back to article No, no, no! Disco joke hit bum note in the rehab center

Welcome once again, valued reader, to Who, Me? – The Register's comfy Monday nook wherein we share stories of times readers weren't quite so clever as they imagined. This week, say hello to a reader we'll Regomize as "Gene" who, once upon long ago, worked in the IT department of "a fancy rehab facility." Or perhaps more …

  1. Korev Silver badge
    Coat

    Eventually he got the system to download a smaller and somewhat more professional-sounding ringtone file and – hallelujah – it stopped raining men.

    You mean he nursed it back to normal?

    1. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge
      Coat

      You mean he nursed it back to normal?

      I suppose he'd have to, unless the Sisters Were Doing It For Themselves

      1. Korev Silver badge
        Coat

        That Matron be an excellent joke...

    2. Benegesserict Cumbersomberbatch Silver badge

      If he downloaded Hallelujah, the problems would have been much worse. The lyrics Leonard Cohen wrote for that were 15 pages long by the time he was done.

      1. Jedit Silver badge
        Unhappy

        "If he downloaded Hallelujah, the problems would have been much worse"

        I don't think the length of the lyrics would have been half so much a problem as the multiple suicide attempts on the ward. Hallelujah is a great song, but it's not a cheery one.

        1. Martin
          Unhappy

          Re: "If he downloaded Hallelujah, the problems would have been much worse"

          Urghh. Can't stand it. You can't rhyme "....do you?" with Hallelujah. You just can't.

          1. David Nash

            Re: "If he downloaded Hallelujah, the problems would have been much worse"

            So what do ya rhyme with Hallelujah?

            1. JimboSmith Silver badge

              Re: "If he downloaded Hallelujah, the problems would have been much worse"

              The rather excellent Mitch Benn got jolly annoyed with Hallelujah was covered by the Christmas xfactor winner. I have no idea who it was or what it sounded like but I do like his song about it. What’s really nice is that he doesn’t use the actual melody but does his own so as not to tarnish the original.Stay the hell away from Hallelujah https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gQ_ayRYWbrc

              1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

                Re: "If he downloaded Hallelujah, the problems would have been much worse"

                Alexandra Burke.

                Quite honestly, the X-Factor producers/Simon Cowell deserve to have the longest version in existence, all 15 pages if possible, on loop, just to teach them that it was not a suitable song for the dull, emotionless treatment they gave it on X-Factor. I'm sure Alexandra Burke had no idea about the meaning of the song when they told her to sing it.

                Don't get me wrong. Hallelujah, in it's original, and also IMHO the Jeff Buckley versions is an excellent song. Alexandra Burke is an extraordinarily capable performer, one of the few worthy winners of X-Factor. The SyCo producers are idiots for that and the other the choice of songs they made for her when she won X-Factor, and afterwards in my opinion.

                1. Benegesserict Cumbersomberbatch Silver badge

                  Re: "If he downloaded Hallelujah, the problems would have been much worse"

                  Jeff Buckley's haunting guitar intro alone is worth the price of the album. And then he sings as well.

              2. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: "If he downloaded Hallelujah, the problems would have been much worse"

                Big Mitch Benn fan, but I haven't heard that one!

                I think one of my favourites was I may just have to murder James Blunt

            2. disgruntled yank

              Re: "If he downloaded Hallelujah, the problems would have been much worse"

              Well, at about age 10, we rhymed it with "ruler": "Glory, glory, hallelujah/Teacher hit me with a ruler."

          2. Jedit Silver badge
            Trollface

            "Urghh. Can't stand it."

            You said "Urghh", but maybe you meant "Ooyah"?

      2. NoneSuch Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        KD Lang's cover of Hallelujah on YouTube is one of the best performances ever given.

      3. Mark 85

        If he downloaded Hallelujah, the problems would have been much worse. The lyrics Leonard Cohen wrote for that were 15 pages long by the time he was done.

        I think "Tommy" from the Who would be cruel and work. THe rock opera, not the single.

