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(Ars Technica)   Middle aged computer geek waxes poetic about the glory days with his 2400bps dial-up modem. Then shakes a phone line at you and tells you to get off his BBS   (arstechnica.com) divider line 100
    More: Amusing, BBs, ANSI, modems, polymerase chain reaction, engine rooms, telephone lines, World Wide Web, warez  
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1995 clicks; posted to Geek » on 23 Jan 2014 at 11:18 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2014-01-23 11:16:52 AM  
the Hayes Smartmodem 2400! that was my second modem! glory days.

in maybe 3rd grade some guy came to school and brought his Mac (SE i think) and showed our GT class The Well. suddenly everyone had to have a modem and we were all emailing each other in the mid-80s.

fidonet was where it was at, and those old bbs games were awesome. once, years later, i was hanging out with this mutant chick and we were chatting and i learned that she was the one i had beat the crap out of every day on some game years before. we made up.

a friend in high school ran an exclusive warez bbs, which is how i got Ultima 7. therefore i am cool.

in the olden days, user groups were the bomb. local BBS users and operators would chat and drink over lunch, and hanging out with them made me feel like the coolest 10 year old around. one of the user group guys i got on with well happened to be the programmer for the local utility company, and suddenly our power bills were outrageously low for several years.

Cult of the Dead Cow informed my younger self on the ways of the world.

then things changed... archie and veronica and wais and then www, which totally sucked until i realized it wasn't meant to be used over a dumb terminal.

i used to be with it, but then they changed what it was. now what i'm with isn't it, and what's it seems weird and scary to me, and it'll happen to you, too.
 
2014-01-23 11:20:42 AM  
Ugh... flashbacks of trying to find the right init codes to enter into ProComm Plus.
 
2014-01-23 11:22:01 AM  

the801: i used to be with it, but then they changed what it was. now what i'm with isn't it, and what's it seems weird and scary to me, and it'll happen to you, too.


And before long they'll be telling us to get on the cart.
 
2014-01-23 11:23:46 AM  
But I do miss the sounds of the dial-up modem......
Along with the flying toasters
 
2014-01-23 11:25:43 AM  

logieal: the801: i used to be with it, but then they changed what it was. now what i'm with isn't it, and what's it seems weird and scary to me, and it'll happen to you, too.

And before long they'll be telling us to get on the cart.


Oh be quiet.  The geeks that wanted to stay with the times are the ones that're keeping the internet up right now.  You don't get to mope because you were too lazy to keep up.
 
2014-01-23 11:27:15 AM  
2400 baud? Meh...
300 baud acoustic coupling is where it's at.
 
2014-01-23 11:28:22 AM  
Real men started with a 300 baud modem.... somehow I was able to resist the siren call of a career in IT after spending hours typing in "games" code out of a magazine.
 
2014-01-23 11:28:41 AM  
TFA mentioned Trade Wars which brought back a warm fuzzy feeling. Ah, those were the days.
 
2014-01-23 11:29:42 AM  

quiotu: Oh be quiet. The geeks that wanted to stay with the times are the ones that're keeping the internet up right now. You don't get to mope because you were too lazy to keep up.


Oh, I'm not moping. I've been working on computers since the mid 80's (when I was 7) and still am. Currently I'm a UNIX admin. I've stayed up with technology. Just hate the whole new Social Network aspect of it.

I most certainly remember dial-up and how abysmally slow it was. But it was fun and exciting at the time.
 
2014-01-23 11:30:42 AM  

cig-mkr: But I do miss the sounds of the dial-up modem......
Along with the flying toasters


flying toasters were great, but not as great as the talking moose.
 
2014-01-23 11:33:53 AM  

logieal: quiotu: Oh be quiet. The geeks that wanted to stay with the times are the ones that're keeping the internet up right now. You don't get to mope because you were too lazy to keep up.

Oh, I'm not moping. I've been working on computers since the mid 80's (when I was 7) and still am. Currently I'm a UNIX admin. I've stayed up with technology. Just hate the whole new Social Network aspect of it.

I most certainly remember dial-up and how abysmally slow it was. But it was fun and exciting at the time.


I think Social Networking is already on its way out.  They can rename it as many times as they want to, but as long as more and more people are going 'Hey what're you doing with my information jackasses?!?!'... I think we'll be fine.
 
2014-01-23 11:33:58 AM  
286?  That kid was livin the dream!

