119

Much of this has been covered by previous answers, but to try to summarize: Adding a speaker was cheap and easy. The additional parts were standard, reliable, and inexpensive. It provided rich, immediate, understandable feedback on a variety of call-progress milestones. Click -- modem is responding enough to grab the line. (This click was usually from a ...


108

Up to 9,600 baud it's just iterative application of fairly straightforward analogue-domain ideas as and when standards emerge. Then there's a significant improvement on the digital side that bumps to 14,400 baud. Incremental phone line improvements lead from there to 33,600 baud. Finally, a digital back end for the phone network provides 56k as a downward ...


63

Not all modems from back in the day had speakers, for example an early popular modem was the Hayes Micromodem II (available for Apple ][ and S-100 machines) and it did not have a speaker. But the speaker served a few purposes that I can think of: Early modems were not very good at detecting various states, e.g. busy line, voice pickup, disconnected number ...


62

The message was This program posts news to thousands of machines throughout the entire civilized world. Your message will cost the net hundreds if not thousands of dollars to send everywhere. Please be sure you know what you are doing. This message isn’t inherent to Usenet, it’s output by certain clients. It originated in rn, Larry Wall’s news ...


62

In addition to Stephen Kitt's answer, you can go back even further from Windows 3.1 to the Apple II version of America Online, circa 1989. Certainly not as popular or long-lived as the MS-DOS and Windows versions, but it did exist for the 8-bit platform! While some things were done in graphics mode, most of the text and "productivity stuff" was ...


60

AOL provided (and still provide) their own client, which — at least back then — was called “America Online”. This was available on a variety of platforms, including DOS: (based on GeoWorks) and Windows 3:


58

No, the identity of the customer couldn't be confirmed by the phone number alone, for a number of reasons: Customers expected to be able to call in from different locations, using different stationary phone lines and therefore different phone numbers each time. Caller ID wasn't that widespread in the 1990s, and wasn't available for all phone companies in ...


55

Of course, people did use modems extensively for ad hoc networking at the time. You'd call up your friend and transfer a file. You'd call up the local BBS and chat and transfer files. Your question seems to be more, why didn't this develop into a more formalized system of always-on network links. Well, who's going to pay for all those phone lines? ...


55

Forward proxy It turned out that configuring my own forward HTTP proxy was actually really simple! Here's how I did it. First, I placed the following nginx configuration file in /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/: server { listen 81; location / { resolver 8.8.8.8; proxy_http_version 1.1; proxy_pass https://$host$request_uri; } } Then, on the ...


54

At least for FTP, the actual file transfer happened over a different connection to support a particular file transfer mode that isn't used much today. Suppose you have three machines, A, B, C, and you want to transfer a file from machine A to machine B. You are logged in to an FTP client on machine C. With FTP you can do the following: ┌──────────┐ ...


32

So why were modem speakers such a persistent feature, and "fixture" of the time? Three basic reasons: Adding a simple amplifier and a speaker is the most easy way to handle unexpected situations In many countries/networks having a speaker active while establishing a connection was mandatory to make it legal/get a validation Adding it was as well the least ...


31

The first standard specifying modern TCP is RFC793 from 1981 (with predecessors dating back to 1974), which says about initial sequence number selection: To avoid confusion we must prevent segments from one incarnation of a connection from being used while the same sequence numbers may still be present in the network from an earlier incarnation. We ...


28

That latest web browser I am able to find is K-Meleon 74 Windows 9x Edition. It was created in 2014, when the Pale Moon engine (Goanna) was backported for Windows 2000. It requires KernelEx (and the latest updates) and a rather beefy old machine to run. You could also experiment with other later browser versions on top of KernelEx, as it adds NT support to ...


27

A/the correct solution would be to set up some sort of small local PBX. In the spirit of retro you can probably score an analogue PBX for not very much money and the mechanical ones are arguably even more fun to play with than retrocomputers because you can watch them working, but if you would like that bit to be somewhat smaller and more reliable than a ...


