updated 12:00 pm EST, Wed February 20, 2002
Jonathoan Feinberg's freeware KepSoundAwake sits in the background and plays a "silent sound" every 20 seconds, thereby preventing the audio hardware from sleeping:
"This application addresses a couple of problems which appear on a Powerbook running OS 10.1.2. Due to a design flaw, the OS sleeps the audio hardware if 30 seconds go by without any sounds being made, regardless of whether or not the machine is plugged in. This is annoying, as the audio hardware must be 'warmed up' for about 2.5 seconds before the system can beep, and during those 2.5 seconds you have to watch the beachball spin."