1590: "The Source"

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Yu_p
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1590: "The Source"

Postby Yu_p » Wed Oct 14, 2015 12:18 pm UTC

Image

Alt text: “Why did we even have that thing?”
______________________________________

I always wonder about these devices. I also wonder, why my power cable is one of them. I'm pretty sure I know why my screen is one of them, once brightness is set to less than 80%. I am less sure why it becomes one of them when on standby, switching the hum on and off, as the stand-by LED blinks on and off. I am also quite sure why I can sometimes hear them only when the left ear is close to the device, but not when the right ear is.

Electronics are just weird like that sometimes. :(
Last edited by Yu_p on Fri Oct 16, 2015 12:11 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 1590: "The Source"

Postby nigenet » Wed Oct 14, 2015 12:41 pm UTC

Next frame, the wolf we keep in the cellar switches the high-pitch hum generator back on.
Title text: "... and why have we still got a wolf?" :-)
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Re: 1590: "The Source"

Postby HES » Wed Oct 14, 2015 12:43 pm UTC

I'm more concerned about the low-pitched hum of my neighbour's motorbike, as it gets parked beneath my bedroom window at 6am every fucking morning. Apparently he works nights.

Yu_p wrote: I am less sure why it becomes one of them when on standby, switching the hum on and off, as the stand-by LED blinks on and off.
Yesss, mine do this. Why?

ETA: The comic's up really late today.
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Re: 1590: "The Source"

Postby Znirk » Wed Oct 14, 2015 1:02 pm UTC

My office has an HPHG, but it's labeled as an HP Laserjet M551.

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Re: 1590: "The Source"

Postby cellocgw » Wed Oct 14, 2015 1:33 pm UTC

HES wrote:I'm more concerned about the low-pitched hum of my neighbour's motorbike, as it gets parked beneath my bedroom window at 6am every fucking morning. Apparently he works nights.



A cup of sugar, added covertly to his fuel tank, will solve that problem.

So anyway, all we have to do is convert from 50/60 Hz mains to 30kHz AC, and we won't be able to hear any humming :mrgreen:
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Re: 1590: "The Source"

Postby Shamino » Wed Oct 14, 2015 2:18 pm UTC

Rather annoying is the fact that I can hear a high-pitched whine from low voltage power supplies (phone chargers, USB hub, etc.) when the rest of the room is quiet (like from the chargers on my nightstand when I'm trying to sleep.) The interesting thing is that the whine changes at various times (e.g. when the device reaches 100% and the charger switches to a low-current mode.)

But it's never been so loud that it could be heard from other rooms in the house!

Back in the days of green CRT computer monitors, I could hear a really annoying whine from any display that is turned on but without a signal (like when the computer is switched off.) This was a real problem in school, because some classrooms had computers in them, and sometimes a monitor would be left on by mistake. I often got in trouble by getting out of my seat to turn it off (of course, the teacher couldn't hear it.) I'm so very glad that LCD panels don't have this problem.
Last edited by Shamino on Wed Oct 14, 2015 2:22 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 1590: "The Source"

Postby Trickster » Wed Oct 14, 2015 2:19 pm UTC

nigenet wrote:Next frame, the wolf we keep in the cellar switches the high-pitch hum generator back on.
Title text: "... and why have we still got a wolf?" :-)

Hay! :V

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Re: 1590: "The Source"

Postby Trickster » Wed Oct 14, 2015 2:19 pm UTC

Also:

I don't get it.</catchlights>

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Re: 1590: "The Source"

Postby Flumble » Wed Oct 14, 2015 2:30 pm UTC

Yu_p wrote:I am less sure why it becomes one of them when on standby, switching the hum on and off, as the stand-by LED blinks on and off.

