HN Gopher Feed (2017-11-06) - page 1 of 10
The sound of the dialup, pictured (2012)
519 points by bpierrehttp://www.windytan.com/2012/11/the-sound-of-dialup-pictured.html
combatentropy - 4 hours ago
> Why was it audible? Why not, one could ask. [...] > Even
then, the idea of not hearing what's happening > on a phone line
you're calling on was quite new, > and modems would default to
exposing the user to the handshake audio. [...] > > All you
had to do to silence the handshake was to send the command ATM0 >
down the serial line before dialing. And I think the user was
comforted by the ritual, as far as I can tell from conversations
with my friends and scenes from pop culture like You've Got Mail.I
am for using the computer's own low-level apparatus as progress
bars, instead of the opaque logos or polished animated graphics,
blocking the view like a royal guard. For example, I wish my laptop
and my phone listed the shell's output during boot, like some Linux
distros still do. Even though most users wouldn't fully understand
it --- and I have to admit that even I don't understand a lot of it
--- the quickly scrolling text is no worse than an animated spinner
in conveying, "Loading..."I think most users, and I mean
nontechnical, are okay with the exposure and even kind of like it.
It makes them feel like they're in a spy movie. Some will never try
to understand it and will just take it as a more-detailed progress
spinner. Some will slowly become familiar with some of the lines,
google them out of curiosity, and it may be the spark that lights
them down the long trek to becoming a programmer. Isn't that one of
our country's goals, to encourage kids to become
programmers?Anyway, my point is, I came to programming from graphic
design and front-end. I spend a lot of time thinking about user-
interface design. But maybe I'm against the grain in wanting some
of the architecture to be allowed to hang out. (Does that make me a
manodocedoceu - 1 hours ago
providing a common user with access to views and doorways to
discovery and deeper technical understanding is essential to
user-centric design. that's how we move the ball foward in terms
of baseline system-fluency, which necessarily deepens progress at
the cutting edge. Furthermore the widened technical prowess means
yAy! for creativity and less exploitable asymmetry for our
almost-friendly techno-fascist cohorts.Widening and deepening
user involvement-- through portals, gateways, peepholes, and
trap-doors-- into a labyrinth of techno-primitive toolmaking
utopia.. hahWhat might that look like? Who knows? I have been
thinking about the variation of user-modes represented, perhaps,
as masks, deepening and widening layers of involvement, according
to need, habit, curiosity and play. The relation between the
masks and the nature of the masks is still in geststion.Here in
SP (sao paulo), in the 13-story abandoned building we've
transformed into an an artist residency and resource center,
we're exploring the theme 'Ancestral/Astral' for an event set to
take place in the middle of December. Ancest-ASTRAL-ity : The
ideal state of discovering the essence of what makes us human,
our roots, through exploratory perspectives of our shared
heritage and created future.What has interested me personally
since hearing about postmarkertOS is humans and tools: the
psychology of tool use, our relationship with TECHNOS. A major
theme that has remained constant throughout our human story is
our use of tools to influence our future.How do we improve or
make new tools? Usually with tools we've already built.You have
two fuzzily-distinct elements: tools and techniques.But how would
these design logix (like the boot-phase peephole you mentioned)
materialize?Ideally this would happen on a mobile device running
linux (im most interested in developing world megacities).Maybe
start with easily malleable UI layers, that use modern web
semantics (react ? APIs).Make a boot-phase people have some
interaction layers thst stimulate the curious user to explore
what is happening. There are a lot of ways to do it, and all of
them are right.If interested, u can find me in the postmarketOS
matrix/freenode channel.Sorry if this does not meet aesthetic
requirements, im on mobile.
dfox - 4 hours ago
I'm completely with you on this, but there is one issue: many
hardware platforms are simply incapable to show such scrolling
text (or dump it into UART) fast enough in the early boot stages
which is the reason why you don't today get that even on server-
oriented distributions.Somewhat ironic is that KDE3 splashscreen
showed low-levelish looking messages that had nothing to do with
what was really happening in order to cater to users with this
approach to computing.
jszymborski - 7 hours ago
Oona is definitely a personal hero of mine.
twic - 2 hours ago
I'd love to see something similar for ADSL. There's no audible part
to ADSL, but there are still two modems talking to each other, and
from what i understand of it, there's a rich and interesting
process involved in setting up the line - tone ordering and so on.
krylon - 8 hours ago
I get waves of nostalgia when I hear that screeching sound.At work,
when the fax machine was still sitting in my office, I deliberately
turned the sound on (for those who don't know: the initial
handshake part sounds pretty much the same for modems and fax).
