Sometimes you just hit on such crazy stories that you have to report them. That’s what I’m doing with this article. It sounds so bizarre. Microsoft reported that old laptops that played the Janet Jackson music video “Rhythm Nation” would crash. Just being in the vicinity of the song could cause your laptop to crash.
The Janet Jackson Phenomenon
This is a story that was discussed in a recent Microsoft developer blog post, a story that had been shared with the writer by someone with Windows XP product support. So now we know that yes, product support workers do sit around and laugh at the crazy questions asked.
It’s not clarified whether this happened to Windows laptops, Mac laptops, etc. – it only notes that the phenomenon was discovered by “a major computer manufacturer.” If you’ve played the “Rhythm Nation” music video on your laptop and nothing happened, you’re probably in the clear to play it again (only if you want to).
It was found that playing the Janet Jackson music video would cause certain laptops to crash. It gets even more bizarre than that, through. It didn’t just crash the laptops of the major computer manufacturer, as it also crashed other manufacturers’ laptops. Further, if you played “Rhythm Nation” on your laptop, nearby laptops would crash too, just from being in the vicinity, without even playing the song.
Old Laptops Affected
It’s not that the old laptops had anything against Janet Jackson or her song “Rhythm Nation.” The laptops were not operating as music critics. It was all hardware related.
The song had a natural resonant frequency in it that the laptop manufacturers used with 5400 rpm hard drives. The unnamed manufacturer solved this problem by creating a custom filter that would locate that frequency and remove it while playing the song.
I suppose we never really know what’s going on under the hood of our machines and devices. When we’re experiencing an unknown crash every time we try to execute a command, is there some type of clash like this between the system and the third-party software?
Thankfully, the problem was solved, so anyone who had one of those laptops could watch the Janet Jackson “Rhythm Nation” music video in peace. Assumably, there is more music that uses similar frequencies. Either they aren’t as well known as “Rhythm Nation,” or the manufacturers made sure this problem wouldn’t happen again.
That’s one concern with buying older computers. You don’t know what ongoing problems the machines had when they were released. If you’re shopping for old laptops, here are some things to watch out for.
Image credit: Unsplash
Our latest tutorials delivered straight to your inbox