The *Nixed Report

unix and overlooked pop culture

Throwback Thursday: Dial-Up

Old School Modem

Image Courtesy of Leon Brooks under Public Domain.

By Thomas Holbrook II

I went to school at the Leeton R-X school district in Missouri.  The computer lab was quite humble.

There were mostly DOS machines with some Windows 3x machines connected together via Novel Netware.  It wasn’t until about 1996 that Internet access became available.

Before I graduated high school in 2002, we had one major upgrade.  Windows 98 with Office 2000.  It’s amazing how a school could fall behind on technology.

At least the Internet connection was fast.  I remember to this day having to deal with dial-up.  It was mostly through my dad’s AOL connection, and heaven help me if I had any Windows Updates.

This was before I delved into this thing known as Linux, or rather GNU/Linux.  One of the reasons I wanted to have regular access to hi speed Internet was due to the prevalence of soft modems.

Linux-based drivers were difficult to come by back then.

Access via Ethernet was an appropriate way around that problem.  I do have fond memories of dial up, though I’ll admit that I’d be frustrated today, though not nearly as much as with a mobile hotspot that’s going at Edge Network speeds.

Truth be told, I came into the computer culture late in the game.  I never got to experience the dial-in BBS’es that others had the pleasure of using to talk to each other and trade files with.

It wasn’t until a couple of years ago that I actually utilized IRC.  I can only imagine the amount of lag from all the conversations at once.

These days, I feel fortunate.  There’s a straight up monthly fee for access (while a price guarantee is in effect).  Long distance fees for access are a thing of the past.

Yet I still remember the excitement while exploring vast communities and dreaming of things that I wouldn’t have otherwise attempted to accomplish.

Dial-up modems still exist to this day, and there are still plenty of dial-up users out there.  Sometimes, the old reliable is all that’s needed.  Hopefully, I won’t have to use that as an only option.

With that said, I appreciate the legacy.  What are your memories of dial-up access?

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