Then we got a shiny new printer/scanner/fax that now sits in the
hallway.When I had Internet access for the first time (1996), I
used a 14.4 modem for about a year, before I could switch to ISDN.
To me, sound always signified a window opening to a new, magical
world, where the only boundaries were your imagination and
available bandwidth.A friend of mine once dialed the wrong number,
and a human picked up. Hearing a human voice from the modem was
really strange.Ah, good times (except for the crappy bandwidth and
the fact that the phone company charged by the minute).
awj - 5 hours ago
They used it as weird sound an alien makes in the PBS show "Read
Jet Go" (which is a fantastic kids show, btw).It was so strange
having my kids laugh at this strange noise that was a deep part
of my childhood and eventual profession.
tryingagainbro - 4 hours ago
I used a 14.4 modem for about a year"No one will need more than
14.4 kb /s. 14.4 kb /s ought to be enough for anybody."
Cthulhu_ - 8 hours ago
It was when Going Online was still a ritual, just like starting
up the computer was - it took a while, sometimes you had to go
through a menu or start up Windows or whatever separately still,
you got this jingle when starting up, sometimes a login screen,
all that stuff. Then going online, dialing up, telling the family
(if any) that you're using the internet for a while, firing up
the browser, etc. Using the internet was (for most people anyway)
a very focused task too, given the per minute charge - get
online, do what you want, get offline again.I noticed that myself
very quickly after getting DSL; while we had a bandwidth limit
(1500 MB / month iirc), I still spent a lot of time online; freed
from pay per minute, you get a lot more time to just browse and
explore. Still do the latter. Usually it's browsing Reddit, but
sometimes I fall into a rabbit hole.
krylon - 4 hours ago
Also, it blocked the phone line - unless you had several phone
lines or ISDN, going online also meant nobody could call you.
And that in a pre-mobile phone setting.After that year with
14.4k modem, I got an ISDN card. Back then, that was a huge
step up. Unfortunately, with ISDN you do not get the screeching
noise modems make.
barrkel - 7 hours ago
Trumpet Winsock; login and initiate PPP; fire up Netscape
bringtheaction - 7 hours ago
Never heard of Trumpet Winsock before. Found this.https://tha
news/3-latest-news/17-ma...> As a result of some recent
discussion about Trumpet Winsock and its use during the early
1990s, a group of users at Hacker News have decided to donate
to Peter Tattam in appreciation for their use of Trumpet
Winsock during the early years of the Internet.> As a gesture
of good will, Peter Tattam, the sole copyright owner of
Trumpet Winsock, has also issued an amnesty on any copyright
infringement by all users (individual and corporate) of
Trumpet Winsock indefinitely for use prior to Jan 2011. He
does however reserve all other rights in the copyright of
Trumpet Winsock. Please note that Trumpet Winsock is still
available for sale and is NOT free - should you wish to
continue to use it, you should order a registration key from
katastic - 5 hours ago
Kind of strange how certain, obscure topics reappear on the
same site. Like Reddit reposts, Hacker News apparently has
articles that hit every year or every few years.That first
link literally mentions HN the last time it slashdot'd
it.>Update 20 January 2016>After 5 relatively quiet years,
Trumpet Winsock is back on the front of Hacker News.
Welcome back to memories of the dawn of the mass internet
bdamm - 5 hours ago
jsmthrowaway - 3 hours ago
> Never heard of Trumpet Winsock before.That sound you just
heard was half of HN sighing at how old they feel,
including me. :/
twic - 2 hours ago
I'd heard of it, but never used it. The reason being that
we were an Apple household, and so used MacPPP!
bdamm - 5 hours ago
Check your fidonet. Initiate XModem. The cool kids are using
CodeMage - 4 hours ago
Fire up Terminate, call my favorite BBS, log on, check
messages, play some Trade Wars 2002. Those were the days.
For a brief time, I had my own BBS and I was really proud
when it became a FidoNet point.
samstave - 4 hours ago
Crappy bandwidth?I was playing populous over a 300 baud modem in
the 80s with my friend.Also, i was grounded in the early 90s for
calling into PCLink and running a $926 long distance phone bill
that month.Then, we setup a warez BBS as the backside to the
computer systems we setup in highschoolOne of my first jobs was
desoldering bad memory out of apple IIsMan the 80s were fun
exabrial - 7 hours ago
Pre internet, I had 600bps modem, and my dad had a 1200bps. Would
dial into bbs systems for no reason other than curiosity haha
samstave - 4 hours ago
You didnt play the Pit, or Trade Wars?you missed out then on
DonHopkins - 5 hours ago
At one point, modems used to cost about $1/baud, when 300 baud
modems cost $300 and 1200 baud modems cost $1200.
