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Online Services: The Internet Before the Internet 387

Posted by samzenpus
from the back-in-my-day dept.
jfruh writes "The Slashdot readership is probably split pretty evenly into two groups. There are those for whom full-on Internet access has been available for their entire computer-using lives, and then there are those who wanted to use the Net from home before 1991, and who therefore had to use a BBS or an online service. Here's a tour of some of these services, including Prodigy, Compuserve, and of course AOL. This should be a nostalgic trip for the oldsters among us, and a history lesson for Gen Y readers."
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Online Services: The Internet Before the Internet

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  • by Narrowband (2602733) on Thursday April 05, 2012 @10:07PM (#39593715)
    The Internet was available before 91 on dial-up, at least if you were a college student. There just wasn't as much on it then, and sometimes it was more likely you could reach your friends online on your local BBS. Heck, there wasn't even DNS, you had a phone book of IPs you entered into your hosts table.

    But I bet the real Internet culture shock for Gen X/Y is probably that they don't remember a time before commercial content or business activity was allowed on the Internet. It wasn't just that there wasn't a web and e-commerce hadn't taken off, it was freakin' prohibited.
  • by johnb10001 (604626) on Thursday April 05, 2012 @10:12PM (#39593765)
    I started using the internet around 1978 when I was in college. We had super fast 9600 baud terminals back then and about a dozen Universities were connected to the internet at that time. After graduation I had Compuserve which if I remember right it costs ten dollars a month plus additional time while online. It the 90's AOL bought Compuserve and I switched over to Netscape for email. During most of the 80's I used dial up bulletin boards for games and discussion boards.
  • The Source? (Score:4, Informative)

    by kallen3 (171792) on Thursday April 05, 2012 @10:17PM (#39593797)

    does anyone remember The Source? Where Ilearned about archie, gopher, telnet,finger,who, ftp and the like. I remember the first time I connected I went exploring on the source and realized that I was connecting to computers all over the world.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 05, 2012 @10:34PM (#39593939)

    Bullshit.

    9600 didn't show up until the mid 1980s.
    http://tldp.org/HOWTO/Modem-HOWTO-29.html

    If you're gonna lie, at least do some research first so that those of us from that era might believe you for a sec.

  • by johnb10001 (604626) on Thursday April 05, 2012 @10:42PM (#39593993)
    This Wikipedia article shows the modem types and years released. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modem [wikipedia.org]
  • by FishOuttaWater (1163787) on Thursday April 05, 2012 @10:53PM (#39594051)
    He said terminal, not modem.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 05, 2012 @10:58PM (#39594085)

    He didn't say he had a 9600 baud modem, he said he had a 9600 baud terminal. Quite reasonable for a serial link. I had a 19,200 baud serial link to the campus network in about 1988 or 1989. Also in my computer was a 2400 baud modem.

  • by Taco Cowboy (5327) on Thursday April 05, 2012 @11:30PM (#39594295) Journal

    I still remember how proud I was when I bought my first 300 baud modem

    That thing did cost me an arm and a leg - and boy - I thought 300 baud was fast !!

    Then they upped the speed, and I had to chop off another arm and another leg to get a "new" modem

    Then they upped the speed again --- guess what, I chopped off yet-another-arm and yet-another-leg to pay for that too !!

    Throughout all these years, I have lost count of how many arms and legs I'd to trade in for those modems

  • by Cheech Wizard (698728) on Friday April 06, 2012 @01:00AM (#39594695)
    BBC - BBS - The Documentary - Find it. It's really good. 8 episodes. Some of it is on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JnSz-Hb9LQY [youtube.com]
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 06, 2012 @02:07AM (#39594969)

    Actually, baud is a measurement of signal change, which doesn't always correlate to bit rate. At one time, yes it often did, which lead to the use of "baud" and "bps" being used interchangeably, yet erroneously. When the use of compression grew in modem transfers, baud often stayed the same, or rose slower than the bit rate due to the compression.

    Wikipedia Baud article [wikipedia.org]
    about.com article [about.com]
    tech-faq.com article [tech-faq.com]

    I remember the days of connecting to a BBS at 110bps. You had time to go pour coffee while waiting for the ANSI welcome screen to load.

    *shakefist* Now git off mah lawn! Dagnabbit, someone stole muh false teeth... *grumble grumble* :-)

  • Not exactly... (Score:4, Informative)

    by Gription (1006467) on Friday April 06, 2012 @03:18AM (#39595203)

    This Wikipedia article shows the modem types and years released. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modem [wikipedia.org]

    The Wikipedia article lists the release years of modems conforming to various V.xx standards.
    There were modems available that exceeded that timeline by quite a bit. Telebit made their TrailBlazer series that uses quite a different scheme to encode the data on the line from the ITU-T V series schemes. Telebit used what they called PEP which stood for Packetized Ensemble Protocol. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telebit#Models [wikipedia.org]
    They exceeded the speeds of the commonly available "Hays compatible" modems by a huge margin. PEP still works faster on very noisy phone lines then today's commonly available modems. In situations where a 56K modem will only hook up at 1200 baud the Telebits will generally connect at 9600+.

  • by Gription (1006467) on Friday April 06, 2012 @03:33AM (#39595285)

    Bullshit.

    9600 didn't show up until the mid 1980s. http://tldp.org/HOWTO/Modem-HOWTO-29.html [tldp.org]

    If you're gonna lie, at least do some research first so that those of us from that era might believe you for a sec.

    Bzzzzzt thankyouforplaying...
    AT&T supplied 9600 baud data lines for the ARPANET way back in the late 60s. And yes... They used modems!!!
    Almost all of the endpoints for the ARPANET were universities. That would make someone that claiming to use a 9600 baud terminal in the late 70s easily accurate and using a technology that was at least a decade old.

    So I suspect two things: (1) You weren't there. (2) You are an anonymous idiot who can't Google.

  • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Friday April 06, 2012 @07:19AM (#39595887) Journal

    When the use of compression grew in modem transfers, baud often stayed the same, or rose slower than the bit rate due to the compression.

    It doesn't have anything to do with compression. The baud rate is the number of symbols per second. The bps rate is the number of bits per second. When you have two kinds of symbol (e.g. beep and silence, high and low) then the baud rate is the same as the bit rate. If you have 4 kinds of symbol then each symbol represents two bits and so the bit rate is double the baud rate. With better ADCs and DACs (and a sufficiently low SNR) you can distinguish a lot more different symbols at the same baud rate. If you could distinguish 256 different tones then a 300 baud modem could run at 300B/s (2400b/s).

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