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 Post subject: The history of "meep".
PostPosted: Fri Aug 20, 2004 1:30 am 
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Got this on an e-mail list...

History of the Meep
Introduction
In the very recent past, people all over the world have been using
their
computers and asking themselves "what is a meep?". Very few people are
comfortable until knowing the answer to this question, as seen by they
way
that when asked to meep, they are totally dumbfounded and either leave
abruptly or search themselves deeply for enlightenment. When they
attain
this level of enlightenment, the profound relief at that understanding
pervades their entire being bringing them to a new level of
consciousness as
if a new world is opened up to them. But what is this "meep"? To answer
this
question, the history of the meep and it"s connection with computers
has to
be reviewed.

Archimedes
The theoretical existence of the meep was realised when Archimedes
jumped
out of his bathtub screaming "Eureka" at everyone and was promptly
arrested
for public disorder offences. Inspired by his experiences in the
bathtub, he
theorised about the weight of sound while being held in jail overnight,
.
His theory went along the lines that if a machine capable of producing
sound, for instance an eep, was fully immersed in water and then
allowed to
make that sound (to "make eep"), the amount of water that was displaced
would indicate the weight of the sound. Unfortunately, this was never
proven
since the theory was written on the cell walls, mistaken for grafitti
and
lost for centuries.
Later on, the study of "make eep" was nearly discovered again in
Newton's
law of graffiti which said what goes up must come down. Since
Archimedes had
written his theory up on the wall where is was seen as grafitti, it
should
be passed down the centuries. Newton was deep in thought about this and
almost rediscovered Archimedes' principles when an Apple accidently
fell on
his head. At that time, electricity had not been invented and Newton
could
not plug the Apple in, thus failing to even demonstrate whether
machines
could "make eep".
The first occurrance of "make eep" was rumoured to have occurred in the
early days of computing machines when Charles Babbage designed and
built his
Difference Engine, the first programmable calculation machine. Lady Ada
Lovelace, the first programmer and namesake for the moden programming
language, was rumoured to have heard "a curious and intermittant
meeping
noise" from within the brass mechanism. Unfortunately, since this
remark was
not deemed to be significant, it was not subsequently permanently
recorded
and it has not been fully established whether the noise was the fault
of
badly oiled mechanism or whether the world's first meep had been
discovered.

The first beep
As electronic computers developed through the 1960's and 70's, it was
realised that computing machinery was a) slow and b) had many errors.
These
caused the computer to stop and sit there happily doing nothing while
the
operators and progammers assumed they had enough time to go and get a
cup of
tea while waiting for the computer to do something. A solution to this
was
found in the "beep thingy", a small electronic circuit that produced a
tone
generated by the computer when it got confused and had to tell someone
about
it. This simple device advanced the progress of computing phenomenally
since
the computer could now tell people that it was confused and get someone
to
pay attention to it, thus saving copious amounts of time and resource
usage.
It also completely reversed the role of people being in control of
computers; before the beep thingy operators could get on with their
tea, but
after the beep thingy was installed, operators would be interrupted by
the
computer, thus introducing the situation where the computer was now in
control of the operators and programmers.

Evidence of Meep
To understand how the computer beep evolved into the meep, it is
necessary
to delve into some contemporary music history when the the Beatles used
"meep" in their early psychedelic days. While practising Transcendental
Meditation, they would be filled with a strong sense of oneness with
the
world, universal peace and harmony with nature. This state could be
sustained until any mention of the word "meep" immediately brought them
out
of that meditative state and into a state of confusion. At one point,
this
got so distressing that they abandoned anything to do with
Transcendental
Meditation, blaming their Guru for always saying "meep" just as they
got to
the best bit with the "Plasticene Porters with Looking Glass Ties".
John
Lennon once managed to get to this level before being interrupted and
this
resulted in the song "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds".
How the meep became parallel to the beep
The connection with meep and beep was established in the late 1980's
when
Apple Computer completed their legal wrangle with the Beatles over the
use
of the name "Apple Corps". The successful purchase of the name brought
with
it a number of documents by the Beatles which explained their
dissatisfaction with Transcendental Meditation. Apple used this in the
design of their computers, by obscuring all transcendental mathematical
functions deep inside the ROM and programming the error tone to be a
"wild
eep" instead of a beep. When a complex transcendental mathematical
function
was required and could not be satisfactorily resolved by the computer,
an
error would occur and the "wild eep" tone was sounded.
Since then, the "beep" and "wild eep" have been universally recognised
as
signifying when a computer is confused, but since there has not been
any
equivalent for human users, there has been an emphasis on the user to
resolve the confusion. This has put much stress on the human users who
may
be just as confused as the computer, resulting in disharmonious
relationships between man and machine.

The true meaning of meep
The solution lay in the "meep" that caused the Beatles to realise that
Transcendental Meditation was not all it was cracked up to be. The
"meep"
had the tonal equivalent to the "beep" but with the characteristic of
the
self-pointing personal pronoun "me", thus indicating that "meep" was a
sign
of individual confusion. This can be seen the reactions of people
unfamiliar
with "meep" when confronted by it for the first time. For instance,
take the
IRC channel #virtue where newcomers may be required to demonstrate
their
knowldge of self and acknowledgement of their physical, emotional and
intellectual state. Immediately they become confused, and for a text
based
communications medium the sense of confusion can be clearly seen and
felt as
newcomers attempt to overcome their psycho-social programming in which
they
are told to surpress all indication of confusion since it represents a
weakness in the face of a dog-eat-dog society.
It is not until now that the significance of the meep or "make eep"
principle has been fully realised as a parallel between the symbiotic
confusion between man and machine. Now that this link has been
established,
man and machine can co-exist in harmony where both can demonstrate
their
confusedness at the technological progress of the modern world. There
have
been moves by operating system manufacturers to obscure this beep in
order
to hide the fact the the machine is confused and needs attention, since
this
highlights possible programs with the operating systems. This has been
done
by the introduction of programs to replace the beep with all manner of
sampled sounds, for instance, quotes from television programs or sounds
taken from nature. However, they have not been able to remove the
fundamental default beep tone that indicate that the computer is
confused.

Summary: the effects of meeping
The fundamental effect of meeping has two effects - it alerts the
computer
that the user is also confused so that it will do it's best to be
helpful,
and it allows the user to acknowldge that there is a problem, then
contemplate on why the problem has occurred in order to determine ways
to
solve that problem. The relationship between computer confusion and
human
confusion is therefore clearly demonstrated through the meep, and
acknowledgement of this allows both man and machine to understand each
other
and try to come to an understanding in which both can work in hamony.


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