Net puzzle: the opposite of hi-fi


There is almost nothing that does not exist in the network of networks: ingenious, interesting, useful and wonderfully superfluous. This time: a musical journey into the past.

MUsic without real instruments that are simply produced by the computer: This is completely natural today, regardless of whether it is about the tones themselves or the trimmings such as cutting, mixing and editing. In the first decades, computers were silent or at best could give off helpless beeps. The breakthrough in sound generation came with home computers in the eighties: Sinclair Spectrum, Commodore VC20 or C64, computers from Atari and Texas Instruments – they all could make music more or less neatly. The C64 from Commodore was leading for a long time, its “Sid”, Sound Interface Device, had three tone generators with four waveforms; an unbelievable wealth of possibilities for programmers at the time (although the upper limit frequency of 4 kHz was not exactly suspicious for HiFi)

Not only computer games were now accompanied by “music”, there were also pure sound demos that were distributed on data sets and floppy disks and that people apparently listened to voluntarily. Today the penetrating melodies make you think of a broken keyboard with only three keys or a dentist’s drill you can listen to a whole repertoire of music from that time. The computer scientist Sebastian Macke has written an emulator that makes it possible to play back sounds from back then in original quality. Click through categories such as “Games” or “Demos” or start random playback by clicking on “Slightly Random Choice”.

Our riddle: Which mass storage device for home computers worked with a continuous tape and offered a storage capacity of around 85 kB? Please send your proposed solution to [email protected] We will raffle an e-book shopping voucher worth 25 euros from all correct entries. The closing date for entries is January 13, 2021, 9 p.m.


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