There's a thought. Ser up a shooting range with old PCs as targets (you could use old CRT monitors as well) beeping for bad POST tests or showing blue screens of death. I reckon the world would beat a path to your door. Who hasn't wanted to shoot their PC at some point??
I'm surprised nobody mentioned this frustrating curiosity of AC powered smoke detectors with backup batteries -- they also meep when they need replacement, presumably when their tiny amount of radioactive material is no longer sufficiently able to ionize the air in the detector.
More than once, I have been awakened in the middle of the night by the meep noise and had to locate the offending detector, unplug it from the AC connector dangling through the ceiling and then yank the back up battery too. Only then would the meeping stop!
True it is pretty humorous except when it happens at 3AM.
My house sounded like an insane punk rock version of Old McDonalds Farm, what with the smoke detectors all out of sync, the bird chirping and flapping around, the Cats Meowing and the dogs wimpering.
I'm thinking of when I retire from electronics I may open up an electronic device skeet shooting (or MEEP shooting) range.
It must have something to do with solar flares.
Simply amazing the timing of this article, we had 3 meeps yesterday afternoon and then last night and all were traced to smoke detectors.
The bird was chirping back at the smoke detectors, the Cats were curious about the bird chirping and the dogs were being wimps due to the constant meeps.
All of these are AC powered with 9 volt alkaline backup battery.
Why can't the designers of these smoke detectors put a 9 volt rechargable battery in them with a suitable charging circuit that keeps the battery topped off all the time.
I had a similar problem with a smoke detector recently - beeping to indicate low battery. Even though I know the location of the three units in the house - standing under one and waiting a few minutes for the next beep - it was still frustratingly difficult to tell (due to echoes) if that was the one!
I certainly agree with the comments about inadequate usability design, for an object meant to be noticed!
The problem is the short duration of the beep - by the time you turn your head to get a fix on the direction, it has stopped. Also the high frequency is difficult to get a direction fix on.
They should make at least two sounds (beep-beep) to be more detectable.
Similar thing for an hourly chime on watches: many give a brief "pip" - just enough to disturb you, but too short for you to realise what it is. Again, they should use a beep-beep to be properly noticed - or turned off. [Bumping one button on my watch toggles chime on/off - annoying.]
When our children were younger (pre-school), it seemed that just about every toy played a tune, made beeps or spoke when touched. Invariably, while trying to move about quietly after bedtime, someone would bump a pile of toys and trigger sounds. A talking toy nearly gave their grandmother a heart-attack.
Most old toys in storage have now had their batteries removed, but sometimes I still hear a noise when moving boxes!
I have a warm glow knowing that I am not alone -- when you are wandering around in the wee hours of the morning, there's a tendency to think that you are the only one who has this sort of a problem :-)
PS Why do you say "of course"? Personally I think reprogramming these little rascals with a mallet is a viable solution to the problem...
My own meep story came to a conclusion fairly recently. Literally for years, something would meep at exactly midnight for exactly 1 minute in our basement rec room. As David A noted, the frequency was just high enough to conceal its direction. Since the room got second billing to our living/home-theatre room, it got little use and I just never bothered to try finding the source. One late evening as I sat down there, the "meep" commenced as usual, and I finally resolved to find it.
Deductive reasoning led me to suspect that the sound came from a closet full of now unused ski clothing and winter jackets. It took two nights due to the short duration of the meeping (gotta be a watch), of systematically unloading the closet during the sounding minute. The first night, the final meep was still in the closet and not in the pile of jackets on the nearby sofa. All hung back up and deemed "clean", the next night saw the remaining "unclean" items frantically dumped out before the source extinguished. It was definitely in that pile but stopped before I could zero in. One by one I checked pockets; a thigh pocket in an old pair of boarder pants yielded the culprit; a wristwatch. There was a moment of indescribable satisfaction in finally silencing the little bugger (by its buttons, not a hammer, of course).
I'm starting to think that Dilbert was modeled on me :-)
Re the warning signals -- I just think something could be done better -- it seems that everyone I talk to has spent hours trying to work out just which "thing" is beeping :-)
A Book For All Reasons Bernard Cole1 Comment Robert Oshana's recent book "Software Engineering for Embedded Systems (Newnes/Elsevier)," written and edited with Mark Kraeling, is a 'book for all reasons.' At almost 1,200 pages, it ...