When Getting Connected was Difficult

(at least compared to today’s standards)

One of the skills that I learned as a teenager was to stretch the truth when it meets my needs.  Recently, my wife asked if I had cleaned the computer area / museum and, of course, my answer was yes.  If the truth be known, the centre of the room is well vacuumed.  The artifacts around the room did have a layer or two of dust though.  It’s generally not too bad; I keep a Swiffer handy to clean off the keyboard and monitor should breathing become laboured.  I actually blew my scheme when I went looking for a replacement for the Swiffer and couldn’t really answer why except to spill the beans.

It really was a job that needed to be done.  Cable management was truly a thing of the past.

To push me over the top, we had enjoyed this Pinterest page last night.  http://www.pinterest.com/sandybiven/do-you-remember/

Like most computer people (you, perhaps?)  I have kept every manual for every device of software that I’ve ever owned.  It really is an impressive collection.  That’s also a sign of datedness.  Nobody ships manuals anymore.  They’re available on external media or online or things are so intuitive that you really don’t need a manual.

Life wasn’t always that easy to be connected.  I’ve mentioned before but I used to run a Bulletin Board System as a hobby and turned a section of it into what we now call an LMS for those of my students who were connected at home.  Now, this was pre-internet times – I had purchased a second phone line just for computer use and students would have their computer call mine.

As I was cleaning the museum today, I did find a very dusty tool that was key to it.  I wondered out loud if I would even be able to remember how to connect it, how to program it, or even where to find a piece of software to run it.  As I was cleaning, I flipped it over and saw that I didn’t need the manual.

2013-09-16 10.17.29

and zooming in…

2013-09-16 10.17.47

I can’t believe that there was a time when I had all of this committed to memory!

So, here’s today’s test.  Did you study?

  • What is the device?
  • Who was the manufacturer?
  • How fast did it run?
  • Why can’t I connect it to this laptop computer?
  • Why on earth does Doug keep it around?

Actually, I’ll answer the last question…I use it as a bookend for the top shelf over top my workspace!

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4 Comments

  1. Ha ha–don’t see those much any more! I recall, in the early nineties, finding one that was one-eighth as fast that the medical school had discarded as they had just acquired one like yours. Since I did not have one I installed it directly as it was card based (didn’t need the 9-pin). At the time my computer was running win 3.11 and I was also able to use it as a phone dialer, tying in a desktop card deck to it.
    SCREEEECHHHH!!!

    Like this

  2. What is the device? – Modem
    Who was the manufacturer? – US Robotics
    How fast did it run? – 300-9600 baud (pretty impressive for its time)
    Why can’t I connect it to this laptop computer? – Laptop has no serial port
    Why on earth does Doug keep it around? – He’s a sentimentalist )

    Like this

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