      4. Nifty

        The Partisan would really have done it. Still remember a student party where when we all crashed to sleep on the floor, someone started singing it. When he got to the bit where 'she died without a whisper' someone retorted 'wish you would...'.

  2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    So the system didn't cut the ringtone when the phone was picked up

    Seems a bit sloppy to me. It's not like the guys who created this system weren't familiar with how the phone ring works.

    Looks like they just decided to pipe the mp3 to speaker and not bother with cutting it off because, obviously, who would configure a 90-second ringtone ?

    And that's where we get the difference between what a system is made to do, and what it can do.

    1. Korev Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: So the system didn't cut the ringtone when the phone was picked up

      I'm surprised the nurses didn't hit the phone with their Sister Sledgehammer...

      1. b0llchit Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: So the system didn't cut the ringtone when the phone was picked up

        They only had a Pointer, sister.

        1. collinsl Bronze badge

          Re: So the system didn't cut the ringtone when the phone was picked up

          What about thumb-pinky?

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Scrubs_characters#Janitor

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: So the system didn't cut the ringtone when the phone was picked up

      "because, obviously, who would configure a 90-second ringtone ?"

      They made an assumption. Any assumption quickly becomes a limitation if not a bug. Assume as little as possible, Even so it should be a requirement of ringing a phone that the ring tone ill be cut off as soon as it's answered.

      1. b0llchit Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: So the system didn't cut the ringtone when the phone was picked up

        Assume as little as possible, Even so it should be a requirement of ringing a phone that the ring tone ill be cut off as soon as it's answered.

        But that assumes a sane programmer is at work...

        1. KittenHuffer Silver badge

          Re: So the system didn't cut the ringtone when the phone was picked up

          That's assuming you can find a sane programmer!

          1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: So the system didn't cut the ringtone when the phone was picked up

            I'd like to find one to integrate a USB document camera into X-Sane.

            Oh, you meant that sort of "sane".

            1. b0llchit Silver badge
              Coat

              Re: So the system didn't cut the ringtone when the phone was picked up

              I scanned what you did there.

    3. Annihilator

      Re: So the system didn't cut the ringtone when the phone was picked up

      I'd imagine it was a skeuomorphism. In old-skool phones, picking up the phone didn't result in instant silence, the literal bell continued to be heard reverberating. Similarly if I think back to the DTMF touch tone ones that replaced them continued to play the whole ring after the phone was picked up. Either for simplistic design, or because an interrupted ring sounded discombobulating.

      1. I could be a dog really Bronze badge

        Re: So the system didn't cut the ringtone when the phone was picked up

        I'd put it down to :

        Phone rings by playing short track, then pauses, then plays track again, pauses, then ...

        If the track is only a second or two long, then no problem - many people take longer than that to get the phone from the hook to their ear, hence the ring has stopped before they start listening/talking.

        It's still a bit of a shortcut (to be polite) not stopping playback when taken off hook, but understandable if you make certain assumptions about the sound file being very short.

    4. Shane Lusby

      Re: So the system didn't cut the ringtone when the phone was picked up

      I mean even ignoring the 90 second ringtone issue, if you had a 10 second one and answered it on the second ring you don't want it running another 6 or 8 seconds. It should be preparted for a file long enough to catch the attention if you don't have the phone to hand, but obviously cut off pretty promptly once picked up.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: So the system didn't cut the ringtone when the phone was picked up

      After a particularly short trip abroad but which had been long in distance my team were all in the people mover that work had sent to collect us from Heathrow. This was just after mobiles got the ability to use MP3s as ringtones. Heading away from the airport one of my colleagues suddenly asked the driver to stop the vehicle please. The person sitting next to him was very alarmed fearing his neighbour was travel/car sick. The driver asked if he was about to barf and the stricken man said no but could the car please be stopped. Driver says nope and then we can all hear it…….

