Here’s more information along the theme of understanding the “young-people” market. On May 24, 2006, I moderated a panel for the Western Association of Venture Capitalists. The panel consisted of six students whose ages varied from fourteen to seventeen.
It’s one thing to read about how they use technology, and it’s another to hear them discuss it. One student, for example, said that she has thirteen IM chat sessions going at once. To listen to the panel, click
I also came across two articles that shed more light upon this subject:
If you want to see if you can hear the ring tone (I can’t), you can try it here.
At 28 I can hear the tone, unfortunately it didn’t stop when I stopped the mp3. It set off my occasional Tinnitus. So 5 minutes later I’m still hearing it. Thanks a lot for making me listen to it Guy!
At 51, I have tinnitus all the time, so it didn’t have this effect on me! :-) Sorry to invoke tinnitus in you.
Came through loud and clear at 20 years of age. Very funny and celever method of sneaking phones past teachers and older folks in general.
Infact, I’ll start using this just team sike out my friends and co-workers who won’t hear it. Thanks!
At age 29, I can still hear the tone. But then again I’m an audio engineer and I am careful to protect my hearing. I’m planning on making a ring tone that only dogs can hear–it’s the next big thing.
You guys crazy? I can hear a mosquito buzzing at a 1,000 yards, but no sound came from that file. Is this like the “emperor with no clothes”.
Now I will grant you that I’m 59, but a very young one in fact. I can’t believe that 50 years of debauchery would affect my hearing that much.
Come on Guy, it’s a joke right?
We all talk about “technology” … but to kids, it is just part of life. The innovations that will emerge from the next generation will be a function of self expression (as it is now becoming) — not an add on or extension.
That’s amazing. I’m 42 and can’t hear it. That is, if there really is a tone :-)
The kids-only ringtone is but a fun hoax – the tiny, cheap speakers on cell phones can’t reach that frequency.
at 32 I could hear it without any problem.
However since I listened to the sound before I RTFA, I didn’t realize what was going on and I thought it was some problem with my hard drive or some other expensive problem causeing my computer to squeal.
Perhaps someone dreamt up this ring tone after reading this (or one of the many related) article(s):
A restaurant that has patio seating near me has devices that emit simliar tones, I always thought it was for the pigeons.
(btw, 30 and I did hear it)
Thanks for posting the audio – it was fun to listen to. Compliments on engaging young adults so well in that forum.
Our experience at Microsoft was much the same. When I brought some of our Microsoft Office Information Worker Board of the Future members to Bangkok for a presentation, the representatives from our customer companies were both intriqued and unsettled by what they heard, not just about on-line use, but the mental models young people have because of their access to information and social networks. And those mental models affect their view of work, boundaries and responsibility.
I can hear it! (34 years old.)
I’m really amazed by the way people (youth I’d say) are using the web today. Some friends of mine are having 10 IM opened, 3 MySpace-like in background and are chatting on 4 Chatrooms at the same time. And they are switching from one windows to another at an amazing speed.
It seems that they’re atracted by any service that makes them visible like any big brother-like show. The common idea in all this is “be a star” wether you’re being popular beacause two hundreds persons voted for your pic or because you published a video of you singing a song.
The next big thing might be the possibility to blog video directly from your cellphone…
(Excuse me if I made some mistakes, actually, I’m french :) )
OK, I am now a bit freaked…
I am a 37-yr old physician, who practices mainly cardiology. I get my ears tested regularly, since I rely on them heavily (for obvious reasons), and have a degree of tinnitus due to heavy ASA use previously to treat migraines. My hearing has always tested as perfectly normal right up to the thresholds deemed appropriate for a child/young adult (not just “age-appropriate”), yet I could just barely hear a tone with no ambient noise. On the other hand, my 7-1/2 year old son could hear it clearly while I was talking to him. If cell phone speakers can actually generate this tone, then this really could cause a problem for a lot of teachers! (and for those of us who are going to have to face the fact of our fading youth!)
I can hear it through headphones … all the way across the room. It’s pretty annoying. It’s almost the same frequency that I can hear when a television is on.
I am 21 years old, by the way.
I’m 38 years old, and everytime I played that incredibly annoying sound through my cheap Logitech “gaming” headphones, it made my eyes water. I think this sound could be used as a torture device by some top-secret government agency.
To add to Morgan’s comment, equipment clearly makes a difference. I couldn’t hear the sound clearly (see my previous comment) at home, but at work – real sound card and speakers, not laptop stuff – I could hear it clearly. And I also found it irritating as heck.
As a side note, it is almost exactly the same tone as my tinnitus, so it is possible that those with ASA-induced tinnitus could have this particular tone drowned out.
young ppl’s panel
hey this is dylan from hawaii. i listened to the panel and definitely think the issues mentioned were relevant. however, i really didn’t feel like they were representing the youth i know. e.g. using computers just for educational purposes like research?! whatever happened to gaming? what especially shocked me was that a lot of the kids were actually buying their music. i know very few ppl my age who actually purchase their music and if they do, less than %5 of their music. i think palo alto kids are just weird haha. i think it would be extremely interesting to do another panel except this time in a more urban area such as LA.
great audio clip anyway. i enjoyed listening. thanks for the post.
I had to turn my volume all the way up and then I just barely heard it. In my younger days, I was a sound engineer in a recording studio. A good engineer knows to increase levels in both the lows and the highs when the intended audience is middle-aged and older. It is just a natural deterioration where we lose the ability to hear very low and very high frequencies. Most of us don’t really notice it, but obviously the kids have!
The audio with the kids is great. It’s not super scientific or anything but it highlights a need for the internet. We need more publicly available thoughts from the youth market on things that matter. It’s hard to tell what this age group is doing without being around them.
I’m 43. Clicked on the “listen” button and my 16 year old daughter (with her back to me)jumped and said “ah, what is that?”
Yes, she heard it. I barely heard a slight hum…
Pretty cool and fun.
tried this with the whole family–the kids (8 and 5) could hear it but not me (45) or my husband (44).
Then I found this site which has a series of frequencies–http://www.ultrasonic-ringtones.com/
it was really interesting to find that we each had a different upper frequency limit :-)
I’m 27–heard it no problem.
It’s painful, though. I’d never want my phone to make that sound, even if the speaker could do it without distorting (not sure it could).
I’m 38 – I heard it – in a studio through nice speakers.
Not to get too geeky but I just used a signal generator to examine how high of a frequency I can hear in here and at just over 16 kHz is where the tone stops (but the pressure sensation in my ears remain)
I think this ring tone sound is in the 15kHz range.
I can barely hear it, I’m 53 years old. I would never hear it in daily life, I could detect it only because I was concentrating on it.
I need a hearing test to help determine the best bitrate for converting my music into the MP3 format.
Hm. I played this on my desktop through some crud speakers and I had no problems hearing it. I’m 43 and served 20 years in the Air Force around rifles and jet aircraft, and have horrible tinnitus in my right ear, and I still managed to hear it. I guess my ears aren’t as bad as I thought….
I cant even hear it and im 14!