My first machine was an 8088!
640 K
DOS 3.3
20m Seagate
5-1/4
CGA
1200 BAUD
Summer of '89
 
2014-01-23 11:35:58 AM  
Deadly Sins BBS, Aesopian, oh, those were the days
 
2014-01-23 11:38:06 AM  
I remember getting a 10MB hard drive for my XT. I thought, damn, it will take me the rest of my life to fill this sucker! I had a 1200 baud modem in it. One night I borrowed a 9600 baud from work, and connected to a well known porn BBS in Youngstown, Ohio. Unbelievable speed was now at my fingertips. Sadly, I had to return the modem, the next day.
 
2014-01-23 11:40:13 AM  
I got my start at the tail end of the BBS days. I had a mac back then (performa 400)  and had a blast. Of course zterm wouldn't paint most of the ansi graphics, but I still had fun.

I miss usurper.
 
2014-01-23 11:41:09 AM  
BBSes were the shiat. Payed one BBS $20 just so I could have 90 minutes of access time. He also restricted access to 2400 users to a few hours a day so I had to get a USR 14.4k just to get on when I wanted. When I found Procomm Plus with that ZMODEM download protocol (error checking!) it was nice to get my first files with. Playing LORD, Usurper, Planets: TEOS and so many more door games too.

BBSMates is a good site for finding them, and I believe they still have door games available to play.
 
2014-01-23 11:43:30 AM  
I'm still friends with several of the people I met online on a few local BBS's back in the day (I'm the same age as the guy who wrote the article). One of the sysops has even replicated his old dial-up BBS's forums on a modern website that most of us still frequent. He speaks of replicating the BBS on telnet. I would use it for Tradewars alone.
 
2014-01-23 11:45:27 AM  
Tangentially-related:

My work computer had missed a planned automated software installation for reasons unknown. Filled in a helpdesk ticket, had the local techie look at my system.

He asks me, "Have patches downloaded really slowly for you?"

"Yes, but I figured it was a feature rather than a bug, considering how many systems are in this building."

"Well, your network connection was set on half-duplex."

"O_O ... That didn't stop being an option 25 years ago?"

/CSB
//The point is, I had a half-duplex modem back when most of you were running down the cracks of your mama's ass.
 
2014-01-23 11:46:11 AM  
Coleco Adam with a 300 baud modem. Ha!

I think BBS's will make a comeback, what with all the tracking crap going on with the Intenet. Mobile pirate BBS's runnning off of cellphones, wifi, radio....
 
2014-01-23 11:47:35 AM  

DanZero: When I found Procomm Plus with that ZMODEM download protocol (error checking!) it was nice to get my first files with.


Most other protocols also had error checking. What made ZModem the Holy Grail of protocols was that you could interrupt a download, and restart it later picking up right where you left off. That's what was unique about it -- every other protocol meant "interrupted download = restart from the beginning".
 
2014-01-23 11:48:53 AM  
media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com
 
2014-01-23 11:51:53 AM  
img.fark.netimg.fark.netimg.fark.net
 
2014-01-23 11:56:25 AM  
I was part of a group in Atlanta that met once a month at one of the colleges. There must have been 400 people in attendance most times. We were big. Paid dues. Had speakers come and talk. It was fun. Our BBS was command line and then one of the sysops spent a bunch of the groups money and bought a GUI based system. I was a part of the dev and test team. Most of the users did not even know this was even happening.Then one evening we told the group about the FUTURE of the BBS. A bunch went ballistic and started a takeover. They began calling everyone and outed the sysops for being gay. Fun Times.
 
2014-01-23 11:56:29 AM  

BKITU: DanZero: When I found Procomm Plus with that ZMODEM download protocol (error checking!) it was nice to get my first files with.

Most other protocols also had error checking. What made ZModem the Holy Grail of protocols was that you could interrupt a download, and restart it later picking up right where you left off. That's what was unique about it -- every other protocol meant "interrupted download = restart from the beginning".


MOMMMMM!  STOP PICKING UP THE PHOOOOOONE!

/ called a friend one day in 1983, his 300 baud modem picked up and squealed at me
// whistled back at it until it detected carrier
/// get off my line, um, lawn
 
2014-01-23 11:58:44 AM  
i406.photobucket.com
 
2014-01-23 12:01:28 PM  
My first modem was a 300 baud that connected to the joystick port on my Atari 800xl. Most PC users didn't even have color monitors  back then. Wrote my own BBS at 13, maintained it through high school. Get off my lawn.
 
2014-01-23 12:02:27 PM  
I like how a guy who was born in 1978 waxes poetic about the "good old days" that you young 'uns wouldn't know about. Was it neat at the time? Absolutely, but hardly halcyon days of wonder.

