Nigh on ten years ago, in college when I used to sleep under the counters in the term room, we had some SPARCstations in there, SPARC 1's I believe. This was SunOS 4.something, not, um . . . they're calling it Solaris now, aren't they? Anyway, if you cat'd anything to /dev/audio other than an audio file, the OS would crash. I am not making this up. We tried it for the same reasons mcc tried it: "Gee, I wonder what that would sound like?" -- but we got very different results.

Where it got ugly (a.k.a. "fun") was that the permissions on the device files were wide open (I'm not a UNIX guru, but I seem to recall that this should not be the case), so that anybody could rshell into any SPARC there and cat random crap into /dev/audio, thereby killing the poor thing. Furthermore, /dev/tty* was permissioned writeable for everybody too: You could cat bogus error messages to the user's shell tools before crashing the computer ("system going down for black mass, please log off. Hail Satan!"1) -- or ascii art featuring the grinning face of J. R. "Bob" Dobbs. So if all the SPARCs were taken, you could always sit down at a dumb terminal, zero in on some poor dumb physics major wasting a valuable SPARC on useless crap like learning, and fuck with him enough that he'd give up and you could grab the SPARC.

Uh, kids? Don't do stuff like that. It's bad. Really. :)

1 Did I mention that the sysadmin was a very sincere evangelical Christian? And that we were young, stupid, and sleep-deprived enough to think that the Satan nonsense was clever . . . and that smacking people in religious soft spots was clever . . .