Saturday, March 15, 2014

My First Modem

This is the Atari XM 301 300-baud modem, which I connected to my Atari 130 XE 8-bit computer to access local bulletin board systems over the phone lines. This was surfing in the late 1980s to the early 1990s: you dialled a local number (unless of course you were willing to pay long distance charges to access a non-local BBS) and waited for your turn to connect. If one other person was on the BBS you wanted, you'd get a busy signal. Sometimes it took hours to connect, all for a few rooms of text-only ASCII-glory delayed conversation with fellow geeks. Good times.

I could read the text faster than this modem could transmit it through my computer. Upgrading to a 1200 baud modem midway through university made surfing much more pleasant, though still nothing like we enjoy today. 

2 comments:

Rob said...

Good times! I was lucky enough to experience 300-baud for only a few months on a borrowed modem before I bought a 1200-baud modem. I well remember watching the text blaze by line-by-line.

Later I ran my own BBS on my Commodore-64 and then I even wrote a fully-functional BBS program in assembly-language on the Commodore-128.

Today I can't believe I ever had that much spare time. :)

Totty said...

For your legions of Bieber-aged younger readers I think it's worth pointing out exactly how different that is compared to now.

Typical broadband DSL service now is at least 1.5Mbps, which is approximately 1.5 million bits per second.

300 baud is essentially 300 bps.

So the slowest broadband available is still ... carry the 4 ... 5000 times faster. So that torrent that takes 1 or 2 hours to download right now at 1.5M will take 1500-3000 hours = 125-250 DAYS