Those dial-up modem days


May 2, 2007 8:05 PM
IBM PC XT

Being stuck on dial-up speeds at the moment reminds me of using the Internet in the early 90s. The Internet then was a brand new thing, my computer was a Pentium 100, it was running Windows 3.11, and my modem was running at 24kbps (24000bps then, compared to 1.5Mbps or 1500000bps and above now). It was hella cool for the time, and I fantasised a lot about being like the Whiz Kids.

Back then the Net was predominantly for two things: chatting and discussions on the newsgroups. Website browsing as we know it today did not exist – it was too slow over the modems. Even then, the sites were very rudimentary and we only ever visited “homepages“.

Chatting was either done using “talk” and “ytalk” through a telnet terminal, or IRC. IRC was where all the action was. Although it is used much less now, it still exists today indicating how addictive it can be. Sex channels and all their variants (#sex, #netsex, #cybersex, #hottub etc.) were the most popular for the obvious reasons.

The discussions on the newsgroups were much like forums and to a certain extent, blogs today. People would write up an item and people would post their comments under it. Newsgroups would have names like “rec.culture.asian.american”, and “soc.culture.tv.australia” indicating what the group was about. And as with everything to do with technology, you can’t get away from the sex and sleaze: alt.sex.stories, alt.binaries.pictures.sex etc.

The primary reason the above were popular during those dial-up days was that they were mostly text and therefore fast through those put-put-putting modems. But modems have drawbacks.


mIRC - IRC client

The modems are connected via the same phone line as the house phone. Unless the line was dedicated for just modem use only, and most people did not think the cost was justified, the modem would cut off whenever someone accidentally picks up the handset. Or if you have call-waiting on the line and a call is coming through, that would kill the connection too.

“Sorry, I got disc” was a very common phrase.

What was most frustrating but really funny now was that the disconnections happen at the worst times.

Scenario 1: after trolling through countless newsgroups and actually finding some good porn in a 10-part bundle, and downloading 7 or 8 parts of it, you get disconnected. Noooooooo!

Scenario 2: after trolling through countless IRC sex channels, you finally got someone to go private messaging with you. Score! As you furiously type out your sexual fantasy, “I run my hand down your back and slowly pull you in closer, and I nibble on your … *boop* You are disconnected.” Noooooooo!

Both of which had happened to me more than once. Those were the good old days. Woohoo! :mrgreen:

15 thoughts on “Those dial-up modem days

  1. Kate

    oh yeah.. those days in IRC.. of cos, not the sex channels for me though… hehehe… something is just so missing from today’s msn messenger

    Reply
  2. sourrain

    ….and now we know:)

    I remember the many many versions of mIRC that was updated. Oh, so many happy memories – hookups, breakups, friendships – I stubbornly remained on irc for a good long while;finally getting rid of it in 2003.So retro. And don’t forget ICQ and it’s irritating Uh-Oh!

    *slaps mooiness around with a big trout

    Reply
  3. mooiness Post author

    Kate: yeah you are right about something missing from 1-on-1 chats. Nothing like going into a popular channel and see the conversation fly by.

    sourrain: *waves to the room

    IRC was incredible. I was real chummy with a Taiwanese girl living in LA and we thought about going to Taiwan and hosting an IRC-related TV show. Hahah! Much like how you and I talked about forming a political party.

    But I’ve lost touch with her though. Shame.

    Reply
  4. Indra

    thank God for broadband! hahaha during those days, the only internet I got was from net cafe, chatting on mIRC (no sex channel for me too tho),trickin my friend who was chatting a few computers away from me, made him thinkin tat he’s hookin up with a chick, when it’s actually me.. priceless (:P)

    ICQ uh oh was sure annoyin. Another one would be surfin the net slowly, lookin for sexy pictures, and saving them to diskettes. I used to bring a box of empty diskettes to a net cafe. Gosh…

    Reply
  5. LupinTan

    Wow, talking about history of internet.
    I spent most of my time in school.

    Because initially, my home connection is only 28.8, though 14.4 is still around.

    I remember my first chatting experinces is a program call “Alamak”, “MRIC” is more during in my poly days. Internet searching then is by this one call “WebCrawler”, yahoo is still in its infancy stage. I remember I MUD(some text based game) alot. Especially this game call “Heros of the Lance III”

    *Bash* Monster Name
    *Drink* Water
    Etc.

    Those was the days.
    Where got Wikipedia, Youtube, Google.
    hahaha.

    Reply
  6. Dabido

    Ah yeah, back in the 90’s my net Nick was Bear … now there are millions of bears on the internet [not just the aaaaverage ones! woka woka woka!]

    I spent a LOT of time on the University Bulletin boards chating to people. Yeah, the good old 9600 modems … I had an old DIAL IN modem [couldn’t dial up] at one stage that was something like 720bps. lol I got it for free, and never did get to test it out, but was one work was getting rid of. I didn’t realise it was only dial in at the time. lol

    Pentium 100 !!! I can remember the good old IBM XT and IBM AT computers before the 286!!! lol

    [Actually, I can remember when we were using an Apple IIe to run Visicalc at Toyota and it was considered STATE OF THE ART!] lol

    Reply
  7. girlstar7

    God, that reminds me of when I was in Year 8 and there was a computer in the main year 8 building with mIRC on it. When we were supposed to be doing our assignment, we would use that time to chat! when the teacher came along we would have to quickly close mIRC down and pretend we had been working all along!
    those were the good old days…I remember once lying about my age and having cyber sex with some random guy online and having to close the window quickly when my french teacher walked by!
    a/s/l anyone??

    Reply

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