      Coming from his bag which is in the boot separated by a ventilated plexiglass screen can be heard the Chicken Song by Spitting Image. (If you don’t know what this is do not search YouTube for it.)*

      Okay it’s not so bad** and it will eventually stop which it did to relief all round. Then it restarts as the caller tries again to get through which isn’t good. It cuts out at the same spot and it is assumed the person will leave a voicemail and go away. They do but the phone rings to let the owner know there is a voicemail waiting. It does this three times before the driver pulls over onto the hard shoulder of the M4 and tells our colleague to get out. He then opened the boot of the people mover and told the man to turn it off or we would be left at the Heston services to fend for ourselves.

      *I really mean it just don’t

      ** It could have been Joe Dolce with Shaddap Your Face***

      *** That song kept Vienna by Ultravox from number 1 in the charts which is a crime.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: So the system didn't cut the ringtone when the phone was picked up

        Chicken Song by Spitting Image. (If you don’t know what this is do not search YouTube for it.)*

        Apart from it being a funny parody of the "silly summer" chart hits we used to get every year, that Top Of The Pops video is the only time you'll see Ronny Reagan on Drums and Maggie Thatcher on keyboards :-)

        But since you hate it so much, I shall just leave you with a couple of hints towards some different ear-worms. Agadoo doo doo, push pineapple, shake the tree...because...There's Klingons on the Starboard Bow, Starboard Bow, Starboard Bow...

        1. J. Cook Silver badge
          Coat

          Re: So the system didn't cut the ringtone when the phone was picked up

          STAR- TREKKING! Across the Universe! Boldly going forwards, 'cause we can't find reverse!

          ::takes deep breath for the next verse::

          OW! LEMME GO!!

          :: Gets ejected out the back door ::

  3. wolfetone Silver badge

    Imagine the mayhem if Gene worked at a fertility clinic and put Buddy Holly's "Maybe Baby" on instead...

    1. Already?

      Could have used Telephone Line by ELO - that starts with a ring tone, albeit the US one so there’s at least a stab at getting it right. Downside is Jeff Lynne warbling through the remaining 4 minutes of a quite good 70s hit. Ok once in a while but not every time the phone rings.

    2. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      I know someone who set up "Take the money and run" as the music on hold for the sales department.

  4. Anonymous Coward Silver badge
    Facepalm

    And to think that he could've used John Cage's 4'33" instead

    1. David Nash

      I saw the sheet music for that in a shop in London.

      Yes, it was exactly what you expect.

      1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

        Did it at least have the key and time signatures and a hint of the tempo?

        I've always had trouble trying to work these out from the recording. It's very difficult to count it!

  5. DaemonProcess
    Joke

    poor taste

    I'd have uploaded the theme from Mash - Suicide is painless

    Sick

    Well yes...

    1. Annihilator

      Re: poor taste

      Cutting Crew - I Just Died In Your Arms Tonight

      The Verve - The Drugs Don't Work

      1. Elongated Muskrat Silver badge

        Re: poor taste

        The Pixies - Wave of Mutilation

        1. Benegesserict Cumbersomberbatch Silver badge

          Re: poor taste

          Radiohead - No Surprises

          Starts off sounding like a ring tone

          Then you listen to the lyrics

          1. NXM Silver badge

            Re: poor taste

            OK Computer has been described as a protracted war between the lyrics and the music. Sounds lovely till you listen to the lyrics, and then you're in a world of despair.

      2. JimboSmith Silver badge

        Re: poor taste

        A mate had Bat Out Of Hell as a personalised ringtone for his Mother In Law. I say hadbecause his MOL pocket dialled him by accident whilst both at a family gathering. She was not amused and had him change it there and then.

        1. Montreal Sean

          Re: poor taste

          I had AC/DC Hell's Bells as the ringtone for my manager's number...

    2. Ken Shabby
      Coat

      Re: poor taste

      The Rolling Stones, Sister Morphine.

    3. vogon00

      Re: poor taste

      I'm just glad he picked some Disco (pretty poor) as opposed to my first thought, which was a particular sketch by 'Derek and Clive' (AKA Peter Cook and Dudley Moore).

      My first thought was (NSFW) this, and the second (Very NSFW) was this.

