Janet Jackson is a singer, known primarily for being the sister of Michael Jackson. However, did you know that it also had the power to break down computers? Wow, that’s a superpower.
Raymond Chen, who has been involved with the development of Windows since version 95, regularly posts on the Microsoft blog. And this week, a great anecdote was taken out of the sleeve: it turns out that at some point, the song “Rhythm Nation” by Janet Jackson was crashing computers.
A friend of Chen’s told him that he noticed the phenomenon when trying to play the music video on his computer and that it repeated when he tried it on others. The big surprise happened when he saw that playing the video on one computer could crash another nearby one, even if that other one was not playing it.
Well, and what was the secret, what was so special about that song? In the end, it turned out that the song contained one of the natural resonant frequencies for the 5400 rpm model of portable hard drives that those computers used. Eventually, the manufacturer fixed the problem by adding a custom filter in the audio pipeline that detected and eliminated the frequencies contained in that song, at least during audio playback.
Today, surely all hard drive manufacturers include that protection by default, although they may not even remember why anymore. In addition, it must be remembered that day by day mechanical hard drives lose ground compared to solid-state disks, which are obviously less affected by vibrations.
And well, maybe today Janet Jackson is no longer as famous as before, but at least we always know that “Rhythm Nation” is basically the only song that is basically an electromagnetic pulse with a lot of rhythm.