/ wrote a lot of the mods that he probably used on WWIV boards.
 
2014-01-23 12:07:42 PM  
2400 baud?

Pure luxury.
 
2014-01-23 12:17:13 PM  
i236.photobucket.com

+++NO CARRIER+++

SONOFABIATCH!11!!
 
2014-01-23 12:30:04 PM  
I remember believing the 300 baud modem plugged into my Apple ][ e was the perfect speed. When my friends upgraded to 1200 or 2400 baud I stuck with 300 because I could read as fast as the text downloaded. And games for the Apple ][ series were not very big so I didn't mind the slow download speed. After all, the 5.25 inch double density floppy drive only stored 180 KB. But that floppy drive was a luxury; a couple friends had TRS-80 computers with audio cassette storage!

But when we bought an 8088 based PC clone with a 3.5 inch double sided, high density floppy disk drive - holding 1.44 MB, I finally broke down and acquired a faster modem.
 
2014-01-23 12:52:57 PM  

Eddie Adams from Torrance: [i236.photobucket.com image 335x480]

+++NO CARRIER+++

SONOFABIATCH!11!!


HAHAHAHAHA, Oh don't I remember that !
 
2014-01-23 12:54:31 PM  
i didn't get into computers until college, in 1978 or so.  At that time the campus had terminal rooms spread out around campus and almost all of them used 300 baud phone couplers for a connection to the various mini-computers and mainframes at the computer center.  The main games on the computers were the classic Adventure game and a Star Trek thing where you patrolled a 2D grid of space in your USS Enterprise and random numbers of klingon and romulan spaceships would show up in each little 10x10 sector you explored, with a ASCII character grid map.

A couple of buildings had the amazing technology of a direct 1200 bps connection.  Bandwidth beyond your wildest dreams.
 
2014-01-23 12:55:03 PM  

the801: cig-mkr: But I do miss the sounds of the dial-up modem......
Along with the flying toasters

flying toasters were great, but not as great as the talking moose.


Missed out on the talking moose, don't know how it slipped by.
 
2014-01-23 01:05:22 PM  

Pontious Pilates: I'm still friends with several of the people I met online on a few local BBS's back in the day (I'm the same age as the guy who wrote the article). One of the sysops has even replicated his old dial-up BBS's forums on a modern website that most of us still frequent. He speaks of replicating the BBS on telnet. I would use it for Tradewars alone.


I remember reading somewhere (and it was years ago) about someway of lashing DosBox together so that it'd run a fossil driver that'd let both TCP/IP connections in via telnet AND speak to a modem on a com port.   So basically you could take your old backup of your BBS (if it still existed obviously) and throw it in this bastardised DosBox install and voila it's back running again and all internet connectable to boot.

I must really stretch my Google-fu and see if I can find the guide again (and track down that crack for RA2.xx, FD2.xx and so on... of course I paid for them... just like everyone else did).
 
2014-01-23 01:12:35 PM  
I upgraded to 60Mbps a couple of days ago. Back in 1991 I used a 1200bps modem to dial into a BBS. My connection now is 52,428 times faster.
 
2014-01-23 01:14:34 PM  

Mister Buttons: [img.fark.net image 743x447][img.fark.net image 743x447][img.fark.net image 743x447]


Yup, and now that will be in my head all day. Thanks.

/deeker dee da dee ti-doe doe
//dee da dih dit doe
 
2014-01-23 01:16:38 PM  
commodore 64 and the 300 baud modem. i paid $500 for my amiga 500 and $600 for a courier hst 19.2k modem so the modem was more then the entire computer. the inflation calculator puts that modem at $1070 today.
 
2014-01-23 01:17:58 PM  

mark12A: Coleco Adam with a 300 baud modem. Ha!

I think BBS's will make a comeback, what with all the tracking crap going on with the Intenet. Mobile pirate BBS's runnning off of cellphones, wifi, radio....


Better yet: newsgroups.
 
2014-01-23 01:20:52 PM  
Heh, the old days of playing Legend of the Red Dragon, and a few more I whose names I can't remember.

/lost track of my marriages to Violet
 
2014-01-23 01:27:25 PM  
commodore vic20 with 110 baud VIC modem   you had to unplug the phone headset and plug it in!
 
2014-01-23 01:28:12 PM  
I was at Univ of Tenn. checking my PINE then MUDDing some instead of studying one day when one of the guys on the mudd server said he was releasing a new program and wanted our feedback on it.

