1980s R&B song with a CVE! – Bare insurance

You’ve probably heard the old joke: “Humor in public service? It’s not funny!”

But the thing about sweeping, sweeping judgments of this kind is that it only takes a single counter-example to disprove them.

Something cannot be universally true if it is ever false, even for a single moment.

So wouldn’t it be nice if the public service could be upbeat every now and then…

…as upbeat, in fact, as Janet Jackson’s catchy dance number Rhythm Nationreleased in 1989 (yes, it was really that long ago)?

This was the era of shoulder pads, MTV, big-budget dance videos, and the kind of in-your-ears, in-your-face lyrical musicality that even YouTube’s modern automatic transcription system sometimes simply translates as:

  Bass, bass, bass, bass
  ♪ (Upbeat R&B Music) ♪
  Dance beat, dance beat

Well, as Microsoft superblogger Raymond Chen pointed out last week, this very song was apparently implicated in a surprising system crash vulnerability in the early 2000s.

According to Chen, a major laptop manufacturer at the time (he didn’t say which one) complained that Windows was prone to crashing when certain music was played through the laptop’s speaker.

The crashes, it seems, were not limited to the laptop playing the song, but could also be provoked on nearby laptops that were exposed to the “vulnerable” music, even on laptops from other vendors.