Heh, my laptop charger does that when the laptop is in stand-by. (and fully charged of course, because otherwise it draws plenty power so that it doesn't hum, or at least at a different and continuous pitch) And my tablet charger too, before I switched to an OS that doesn't blink the LED when the device is fully charged.
I don't have an idea why an AC-DC converter makes such high-pitched noises at different (low) loads.

cellocgw wrote:So anyway, all we have to do is convert from 50/60 Hz mains to 30kHz AC, and we won't be able to hear any humming :mrgreen:

If transformers don't generate sub-base-frequency humming, I'm in.
It has the additional benefit of reducing pain from accidentally touching wires, as shown in an experiment. :mrgreen:

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Re: 1590: "The Source"

Postby airdrik » Wed Oct 14, 2015 2:38 pm UTC

I was just demonstrating an example of this to some of my coworkers on Monday. I have pretty standard led displays, but when I have a spreadsheet open (in LibreOffice) something about the pattern of white cells and dark grid lines causes a (vibrating) high-pitched noise. Upon experimentation, it only happens on certain (resonant) row heights: 0.08" (0.075"?), 0.15", 0.22" (0.225"?) and 0.30", with the sound being loudest when the row height is set to 0.08".
We regularly work with reports where the row height is set to 0.19", zoomed to 80%.

Of course this only affects a select set of individuals as the higher the pitch the smaller percentage of people that can hear it.
I envy those who can't hear these very high pitch noises (such as my wife who e.g. can't hear the hum of our CRT TV when it is on) as these noises are all very annoying.

I'm surprised it only took him 5 panels to find the source as it is often very hard to tell which direction such high pitched hums come from, especially when you turn your head and at various angles/positions the sound might cancel itself out, so all you really get is a game of hot/cold where you can't always tell if you are getting any warmer.

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Re: 1590: "The Source"

Postby Kalium_Puceon » Wed Oct 14, 2015 2:39 pm UTC

Aside from actual sources, would the "Empty Room Hum" be kind of the audio equivalent of your muscles overcorrecting after lifting something? Like how if you get someone to hold your hands slightly apart while you try to push outwards and then they let go it feels like there's a phantom sponge ball between your hands?
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Re: 1590: "The Source"

Postby HES » Wed Oct 14, 2015 2:46 pm UTC

So for instance when the heating cycles off, is it that I hear a hum because it is no longer being drowned out, or because my brain is compensating for the sudden quiet?
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Re: 1590: "The Source"

Postby toddgeorge » Wed Oct 14, 2015 2:58 pm UTC

The other day, when my 20-something co-worker asked why the whine from my power supply didn't bother me, I realized I'm finally old and decrepit enough to no longer hear high frequency sounds. One of the few benefits of aging. :D

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Re: 1590: "The Source"

Postby rmsgrey » Wed Oct 14, 2015 2:59 pm UTC

What about treating the empty room as a resonant cavity? In the absence of damping, random air-motion should tend toward a standing wave...

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Re: 1590: "The Source"

Postby nigenet » Wed Oct 14, 2015 3:19 pm UTC

Trickster wrote:Also:

I don't get it.</catchlights>


Sorry, it's a reference to XKCD 1134: Logic Boat :-)
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Re: 1590: "The Source"

Postby Xenomortis » Wed Oct 14, 2015 3:42 pm UTC

My parents have one of these with the aim of repelling flies, or something.
Damn thing used to give me headaches.
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Re: 1590: "The Source"

Postby da Doctah » Wed Oct 14, 2015 3:49 pm UTC

I woke one night some years ago to a faint intermittent sound that I couldn't identify, a sort of random tapping at irregular intervals. Since this house is old enough that things have worn out and broken during the night (including plumbing where a low sound turned out to be dripping that in the morning had flooded the entire downstairs), and since I couldn't rule out burglars or small animals without checking, I got out of bed and spent the next ten minutes moving from room to room listening for the next tapping to try and pin down where it was coming from. But it always seemed to be just one room away in a direction I couldn't locate.

Turned out to be my stomach gurgling.

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Re: 1590: "The Source"

Postby Brian-M » Wed Oct 14, 2015 3:58 pm UTC

The High-Pitched Hum Generator in my house is the Blu-Ray player. If it's turned on but isn't playing anything it makes a faint high-pitched hum. I'm not sure if this is intentional, but it gives me an incentive to make sure it's turned off when I'm not using it.

I suppose the fridge also generates a hum, but only some of the time, depending on the on/off state of the thermostat at the time.

And my computer makes all kinds of continuous hums. There's at least three fans in there (one in the power supply, one on the CPU, one built into the case) and a hard-drive constantly spinning around. But I guess that's typical for something which Asok describes in one Dilbert cartoon as a "Grandpa Box" (referring to a desktop computer, while pointing out that he can do all the same stuff the other person was using their desktop computer for on his smartphone).

