June 5, 2012

The Mechanics and Meaning of That Ol' Dial-Up Modem Sound

Alexis Madrigal, writing for The Atlantic:

"Of all the noises that my children will not understand, the one that is nearest to my heart is not from a song or a television show or a jingle. It's the sound of a modem connecting with another modem across the repurposed telephone infrastructure. It was the noise of being part of the beginning of the Internet."

Alexis writes a nice remembrance of sounds gone by.

For some people the sound of a fax machine's calling tone brings back office-centric memories. For me it's the answering and handshake tones of my computer's modem that brings back years of online puttering in my bachelor apartment. There was a time when I could tell precisely what speed my modem was about to select based upon that sound.