Too many signaling devices?

I have too many devices in my house that call to me. Today, I heard "beep"s or some sound from:

  1. My phone. Not only do I have to find it (which phone of 3?), but what is it trying to tell me?
  2. My oven. The beep told me…what? Oh, yes, that the oven had reached the assigned temperature. Useless.
  3. My kitchen timer. This is a dual-channel unit that I often run for 2 timings. So which cycle is it warning me has ended? (They both sound the same.)
  4. One of my printers (of 3). Which one, where is it, and does it need paper, ink, or something else?
  5. A smoke or CO2 alarm needs a battery? Where?
  6. My clothes dryer. My drying cycle is done. Do I need to know this?
  7. Some other device, not sure where it is or what it is telling me. Might take hours to zero in on, as the beeps happen about 30 minutes apart, are brief, and the sound is not directional.

Anyone else have this problem? Is it a sign of the times?

It’s just a sign of the times. Growing up in the 1950s and 60s there were no signaling devices I can remember besides the smoke alarm, which luckily I never heard go off, and the bell from my mom’s kitchen timer. Like you I now have a number of devices signalling me throughout the day. I figure it’s the cost of being alive in the 21st century, which certainly beats the alternative.

Yes it is a sign of the times. Walk around at night. Look for all the tiny lights. I have a thread about it somewhere. Tiny dots everywhere. From charger lights to alarms and blinking lights. My question was how much power does it use, multiplied by millions of other peoples tiny dots of lights.

Samurai Guitarist had exactly that problem. He also had the equipment necessary to hunt the sound down.

Made even worse on Daylight Savings Day (which, in a weird coincidence, turns out to be today). Half of them proudly display the new correct time, often with a golly gee whiz notification telling you of the change. Half have absolutely no clue that the time got changed today, requiring you to laboriously scour your entire place to correct them. A small proportion of the former weren’t told of any new Congressional acts of God since they were made that might have changed the default dates (or were misprogrammed anyway). Fun fun fun.

We’re back on daylight savings? Dang.

Also, I was unaware that Samurai Guitarist had a buzz problem (in his amp) after he fixed his beep problem.

Very clever video!

I am reminded of a (New Yorker?) cartoon showing a teenaged boy in his bedroom exclaiming exuberantly, “I’m all charged up!”

I have a desk in one room that has 15 sockets, each for a charger of some kind. Not all are in use at once, but each is for some other gadget that requires its own specific battery and charger. And I may have to add another 10 sockets soon.

Things that buzz, beep, ding, and ring where you can’t just change the settings to turn off the sound are one of my pet peeves. I have gone so far as to open up small appliances and physically rip out the piezoelectric buzzers from the circuit board with needle-nose pliers. Surely it voids any warranty there might be, but the sound is so annoying it’s worth it. Also, it’s insanely satisfying in a mad-scientist sort of way. Mwah-hah-hah-hah.

IMO it’s a sign of you have a way-too-complicated set-up custom designed to vex you. Most of your complaints are readily resolvable. All it takes is the will to do so.

Our dishwasher played a cheery little song when it was done, which really interrupts listening to quiet music or watching a movie. Our dryer had a hornpipe that still haunts my dreams. However, at least this differentiated each of these appliances from the monotone beeps and chirps of the other tiny talking machinery.

When we moved, the new house had a dryer that buzzed at least three sequences of buzzes when the load was approaching dry, dry, and not yet pulled out of the dryer so it felt the need to tell you that there was still dry clothing in it. When we had a handy person do some other work in the house, we engaged him to go into the dryer wiring and make it stop. We had been assured by American Home Shield that this was not at all possible. And yet it was, which gives me a certain feeling of hope about being able to silence whatever future beeping, whirring, song-playing appliances we eventually wind up with.

A few months ago there was an intermittent beeping sound somewhere in my house. Very annoying. It took a long time to figure out what it was. Sounded like a smoke detector with a low battery, but I checked them all and that wasn’t it. Finally realized it was the hot water heater flooding alarm with a low battery.

