Thursday, May 28, 2009

Surfing Wikipedia with a 45 year old modem

My first modem was a 1200-baud device that I bought used for $50. My dad had to solder the serial connection so that it could work with my Amiga (I can't remember what it was originally configured for).

Looking back, it was state-of-the art for the early 90s. I was able to surf BBSs (Like a text-only facebook), upload and download files (very slowly), and dial in to the university VAX mainframe.

I don't think I would have the patience to get that old modem running now, but Phreakmonkey has done something much more impressive. Here's a summary from Slashdot:

"'[phreakmonkey] got his hands on a great piece of old tech. It's a 1964 Livermore Data Systems Model A Acoustic Coupler Modem. He received it in 1989 and recently decided to see if it would actually work. It took some digging to find a proper D25 adapter and even then the original serial adapter wasn't working because the oscillator depends on the serial voltage. He dials in and connects at 300baud. Then logs into a remote system and fires up lynx to load Wikipedia. Lucky for [phreakmonkey] they managed to decide on a modulation standard in 1962. It's still amazing to see this machine working 45 years later.' Although impractical for surfing the Internet today, there is something truly cool about getting a 45-year old modem to work with modern technology. The question I have, is what is the oldest working piece of equipment fellow Slashdotters have out there? I'm afraid as far back as I can go is a Number Nine Imagine 128 Series 2 Graphics card on a server still in use at my house which only puts me at about 14 years."

This would be a great fit on Spark if Nora does another show on old tech.

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