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View Full Version : Are dial-up modems useful for anything?



EverythingIBM
December 22nd, 2011, 01:42 PM
So I have a whole stash of PCI dial-up modems, along with one 8-bit ISA one (forget what I pulled it out of).

Is there anything useful I can do with them without having an ISP for dial-up?

Otherwise I think I'm just going to recycle them. Probably a null-modem would be the best way to go if I need to network something older. And it's not like I'm going to be using dial-up to connect to the internet.

Chuck(G)
December 22nd, 2011, 01:55 PM
Some of the better FAX modems used EEPROMs for their firmware. You might hang onto those before you toss the PCBs.

Of course, you can use them as caller ID boxes if you have POTS--and if they're voice modems, you can use them as answering machines.

Ole Juul
December 22nd, 2011, 02:31 PM
I've used them just as dialers. If you keep a telephone number directory on your computer it's handy to just dial right out of there. It is extremely rare that I send faxes any more, but SSFAXER is a single file 80K DOS program that lets you do that on old kit. I have a batch file so I can fire off a fax without even leaving the command line. Cool, but fax machines are rare now.

Of course there's always bulletin boards, if that sort of thing interests you.

And then you can always put one on answer mode as a practical joke. :) Old computer folk will immediately hang up and call back with a modem. Others, who don't recognize the sound will think you've got a fax machine (fooled them eh?) and younger people will go WTF?

Let's see, there's got to be some more... I know ... put them on eBay at $200 each! That's what other people do. :)

EverythingIBM
December 22nd, 2011, 03:01 PM
Yikes! Some of those prices on ebay are quite scary. There's a PCI dual fax card for $1000. I almost want to tell the seller they are insane.

Maybe I can do some phone experiments with them later, that actually sounds like fun --> in "answer mode". I love experiments :D

Guess I'll hold onto the rest and throw them in a drawer out of sight.

IBMMuseum
December 22nd, 2011, 04:26 PM
So I have a whole stash of PCI dial-up modems, along with one 8-bit ISA one (forget what I pulled it out of).

Is there anything useful I can do with them without having an ISP for dial-up?

Otherwise I think I'm just going to recycle them. Probably a null-modem would be the best way to go if I need to network something older. And it's not like I'm going to be using dial-up to connect to the internet.

Dialing out from a computer that monitors a network. Easy to do a front-end to go to a paging terminal or many of the cell phone carriers to send a text. Even greater that you don't have to use that fast of modem (300 to 1200bps, 14400bps at the highest rate that is optional).

Rick Ethridge
December 22nd, 2011, 04:38 PM
Fax modems are good in the event of broadband failure and can be used to send faxes over telephone lines or VOIP. Oh, they make good telephone answering devices with the right software.

deathshadow
December 22nd, 2011, 08:32 PM
the other day I had two male phone cable ends I needed patched together and was out of the normal gender benders, so I grabbed an old 14.4 modem out of my junk box to bridge the gap.

That's about as useful as I've found them.

Ole Juul
December 22nd, 2011, 08:49 PM
Yikes! Some of those prices on ebay are quite scary. There's a PCI dual fax card for $1000. I almost want to tell the seller they are insane. . . .

That's what I meant about the eBay joke. I've been searching for certain modems to get information. The net is full of catalogues on sites that purport to be working businesses and list modems at prices that would make you think they came with a computer, keyboard, printer, and screen. It's a weird and wacky world out there.

Another practical use is to connect two computers over the phone system. Put one in host mode and you can grab software from it remotely. This is actually handy considering that the phone system in some areas is generally operating more hours than the internet. It's a backup in any case.

Another reason for keeping modems is their historical significance which is right at the top when you consider computer communications. I know communications is generally not a vintage subject, but how knows, the world may wake up to it some day. hehe And then you really will get $200 for them.

luckybob
December 22nd, 2011, 09:02 PM
I still use one to send/receive faxes. Believe it or not.

MikeS
December 22nd, 2011, 09:16 PM
I use one to post on this forum. Believe it or not..............Same here; a LOT cheaper !

Caluser2000
December 22nd, 2011, 09:20 PM
Same here; a LOT cheaper !Sure is. Personally I don't feel at all hindered by using it either.

njroadfan
December 22nd, 2011, 09:41 PM
Another reason for keeping modems is their historical significance which is right at the top when you consider computer communications. I know communications is generally not a vintage subject, but how knows, the world may wake up to it some day. hehe And then you really will get $200 for them.

I used to work in a computer store. We had storage bins for stripped/spare cards organized by type (sound, video, etc.). The biggest/overflowing box by far was..... analog modems. There are TONS of them out there, I don't see them becoming rare anytime soon.

chalackd
December 22nd, 2011, 10:14 PM
I used a circuit described here (http://www.jagshouse.com/modem.html) once to transfer files between a couple of computers via their modems without the use of a 'real' phone line. It's rather slow when compared to anything like serial or parallel transfer options, but still worked. In fact, I think the only reason I tried this method was from working with a laptop that didn't have easy access to serial/parallel, plus just for the sake of doing it...

That link also mentions obscure and obsolete ideas like using a fax machine as an ad-hoc printer or scanner, though I'm not entirely sure if that's completely possible or not...

Ole Juul
December 22nd, 2011, 10:37 PM
I used to work in a computer store. We had storage bins for stripped/spare cards organized by type (sound, video, etc.). The biggest/overflowing box by far was..... analog modems. There are TONS of them out there, I don't see them becoming rare anytime soon.

I'm sure there are tons of them out there. That barrel was probably full of Rockwell win modems and other junk. Seriously, I don't think that the world will actually start to appreciate the value of communications technology, which is exactly why I think collectible modems will likely become rare in a short time - even just 10 or 20 years from now it might be hard to get hold of even the lowly win modem. People throw stuff out that they don't value. At any rate, the historical value of something is not really tied to the quantity produced, nor available. If that was the case the Commodore 64, for example, would be considered undesirable for collectors.

BTW: I've been keeping an eye out for modems on eBay and many are really hard to find or way too expensive for me.

MikeS
December 22nd, 2011, 11:43 PM
BTW: I've been keeping an eye out for modems on eBay and many are really hard to find or way too expensive for me.I've got a few boxes full; looking for anything in particular?

Ole Juul
December 23rd, 2011, 12:29 AM
I've got a few boxes full; looking for anything in particular?

I recently got a bee in my bonnet (along with some bats) about the Cardinal 2400 series internal modems. Specifically the 2450MNP (internal), but the other three models are of some interest too. I've seen a couple on eBay with the original box, but I don't particularly want the wrapping and I don't want the price that goes with that.

Another one (and damn I've thrown several away some years ago) is the Hayes external 1200. I've got a couple of Hayes 1200 internal ones but I feel I need the classic external one in the extruded aluminum box. The original 300 baud Hayes external is also interesting, but I'm afraid that I missed that one - at least considering what I'm willing to pay for this stuff.

Compgeke
December 23rd, 2011, 01:01 AM
They make great telephone line couplers, and are a lot stronger than those cheap plastic ones.

Another use is to have some fun by prank calling by trying to fax, say a cell phone and have them get the awesome computer tones.

Ole Juul
December 23rd, 2011, 01:59 AM
Another use is to have some fun by prank calling by trying to fax, say a cell phone and have them get the awesome computer tones.
If you set it to automatic retry, it won't give up until it connects with another modem. However, why irritate just one person? I'd plug it into a whopping big guitar amp and see how the neighbours like it!

