Friday, September 17, 2010

SOFTWARE: Silencing The Trumpets Blaring In Your Head

It's THAT time of the month. If you are married, you have one understanding of that statement. If you are a computer person, geek or otherwise, you have another understanding. Yes, this was Patch Tuesday week, courtesy of our old pals, Microsoft.

And that meant updating computers and hearing that infernal Microsoft sound wave for shutting down Windows and the other one for starting it back up. Enough is ENOUGH, I say! And do.

I finally had had enough of those blaring trumpets (one of the reasons I push the reboot-every-17 days maxim to the limit). So I finally did something about it. Using my trusty Microsoft USB Headphones/Microphone (Yeah, I know, but, as with the Trackball Explorer, MS DOES do stuff I heartily endorse, especially in hardware [Look FIVE commas inside a parenthetical statement. Now EVERY English teacher is joining Mr. Goddard in looking askance!]) and recorded two short, whispery sound waves. You can use Sound Recorder which is the most primitive thing installed by default in Windows, it seems. It's in Programs|Accessories|Entertainment in my XP. Other versions of Windows will hide it elsewhere.

So, I whispered "Windows Starting" for one of the waves and "Windows Stopping" for the other. And by whisper, I mean barely audible ... assuming you are standing within reading distance of the monitor. I saved the files as winstart.wav and winstop.wav and put them into my usual spot for random noise waves. As adverse my MP3 collection.

Then, it was off to the Control Panel and the Sounds and Audio Devices applet. Again, if you are using Win7, it's going to be in a different place. But you will eventually get there. More or less follow along and make the requisite changes to soften the blow to your ears.

In the Sounds tab, there is a list of Program events. The first one of interest to find is Exit Windows. Click on the browse button and traverse to where you've saved winstop.wav. Click on OK. When back in the Sounds tab of the applet, you can click on the little arrow right button and check out your handiwork. Now, repeat the process for Start Windows a little further down, picking your winstart.wav this time around. FINALLY, save the sound scheme to a different name (say... TOLERABLE) in the box at the top. Always good to have the ability to go back to the original set, if necessary. Click OK and Bob's your uncle.

Outside of the Roadrunner's beep-beep, the transporter sound in Star Trek and anything that emerges from Kathleen Turner's mouth, there's little that doesn't start to annoy most people by the time they've heard it the tenth time or more. That is, except for the sound of their own voices.

EVERYBODY loves to hear themselves talk. Or whisper. Remember, it'll be going on very early in the morning for most of you.

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