technofiend - 5 hours ago
I once traded an original Hayes 2400 baud modem for a Honda
CB360 motorcycle. The Hayes was a thing of beauty in its
milled aluminum case.
samstave - 4 hours ago
Thats actually impressive
KGIII - 5 hours ago
Some people don't believe me when I tell them I've owned a
home computer, with peripherals, that cost more than a new
car of the same model year. Not just one, either.When you
started adding storage, a modem, daughter boards, etc., it
ChuckMcM - 1 hours ago
I used to have it as the ringtone for my boss at work, and
chuckled when I heard it because it meant work was 'dialing in'
to me to figure something out :-)It does confuse people when your
phone makes that noise though and then you start talking to it.
bdamm - 5 hours ago
Curious why my BBS wasn't coming up after several redials, and
with the volume off late at night so as to not disturb the rest
of fam, I switched on the volume to my modem to hear this:click
"Hello, Maple Ridge Police Depar.... damnit, not this again.
Let's get a line trace go.." RESET
paulmd - 3 hours ago
Left your dial-out prefix set to 0118 999 881 999 119 7253, eh?
danparsonson - 8 hours ago
Classic article! I would also like to recommend
Oona is clearly a talented engineer :-)
cbar_tx - 23 minutes ago
that's crazy. I was just looking at this the other day and used the
sound clip to make an annoying ringtone for my phone
scoot - 8 hours ago
Click "past" under the article title for previous discussions.Lots
of fascinating content in that blog!
anst - 4 hours ago
logfromblammo - 7 hours ago
Manually decoding the DTMF in the spectrogram gives me
1-570-234-0003, which turns up a lot of search hits.
krallja - 8 hours ago
rogerweissman77 - 6 hours ago
That sound brings back so many memories. BACKNEXT
rando444 - 6 hours ago
skellertor - 8 hours ago
Very intersting glimpse into our past and DTMF.
muxator - 4 hours ago
3d spectrogram: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vvr9AMWEU-
cAnimation of the picture illustrated in this article:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=abapFJN6gloIf you live with someone
>= 30, turn up the volume and wait for him/her to appear at the
door for a nostalgia moment...
the_cat_kittles - 39 minutes ago
shot in the dark- that looks like a good way to visualize a bunch
of timeseries lines, do you know what they are using for that
GrumpyNl - 5 hours ago
Those were the days you could hack a mainframe with a cassette
player. Boy did we have fun with that.
lostboys67 - 6 hours ago
I can remember at my first job (which was a long way away from the
Exchange / central office).The carrier signal was a little weak and
I had to whistle the correct tone down the line to get the other
end to pickup :-)We also when we had a project that used modems for
remote data collection our electronics shop modified (technically
illegal) the modems with adjustable gain
DarronWyke - 3 hours ago
This also takes me back to watching some modems have bad
implementations of the USR protocols. Some were so bad that they'd
actually watch the packet traffic for commands. I remember seeing
people getting knocked offline from someone typing ATH0++ over IRC
(all plaintext!), and their modem catching it as an actual USR
command (the Attention-Hang Up command).
sillysaurus3 - 7 hours ago
BTW, every post from this blog is amazing. See the two recent
voic... "Voice inversion is a primitive method of rendering speech
unintelligible to prevent eavesdropping of radio or telephone
little music project I was writing required a melody be played on a
music box. However, the paper-programmable music box I had
(pictured) could only play notes on the C major scale. I couldn't
easily find a realistic-sounding synthesizer version. [...]
Perhaps, if I digitized the sound myself, I could build a flexible
virtual instrument to generate just the perfect sample for the
piece!"My favorite is "Mystery signal from a helicopter"
jcims - 4 hours ago
She has an interesting YouTube channel as well. Some of her
signal visualizations are very cool.
JorgeGT - 6 hours ago
If I remember correctly from the last time she also has a great
post about decoding RF bus stop signals. Super useful for a home
allannienhuis - 3 hours ago
I love that sort of sleuthing. It displays an incredible depth of
knowledge of her subject area (signal processing), and great
samstave - 4 hours ago
wow that is awesome
aequitas - 5 hours ago
I always wondered if it would be feasible to setup a modem
connection wireless. In a way that you would have a loudspeaker and
microphone at each end of a field and just transmit the noises
through the air.
theWheez - 3 hours ago
I actually experimented with this using ultrasonic signals (most
people can't hear above ~16-17kHz), and with very simple
modulation was able to transfer ~30bps. Was a very fun proof of
concept, using just a cell phone and a speaker! I think the idea
is great and there are many applications for it.In this one I
embedded the signal into a song, and then the phones would parse
the modulated data to all synchronize together and create an ad
hoc light show with the flashlights!