Actually with the addition of a microphone, you could probably connect two computers with an audio link that way. This is where geek meets punk. Let's call it acidgeek.

Compgeke
December 23rd, 2011, 12:47 PM
I thought of another use for the modems, to disabled them in your laptop. I know my laptop is new enough to have a DVD burner, wireless, Gigabit Ethernet, 3G and Wireless, however it still is old enough to have a modem (for god knows what, who uses dialup on a mobile computer anymore?).

swaaye
December 23rd, 2011, 04:40 PM
I haven't used a computer modem in maybe 10 years but at work we send and receive faxes every day. Fax machines are very easy for people to use. I don't dare try to make them switch to faxing/scanning software!

I have run into the occasional person who is on dial up yet but it is very rare. I don't know how they do it with the modern image-laden web. :)

Ole Juul
December 23rd, 2011, 05:30 PM
I have run into the occasional person who is on dial up yet but it is very rare. I don't know how they do it with the modern image-laden web. :)
Well in North America, about 10% are using dialup. Even apart from some users balking at the expense of broadband, using our current distribution model, the size of the continent excludes providing other than a phone line to many areas. As you see above, there are two dialup users in this thread so it's actually very common - even among computer aficionados.

Four years ago we didn't have our wireless connection here. ADSL is only for short distances, and cable companies won't touch low density areas, so we only had dialup. I set up a separate computer with a modem which would automatically dial out when accessed. My wife and I were able to both surf at the same time that way. Using Adblock helps a lot. Apart from streaming audio/video, which is out of the question, many sites which need bandwidth are often very shallow and don't warrant a visit anyway.

Caluser2000
December 23rd, 2011, 06:03 PM
I haven't used a computer modem in maybe 10 years but at work we send and receive faxes every day. Fax machines are very easy for people to use. I don't dare try to make them switch to faxing/scanning software!

I have run into the occasional person who is on dial up yet but it is very rare. I don't know how they do it with the modern image-laden web. :)It's very easy really. I just don't see so called bb internet as a priority. At least one member here has alluded to high speed "bb" being a misnomer ;) Using dial-up doesn't seem too stop me from helping folk here or on other sites. I too use a fax machine on a daily basis at work, the bonus is it is a scanner and photocopier as well.

I just use AnalogXs small proxy server software if I want a shared connection. Works a treat.

NeXT
December 23rd, 2011, 06:16 PM
I have always wanted to do some pretty weird stuff using modems. Over time I have collected a number of serial external modems and one particular PCI card which has EIGHT modems on it.
I have wanted to do something cool like have a single line ISP setup on my server or remotely log into my network or just have one setup as a system console you can dial into.
The main problem is that using a telephone like this can be expensive.
I used a coupler modem back in 2010 during the Portal 2 BBS ARG. I couldn't figure out how to make a regular modem work without a handshake so I just dialed in the number and slammed the handset down on the coupler.
http://i11.photobucket.com/albums/a166/ballsandy/P1033609.jpg

We have tha bandmaster BBS here but it will hang you up if you try to dial in and you are not a fully registered member.

IBMMuseum
December 23rd, 2011, 07:24 PM
...Over time I have collected a number of serial external modems and one particular PCI card which has EIGHT modems on it. I have wanted to do something cool like have a single line ISP setup on my server or remotely log into my network or just have one setup as a system console you can dial into. The main problem is that using a telephone like this can be expensive...

You mean eight serial ports to connect your external modems. That setup would be more like a BBS, ISPs have had something like a Cisco 5200 (48 lines in from T1s) or 5300 (96 lines) Access Server for years. About the time I came into the industry in 1997, we were purging the Ascend equipment that had separate 28.8Kbps PCMCIA modems (still have some of those boxed up, with even less demand than other internal modems).

We still run dial-up for customers (a few on solar they are so far out), but it has really dropped off (from a need of 500 lines to easily less than a tenth of that currently)...

EDIT: I just counted for what would be almost peak hours, and we had an even dozen dial-up accounts online for all of our service areas...

eeguru
December 23rd, 2011, 07:53 PM
It's actually getting harder and harder to connect an analog modem. True circuit switched analog lines are far from dead but they definitely terminally ill. Most are being replaced by mobile networks or VOIP. The latter of which has too much jitter to support high speed modulated data tones. I've thought about picking up a cheap Norstar MICS just so our local vintage group would have something to plug them into to demonstrate their operation to others.

@IBMMuseum As soon as the 56K standards debuted, it became necessary to synthesis the downstream modulation directly in the digital domain so you could phase align it with the channel clock. So most ISPs switched to ISDN trunk cards with a DSP per channel that emulated modems. Lots of companies made and still make them with 23 modems on a single T1 line card.

MikeS
December 23rd, 2011, 08:11 PM
I recently got a bee in my bonnet (along with some bats) about the Cardinal 2400 series internal modems. Specifically the 2450MNP (internal), but the other three models are of some interest too...I'll have a look and let you know if I find anything interesting. Meanwhile, enjoy the holidays; bet it really looks & feels like Christmas out there in Coalmont right now...

MikeS
December 23rd, 2011, 08:15 PM
I have run into the occasional person who is on dial up yet but it is very rare. I don't know how they do it with the modern image-laden web. :)We ask our buddies to download that 150MB file or we park outside the local Starbucks or we sneak onto our neighbour's unsecured wireless, and we have lots of patience and play lots of Solitaire while waiting for that image-laden page to load ;-)

Krille
December 25th, 2011, 10:01 PM
Of course, you can use them as caller ID boxes if you have POTS

Caller ID capable modems are worth their weight in gold. I use my old modem exactly like this with a "phone number directory"-type program I made to block calls from telemarketers, charity organizations, surveys and other annoying people. That feature alone is just invaluable! And, as Ole said, it's very handy to use a modem as a simple dialer. :)

MikeS
December 25th, 2011, 11:12 PM
Although it's down at the moment I have an old 486 with a Caller-ID modem that announces the name and number through a text-to-speech card, logs the numbers, names and times to disk, and displays a scrolling list on several composite monitors.

I need two phone lines anyway for other reasons and my main system has two modems, one to dial outgoing calls on the voice line and the other modem and line for internet access, FAXes and remote administration of several remote DOS systems via PCAnywhere; all in all I have four modems in daily use.

DOS-compatible internal Caller-ID modems are definitely worth their weight in gold, especially if they can be configured to not interfere with com1 and com2.

NeXT
December 26th, 2011, 10:27 AM
You mean eight serial ports to connect your external modems.
No. It's actually a full-length PCI card with eight modems on it. It isn't a multiport serial card.

Caluser2000
December 26th, 2011, 11:28 AM
Although it's down at the moment I have an old 486 with a Caller-ID modem that announces the name and number through a text-to-speech card, logs the numbers, names and times to disk, and displays a scrolling list on several composite monitors.

I need two phone lines anyway for other reasons and my main system has two modems, one to dial outgoing calls on the voice line and the other modem and line for internet access, FAXes and remote administration of several remote DOS systems via PCAnywhere; all in all I have four modems in daily use.

DOS-compatible internal Caller-ID modems are definitely worth their weight in gold, especially if they can be configured to not interfere with com1 and com2.Sounds like an impressive setup Mike. How long have you been using PC Anywhere? Wouldn't mind getting a hold of a boxed set of that for Dos. It comes up occasionally on our local auction here in NZ.

