When pioneer computer hacker Ted Nelson was developing products for computer maker Datapoint Corp. 10 years ago, he had a great idea for improving office computers: Have them use sound effects to give workers audible feedback. When deleting a computer file, for instance, why not hear it disappear with a loud "kaboom" or a gentle "bonk"? That would make work more fun, Nelson figured, and confirm that the computer had done what you wanted it to.
Datapoint never commercialized the idea, but Moon Valley Software Inc. did. The Phoenix-based company offers a $49.95 diskette full of 100 sound effects that augment Microsoft's Windows program and a related product called Norton Desktop for Windows. Icon Hear-It sounds range from sirens to famous movie one-liners and can be assigned to such tasks as opening a window or erasing a file.