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Re: 1590: "The Source"

Postby Crissa » Wed Oct 14, 2015 4:22 pm UTC

Yesterday, PG&E was re-stringing the high-voltage lines in our neighborhood, so the power was out. Nothing like the power going out to remind you of all the tiny hums and whines of various devices.

XKCD continues to be strangely topical in our lives...

Also, we were talking about actual generators: We could hear the neighbors' two blocks away. Over the no-hum of our temporary solar set.

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Xenomortis wrote:My parents have one of these with the aim of repelling flies, or something.
Damn thing used to give me headaches.

Oh gawd I hate those x-x

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Re: 1590: "The Source"

Postby orthogon » Wed Oct 14, 2015 4:23 pm UTC

"High-pitched hum" is an oxymoron. A hum is specifically a low-pitched continuous sound. What you have, if it's high-pitched and continuous, is a whistle.
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Re: 1590: "The Source"

Postby Kalium_Puceon » Wed Oct 14, 2015 4:24 pm UTC

HES wrote:So for instance when the heating cycles off, is it that I hear a hum because it is no longer being drowned out, or because my brain is compensating for the sudden quiet?


Something like that. I think your brain was cancelling out all the ambient noise coming down the nerve, so when it's deathly quiet the cancellation results in an indistinct hum.

That's what I'm thinking.

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Re: 1590: "The Source"

Postby J%r » Wed Oct 14, 2015 4:52 pm UTC

I sometimes hear the highway which is a mile away at night. It has the same high pitch as a mosquito, so I sometimes go look for mosquitoes which aren't there.

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Re: 1590: "The Source"

Postby JohnTheWysard » Wed Oct 14, 2015 4:54 pm UTC

I wish I could turn off the high-pitched (E-flat an octave above the treble clef) hum. But it's the tinnitus in my left ear's cochlea and there doesn't seem to be an off switch.

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Re: 1590: "The Source"

Postby billyswong » Wed Oct 14, 2015 5:19 pm UTC

The comic strip strongly reminds me of the submachine flash game series. To be specific, Submachine 2.

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Re: 1590: "The Source"

Postby Steve the Pocket » Wed Oct 14, 2015 5:55 pm UTC

Are high-pitched hum generators produced in burn-smell factories?
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Re: 1590: "The Source"

Postby mathmannix » Wed Oct 14, 2015 6:40 pm UTC

orthogon wrote:"High-pitched hum" is an oxymoron. A hum is specifically a low-pitched continuous sound. What you have, if it's high-pitched and continuous, is a whistle.

What? Can't you tell the difference between someone humming and whistling at the same pitch? (well, the same average pitch, anyway; I think the difference between the two might be in the variation/oscillation of pitches.)

I can hum at various pitches in a range of about 2.5 octaves; I think anything that sounds like my humming is by definition a "humming" sound.

High-pitched humming sounds to me a lot like buzzing (like a mosquito in my ear), however, so I'm not sure if there's a difference between humming and buzzing sounds...
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Re: 1590: "The Source"

Postby dp2 » Wed Oct 14, 2015 6:41 pm UTC

Steve the Pocket wrote:Are high-pitched hum generators produced in burn-smell factories?

That's a fly that got too close to your torchiere lamp.

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Re: 1590: "The Source"

Postby orthogon » Wed Oct 14, 2015 7:13 pm UTC

@mathmanix: sure, I can hear the difference, which is largely down to the harmonic content: humming is rich in harmonics (the vocal cords need to produce a lot of harmonics so that the formant frequencies can be heard), whereas whistling produces almost a pure sinusoid. However, I'd argue that the sound of somebody humming is not a hum, unless it's also low and continuous in pitch. That just isn't one of the meanings that the noun has.
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Re: 1590: "The Source"

Postby Pfhorrest » Wed Oct 14, 2015 7:25 pm UTC

Consider also: "buzz", "whine".

I think I would call a high-pitched humming-like sound a "whine", and any humming-like sound a "buzz".
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Re: 1590: "The Source"

Postby tomintx » Wed Oct 14, 2015 7:49 pm UTC

2 personal stories:

1) LAST NIGHT. Working late and somewhere in the background is a faint beeping noise. After more than an hour (maybe 3) I finally got up to investigate. Temperature warning in the server room. Of course there are about 5 things in there that beep for different reasons and it's really hard to localize a beeping noise in a small room full of white noise.