It’s not TOO bad for me. But between work chat, and work email, personal texts and personal email, it does seem a bit overwhelming sometimes. All of those will ding my phone.

But I know, for instance, around 5pm every one is saying good night at work. So I just ignore it for a bit. If you really need to get ahold of me. Call. My work phone also rings my personal cell. Luckily, we don’t call each other much.

I was going to mention this, it took me a half hour to find, I swear. Drove me crazy. It was the (heat pump enabled) the water heater air filter that needed cleaning. It sounded like it was upstairs, a faint but clear beep every 30 seconds or so.

I don’t think I met a home smoke alarm until at least the 1980’s. Maybe in institutional buildings.

When and where I grew up in the '50’s and '60’s, the only thing that beeped at you was a car whose driver thought they might be about to run into you. Now absolutely everything beeps; with the result that I don’t see how anybody pays any attention to any of the beeps. And some of them literally hurt my ears.

Get off my lawn!

Can you come do that to my microwave? Please?

My microwave lets you turn off the beeps. Unfortunately they turn back on if it’s power cycled, and the sequence of buttons that turns off the beeps is very nonintuitive, so every time there’s a power outage I have to dig out the manual.

Studies have shown that the high-pitched “whistle chip” type beeps commonly used for electronic warnings and alerts are extremely difficult for people to track down. It’s something about the shape of the waveform providing very little for the human ear to perform directional analysis. Here’s a Reddit thread that asks the question, with a technical specialist providing the top answer and more information.

It’s actually quite dangerous for the back-up beeps on heavy vehicles. You hear the beeping, and you look around, but you don’t know where the truck is coming from. As mentioned in the linked answer above, some trucks now use a short blip of white noise (like radio static) instead of a beep, because your ear is really good at pinpointing its source.

My wife and I insist on dark sleeping spaces, so almost everything electrical in our bedroom has black tape somewhere covering an indicator lamp. I am renting a CPAP following a recent diagnosis, which is mildly annoying because I can’t tape up the white power supply light. The machine itself is hidden on a shelf in my bedside cabinet, which is good enough. And for a complex piece of expensive hardware, it is pretty well behaved light- and noise-wise.

I have two related stories:

Our daughter had some work done on her house and the regulations determined that they had mains wired fire alarms fitted. Some months later they heard a faint “chirping” but were unable to find the cause and it eventually stopped. A month or two later it came back - only louder and more annoying. Eventually, they discovered that the builders had dumped their old battery-powered alarms in an obscure roof space and the batteries were failing.

When I worked in the NHS, someone concluded that there were far too many “beeping” things in ITUs and this was confusing. Eventually, designs were changed and now equipment only beeps when there is a problem that needs attention.

Heh. This reminds me of something I’ve thought about from time to time:

Star Trek fans and other SF viewers don’t really notice the background ambiance of constant beeps and chirps and dings. Sound editors put noises on everything because silence would feel weird, and would subtly emphasize the fact that the actor is just poking their finger on a functionless plastic prop. As viewers, we subconsciously recognize the beep means something happened, and we tune it out.

But if you watch one of these shows and pay deliberate attention to the sounds, and try to imagine yourself as the character surrounded by all these bleeps and trills, you realize it would be absolutely maddening in reality. Our actual modern devices do make noise, but nowhere near as much as they do on TV. Like, if you were typing a post like this on your phone, and every single keypress gave you a loud chirp, you’d want to smash your device with an axe.

So I like to believe that if I were, say, stationed at an operations console on Yorktown Station, the first thing I’d do is dig into the console settings and turn off 99% of the infernal noises.

At my sister’s place, they bought a new Bosch dishwasher about 2 years ago. It’s extremely quiet, but when the cycle is done it beeps pretty loudly every 5 minutes, for at least an hour. All the common rooms are one big open area. When we go visit, we often have big dinners and start the dishwasher late, so the beep was pretty annoying for whoever was trying to sleep in the living room.

We eventually found the combination of buttons to turn it off, but also found out that bro-in-law (who’s usually in charge of the dishwasher) had never heard the beep, apparently it’s a frequency he’s deaf to.