And the Answer Is …

Yesterday, I shared the bottom of a device that I had setting on a shelf here in dougpete labs.  I took a picture of the bottom where all of the instructions and codes to operate my old US Robotics modem.   I was pleasantly surprised that the company was still doing well and was really interested in how they’ve grown with change in their product line.

Right next to the modem on the museum shelf, I still have this beauty.

2013-09-17 08.56.48

If Stephen Downes thinks I’m a sentimentalist with keeping that modem, he’ll love this.  Given that I now had two phone lines in the house, I could call from this Radio Shack Model 100 to the Bulletin Board on the other line and connect at a whopping 300 baud using its internal modem.  That sure doesn’t sound like much but in a day when everything was text anyway, it wasn’t bad.  After all, there were only eight lines of display on the screen anyway.  The biggest problem was now tying up BOTH phone lines so that one computer could talk to the other.  But the Model 100 was my original portable laptop and, without all this fancy USB stuff which makes life easy today, that was the only way I could transfer files from one computer to the other.

Back to the modem picture.  It was interesting – my cell phone was the first one to identify it!

That’s because my Smartphone has Google Goggles installed on it.

Goggles is an incredible utility.  Take a picture of something and send the picture to Goggles and it searches for the answer to the question “What’s in this picture?”

It’s a great utility for me.  My two biggest uses?

  • I use it to recognize QR Codes;
  • I use it to identify flowers and trees while out walking.  It makes me seem like I know what I’m talking about.

2013-09-16 20.27.02

It’s a utility that needs to be installed on everyone’s smartphone.

4 thoughts on “And the Answer Is …

  1. It’s interesting to see our current devices and then track back in our minds to previous technologies that served for their inspiration.


  2. Your smartphone was first because you asked it first. :p pfffft

    > The biggest problem was now tying up BOTH phone lines so that one computer could talk to the other.

    That was a big problem back then, too. I remember taking a bus way out to the west end of Edmonton to Mayfield Road to pick up a device that would allow callers to switch from phone to fax to modem (you had to type commas after the phone number) – it cost me $300 that I couldn’t really afford at the time and it never did work properly.


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