      At one point, I was involved in the dev of something known as a 'Subscriber Data and Telephony Adapter', which was supposed to 'drop' both internet and voice into customer premises via a microwave-type PTP radio link. I had come up with an exchange simulator to test various call-flow scenarios and options. The Devil on my shoulder said "Hmmmm...unplug target's desk phone from floor jack, connect to the SDTA instead......program simulator to play a black-humor voice announcement (Redundancies were happening) and disconnect when any digit is dialled..."

      Backfired a bit as it wasn't received well (odd, he'd do that to other people) and I had to take the morning off for safety...and eat a huuggee slice of humble pie in the afternoon to avoid HR involvement.. (Actors:Keith, Neil and myself)

  6. Already?

    But but but

    Some seriously shonky coding going on there if it plays the ringtone to its end even though the call has been answered. Forget the jolly jape of It's Raining Men playing to a conclusion on every call, it means that any call will be answered with the chosen ringtone still playing unless the recipient knows to answer it as the ringtone is about to finish.

    Hmmm. Not sure if the developers thought this through and tested it to any degree of sanity, or if we’re being misled a little with this Who Me.

  7. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
    Happy

    Could be worse, of course

    Status Quo's 4500 times would last considerably longer (around 10 minutes), and then there's 2112 by Rush at just over 20 minutes.

    1. Already?

      Re: Could be worse, of course

      All 4 sides of Tales From Topographic Oceans would see off more than half a day’s work.

      1. Martin
        Happy

        Re: Could be worse, of course

        That would not be a joke. That would be cruel and unusual punishment.

        1. Ken Shabby
          Alert

          Re: Could be worse, of course

          Tales From Topographic Oceans' is like a woman's padded bra. The cover looks good, but when you peel off the padding, there's not a lot there.

          Rick Wakeman.

    2. Outski

      Re: Could be worse, of course

      I actually have the opening bars (less triangle) of YYZ as my ringtone, edited to repeat rather than go into the main theme

    3. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Could be worse, of course

      I've had the misfortune of being a exhibitor at computer shows in the errrrrmmmmm late 80's.

      For a time every other stand wanted to showcase their MIDI\Sound offerings & heard repeatedly over the summer was the Theme from Biggles The Movie or Staus Quo's In The Army Now.

      Only trumped by proximity to the suite of Space Harrier machines & someone dying in game every 75 seconds for 6 or 7 days at Earls Court.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Could be worse, of course

        It's not the dying sound that gets annoying.

        "Welcome to the fantasy zone. Get Ready!"

    4. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Could be worse, of course

      "and then there's 2112 by Rush at just over 20 minutes."

      For some reason, still one of my favourites. Possibly because that intro is so very 70's campy SF space opera. Then it gets good :-)

  8. breakfast Silver badge

    A secret phone cord?

    Eventually he got the system to download a smaller and somewhat more professional-sounding ringtone file and – hallelujah – it stopped raining men.

    I don't know if Hallelujah would be a better option tbh.

  9. original_rwg

    Hold Muzak

    Many, many years ago if you were on hold with a company called D.E.M. who were a software reseller for Backup Exec, they played excerpts from Goon shows.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Hold Muzak

      If you have to phone the Sally Army, you get to hear their bands playing. If you phone the RSPB you get to hear bird song.

  10. A____B

    Why stop with a music track?

    Many years ago, one of our 'louder' colleagues, who got on everyone's nerves, went off to a meeting and left his mobile phone unattended on his desk.

    It didn't take long for the office prankster to unlock it and set his ringtone and notifications tone to the [in]famous clip from "When Harry met Sally" and cranked the volume right up.

    When he returned from his meeting, in the company of several senior managers, someone rang his phone to the amusement of everyone in the open plan office and his great embarrassment.

    Fortunately the lady from HR saw it as a joke and just said "I'll have what she's having!" rather than treating in the serious way things would happen today.

    1. Mast1

      Re: Why stop with a music track?

      We had a similar episode of an unattended mobile 'phone in an open office.

      No interference/hacking required : just pop it into the office 'fridge.

      Not a perfect sound-proof box (and radio waves get throug the seals), but it dialled the level down to "minor irritation".

      1. The other JJ

        Re: Why stop with a music track?

