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Jim Reekes
Occupation Product Management

Jim Reekes was a programmer at Apple Computer for 12 years. His work has significantly affected operating systems, most notably System 7 and QuickTime. He also is responsible for creating many of the system sounds for the Apple Macintosh operating system. Some of the most famous creations during that time were the Mac OS startup sound and the system sound sosumi.



Reekes graduated from California State University Fullerton in 1981 with a degree in Music Composition and Theory. Despite Reekes significant achievements in the field of computer science, he did not take any computer science courses in college but opted to teach himself programming on the Apple II and then on the Macintosh 128k. During this time, Reekes could not afford the high cost associated with the Apple Lisa development system.

In April 1988, Reekes began working at Apple Computer Inc. in the Developer Technical Support group (also known as MacDTS). His work at the time encompassed developing the beta version of System 7 and the Sound Manager control panel. He also created the startup chime used on every Macintosh since 1991.[1] Reekes said, "The startup sound was done in my home studio on a Korg Wavestation. It's a C Major chord, played with both hands stretched out as wide as possible (with 3rd at the top, if I recall)."


Reekes has earned several patents from the work he has done in the past 20 years:



  • In 1989, Apple Corps sued Apple Computer as part of long-running trademark litigation (see Apple Corps v. Apple Computer). The System 7 operating system was then under development for the Macintosh. System 7 was to include the new Sound Manager program, which Reekes had written and patented. He created a sound that he says was initially called "Chime", though he says it may have been named "Xylophone". In either case, Apple's legal department felt the name seemed too musical, and therefore might give Apple Corps more grounds to sue; Reekes had to change the name.
  • As he worked with Apple Computer's music and sound programs, Reekes often had to deal with legal scrutiny due to the ongoing lawsuits about his company's legal rights to market music-related products. In response, he says he first thought of the name "Let it Beep" (parodying the title of "Let it Be", a song by The Beatles, who founded Apple Corps). Told that the name might create new risks for his company, Reekes claimed he replied, "So sue me." He decided to use that phrase for the sound's name instead, but spell it "s-o-s-u-m-i" and claim that it was an actual word in Japanese. The plan worked and the name "sosumi" was used for the sound.


The people on the outside think that, you know, it’s like this wonderful world of Oz or Disney going on and all of us are just all these brilliant amazing happy people and like ‘it’s not’ it’s like a sausage factory, I mean, you really don’t want to know how this stuff happens. A lot of it is just bad arguments and politics and working around the rules and, and and not doing the right thing and apologizing for it later and getting fired a few times, I mean, that’s how things got done. It’s definitely like “Don’t pay attention to the man behind the curtain. [2]

Engineers are retarded. They have some kind of brain damage that allows them to not have social skills so that they could concentrate long enough to write code. But it's a disease. That's why I had to quit. I mean, I'm like an engineer in recovery. I don't want to write code anymore. It just makes you retarded. I mean, get a girlfriend, get a life.[3]


  1. ^ Whitwell, Tom (26 May 2005) "Tiny Music Makers: Pt 4: The Mac Startup Sound", Music Thing
  2. ^
  3. ^ Quotes from "Welcome to Macintosh" (2008 documentary)




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