20 Iconic Tech Sounds Bound for Extinction

François Barraud - His Master's Voice  flickr/Cea.
François Barraud - His Master's Voice flickr/Cea.
From the hum of an old car's engine to the galunk! of a fictional plumber's fireball, sounds have an amazing ability to transport us back in time. Even just a two-second pop is often enough to bring back powerful memories of people, places, and objects from the past.

Outside of our minds, however, sounds have a far less reliable lifespan -- especially within the realm of technology. As electronics evolve, so do the sounds that go with it -- and many of the dings, beeps, and hisses burned into our brains will hold no emotional connection to the teens of tomorrow. Some of them may already be meaningless to the 20-somethings of today.

So crank up your speakers, put on your finest curmudgeonly sweater, and get ready to mutter incomprehensible insults about “those darn kids these days" and how easy they've got it. Here are 20 memorable tech sounds that are well on their way to being forgotten.

1. The floppy disk anthem

Who could fail to remember that comforting cluckety-cluck of a 5.25-inch floppy chugging along in a drive? You could practically count the clicks until Oregon Trail would be ready for exploration.

These days, of course, high-capacity flash drives and cloud computing have helped make those giant slices of square-shaped storage all but obsolete. By the time today's toddlers are adults, the 5.25-inch floppy will be an unfamiliar relic of an ancient-sounding time.

[ Floppy disk drives create Star Wars Imperial March ]

2. The modem's music

The brief tone. The dialing of those magical numbers. And that screech -- by God, that screech. It's musical, really, starting with a single beep and expanding into cascading harmonies of mechanical song. Then comes the satisfying bursts of static, with their climactic rush that screams out: "Sweet success, baby! We're in!"

For many of us, the sequence brings back warm memories of bulletin board systems and slow-as-molasses (but exciting as imaginable) dial-up Internet. For future generations, it'll likely be little more than an irritating noise.

[ Modems: 60 years of hooking up ]

3. The Windows serenade

Love it or hate it, there's a good chance that fanfare-like sound signaling the start of Windows 3.1 is forever etched in your egg-shaped noggin. Or how about that airy little ditty that greeted you upon bootup of Windows 95? The various tones of Microsoft may not always bring back the sunniest of memories (Vista, anyone?), but they sure are hard to forget.

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