        Or to quote Alice from the better days of Dilbert, "Was it metallic, noisy and flushable?"

      2. Flightmode

        Re: Why stop with a music track?

        1. Grab serially-absent colleague's phone from his desk.

        2. Grab broom surreptitiously left in the corner.

        3. Use said handle to lift a ceiling tile.

        4. Shotput.

    2. aerogems Silver badge

      Re: Why stop with a music track?

      My late friend would do things like that. If you left your computer unlocked to use the facilities or something, he'd start sending messages to random people on the company IM system pretending to be you, or set up meetings for like 3AM on a Saturday to discuss the weather. It wasn't too uncommon to hear someone saying, "Get the hell out of my cube!" and you knew exactly what was going on without even having to look. He claimed it was to teach people about computer security, btu I knew him well enough to know he was just doing it for the shits and giggles of it.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Why stop with a music track?

        We had a 'prankster' who used to annoy the crap out of everyone.

        One day, he left his machine unlocked and someone sent a bunch of messages from his email in revenge.

        Only HE didn't see the funny side of it and reported it to HR...

    3. Mark White

      Re: Why stop with a music track?

      There was the one time I left my phone on the other side of the office and the Benny Hill theme came blaring out...

  11. CorwinX Bronze badge

    Cisco phones are endlessly customisable

    One time many years ago one of my managers knew well that if he went on holiday he'd find something "amusing" on his return.

    The company had a Cisco Call Manager network with phones with customisable screens and ringtones.

    Said manager got a lot of ribbing for driving a Mazda MX5. There's a classic Harry Enfield/Paul Whitehouse sketch called Clarkson Island (look it up).

    Result - phone screen had a photo of said car and when the phone rang it would shout out "Girl's Car, Girl's Car..."

  12. WolfFan

    Bah

    I'd have gone for Donna Summer, before she got religion. Love to Love You. Or maybe Queen. Another One Bites the Dust.

  13. Ghostman

    How about In-A-Godda-Da-Vida, with the drum solo.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Long MP3

    Build a 30 minute sound with a ring tone 5 minutes of silence then ring tone, repeat.

    1. Flightmode
      Pint

      Re: Long MP3

      Eeeeevil. I like it!

  15. Marty McFly Silver badge
    Pint

    ...some clever techie trick backfire on you

    Didn't backfire on me, but I saw it happen.

    The resident IT geek managed to land himself a steady date with the resident office redhead. This was back in the days of cryptic Win9x error messages. So he wrote a little script, made it auto-launch, and left it on her machine. Every few minutes it would pop up some random gibberish error message. And, of course, it always came back after reboots. He proceeded to tell her to write down the errors exactly so he could properly troubleshoot them. The 50th message was something about professing his undying love for her.

    Everything worked out for the best. He found more time in his schedule to code cheesy scripts, and she bestowed her ample assets on a different target of affection.

  16. DS999 Silver badge
    Stop

    Always test before deployment

    Even pranks. Especially pranks.

  17. chivo243 Silver badge
    Go

    Wait for it...

    Gene Gene the dancing machine! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gene_Gene_the_Dancing_Machine

    The Gong Show...!

  18. J. Cook Silver badge
    Devil

    I'm not one to talk- my personal cell phone's ring tone is "Telephone" by Lady Gaga.

  19. NITS

    I use the monophonic "Nokia Tune" on my Motorola. Nobody else uses it anymore. I can instantly tell that it's my phone that's ringing, vs. somebody else's. And it's not *too* obnoxious (YMMV).

    1. Benegesserict Cumbersomberbatch Silver badge

      The Nokia tune is an excerpt from a symphony by Sibelius. Quite disconcerting (ha!) to hear the original, now that they've done that to it, and us.

      1. Adrian Harvey

        It’s actually an extract from a guitar piece called Gran Vals, composed in 1902 by the Spanish classical guitarist and composer Francisco Tárrega. Though that itself may contain references to earlier work by Chopin.

