Thursday, May 03, 2007

The Sound of Silence

As I have mentioned elsewhere on this blog, I am a hard-core music listener. I generally like listening to music playing in the background, in parallel with other activities like eating, reading, cooking, working, cleaning etc. etc. Given that, when I joined grad school, the first technical thing I did on my Linux machine (meant for research) was to configure its sound card and then download a player to play my CDs :-).

Similarly, when I joined my first job (as an intern), on the first day, to give an impression of being "serious" about my job, I dressed up in semi-formal clothes and tried to maintain a "serious" attitude. BUT - I took my head phones to work and plonked them right onto my head as soon as the orientation was over. It never even occured to me that there might be some policy against listening to music at work or that my manager might not appreciate it. As it turned out, no one cared and I happily continued my "listen to music while working" policy.

At work, usually it is when I particularly want to concentrate on something that I make a point of wearing my headphones and tuning in to music. This morning, I worked away to glory to the background of "Dhill" songs.

Then we had a meeting. When I got back to my cubicle, I put on my head phones and clicked on "play" on the monitor. No sound. Not even static. Nothing at all. Oh no! Maybe my headphones had given up on me finally - but they are new. Then I borrowed by colleague's headphones to check my theory. Nopes, still no sound. I then had to go out for lunch and so abandoned my debugging.

When I got back, I settled down to work and clicked on "play" again. Only to hear the deafening sound of silence. Then I remembered. Oh no :-(! The next ten minutes saw me sprawled on the floor under my desk testing various inputs and outputs. Still no sound. I had too much to do and couldn't spare any more time to debug sound sources. With a sad sigh, I climbed back onto my chair.

Then I remembered. My ipod! I recharged it only last night and had remembered to bring it to work too. Yes, yes, yes :-D! So I pulled it out of my bag and turned on my ipod. To my horror, I could not hear any sound from it either. For one scary moment, I concluded that I had gone stone deaf.

Then it struck me, I had been able to hear my colleagues' conversation quite normally during lunch and hence couldn't have gone deaf. Phew! A little more patience and I realized that my regular headphones were still on my head - not the ipod ones. Phew again! I soon corrected that.

As the music started to stream, I gave a blissful smile and got back to work.

p.s. I have yet not figured out why my computer has stopped singing. Any suggestions? Before anyone asks, yes, I double, triple and quintuple checked that the "mute" button was not on and that all the right connections were in place.


Anonymous said...

You are maybe not playing the songs.

Anonymous said...

Here's the helpdesk solution, try rebooting your PC

J said...

LOL, I was about to ask the "mute" button.

Anyway, it happened to me too recently and I googled to find some solution :-) seriously, it was weird cos I was listening to songs the other day morning, but suddenly the audio wasnt coming.

Here is one solution; try and let me know.

Open control panel->Hardware and Sound -> Sound -> Manage audio devices. Select the playback device (Speakers or whatever it displays for you). Click on Properties->Advanced tab and uncheck the boxes in the tab. click ok.

Repeat the same procedure till the end but this time, "check" the boxes. There will be "Test" button to check the sound. check it out.

I know the procedure sounds weird, but it worked for me :-) let me know what happened.


T said...

what kind of songs do you like listening to ? @ work, @other times

The Kid said...

If you want tech help, you should always, specify, proc (x86/AMD64/powerpc), OS (version), Application (music player), sound card (lspci in linux should give you this detail)...

A rain dance never helps :)

Archana said...

Ah, so many kind souls out there :-))! Thank you folks for your inputs! The helpdesk solution (are you a M$-ian, anon :-P?) of rebooting my machine worked brilliantly and my computer sings again :-))!

Anon 1 - what great deduction powers X-(!

Anon 2 - yaay, it worked :-D!

J - Hehe :-)! Thanks a lot for the detailed instruction - I actually tried it matching it to my machine settings (what Windows version do you use?) - but no go :-(! Then rebooting worked like a charm!

T - I can listen to pretty much ath which is not loud - does not matter where :-)! I tend to choose soft music while reading though :-)!

Pratap - I guess the folks with suggestions, just assumed (correctly) that I am on Windows :-). This is the rain dance you are referring to I guess - it sure does help sometimes, esp on Windows :-D!

vishesh said...

i am the only guy on the face of the planet who doesn't have a ipod....i love listening to music.....i listen when i get angry or am really sad....

maybe there is a problem with the sound card...i don't know...between u know linux cool......i think i am going to learn....

J said...

work aayiduchaa, cool :-) I use Windows Vista, but I thought the control panel stuff might be the same in all versions :p

Abhay said...

So, rectified ur player by now i guess.

ps : my linux crashes far more than the windows :P

Archana Bahuguna said...

Good that u can hear your music back. :-) I cannot listen to music while work/study-ing because I start singing along with it :-(. It is a big distraction for me. :-)

Anon 2 said...

I knew the reboot would work, actually I didn't. But it is always one of the simplest things that you could try.

I usually try and listen to music if I need to concentrate at work. But at my new desk the box sits below the desk, so I need to find headphones that are long enough. Office space designers don't think of these things, they just try and get as many people on a floor as possible.

sk said...

:--)) You know with Microsoft, a reboot always helps :--D

Archana said...

Vishesh - oh, till last year, I was one of those ipod-less people too :-)! I know - music soothes so much!

J - oooh vista? Still on XP :-))!

Abhay - yup yup, all set now :-D!

Archana - hehe :-)! That happens if I try to listen to music while going to sleep - I just keep waiting for the next song to come - hehehe!

Anon2 - now that you say, yeah, that shd have been an obvious thing to try :-(! Ohh, I got an extra long extension cord to help out with that - heheh :-)!

SK - ah, can never resist the opportunity to pull M$'s leg :-P!

Krishnan said...

Gentleman padam parkalaya? Get married. That will help you stay focused / concentrate. Adhukapparam indha madiri nadakkadhu. Hehe yedho ennala mudinja suggestion:)))

Archana said...

Krishnan - dude, WTH? I can't see how the comment is even related to the post!