CMU School of Drama

Saturday, February 08, 2014

Modems, wArEz, and ANSI art: Remembering BBS life at 2400bps

Ars Technica: You've almost certainly never seen the place where I grew up, and you never will because it's long gone, buried by progress and made unreachable by technological erosion and the fine grind of time. What I did and learned there shaped me, but that knowledge is archaic and useless—who today needs to know the Hayes AT command set, the true baud rates of most common connection speeds, or the inner secrets of TheDraw? I am a wizard whose time has passed—a brilliant steam engine mechanic standing agape in the engine room of the starship Enterprise.


Adelaide Zhang said...

Nowadays the internet is so ubiquitous that we never really think about how much we've really accomplished with our communications technology. Looking back at BBS and the like, you can see how much has changed since the very beginning. Even what was possible then was pretty amazing, considering that people created an entire network out of nothing, but somehow that completely pales in comparison to the capabilities of today. It will be interesting to see how the medium changes, and I'm definitely looking forward to what else we come up with in the future.

Aamer R. said...

It's so so weird thinking about the tech that existed before the internet, having to know all those details and how to run the modem. And even weirder that I know lots of people that were probably like this kid! Although, I can relate to the whole phone line thing. Once ISPs became a thing, there was dial up, and I used it a lot. And my parents always did talk to me about using the phone too much. I wonder it is with teenagers and phones, whether it was a landline, BBS, or internet (dial up), teenagers have been obsessed with phones forever.

Frank Meyer said...

I never really thought about how we used to have to "get on the internet," as if it was a task that we had to do before actually progressing to what we needed from the internet. It's interesting to think that we are now connected to the internet all the time, and that we don't need to take that intermediate step of actually getting there.

I will say that while our doorway to the internet has changed significantly and the network has grown, the gears that drive the internet have mostly remained the same.

It used to be that you had to hang up the phone to get on the internet. Nowadays, most people need the internet to use their phone, if they have one at all.