2) Years ago, I had a pair of active noise cancelling headphones. These were foam on the ear type. They only cancelled noise, did nothing to mute it (no leather ear cup). Wierdest thing, when you took it off or turned it off, the background hum that you just don't notice sounded like a new sound.

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Re: 1590: "The Source"

Postby Coyoty » Wed Oct 14, 2015 10:26 pm UTC

Alt text: “Why did we even have that thing?”


The humming makes our throats sore if we do it.

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Re: 1590: "The Source"

Postby HES » Wed Oct 14, 2015 10:50 pm UTC

orthogon wrote:That just isn't one of the meanings that the noun has.

Except for the part where we're all using it that way.
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Re: 1590: "The Source"

Postby Vytron » Wed Oct 14, 2015 11:15 pm UTC

JohnTheWysard wrote:I wish I could turn off the high-pitched (E-flat an octave above the treble clef) hum. But it's the tinnitus in my left ear's cochlea and there doesn't seem to be an off switch.


So apparently, I'm in the same club.

Except, I have learned to live with it, and ignore it, so that I don't even notice I'm hearing it most of the time (seriously, last time I "heard it" was two weeks ago).

So I started paying attention to it after reading the comic.

And now, every time I'll remember the comic I'll pay attention to the hum :(

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Re: 1590: "The Source"

Postby Trickster » Wed Oct 14, 2015 11:26 pm UTC

nigenet wrote:
Trickster wrote:Also:

I don't get it.</catchlights>


Sorry, it's a reference to XKCD 1134: Logic Boat :-)


No, I meant I don't get today's comic.

I'm guessing it's the "Cow Tools" of XKCD?

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Re: 1590: "The Source"

Postby chris857 » Wed Oct 14, 2015 11:36 pm UTC

I also find it interesting that I can hear (at least some) CFL bulbs whine when on, and see them glow when off.

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Re: 1590: "The Source"

Postby Brian-M » Thu Oct 15, 2015 12:56 am UTC

orthogon wrote:"High-pitched hum" is an oxymoron. A hum is specifically a low-pitched continuous sound. What you have, if it's high-pitched and continuous, is a whistle.

Maybe "high pitch hum" refers to something that's a little of both?

For example, maybe a 10,000 Hz tone (caused by a switch-mode supply) modulated in volume by a 100 or 120 Hz cycle (caused by 50 or 60 Hz mains)?

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Re: 1590: "The Source"

Postby StClair » Thu Oct 15, 2015 3:14 am UTC

Yeah, that'll go away on its own as you get older and your hearing starts to fail.

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Re: 1590: "The Source"

Postby RogueCynic » Thu Oct 15, 2015 3:26 am UTC

airdrik wrote:I was just demonstrating an example of this to some of my coworkers on Monday. I have pretty standard led displays, but when I have a spreadsheet open (in LibreOffice) something about the pattern of white cells and dark grid lines causes a (vibrating) high-pitched noise. Upon experimentation, it only happens on certain (resonant) row heights: 0.08" (0.075"?), 0.15", 0.22" (0.225"?) and 0.30", with the sound being loudest when the row height is set to 0.08".
We regularly work with reports where the row height is set to 0.19", zoomed to 80%.

Of course this only affects a select set of individuals as the higher the pitch the smaller percentage of people that can hear it.
I envy those who can't hear these very high pitch noises (such as my wife who e.g. can't hear the hum of our CRT TV when it is on) as these noises are all very annoying.

I'm surprised it only took him 5 panels to find the source as it is often very hard to tell which direction such high pitched hums come from, especially when you turn your head and at various angles/positions the sound might cancel itself out, so all you really get is a game of hot/cold where you can't always tell if you are getting any warmer.

I thought he went straight to the generator. The alt text implies he knew he had it and where he put it. Women typically speak in a high pitched hum. Since they never have anything intelligent to say.
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Re: 1590: "The Source"

Postby madaco » Thu Oct 15, 2015 3:46 am UTC

RogueCynic wrote: Since they never have anything intelligent to say.


... wat?
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Re: 1590: "The Source"

Postby Dedmon » Thu Oct 15, 2015 4:03 am UTC

White/Pink/Brown noise generators!

We use them in psychological research to, well, normalize the sounds of other HPHGs for experimental control.


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