Microsoft developer Raymond Chen told the company’s blog about very strange cases during the Windows XP era, when some laptops crashed after playing Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation music video.
This was experienced by one of the major laptop manufacturers, who, in the course of searching for the cause, found out that the problem also affects devices from other manufacturers. Moreover, it turned out that not only the computers on which the track is played are out of order, but also the PCs located nearby.
It turned out that the reason for all the breakdowns is the same — Janet Jackson’s song contained one of the resonant frequencies of hard drives for laptops running at 5400 rpm. Simply put, the track resonated with the hard drive and disabled it.
The manufacturer solved the problem by adding a special filter to the audio pipeline that detected and removed unwanted frequencies during audio playback.
Raymond Chen notes that this case is reminiscent of the story of the Tacoma Bridge. In the 1940s, it was the third longest suspension bridge in the world (1.65 km). It was called one of the strongest and most flexible, but a few months after the opening, it collapsed from a strong wind. Subsequent tests showed that the powerful structure was very vulnerable to simple vibrations created by certain gusts of wind. These lessons were taken into account in the construction of all subsequent bridges.
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