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Thread: Help needed with early-'80s computer specifics for fictional story (screenplay)!

  1. #41
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    V.22 would be a lot more historically accurate. I'll admit it's duller, yes, but V.32 is dangerously close to the stereotype 90's V.34 sound. (V.32bis, AKA 14.4, is somewhat nostalgic for me because that's what I connected to my first ISP with, but v.22 on a Hayes ripoff smartmodem was what the 80's were all about.)
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  2. #42

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    Quote Originally Posted by Eudimorphodon View Post
    V.22 would be a lot more historically accurate. I'll admit it's duller, yes, but V.32 is dangerously close to the stereotype 90's V.34 sound. (V.32bis, AKA 14.4, is somewhat nostalgic for me because that's what I connected to my first ISP with, but v.22 on a Hayes ripoff smartmodem was what the 80's were all about.)
    Whatever I do, I'm probably going to run afoul on historicity grounds somewhere.

    The entire V.22 sequence in the video is about twelve/thirteen seconds long in its entirety. I'm sure there's a very good reason for that -- every screech and every tone is doing a job, and the whole thing is required in order to connect. However, if I'm being realistic, I probably can't put that entire twelve to thirteen seconds of screeching onscreen. I'd have to truncate it, cut it down to five or six seconds, perhaps, and anyone with a little knowledge would know things wouldn't have properly connected in real life, that important parts of the dialing process (the whole six-second back end) are missing.

    Damned if you do, damned if you don't, type thing.

  3. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ecto_Jedi View Post
    The entire V.22 sequence in the video is about twelve/thirteen seconds long in its entirety. I'm sure there's a very good reason for that -- every screech and every tone is doing a job, and the whole thing is required in order to connect. However, if I'm being realistic, I probably can't put that entire twelve to thirteen seconds of screeching onscreen.
    For me the signature sound (IE, the thing that really makes me feel 12 years old again, playing with our first IBM XT clone that had a 1200 baud modem on a card installed) is the four seconds or so around the 20 second mark in the video where it goes "tickticktick - (underlying tone changes pitch) - FZZZZTFZZZT". The "FZZZT" is the signal that the handshake worked and the actually started, and the built-in speaker on most modems would cut off after just a second or so of it. (I assume whoever recorded this actually had a mic listening in on another phone line.) If you just want a few seconds to stick in after the phone ringing sound that's your 1980's money shot.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eudimorphodon View Post
    If you just want a few seconds to stick in after the phone ringing sound that's your 1980's money shot.
    Yea, just pick something that sounds like modem to YOU, it's your story and your movie. 99.9999% of the viewers won't care.

  5. #45

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    Quote Originally Posted by whartung View Post
    Yea, just pick something that sounds like modem to YOU, it's your story and your movie. 99.9999% of the viewers won't care.
    I care. And Eudimorphodon cares. WE CARE. WE ALL CARE.



    Quote Originally Posted by Eudimorphodon
    If you just want a few seconds to stick in after the phone ringing sound that's your 1980's money shot.
    Thank you, that's all very helpful.

    Just so I have it straight in my mind: first, the modem dials the number, correct? So you'd hear a fast string of touch-tone BEEPS and BOOPS? Then you'd hear the "ringing" sound -- one ring, or two? And then the lovely "tick-tick-tick-fzzzztfzzzzzzzzt"? Do I have that right?

  6. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ecto_Jedi View Post
    Just so I have it straight in my mind: first, the modem dials the number, correct? So you'd hear a fast string of touch-tone BEEPS and BOOPS? Then you'd hear the "ringing" sound -- one ring, or two? And then the lovely "tick-tick-tick-fzzzztfzzzzzzzzt"? Do I have that right?
    That's about the size of it; a "click" for the phone picking up, somewhere around a second for the dial tone to establish, a quick touch-tone "BEEPBOOPBEEP" (I would recommend using a "555" prefix if you use actual tones, some wingnuts have just enough time on their hands to try holding their phone up to the screen to see if you dialed a real number), a ring or two, "wheee, tick-tick-tick-beeeee-bzzztzzzztzzzzt", and then the modem will mute its built-in speaker and print "CONNECT 1200" to the terminal before handing off the connection. (Assuming you're dealing with a Modem using the Hayes Smartmodem protocol, which is most smartmodems regardless of brand within a few years of 1981.) If you really want to be nitpicky and the screen is in view when the phone is dialed you could add a little more authenticity by echoing the "+++" escape code and the "ADT#########" command ordering the modem to dial out, this was visible in most terminal programs of the era.

    In other words, it should sound and look like this:



    (Obviously you want a slightly more archaic looking terminal than this late-80's laptop, but the modem sounds are going to be the same. Note in this video the guy manually types the ATDT command, most people would probably hitting a control key to use the terminal program's built-in dialing macro, assuming the program was smartmodem aware... which ProComm is. In 1983 maybe not so much.)
    Last edited by Eudimorphodon; August 7th, 2020 at 11:40 AM.
    My Retro-computing YouTube Channel (updates... eventually?): Paleozoic PCs

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    Quote Originally Posted by Eudimorphodon View Post
    In other words, it should sound and look like this:

    That's it, that's exactly it. That sums up the entire experience for most folks using modems back then. Copy this. If you really want the perfect experience, then I'm sure someone here can loan you a couple of modems that you can use to make recordings from (assuming you can find a land line nowadays to plug in to! lol)

    I do have to ask, however, those cartridges don't quite look like floppies. They seem a bit smaller than 3.5" floppies, is it just me, or are those something else?

  8. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by whartung View Post
    I do have to ask, however, those cartridges don't quite look like floppies. They seem a bit smaller than 3.5" floppies, is it just me, or are those something else?
    The Minisport was a really odd duck of a laptop that used 2" floppy drives. (They hold the same 720k as a double-density 3.5" drive.) *Technically* they weren't supposed to be proprietary, the drives were made by Fujitsu, but so far as I know nobody else ever used them.
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  9. #49

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    Re: finding a landline in this day and age.

    A used Teltone TLS-3 (2 analog lines) or TLS-4 (4 analog lines) Telephone Line Simulator can be found for not too much money if you look around.

  10. #50

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    Quote Originally Posted by Eudimorphodon View Post
    The Minisport was a really odd duck of a laptop that used 2" floppy drives. (They hold the same 720k as a double-density 3.5" drive.) *Technically* they weren't supposed to be proprietary, the drives were made by Fujitsu, but so far as I know nobody else ever used them.
    What a lovely little machine, tough.

    And the click of those keys! Gorgeous.

    You're right, it's not suitable for I've got in mind, and the screen isn't the greatest. (Is that LCD?) But it'd be a neat thing to own.

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