The Boston Diaries

The ongoing saga of a programmer who doesn't live in Boston, nor does he even like Boston, but yet named his weblog/journal “The Boston Diaries.”

Go figure.

Monday, May 01, 2023

The Case of the Inconsistent Consistent Chirp

Bunny and I were plagued with the most insidious inconsistently consistent chirp over the past few days here at Chez Boca. There would be this distinct chirp. Just one. And by the time you think it won't happen again, it would happen again. And then … nothing. For hours. Or maybe the rest of the day even. But sure enough, it would pick up again—a single chirp, then silence, then maybe another chirp, repeat for a few minutes then, nothing more for hours.

When it first started, I thought maybe one of the UPSes was responding to some power fluctuation, but no, they squeal quite loudly, and none of them showed any form of distress when I checked. This was more of a short chirp than a loud squeal. And by the time I was tired of looking at whatever UPS I thought it might be and turn away, there was another chirp.

It was mocking us.

Between the two of us, we had narrowed down the possible source in Chez Boca, somewhere along the west wall of the house. The only things in the area that could possible chirp were:

But all these devices had been there for years before this chirping had started. It was weird as it was maddening.

I even went so far as to check the bathroom, as, from where I sit in the Computer Room, the chirp could be coming from there. The only three things in the bathroom that could possible chirp: the lights, Bunny's electric toothbrush and a small clock.

I discounted the lights—they're the original fixtures from the 70s—no strange electronics in there, and more importantly, no speakers to speak of. I did unplug the base unit of Bunny's electric toothbrush, and had the toothbrush itself in the Computer Room. The chirp didn't go away, and it wasn't from the toothbrush. Nor was it from the small electric clock (I too, brought that in to the Computer Room and cleared it as a suspect).

Then, late Saturday night, I was in the family room along with Bunny when it happened again. We were standing far enough apart that it appeared to be the floor lamp just by simple tiangulation. During an examination of the lamp, I happened to glance up, and there, above the door to the Computer Room, was a small, round disk shaped device stuck to the wall—a smoke detector.


Taking the unit down and reading the back, yes, it would chirp to indicate the battery needed changing. And neither Bunny nor I could recall when the battery in the unit was changed.

Heck, we both forgot about the unit being there at all.

Even worse, when I started telling this story to some friends at our regularly scheduled D&D game, they knew the punchline even before I finished. Sigh.

Now I just have to figure out why our ice maker is making hollow ice.

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