking maybe drums for disk drives, flutes for network I/O,...?

It seems an awful waste to think of all the servers out there with sound cards lying uselessly inside, why not put them to good use. You could get a feel for how well the computer was working, just by listening.


RIAA isn't going to like this... (1)

Pahan (151973) | more than 14 years ago | (#980058)

First it was MP3's, now it's this. RIAA does have a reason to worry about computers. They'll probably sue the printer manufacturers and try to get it banned, probably through something they call "Noise Pollution Ordinances". Remember to resist these ordinances if they are ever proposed in your community.

Re:The horror... (3)

poot_rootbeer (188613) | more than 14 years ago | (#980059)

Stuff like this almost makes me wish I could go back in time to the beginning of the century, so I could hunt down all the minimalist composers and kill them.

What will you do for the 50 or so years between the turn of the century and the advent of minimalist composers?

Flight of the Bumblebee (2)

Ivan the Terrible (115742) | more than 14 years ago | (#980060)

Years ago (1970's) I heard a computer play Rimsky-Korsakov's "The Flight of the Bumblebee" at a museum of science in Paris. The audio device was a cheap AM transitor radio held close to a mainframe.

This computer normally emitted radio waves during operation, and the "program" that was running during the demonstration was written especially to emit radio waves that played "The Flight of the Bumblebee".

Re:YAY Musique concrete! (1)

RingTailedLemur (184300) | more than 14 years ago | (#980061)

:-P A write-up is here [] .

Kewel / I remember... (1)

Joe_NoOne (48818) | more than 14 years ago | (#980062)

It is better then some ambient I've listened to. I especially like "Control to Efficiency".

I remember back in the TRS-80 days BEFORE there was any sound where you made sound by running processes and then listening on a radio to the RF generated by it. Who else remembers that??

Re:Playing music on printers is older than most of (3)

SMITHEE (26773) | more than 14 years ago | (#980063)

Correct -- these things have been around for ages. I first saw chain printer music demos on an IBM 360 in 1966, and they were already old and famous at that time. In roughly that same time frame I saw an IBM 1401 program which played music through a radio sitting on the CPU cabinet. I saw the CDC device referenced in the article some years later, but I believe it worked via a third mechanism. I think a speaker was hard wired to a D/A converter fed from one of the CPU registers.

Silly (1)

CmdrPorno (115048) | more than 14 years ago | (#980064)

You scan and OCR the document, preferably with a sheet feeder.

Re:When I was little... (2)

alumshubby (5517) | more than 14 years ago | (#980065)

If you were inhumanly patient and had a decent ear, you could write programs in FP Basic that would make an Apple II+ play tones out of the speaker. I remember a popular tune at our ComputerLand franchise was Bach's "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring."

Re:The horror... (3)

Golias (176380) | more than 14 years ago | (#980066)

What will you do for the 50 or so years between the turn of the century and the advent of minimalist composers?

I guess I would use the end of my knife to pluck Middle C on a piano until 1935, when Terry Riley is born... then I'll start with him.

Why would I wait for them to grow up and start writing? That would defeat the purpose of going back in time. If I just wanted revenge, I could take it out on Brian Eno.

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