That was a good day. :-)
 
2014-01-23 01:34:12 PM  
this is what i spent my time dialed up to

GeNie multiplayer battletech!!!


upload.wikimedia.org

mechwarrior5.ru


/good times


//until I got my ass grounded for running up the long distance phone bill

///would do it again
 
2014-01-23 01:40:41 PM  

i1123.photobucket.com

MEAT!
/s
 
2014-01-23 01:42:59 PM  
I thought this was going to be some guy in his sixties talking about putting the receiver from his rotary phone onto his ancient modem a la Wargames.  The I read this, "I was 12 years old in the fall of 1990, full of bespectacled junior high awkwardness and hunting, as all preteens are, for identity."  He's my age, not even forty yet.  Now all I can think of is- Jeebus dude, you are too young to be waxing nostalgic.  You are the age where many people finally hit their stride, old enough to have some sense, but still young enough to have some energy.  Stop yelling at clouds.

/had a US Robotics modem, used to put post-its on the other phones to keep people from braking the connection when I was online
//remembers BBS systems, and the earliest days of AOL, Prodigy, et al  I had a paper sheet to keep track of the phone minutes I'd used so I didn't get grounded
 
2014-01-23 01:46:26 PM  
upload.wikimedia.org
www.applefritter.com

/can't find a screenshot of catfur
//well, other than actual cat fur
///get off my lawn
 
2014-01-23 01:51:42 PM  
I worked for Hayes for something like 13 years, doing everything from Technical Support to Sale Support to Software Development and finally ending up managing the QA department. Started work there just as the Smartmodem 2400 was released. I have more stories form then than I can even relate. And I still know the freaking AT command set - not that there's any need for that at all anymore today.

/My lawn - get off it!
 
2014-01-23 01:59:00 PM  

Fizpez: Real men started with a 300 baud modem.... somehow I was able to resist the siren call of a career in IT after spending hours typing in "games" code out of a magazine.


I still have my old copy of David Ahl's BASIC Computer Games on my shelf. I actually typed some of those in back in my Apple II days, along with lots of games and utilities in Nibble magazine.

I was actually a fairly late comer to the BBS scene, though, since my dad flatly refused to get a modem (and a second phone line for that matter). I guess he was afraid I'd go all WarGames or something.

It wasn't until I was in college and away from home that I got on-line, not just with BBSes but also on what passed for the Internet. 2400 bps dialup modems were in their infancy at the time, and there was a campus "broadband" network serving some buildings, which maxed out at 9600 bps per connection. Now, of course, 56K is dreadfully obsolete, and my cell phone has far more computing power than the refrigerator-sized PDP-11 my high school had, and thousands of times as much storage as well. Last time I ran a speed test from my LTE-enabled cell phone at home, I was getting about 30 Mbps download speeds, which is on par with my cable service.
 
2014-01-23 02:03:10 PM  
okay, this is great. This all reminded me of my first modem, Global Village Teleport/Bronze, a 2400 baud modem for Macs. It shipped with my first Performa 475 in 1994-ish.

s3.amazonaws.com

I actually found an archived support doc from apple's own website today about it. It's a huge giggle for me.
http://support.apple.com/kb/TA33868?viewlocale=en_US

/Apple prefered you plug things in outside the computer even then...
 
2014-01-23 02:04:51 PM  

BKITU: DanZero: When I found Procomm Plus with that ZMODEM download protocol (error checking!) it was nice to get my first files with.

Most other protocols also had error checking. What made ZModem the Holy Grail of protocols was that you could interrupt a download, and restart it later picking up right where you left off. That's what was unique about it -- every other protocol meant "interrupted download = restart from the beginning".


Also with ZMODEM, the sending machine didn't have to wait for every. damn. packet. to be individually acknowledged before sending the next one. XMODEM had to acknowledge every 128-byte packet, which became a bottleneck even at 2400 bps.
 
2014-01-23 02:09:43 PM  

23FPB23: 286?  That kid was livin the dream!

My first machine was an 8088!
640 K
DOS 3.3
20m Seagate
5-1/4
CGA
1200 BAUD
Summer of '89


That's about the spec of my 4th machine. I started with a VIC-20 and a 300 baud modem. I'd get up at 5 in the morning to use our only phone line without interruption.
This is the era of my life where I socialized the most. The Montreal BBS communities had get together every Friday night at a local bar,  baseball (or softball) during the weekend, we also went sliding on out Royal one cold winter day.

Good days.
 
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