MikeS
December 26th, 2011, 11:53 AM
..How long have you been using PC Anywhere? Wouldn't mind getting a hold of a boxed set of that for Dos. It comes up occasionally on our local auction here in NZ.About ten years or so; I did a lot (and still do a little) remote support of DOS installations and I'd used Carbon Copy and another package whose name I don't recall, but when I discovered PCAnywhere/DOS V5 I loved it. I think it dates back to the good old pre-Symantec days and comes with an excellent 350 page manual-on-CD, but it's kind of quietly tucked away in the back of the Windows CD without much fanfare, and it's probably gone from later versions altogether.

Caluser2000
December 26th, 2011, 12:13 PM
About ten years or so; I did a lot (and still do a little) remote support of DOS installations and I'd used Carbon Copy and another package whose name I don't recall, but when I discovered PCAnywhere/DOS V5 I loved it. I think it dates back to the good old pre-Symantec days and comes with an excellent 350 page manual-on-CD, but it's kind of quietly tucked away in the back of the Windows CD without much fanfare, and it's probably gone from later versions altogether.Is this the same manual? - www.sirischool.com/PCAnywhere/DOCS/VERSION5.PDF

MikeS
December 26th, 2011, 12:31 PM
Is this the same manual? - www.sirischool.com/PCAnywhere/DOCS/VERSION5.PDFI'm on dial-up right now so it's not convenient to look, but if it's 356 pages and (c) 1994 then it's probably the one.

Caluser2000
December 26th, 2011, 12:56 PM
It's the same alright. Didn't take terribly long to get on this XP box using a 56k modem.:listen:

EverythingIBM
December 26th, 2011, 08:12 PM
Same here; a LOT cheaper !

Actually, it wasn't cheaper for me. I was one of those stubborn people back in 2005 who never bothered to upgrade and was still using dial-up. But my ISP charged like $60 for "overuse". In other words, they just wanted to charge you up the rear end until you switched to ADSL.
--> they never EVER charged me for overuse in all of my years of dial-up until they wanted me to upgrade. And no, I didn't "overuse" my bandwidth, I was just browing some light webpages with text.

If I could get an 8-bit ISA modem for my 5150, I'd totally try to dial-up and get it on the internet. But that probably won't be happening any time soon.

MikeS
December 26th, 2011, 08:23 PM
Well, I pay $2.95 per month for unlimited dial-up access with local numbers in most major Canadian cities (and Miami, for the snowbirds), and if I wanted to put up with ads then at least NetZero still offers free access.

MikeS
December 26th, 2011, 08:27 PM
It's the same alright. Didn't take terribly long to get on this XP box using a 56k modem.:listen:Well, you never know how long these things take; some of those 15-20 MB files can really tie things up for a while. Besides, I do have a printed version.

Apparently Symantec had it freely available at one time, but not any longer by the looks of it.

Ole Juul
December 26th, 2011, 08:59 PM
If I could get an 8-bit ISA modem for my 5150, I'd totally try to dial-up and get it on the internet. But that probably won't be happening any time soon.

Certainly the advantage of an internal is that it has it's own UART and doesn't need a matched cable or external power supply. They are indeed easier to set up from that point of view. However, an external modem has no concerns beyond those problems. You can use any old or modern modem with your 5150 if you have a serial port on it.

mikerm
December 26th, 2011, 09:08 PM
I have an external U.S. Robotics 56k modem just for that reason. I can use it on any machine that does normal serial communications.

Vlad
December 27th, 2011, 08:00 AM
I've lost track of it but someplace I have a 56k modem that connects via USB, not really vintage but I've never seen another like that. Somewhere is also a 1200 external modem I believe is still new in box. I can't recall who made it though.

eeguru
December 27th, 2011, 08:36 AM
You could actually convert most any external modem to USB using one of these (http://www.mouser.com/ProductDetail/FTDI/DB9-USB-D5-M/?qs=ANJC8C65Mw7oT%2fVskCPQ7A%3d%3d).

I was thinking of inviting the local vintage club to bring in their modems, systems, and BBSs of old at the next monthly meeting. I think it would be cool to have a bunch of old systems connected in a room with analog modems - some as clients and some hosts. Just to immerse in the nostalgia for a while. Though I might have to police the 1337 sysops who think their C64 board is too cool for the Apple or Atari users. :)

I remember my room mate back in the day owning a 300 baud modem he had to freeze to get working. It would work for about an hour pre-frozen and turned up side down so condensation wouldn't short anything. Then he would have to refreeze it for the next board.

barythrin
December 27th, 2011, 08:58 AM
I've always had this in the back of my mind, but with a modem can one "null modem" a modem cable and copy a file? Could this be a missing but universal trick folks could use for file transfers just like serial? I know there would have to be a common file transfer protocol but it seems like we should be able to connect two systems, echo ata or open them via basic, etc then start transferring a file or data and write it to another location like memory or a file.

MikeS
December 27th, 2011, 09:25 AM
Certainly the advantage of an internal is that it has it's own UART and doesn't need a matched cable or external power supply. They are indeed easier to set up from that point of view. However, an external modem has no concerns beyond those problems. You can use any old or modern modem with your 5150 if you have a serial port on it.The main reason I prefer internal modems, aside from not having cables and another PS cluttering up the place, is that you can usually set them to COM3/IRQ5 and leave COM1 and COM2 free for other uses.

MikeS
December 27th, 2011, 09:30 AM
I've lost track of it but someplace I have a 56k modem that connects via USB, not really vintage but I've never seen another like that. Somewhere is also a 1200 external modem I believe is still new in box. I can't recall who made it though.One of my systems has a 56K USB modem: neat, just a fat dongle with a phone jack on one end and a 3" USB cable on the other; works great.

bluethunder
December 27th, 2011, 10:12 AM
If you had a modem with caller ID, you could build a phone ban list.

Monitor the caller id, and use it to answer, and hang up right away on undesirables.

MikeS
December 27th, 2011, 11:05 AM
If you had a modem with caller ID, you could build a phone ban list.

Monitor the caller id, and use it to answer, and hang up right away on undesirables.http://www.phonetray.com/ptfree_features.htm

Ole Juul
December 27th, 2011, 12:10 PM
If you had a modem with caller ID, you could build a phone ban list.

Monitor the caller id, and use it to answer, and hang up right away on undesirables.

I don't think that works any more. There is too much fiddeling with the id. Telemarketers use the same as people who use phone cards and other odd services - not to mention those stupid cell phones that people are playing with these days. I watch the id carefully and it's gotten to be a mess. If I was to filter telemarketers then I'd cut off half the calls I want too.

Vlad
December 27th, 2011, 12:30 PM
One of my systems has a 56K USB modem: neat, just a fat dongle with a phone jack on one end and a 3" USB cable on the other; works great.

Interesting. I don't think I've seen one that's just a dongle but then again I don't really look at such things since broadband came about. Mine is a box that's ironically a bit larger than the old USR ones. I believe it was a something Tornado. I still have a 28.8 and a 36.6 USR Sportster hiding in the same black hole that has all of the other important stuff I can't ever seem to find.

MikeS
December 27th, 2011, 01:41 PM
Interesting. I don't think I've seen one that's just a dongle but then again I don't really look at such things since broadband came about.Sorta like this one:
http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/21-PaAXcRyL._SL500_AA300_.jpg

Chuck(G)
December 27th, 2011, 02:57 PM
Philosophical question here...

Is a 56K modem nowadays even useful? You're probably going to be using a modem if you live out in the boondocks, pretty far away from the CO anyway. So 33.6K is probably as good as you're going to be able to do in any case. All that wonderful V.90 capability is wasted.