tonyarkles - 2 hours ago
Sigh... you're making me want to put together a laptop/mobile
version of PSK-31, just to see if I can do it.
fermuch - 4 hours ago
Yes, it is very much possible. Take a look here:
transfer speed and noise are, obviously, too low/high to make any
practical use out of this, but it's a cool experiment anyways.I
remember reading about a exploit/virus for BIOS that could
coordinate an attack with infrasound, but I can't find any link.
jadedtuna - 1 hours ago
Reminds me of this DEF CON talk:
u801e - 2 hours ago
There's a constant noise for data after the connection has been
negotiated. I'm not sure how loud it would have to be to work.I
do remember hooking up two modems directly with a phone line,
turning off dial tone detection on the answering modem and
issuing an ATA on the answering modem and a ATDT on the calling
modem and negotiating a connection that way. It still was only
able to transmit at roughly 3 KB/sec.
qrbLPHiKpiux - 5 hours ago
this sound will make an awesome voicemail announcement.
ugaro - 6 hours ago
Oona is one impressive female.
fb03 - 5 hours ago
She is friends with Otoko.
jjawssd - 5 hours ago
I never understood why in the United States getting 56k was
impossible. It was always slightly less than that. Meanwhile in
Europe I easily obtained 56k negotiation.
ptaipale - 2 hours ago
There was a FCC regulation limiting the transmission power sent
on the line; this regulation did not exist elsewhere. It limited
the speed to 53.3 kbit/s.
nautilus12 - 7 hours ago
This would be more elucidative if they had the sound and a moving
bar superimposed over the image so I dont have to go back and
digi_owl - 5 hours ago
nautilus12 - 4 hours ago
enknamel - 6 hours ago
I always wanted to know this. But by the time I was old enough to
understand it, dialup was out of my life.
ceautery - 8 hours ago
I remember reading this when it came out, and it was fascinating,
especially considering listening to modems to diagnose problems is
how I made my bones in tech support back when CompuServe was still
a thing.I'm an old timer, and have even used a 300 baud modem with
an acoustic coupler that the article referred to. I listened to the
evolution of modem handshakes, and had no idea what parts meant
what, but over the years I correlated different problems to
different sounds, and through osmosis learned the various AT
commands for different chip manufacturers (the main three I ran
across were Hayes/Rockwell, USR, and Motorola) to lock them in
certain modes - set the flow control mode (RTS/CTS or X-on/X-off),
set the max and min baud rates, and set various error control
algorithm modes.Doing tech support for a couple years in the 90s,
the biggest problem I saw (beyond the fact that average users were
pretty unsophisticated back then), was the quality of telephone
lines in certain areas of the country. If you live in the sticks,
you're screwed and lucky to achieve 9600 baud with any consistency.
If you live in larger cities with crumbling infrastructure, you're
likely to have some "signal bleed" (not sure what to call it) where
other conversations are faintly audible on your lines. In both of
these cases, the negotiation sequence would restart several times,
sometimes getting lucky and connecting, but more often failing
until we found the right AT commands to lock a lower baud rate and
force error correction - MNP? I think that was the magic bullet in
most cases.In the end, the phone infrastructure improved greatly
just about everywhere, but by then it didn't matter as much, as
people started moving to cable modems, typically plugged directly
into a desktop computer, running Win 95 and getting hijacked by 0
day exploits to build the first botnets. Good times.Anyway, I'm
glad to see this article has held up over time and people still
find it interesting.
losteverything - 6 hours ago
We used to whistle into the coupler...wish i took a picture that
HS class... And also got to know the sounds.
digi_owl - 6 hours ago
Got online only in the late 90s, but i do recall listening to the
tones as i could kinda tell if i were to get a bad connection by
when the handshake ended.
gugagore - 6 hours ago
what you call "signal bleed" is usually called "crosstalk":
kuharich - 5 hours ago
Previous discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=9171514
HenryBemis - 2 hours ago
You see an interesing article.I see a new ringtone :)
breakingcups - 8 hours ago
Heh, I remember the sound over here (The Netherlands) sounding just
slightly different. Probably differences in negotiation? Amazing
what nuances the brain can pickup when exposed to something often
Symbiote - 18 minutes ago
There are some other versions here , but nothing I could find
easily on Youtube -- even a BBC article from earlier this year
was using the same recording as this article.I also remember the
sound being a bit different (in the UK, but probably close if not
identical to the Netherlands). I'd like to test, and there's
probably a dial-up modem in the junk box at work, but I don't
have a phone line.
isoprophlex - 4 hours ago
We went to 56k6 or 28k8 baud almost immediately. Other places of
the world were stuck with much slower baudrates for longer. Maybe
that made the difference?Or it's just the acoustics of older,