In yet another big step for mankind, Pink Floyd's new concert album, Pulse, features a packaging first: a blinking red dot on its spine, meant to symbolize ''the human heartbeat of each listener.'' (A fairly weak heart, anyway the battery dies out after a year.) As marketing ploys go, it's a mighty clever gimmick, and it has many potential uses in our busy worka-day world. For instance:
A Mood Enhancer.
While you're listening to the two discs, blankly stare at the dot. It will instantly put you into a relaxed, hypnotic state. It will also help you forget that you are hearing the band's turgid recent material, in impersonalized stadium settings, plus a pointless, nearly note-for-note recreation of the epochal Dark Side of the Moon. (With arena psychedelia this bloated, you surely had to be there.) The effect is like a blacklight poster, but with that downscaling-for-the-'90s feel.
An Egg Timer.
With 300 blinks of the dot, you're ready to chow! Pass the salt and pepper.
An Emergency Flare.
If only pilot Scott O'Grady had had a copy of Pulse on him instant rescue!
A Teeny ''Stop'' Sign.
When you see Pulse in the new-releases section, stop and, instead, consider picking up a gold-plated, collector's-item CD of the original Dark Side or the equally well-preserved headphones masterpiece Wish You Were Here.