Caluser2000
December 27th, 2011, 03:57 PM
Yes, I use one on a daily basis. I consider it retro computing communication in it's purist form. Generally 46k here.

MikeS
December 27th, 2011, 04:17 PM
At the moment one of mine is connected at 44kbps and the other (the dongle) at 48kbps, which is what they normally connect at; sometimes a little faster, sometimes a little slower, but I've never seen 56k. Mind you, I've never seriously 'tuned' them.

Not much different 'in the boonies' at the cottage, although it can be bad every once in a while.

Good enough for most stuff including streaming audio, although you have to be patient for videos and those 35MB files are best downloaded after I've gone to bed or gone out for a while ;-)

Chuck(G)
December 27th, 2011, 04:25 PM
I'm about 12 wire miles from the CO and never got anything better than 33.6K. And this is with a range of 56K modems, from cheap to very expensive. I even had the line equalization checked with no resulting improvement.

Curiously, if you've got long wires, this article (http://www.tcsn.net/goodideas/idea2.html) says that you could benefit from switching to V.34 from V.90.

Ole Juul
December 27th, 2011, 04:42 PM
Philosophical question here...

Is a 56K modem nowadays even useful? You're probably going to be using a modem if you live out in the boondocks, pretty far away from the CO anyway. So 33.6K is probably as good as you're going to be able to do in any case. All that wonderful V.90 capability is wasted.

I live in the boondocks and the cable here is decades past its end of life date. It's a 12 mile run to town and when I was using dialup 5 years ago, I was getting 42-48K throughput. IOW, as good as it gets on any line. So yes, a 56K modem is still useful.

mikerm
December 27th, 2011, 08:31 PM
Wonderful FCC 56k limit:
http://www.56k.com/cons/53k.shtml

Nothing like the government crippling the use your own hardware!

Krille
December 28th, 2011, 06:27 AM
If you had a modem with caller ID, you could build a phone ban list.

Monitor the caller id, and use it to answer, and hang up right away on undesirables.

Yep, that's how my program works, it hangs up after half a second. Though I've been thinking about letting the program keep the modem off-hook just to tie up one of their lines for as long as possible (at least 2 minutes if they don't try to use the line again, more if they do, in a large and busy call center with automated dialing probably all day long). You can probably tell that I really despise telemarketing. :)

The disadvantage is of course that my line is also tied up, lol :D

Speaking of disadvantages, the Caller ID system used in the US and Canada has a "design flaw" in the sense that it sends the Caller ID info between the first and second ring which means that it's not possible to block calls silently (one ring will always get through).

lutiana
December 28th, 2011, 06:57 AM
Reading through this thread makes me what to pull out a modem and try to get it to connect to an ISP just for old times sake, but then I remember that I don't actually have a phone line in my apartment. Well I mean there probably is a one somewhere in the place, but it is not hooked up to a service of any kind.

My primary line is my cell phone, and has been since 2000.

mbbrutman
December 28th, 2011, 06:58 AM
Wonderful FCC 56k limit:
http://www.56k.com/cons/53k.shtml

Nothing like the government crippling the use your own hardware!

From the page you linked to:


"The FCC does not limit modem speeds per se. Instead, it limits the amount of power that can be sent through the phone line in order to prevent interference with other electrical devices."


Limiting the power used to transmit to prevent interference with other devices seems perfectly reasonable. How is that "crippling" and isn't it a function of government to regulate to prevent unwanted interference with preexisting devices ?

MikeS
December 28th, 2011, 08:56 AM
Speaking of disadvantages, the Caller ID system used in the US and Canada has a "design flaw" in the sense that it sends the Caller ID info between the first and second ring which means that it's not possible to block calls silently (one ring will always get through).Simple; turn off the phone's ringer and let the software do the ringing.

7474

IBMMuseum
December 28th, 2011, 09:21 AM
Yep, that's how my program works, it hangs up after half a second. Though I've been thinking about letting the program keep the modem off-hook just to tie up one of their lines for as long as possible (at least 2 minutes if they don't try to use the line again, more if they do, in a large and busy call center with automated dialing probably all day long). You can probably tell that I really despise telemarketing. :)

The disadvantage is of course that my line is also tied up, lol :D

Speaking of disadvantages, the Caller ID system used in the US and Canada has a "design flaw" in the sense that it sends the Caller ID info between the first and second ring which means that it's not possible to block calls silently (one ring will always get through).

I guess the advantage in the United States is having the Do Not Call Registry (https://www.donotcall.gov/) (and the ability to have an unlisted number)...

Chuck(G)
December 28th, 2011, 09:48 AM
I guess the advantage in the United States is having the Do Not Call Registry (https://www.donotcall.gov/) (and the ability to have an unlisted number)...

I can only assume that this was an attempt at sarcasm. Folks with DNC registration and/or mobile phones in the US are being hammered by offshore and internet-spoofed calls. My call block list is about 30 numbers long. The FCC and various state agencies have stated that they're powerless to do anything about it.

barythrin
December 28th, 2011, 10:06 AM
Somehow the DNC doesn't apply to non-profits and begger calls so it doesn't reduce much, that and a lot of companies that don't seem to care and call anyway. Probably off-shore as Chuck suggested. However all the stupid wardialing political calls are what used to bug me the most.. somehow thought it was illegal.

IBMMuseum
December 28th, 2011, 10:09 AM
I can only assume that this was an attempt at sarcasm. Folks with DNC registration and/or mobile phones in the US are being hammered by offshore and internet-spoofed calls. My call block list is about 30 numbers long. The FCC and various state agencies have stated that they're powerless to do anything about it.

No sarcasm (I have been on the DNCR for several years now, which seemed to mostly work back when), but I do suspect that my unlisted residence number has much more to do with it currently...

Chuck(G)
December 28th, 2011, 10:15 AM
If you want to get an idea of what's going on, google "Card Services call". The crazy thing is that they sometimes spoof numbers belonging to someone else, so some poor schlub gets a stream of angry calls. My numbers have been on the DNC list ever since its inception--and on the state one before that. I have a feeling that these "services" also mine the net for numbers.

Caluser2000
December 28th, 2011, 10:24 AM
Of course using dial-up for internet access reduces the number of crank calls. The telemarketers just can't get through. :inlove:

lutiana
December 28th, 2011, 10:30 AM
Of course using dial-up for internet access reduces the number of crank calls. The telemarketers just can't get through. :inlove:

Unless you have call waiting and forget to dial the disable code before connecting, in which case their calls will disconnect you.

Caluser2000
December 28th, 2011, 11:03 AM
Unless you have call waiting and forget to dial the disable code before connecting, in which case their calls will disconnect you.A good reason not to have call waiting.

Vlad
December 28th, 2011, 11:37 AM
I looked at that modem I thought was new in box. It does show very slight signs of usage, mainly marks on the DIP switches where someone altered it's settings. It is however in great shape and who ever had it before me put it back in it's original packaging just like it had come when it was new. They took exceptional care of it. It's an Avatex 1200 with everything it came with, even the plastic bag!

Pictures should be available here (https://skydrive.live.com/?cid=9A11CDA53E0873F2&id=9A11CDA53E0873F2%21245#cid=9A11CDA53E0873F2&id=9A11CDA53E0873F2%21134).

Caluser2000
December 28th, 2011, 12:37 PM
I've got a mobile Dynalink 1200 which can use a 9v battery as it's power source. It's a wide as but a bit longer than a cigerete packet.

