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what the beep? - a very strange bug

  • To: mathgroup at
  • Subject: [mg74513] what the beep? - a very strange bug
  • From: "Matt Enlow" <mattenlow at>
  • Date: Fri, 23 Mar 2007 19:15:24 -0500 (EST)
  • Reply-to: mattenlow at

Just the other day I noticed some very strange behavior in Mathematica.

Whenever I received an error/warning message, it would display the
message, then completely freeze for a full 15 seconds, after which it
beeped--but not its normal beep, a much more "primitive", Atari-like
beep--and un-froze. And everything's fine again. It would do that for
every warning message cell. Display, 15-second freeze, strange beep,

I then noticed that this would happen WHENEVER a beep was supposed to
occur, such as typing in a mismatched grouping construct (like
"(2x+3]"). It would freeze for 15 seconds, then strange-beep and
unfreeze. So my guess was that it was spending that 15 seconds looking
for the sound file to create the standard beep, not finding it, and
giving up and going with some kind of "default beep". I searched all
help files and online for some kind of a clue as to how Mathematica
goes about producing its actual "beep" sound, with no luck.

I tried re-installing Mathematica, thinking that maybe the sound file
would be replaced, but the behavior did not change! I am baffled.
Maybe it's really a Windows sound I am missing, that Mathematica just
co-opts? (Oh, I'm running v5.2 of Mathematica on Win XP Home Edition,
SP2). Any ideas/insight would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

Matt Enlow
West Newton, MA

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