        See https://thenextweb.com/news/where-did-that-nokia-theme-tune-really-come-from

        Some other detail is contained in the Wikipedia article https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nokia_tune

    2. I don't know, stop asking me.

      > I use the monophonic "Nokia Tune" on my Motorola. Nobody else uses it anymore.

      Hi there, I am Nobody.

  20. Hazmoid

    I know it is my phne ringing, because the ring tone is "Computer Games' by MiSex https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gsHYSs_qgmU

    Previous to that I used the rocking intro to "Goodbye Astrid" by Cold Chisel https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R9ePvkocxHA

  21. PRR Silver badge
    Devil

    Shall we go, you and I while we can.....

    There are single tracks of The Dead's Dark Star up to 43 minutes long (live in Cleveland).

    Greyfolded is a 109 minute compilation of Dark Star performances.

    Archive.org has an 11 HOUR compilation of Dark Star but rigged to be difficult to extract. (But if I can hear it, I can record it.) https://archive.org/details/DarkStar_1972

    Dark Star was first pressed as a single, 2:44. Upbeat, peppy, bouncy, almost frantic. "sank like a stone."

    'darkstar' is also a hostname in Slackware Linux. And a 1974 student film.

    Dark Star will always be playing, somewhere.

    1. OAB

      Re: Shall we go, you and I while we can.....

      There are mp3 and ogg download links on that Archive.org page, not too hard to extract ;)

  22. watersb

    We must discuss "Disco"

    "It's Raining Men" is an Aerobics Craze Era power anthem.

    I think it's post-Disco.

    I clearly remember that Disco was declared dead some time before the Reagan/Thatcher Situation.

    Consider the attire required for this song: tights (not yoga pants), an awkwardly-high-cut leotard, sweat band across the brow, and leg warmers. Not high-heel boots and polyester leisure suit.

    Richard Simmons, not John Travolta.

  23. JoAnywhere

    This feels hinky

    While I love the story, I see a small issue and I'm not sure whether the issue lies with the story teller or the phone architecture.

    No matter what the length of the ring tone file (lets say it is 15 seconds). If I pick up the phone in the 1st second, it'll still keep ringing for 14 seconds. Putting to one side a 90s ringtone, 14s is still a LONG time to have music (or whatever sound was downloaded) playing through a call

    That doesn't seem right.

    1. I could be a dog really Bronze badge

      Re: This feels hinky

      Think of "ring tone" as being a short (1 sec perhaps) sound, played repeatedly with pauses in between. That you'd only ever have a second or less of ring tone - which is less time than many people take the phone off the hook and get it to their ear.

  24. markdiss76

    Reminds me of a similar incident back in 2003 where the startup tune for a team leader's Windows PC was changed to "Are you Ready for Love" by Elton John. Not realising that the windows startup tune at the time actually paused windows starting up. As the team leader in question had his laptop speaker muted it took some time for him to work out why his PC was taking > 3 minutes to log in!

  25. Stuart Castle Silver badge

    About 20 years ago, I used to work the occasional Saturday. Not always a comfortable thing, after a heavy night's drinking on Friday..

    One Saturday, I'd come in with one of my colleagues. We needed to do something to one of the servers, and it was easier at the weekend (fewer users).

    Even though we worked in different offices, normally (actually different buildings), my colleague and I needed to work together.

    I've no idea why we didn't use my office, which obviously had my PC, and also had another PC that probably would have been suitable, but we didn't. We went into the office of another two colleagues, and used their PCs.

    One colleague was Scottish, and the other a weightlifter, who used to spend at least 20 minutes a day looking at himself in the mirror while changing into his biker leathers. So, we decided to change their Windows NT startup sounds to sounds we thought were appropriate. My colleague changed the Scottish Guy's startup sound to The Proclaimers 500 miles. I changed the weightlifter's startup sound to "I'm too sexy".

    The scots guy loved his startup sound. The weightlifter, not so much. We were both called in to see the boss the next Monday, given a light telling off and ordered to undo what we had done.

  26. herman Silver badge

    Pink Floyd

    Time, would be a good ring tone to torture people with. It starts with a big old Westclocks ticking and ringing.

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