Ole Juul
December 28th, 2011, 02:35 PM
From the page you linked to:


"The FCC does not limit modem speeds per se. Instead, it limits the amount of power that can be sent through the phone line in order to prevent interference with other electrical devices."


Limiting the power used to transmit to prevent interference with other devices seems perfectly reasonable. How is that "crippling" and isn't it a function of government to regulate to prevent unwanted interference with preexisting devices ?

I noticed that too. However I'm sure I've read somewhere that the power limit ends up snipping the top off the coveted 56K for some technical reason. Still, in real life, who cares if the top speed is 48K or 56K? I can't tell tell the difference.

Ole Juul
December 28th, 2011, 02:44 PM
One wonders why some other modems were much larger. I've got a Packard Bell PB 2448 2400 baud Mini Modem which is about that size, takes a 9v battery, and (presumably limilar to Caluser's Dynalink) screws right onto a DB25. However, I've also got a Practical Peripherals self powered 2400 baud which isn't much bigger than an adaptor. I use it for testing since it doesn't need a power wire or adapter or battery and "just works". Funny how those weren't more popular.

Caluser2000
December 28th, 2011, 03:39 PM
Mine screws directly into a DB9 Ole Juul. That plug n play ones sounds interesting.

Krille
December 28th, 2011, 08:30 PM
I guess the advantage in the United States is having the Do Not Call Registry (https://www.donotcall.gov/) (and the ability to have an unlisted number)...

Oh, we have that too, except it's called NIX (http://www.nix.nu/) and yes, it's completely worthless. About unlisted numbers (we have those too ;) ), I'm not sure how much protection you get from having an unlisted number since the automated dialers could just call a random number anyway. Though I guess that is probably rare as it pays off more to call the "known easy targets", that is, people who at one point have bought something from a telemarketer or given money to some charity organization, both actions which are guaranteed to have your number put in a list which is subsequently sold to other telemarketing companys.

IBMMuseum
December 28th, 2011, 08:58 PM
Oh, we have that too, except it's called NIX (http://www.nix.nu/) and yes, it's completely worthless. About unlisted numbers (we have those too ;) ), I'm not sure how much protection you get from having an unlisted number since the automated dialers could just call a random number anyway. Though I guess that is probably rare as it pays off more to call the "known easy targets", that is, people who at one point have bought something from a telemarketer or given money to some charity organization, both actions which are guaranteed to have your number put in a list which is subsequently sold to other telemarketing companys.

Besides my number being unlisted, there are some other factors that help:

Relatively new area code...

New, lesser-known exchange that is currently very small...

A sequence of the last four digits being separate from other numbers...

Krille
December 28th, 2011, 10:08 PM
I noticed that too. However I'm sure I've read somewhere that the power limit ends up snipping the top off the coveted 56K for some technical reason. Still, in real life, who cares if the top speed is 48K or 56K? I can't tell tell the difference.

With the compression used in modems (such as V.42bis with a max compression ratio of 4:1) you need (at least in theory*) 4 times the modem speed between the modem and the computers serial port to avoid having a bottleneck. Now, most computers have their UARTs set to 115.2 kbps which means that any modem speed above 28.8 kbps could (again, in theory*) cause the serial port to be a bottleneck.

* Of course, all this depends on the compressibility of the data being transferred. How much does it affect real world usage? I have no idea, just a thought I pulled out of my rear end.

mbbrutman
December 29th, 2011, 05:55 AM
To address that bottleneck there were modems that connected through the parallel port. I have never seen one; they were not terribly popular.

A nasty side effect of compression is latency. Compression and error correction works best with a block of data so the modem has to delay the transmission of bytes while it tries to fill a block. (Modems optimized for gaming backed off on this requirement, and thus were not as efficient at data transfer but suffered less from transmit latency.)


Mike

bluethunder
January 11th, 2012, 09:08 AM
http://www.phonetray.com/ptfree_features.htm

Looking for a linux version of this.. Since my server is running 24/7 anyways..

Not alot that I've found..

http://sourceforge.net/projects/jcblock/

and maybe.. http://www.freeswitch.org/

Bungo Pony
January 13th, 2012, 07:23 PM
I always found modems to be fun and intriguing toys. I've been on and off about setting my dialup BBS again with the analog line I still have in my house. Occasionally, I send faxes.

About a year and a half ago, I picked up a brand new still in the box voice modem from a little computer store in a tiny little town for five bucks. I've been searching for one for a long time, just to play with it. I was able to get the thing running, and have it dial a list of friend and play the Muppets song "Ma-nah Ma-nah" when they answered. I could easily start my own tele-spam company!

The other thing that I still like doing occasionally is war dialing. There's still a lot of modems out there which can be found with a really good dialing prefix. It's kinda neat to see what's out there.

Other than modems being a toy, there isn't much practical use for them anymore.

Ole Juul
January 14th, 2012, 12:55 AM
. . .Other than modems being a toy, there isn't much practical use for them anymore.
How can you say that? I bet the (rather computer savvy) people who posted above, saying that they use dialup for internet access, would be insulted. :) I would also point out that a large proportion (about 10%) of North American internet users are on dialup. Dialup internet connection is very functional, and very real. It's cheap, it's fast enough, and it's usually available in the many places that don't have cable or ADSL. In short, millions of people think that internet access is a practical use for modems. I'm curious why you don't.

Caluser2000
January 14th, 2012, 10:44 AM
i don't think us modem users are insulted Ol Juul. Just amused ;). But thanks for the concern. At one point Conical obviously thought the same dropping ppp and the likes from one Ubuntu release a while back. It's not as if the programs took up much space. Catch 22- you needed the internet to aquire the .debs ;). I found that very amusing considering the folk Ubuntu was targeted at.

Maybe we could form a group called "Modems Anonymous":
"Hi my name is Caluser2000 and I still use a modem." Actually that would make a good sig.

http://www.cs.cmu.edu/afs/cs.cmu.edu/user/ralf/pub/text/.modanon

barythrin
January 14th, 2012, 10:56 AM
Thinking it through, I'm not 100% sure how it works (I think either a computer or the device has the proper configuration to use the modem, not just a random tethering) but I still see modems attached to network devices for remote configuration access or disaster recovery type of access if the network is down.

I've also seen and actually need to complete it for our work site at some point attaching a modem to monitoring servers to send out alerts/pages if the network is down. Obviously a major network outage or internet outage is pretty nice a quiet for the on-call staff if the email alert fails to get out :-)

Ole Juul
January 14th, 2012, 09:33 PM
i don't think us modem users are insulted Ol Juul. Just amused ;). But thanks for the concern. At one point Conical obviously thought the same dropping ppp and the likes from one Ubuntu release a while back. It's not as if the programs took up much space. Catch 22- you needed the internet to aquire the .debs ;). I found that very amusing considering the folk Ubuntu was targeted at.
I find that even the "small footprint" distros are not very small. They always talk about how little disk space they take (who cares), but conveniently ignore the fact that they take a huge amount of RAM - often 64K or more. After using linux since almost the beginning, it's clear to me that it's development is driven by people who either have lot's of money, or spend what they have on RAM - presumably because mom is paying the rent. I'm not very familiar with Windows, but I'm always impressed at the low resources of very functional machines.


Maybe we could form a group called "Modems Anonymous":
"Hi my name is Caluser2000 and I still use a modem." Actually that would make a good sig.

We admitted we were powerless over modems—that our lives had become unmanageable.
Came to believe that a modem greater than our own could restore us to sanity.

