The 401st Blow :: Thoughts On Media

Let It Beep

Posted in Content, Software, Technology by Noah Harlan on February 27, 2010

I love the stories behind the story. Those moments where you get to hear someone breakdown the thoughts and events that went into something big. Something that they often didn’t know would be big but wound up being profound, or revolutionary, or just plain ubiquitous.

Here is an interview with Jim Reekes. You’ve probably never heard of him. You’ve definitely heard his work. Jim worked at Apple for 12 years starting in 1988 as an engineer specializing in sound. His work included much of the foundational work for things like Quicktime, Final Cut, and the original Sound Manager. What Jim is probably best known for though? He created the Mac startup chime.

I’ve owned Macs since the Mac SE and I now even develop software for Apple mobile devices. I have heard that startup chord thousands of times, maybe tens of thousands. My wife’s laptop had a hard drive freakout last week in the middle of the rain forest and would continually restart, making that chime every time (we fixed the computer without replacing the drive thanks to a copy of the glorious DiskWarrior software we picked up at a Mac shop in Melbourne). Here Jim tells the story of how it came to be and what he thinks about his legacy. He also shares, in the latter part of the interview, the story behind the Sosumi system sound which is surprisingly entertaining.

The video intro is in Dutch but the whole interview is in English.

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