You're right, it does have a certain ring to it. :)

MikeS
January 15th, 2012, 12:12 AM
...You're right, it does have a certain ring to it. :)Grrooooaaaannnnn... :wallbang:

I use four modems daily; guess it's time for an intervention...

Pepinno
January 20th, 2012, 05:08 PM
So I have a whole stash of PCI dial-up modems, along with one 8-bit ISA one (forget what I pulled it out of).

Is there anything useful I can do with them without having an ISP for dial-up?

Otherwise I think I'm just going to recycle them. Probably a null-modem would be the best way to go if I need to network something older. And it's not like I'm going to be using dial-up to connect to the internet.

People used modems to transfer mail and files with UUCP before the Internet was common place. And you can still use modems for the exact same purpose - no one knows when will it be necessary to fly under the radar, you know...

Trixter
January 20th, 2012, 09:19 PM
People used modems to transfer mail and files with UUCP before the Internet was common place. And you can still use modems for the exact same purpose - no one knows when will it be necessary to fly under the radar, you know...

Indeed. My very first email address was a university account, but my second was delivered directly to my home PC via UUCP running on Coherent Unix. My email address at the time was, IIRC, "mwc!trixbox!trixter@uunet.uu.net". It's been two decades, I hope I didn't mangle that, some UUCP guru please correct me if I'm wrong. The email would go to uunet.uu.net, then be picked up by the machine "mwc", then picked up from mwc by "trixbox" where it was delivered to the user "trixter".

NathanAllan
January 21st, 2012, 12:14 AM
People used modems to transfer mail and files with UUCP before the Internet was common place. And you can still use modems for the exact same purpose - no one knows when will it be necessary to fly under the radar, you know...
Darn tootin there! With things like SOPA and PIPA in the works we'll need a reliable backup system, even if people like us here will be using 10,000 modems to get a network up and running. I'm pretty sure that no big server owned by big brother would look too much at an old Apple/Commodore/Atari/Tandy/whatever as much of a threat, so they would be totally left alone.

Great Hierophant
April 13th, 2012, 04:19 AM
It is a bit late, but I thought my questions would be more appropriate here than starting a new topic.

The only modem I have is a Tandy 1200 baud PC Modem Cat. 25-1013, an 8-bit ISA device that supports the AT command set. It can only go into my Tandy 1000SX, which even with its 286 Accelerator Board cannot quite get to 8MHz AT speeds. I would think that at 150 bytes per second transfer rate, it has very, very little use. My ISP is Comcast and it does not offer dial up access numbers, so the Internet is out of the question. I suppose I could get BBS software or a terminal emulator, but BBSes are few and far between these days. If I can find an opponent, maybe I can play Modem Wars, Battle Chess or 3-D Helicopter Simulator.

barythrin
April 13th, 2012, 10:40 AM
The first online boards, even games, were all text based. It wouldn't be too painful if you found someone with some old system online with Adventure, etc. Even if you had to pipe it through telnet and an in-between system.

Trixter
April 13th, 2012, 11:11 AM
If I can find an opponent, maybe I can play Modem Wars, Battle Chess or 3-D Helicopter Simulator.

If I ever find the opportunity to hook up a modem to a machine with EGA or better, I may give you a ring :-) I would probably be a very easy opponent for both BChess and Modem Wars, just to warn you.

atod
April 13th, 2012, 07:13 PM
I hold onto a couple Courier models and acoustic coupler model. I have a box that simulates the phone network. I had plans to some day have two computers talk to each other with one running a BBS. Unfortunately, I haven't found the space to configure this yet

NathanAllan
April 13th, 2012, 07:21 PM
I hold onto a couple Courier models and acoustic coupler model. I have a box that simulates the phone network. I had plans to some day have two computers talk to each other with one running a BBS. Unfortunately, I haven't found the space to configure this yet
A box that simulated a phone network? Nice box. I want to run across one of those. Your idea for an in-house BBS is very interesting, sounds liek a neat thing to have running.

k2x4b524[
April 14th, 2012, 05:30 PM
ive got a few of them around, from an 8-bit 300 for my 5150 to a few pci 56k and a diamond shotgun 115200bps modem. Guess ive got reason to through one in my windows 7 pc :)

Dwight Elvey
April 14th, 2012, 07:38 PM
Hi
It shouldn't be to hard to make something that would act like
a phone line.
First, don't waste time on Touch Tone and just use the
dial option. That would be easy to make a simple dial detector.
It doesn't even have to understand what number is dialed,
just any dial.
A dial tone could come from a simple 555 oscillator or if
you must us a micro processor some simple code in a '51.
A couple of relays to handle the various line isolations.
The last thing is the ring tone. This is usually a 30 Hz
90 volt. I suspect most modems are not sensitive to the
frequency and the AC line through an isolation transformer
would be enough, just leaving it at 60Hz.
Dwight

Chuck(G)
April 14th, 2012, 08:16 PM
Probably an old (1980s) small KSU would do most of the job, including +48VDC and ringing. There have to have been a jillion of these kicking around with the old 5-button business phones.

NathanAllan
April 15th, 2012, 12:33 PM
One I went to the flea market and a guy was selling some old, used and mostly broken telephone test equipment, the types of things used up on the lines and would be carried on a belt. I bought a dial tone producer; it clips onto a pair of wires, sends the needed dial tone out and that's all it does. One of these days I plan on using that in a bigger project, to have it working, and if a circuit I design is in place, will turn it off when anything is dialed.

Brings me up to a question: is there a way to give a certain computer a number, like have the modem listening out of say, 5 machines, and respond when "it's number" is dialed?

I'm still not giving up on my internal telephone network, regardless of the nay-saying I have heard about it. Ethernet is not practical on an 8-bit computer, at least most of them, and ethernet on something that was not ever intended to have it is expensive and difficult to implement.

MikeS
April 15th, 2012, 12:40 PM
I bought a dial tone producer; it clips onto a pair of wires, sends the needed dial tone out and that's all it does. Are you sure it's a dial tone? Some of those units emitted a tone to identify the corresponding pair in a multi-pair cable.

Ethernet is not practical on an 8-bit computer, at least most of them, and ethernet on something that was not ever intended to have it is expensive and difficult to implement.So use an RS-232 network (LANtastic, Also-LAN, etc.).

Great Hierophant
April 16th, 2012, 07:55 AM
Ethernet is not practical on an 8-bit computer, at least most of them, and ethernet on something that was not ever intended to have it is expensive and difficult to implement.

If you are talking about the IBM PC and other compatibles with 8-bit slots, I would disagree. If you are talking about Apples/Tandy/Atari/Commodore, that is another story. RS-232 is an option for all, but Ethernet is an order of magnitude faster.

Ole Juul
April 16th, 2012, 09:40 AM
One I went to the flea market and a guy was selling some old, used and mostly broken telephone test equipment, the types of things used up on the lines and would be carried on a belt. I bought a dial tone producer; it clips onto a pair of wires, sends the needed dial tone out and that's all it does.

Like Mike hints, that's probably just a tone generator. I've got a little box like that. I'm not sure that a linesman would have any interest in making a dial tone.

dorkbert
April 16th, 2012, 10:04 AM
I decided to fish out a v.everything out of company recycle bin just in case...

NathanAllan
April 16th, 2012, 11:27 PM
I decided to fish out a v.everything out of company recycle bin just in case...

Same here, I try to grab them all (at least the externals).

barythrin
April 18th, 2012, 09:13 AM
In any event with the tone generator or dial-tone generator it's to test the cables for static or to trace the cable when you have a crap load of them going into a patch panel and are trying to figure out which line is which. Both exist, both are commonly found at HAM radio fests lol (kidding but yes I've seen and been tempted several times by interesting phone equipment).

As far as dialing 1 phone number and having it roll across devices that's usually a hardware or software middleman needed to do so. You can have a main phone line linked to other phone numbers so if the first number is busy it automatically forwards it to the next number in your call chain (phone companies support that and that was how a lot of multi-line BBSes used to operate). Or you need a PBX in the middle. I would think that you could get one computer with a PBX (Asterisk (http://www.asterisk.org) or the actual hardware if you have some to play with) running and could get it to respond to an extra number pressed and forward that to a specific internal phone or com port. I haven't done the setup personally though so I'm speaking hypothetically.

You don't ever drive to Austin do you? I have some old phone equipment (some practical, some not) that I've been trying to figure out what to do with. Pretty sure one is an actual trunk (huge with lots of cards) and one is a PBX for internal hosting. Never got around to messing with them fully. Always joked about setting up my own phone company for the block though.

Chuck(G)
April 18th, 2012, 09:33 AM
A PBX is overkill. A simple KSU would meet needs and be much easier to set up.

SpidersWeb
April 18th, 2012, 12:23 PM
My IBM PC XT used to be a PABX monitor but someone removed the card :(
I could've monitored your PABX shinnanigans and made sure you didn't make expensive toll calls :(

NathanAllan
April 19th, 2012, 12:08 AM
Ha! No, I never get to go to anywhere but Las Cruces every now and again. It's been about four years since I made that trip. But if I am ever in Austin I'll be sure to invite you out to a pub of your choice for a beer.

PhotoJim
April 20th, 2012, 10:55 AM
I still play with modems. Nostalgia, I guess?

I've accumulated a few USR Couriers - an ISA internal and a bunch of v.90 v.Everything externals. I picked up a cheap v.92 v.Everything recently too.

I'd like to get an old HST non-v.Everything but they cost a lot and often don't come with power supplies. (The v.Everything Couriers use an easy-to-find AC supply; the HSTs are trickier.)

I have this idea to set up a UUCP network just for giggles.

Caluser2000
April 20th, 2012, 04:14 PM
Just won an auction for an ISA Dynalink which has ISDN and dialup connections. Now I've got to decide which 486 to put it in.........................

Chuck(G)
April 20th, 2012, 05:24 PM
I'd like to get an old HST non-v.Everything but they cost a lot and often don't come with power supplies. (The v.Everything Couriers use an easy-to-find AC supply; the HSTs are trickier.)

Why on earth would HST Dual Standards cost more than a V.Everything? :huh:

Le_Bear
April 20th, 2012, 07:37 PM
If I could get an 8-bit ISA modem for my 5150, I'd totally try to dial-up and get it on the internet. But that probably won't be happening any time soon.

what kind would that be ? ( I have a limited amount of old ISA modems) I'm on dialup out here in the oklahoma outback(the outback in australia gets broadband). It's unlimited for 8.99 mo, no inst fee, no late fees, no inst. software, no nothin, by the month, month runs out, so does use, call em next day, 5 minutes you're back online. Only drawback is really a plus since most dialups purge every 2 or 4 hours, this one does every 8 hours. Been usin em ever since i been back here about 5 years now.

Le_Bear
April 20th, 2012, 07:58 PM
Philosophical question here...

Is a 56K modem nowadays even useful? You're probably going to be using a modem if you live out in the boondocks, pretty far away from the CO anyway. So 33.6K is probably as good as you're going to be able to do in any case. All that wonderful V.90 capability is wasted.

I use phonetray with mine (a neat lil $16 one time purchase for a forever license) and it needs the v92 modem(and a v90 connection) in 3 modes, in the 4th (automatically put internet on hold and accept the call) it also needs a v92 connection, which was rare until i got the modem i'm using now(shows in hardware as intel 536ep v92). Not sure really where i got it, but thinking the drivers came from driverguide. All others i'd used gave on good days up to a v90 45k, this one went right to a v92 115k, and will go higher if i set it to, but i really don't think it gets that good, it just looks neat when i check the connection specs :)

Ole Juul
April 20th, 2012, 08:46 PM
If I could get an 8-bit ISA modem for my 5150, I'd totally try to dial-up and get it on the internet. But that probably won't be happening any time soon.

If you're fussy and want something in the '81 to '84 era then it's a bit harder, but other than that there aren't a lot that won't go in a 5150. Anyway, if you have a serial card then you can connect through a more modern computer and still have some internet fun.


Is a 56K modem nowadays even useful?
Yep. I think it depends on the kind of "bad" that a phone line possesses though. Ours is an 18 mile buried cable (through slide areas) with quite a few repeaters and from the 60's - and we can get 45k. I guess we got lucky, since I've heard of people that have difficulty getting to 28k in other parts of the world.

Chuck(G)
April 20th, 2012, 08:52 PM
I ought to see what I can get here, now that the DSLAM's been added. Before that, I could get 28.8K tops over POTS.

Le_Bear
April 20th, 2012, 08:57 PM
well, i just spent the last 3 or 4 hours(off and on) reading all 11 pages of this thread, really enjoyed it :) i'm pretty much stuck with dialup here, and only have a limited supply of dialup modems. I saw those USB modems at a little computer shop a few months ago, when i could have used some spares of some sort, but they wanted $45 for one, and their internal PCI soft modems were $32

Ole Juul
April 20th, 2012, 10:12 PM
Dialup isn't all that bad. A lot of servers take a while to get their shit together these days. I notice that even Google is starting to come across like somebody's bedroom server. Dialup wouldn't be a big loss for me.


. . . and their internal PCI soft modems were $32

Oh thooooose. I don't throw away a lot of stuff and even have dried flowers from decades ago. I've got boxes of bits of wire, and wood, odd hardware. Even bent nails. However soft modems are e-waste around here. :)

Le_Bear
April 20th, 2012, 10:24 PM
Dialup isn't all that bad. A lot of servers take a while to get their shit together these days. I notice that even Google is starting to come across like somebody's bedroom server. Dialup wouldn't be a big loss for me.



Oh thooooose. I don't throw away a lot of stuff and even have dried flowers from decades ago. I've got boxes of bits of wire, and wood, odd hardware. Even bent nails. However soft modems are e-waste around here. :)

lol Juul, bent nails aren't that hard to fix, and soft modems are basically pure scrap. I also have a box of wood, it's not far from the stove, i enjoy occasionally tossing a stick or two in it ; )

Caluser2000
April 20th, 2012, 11:57 PM
Good to see another modem user on VCF. That's 3 now isn't it? With a few wannabes thrown in for good measure 8)
It's quite trivial to share a dail up connection via ethernet to an older machine as well. I generally pick up ISA modems any chance I get. There's been a few come up on our local auction site lately for around $2 a pop.

Ole Juul
April 21st, 2012, 12:11 AM
Good to see another modem user on VCF. That's 3 now isn't it? With a few wannabes thrown in for good measure 8)

I think it's nice to see as well. I have a feeling there's a few more we missed.

Hey Cal, how about setting up a poll on the VCF. Will you, or shall I?

- Use dialup only.
- Use dialup occasionally.
- Have dialup available, but don't use it.
- Don't have access to dialup.
- Would trade my 100MB/s for dialup if it was available.
- I never connect to the internet.

Ole Juul
April 21st, 2012, 12:18 AM
It's quite trivial to share a dail up connection via ethernet to an older machine as well.
I put a modem and two network cards in a Pentium 200MHz and shared with my wife when we only had dialup about 5 years ago. It worked very well indeed. Browsing doesn't slow down at all. If anybody wants to know how to do that, just install the cards and load IPCop (http://www.ipcop.org/), which is a linux distro that requires almost no knowledge to set up for such use.

Caluser2000
April 21st, 2012, 12:26 AM
I think it's nice to see as well. I have a feeling there's a few more we missed.

Hey Cal, how about setting up a poll on the VCF. Will you, or shall I?

- Use dialup only.
- Use dialup occasionally.
- Have dialup available, but don't use it.
- Don't have access to dialup.
- Would trade my 100MB/s for dialup if it was available.
- I never connect to the internet.Lol. It's your idea so go for it. Obviously because dail up is sooo slow I wont be able to participate ;)

Ole Juul
April 21st, 2012, 12:30 AM
OK, I'll do it. I'm not sure where the buttons are, but I'll give it a try.
.

Chuck(G)
April 21st, 2012, 08:05 AM
I put a modem and two network cards in a Pentium 200MHz and shared with my wife when we only had dialup about 5 years ago. It worked very well indeed. Browsing doesn't slow down at all. If anybody wants to know how to do that, just install the cards and load IPCop (http://www.ipcop.org/), which is a linux distro that requires almost no knowledge to set up for such use.

I did the same with Red Hat Linux back in the day--and had fetchmail set to dial up and log in every 10 minutes or so to check email. It was pretty easy to do. We were more than 10 wire miles from the CO, however, so speed was never that great.

The one good thing about dialup is that it's independent pretty much from local power. Before the local electrical co-op moved the substation to a spot about 1/2 mile from me, we could get outages that lasted a week. Just fire up the generator every so often to charge the UPS, run the refrigerator and well and login and check mail. Now, when power goes out, DSL is gone also.

ChyrillStucker
April 24th, 2012, 05:04 AM
A PBX is overkill. A simple KSU would meet needs and be much easier to set up.

Well, if you install your own PBX, that might be overkill but you can of course go for Hosted PBX and eliminate the need for setting up and configuring the equipment. I am using this service from The Real PBX and it is working fine. Everything is configured by the service provider and even if there are issues, they are resolved by the tech support team.

Chuck(G)
April 24th, 2012, 07:17 AM
Well, if you install your own PBX, that might be overkill but you can of course go for Hosted PBX and eliminate the need for setting up and configuring the equipment. I am using this service from The Real PBX and it is working fine. Everything is configured by the service provider and even if there are issues, they are resolved by the tech support team.

So it supports connection to POTS desk sets, provides +48VDC, 90VAC ring generation and connection between any two devices without connection to an external service?

Or is this just spam? (Sorry, but I have to ask)

A KSU can be picked up surplus for cheap, doesn't need an outside line for connection and uses very little power.

njroadfan
April 24th, 2012, 08:49 AM
They did make dedicated POTS simulators, we had one at the computer store I worked at for testing. The box had two RJ-11 ports. When the modem connected to port "A" went off hook, it generated a dialtone, any DTMF tones shut it off and port "B" started ringing. It had its fair share of issues, most notably feedback.

Great Hierophant
April 24th, 2012, 08:52 PM
For the first time today, I tried to dial up a BBS on a vintage computer. I had missed the heyday of BBSes back in the early 90s, and my only memory of needing to use text-based online services was telnet for my email when I first went to college (late 90s). That was over very quickly when I discovered that you could use Outlook Express for college email once you got the IMAP and POP server names.

Since I have downloaded from FTPs, read and posted to newsgroups and joined IRC channels and downloaded from servers there, I would hardly say that I was a newbie with some of the more venerable methods of online communication. I recall using a dial up modem to call a friend and play Quake, not always successfully. I had not used a dial up modem since 1999, and then essentially just to get access to the ISP.

As I mentioned on page 9 of this thread, when I acquired my Tandy 1000SX some time ago, it came with a Tandy 1200 BPS internal modem. At the time I could fathom no use for it, but as it was a true Tandy product of the 1000-era, I thought it may have been worth something to somebody. This thread inspired me to find some use for it, even if not a very impressive use either at the time nor today. Since my ISP, Comcast, does not provide dial up Internet access and I would think that Netzero and Earthlink would require Windows PCs to maintain an ad-based Internet Gateway, I decided that I could try to dial up a BBS.

First, I had to get the right software. Having no prior experience before, I could only hope I could find a simple enough to use Terminal Emulator. I had used Telix 3.15 back in the days when I was making serial null-modem transfers from my XP machine to my 5150. I got numbers from http://www.telnetbbsguide.com/dialbbs/ I tried two of the current numbers and they both worked! I was able to connect, start new accounts and explore the bulletins and file servers. At 1200BPS, I could see the text draw itself across the screen, and the main menu screens took half a minute to load.

I also found that I had to enter letters on the keyboard with care. Sometimes there would be some garbage characters at the prompt, and sometimes the text output would appear corrupted. I wonder whether this was due to the modem speed, CPU speed 8088 @ 7.16MHz, the Tandy 1000 keyboard or some less than stellar line quality.

33black
April 24th, 2012, 09:21 PM
Typically that's the less than stellar line quality.

Did you have POTS copper lines? or were you trying to use VoIP?

Great Hierophant
April 25th, 2012, 03:48 AM
Typically that's the less than stellar line quality.

Did you have POTS copper lines? or were you trying to use VoIP?

My copper wire runs from the wall to the cable modem. I use Comcast Digital Voice, which I understand uses technology similar to VoIP. I know that VoIP technology has issues with analog modems.

EverythingIBM
April 25th, 2012, 07:01 PM
I recently inherited some modem equipment, thought I'd post what I got here:
#1 USRobotics 8-bit ISA modem
#2 USRobotics 8-bit ISA modem w/ soundcard
#3 PB2400PLUS Packard Bell external modem (2400bps)

I really like the 8-bit ISA USR modem, it's very well made, and has the same soft texture as a 3COM 10/100 NIC: I have many of those NICs btw, loads of PCI, one MCA, and one ISA.

Back to the modem equipment, I would like to try and use it some day. Maybe there's a dial-up ISP offering it for cheap.
The packard bell external modem has blinky red LEDs which are fun to observe.

33black
April 27th, 2012, 11:27 AM
I have that same PB2400PLUS in the box. Looking forward to using it one day. I have a feeling VoIP will develop a lot better quality once bandwidth expands a ton in the home.

I wonder if some enterprising young retrocomputing enthusiast out there could develop a box/software that will serve specifically that function.

I mean, we can stream HD video and audio over cable internet, but for some reason they dumb down the bandwidth on the VoIP.

barythrin
April 27th, 2012, 01:27 PM
Eh, long story and rant-bait but as optimistic and much as I'd love to agree they dumb it down, filter it down to below the human hearing range, add lossy codecs to compress and half ass it so we can still matrix the noises together but the unfortunate reality is so they can over sell and put more connections than they can or would ever want to really be able to support.

Ole Juul
April 27th, 2012, 02:02 PM
Eh, long story and rant-bait but as optimistic and much as I'd love to agree they dumb it down, filter it down to below the human hearing range, add lossy codecs to compress and half ass it so we can still matrix the noises together but the unfortunate reality is so they can over sell and put more connections than they can or would ever want to really be able to support.

I agree. Digital voice services are never going to get better. People have gotten used to the way it is and there is no economic incentive to make any improvement. It might even get worse.