26

I have not tried any of these, not having a Windows 98 system, but a bit of research reveals: Internet Explorer 6 SP1 was the last IE, in 2001. Firefox 2 was the last Firefox in 2006. Netscape 8 (2005) or Netscape 9 (2007) are available here. Opera 10 (2009) seems to be the last available, here. Safari and Chrome never supported Windows 98. Browsers ...


26

People have actually tried this. The answer is "No". In particular, you may notice, if you scroll all the way to the bottom, an old-timey "Best viewed in Netscape 3.0" bug. It does not in fact work at all under old installs of Netscape 3.0. As near as I can tell, the main hang-up seems to be SSL compatibility, but likely if that issue were solved there ...


26

Much more than speed (typical ordinary user modems in the 1970s and even early 1980s were just 300 bps), the problem was long distance. Many areas did not even have unlimited local calling at the time (Maryland fortunately did, or my leap into computers primarily via dialup to timeshared systems would have been significantly stunted). Long distance was ...


24

The address space is only one (maybe the easiest to solve) problem you'd have when extending Internet protocols beyond earth, especially with a supposed pretty low number of projected extraterrestrial nodes for the foreseeable future. A much bigger problem is the end-to-end delay. With anticipated packet delays of several minutes, the concept of the ...


22

In the UK, CompuServe, CIX, and Demon Internet were the most influential early ISPs, but there were plenty more, such as Dircon, Pipex and Freeserve. Freeserve built by far the largest customer base, and may be the nearest UK equivalent to AOL in the US. However, it was rather different in that it gave you access to the Internet in general, with no "walled ...


21

Given the uniquely American roots of AOL, Why should AOL be anymore unique American than a C64 - selling quite well in all of Europe and some other parts. my assumption is that it was not so dominant or important in Europe and Asia as it was here in the U.S. It was. As by the amount of xxx-hours-free-internet-CDs attached to magazines and dropped in ...


21

For FTP, I think there are two factors here: The absence of multiplexing multiple data streams over a single transport connection, and The server-to-client connection for data transfer. The benefit of a dedicated transport connection for data transfer is that you can implement stream mode: the sender pours data bytes (and only data bytes) down the pipe, ...


19

It very much depends on what you're trying to do - Lynx's latest release is from 2018, runs on Win95, and is very lightweight, but, you know, lacks graphics. I also use Dillo on old machines when I just need Wikipedia. (Yeah, it does not have nice prebuilt Win binaries as far as I can tell.) // would've like to comment, but I lack the reputation!


19

In addition to sfrey's answer, using caller ID would prevent multiple accounts logging in from the same phone number, as in a family situation or a small office. But the real reason is probably due to technical ease. Most ISPs offering dial-up service were essentially leasing UNIX accounts and disk space (or accounts on similar multi-user systems). The ...


19

Prodigy used NAPLPS (North American Presentation Level Protocol Syntax) to encode its graphical displays. This is a vector-based graphics originally intended for videotex and teletext services (in North America). Client-side behaviour was implemented using proprietary programming languages. Prodigy clients were available on at least DOS, Windows 3, and ...


18

(I originally posted this as an answer to the similar question "why we need two connections between the ftp server and the ftp client" at StackOverflow) The decision to have separate control and data connections in FTP was taken at the Data and File Transfer Workshop at MIT on April 14-15, 1972. RFC310 "Another Look At Data And File Transfer Protocols" was ...


17

While the UUCP store-and-forward protocol was largely UNIX-based and thus mostly catering to institutions until UNIX-compatible OSes started to appear for the personal computers, the FidoNet protocol was used on computers running MS-DOS and CP/M since early 1980s. The network of FidoNet-capable computers was vast and spanned the globe, although it could take ...


16

The Internet was (and is) an evolving medium. It predated the web, with the first commercial Internet Service Providers (ISPs) beginning around 1989. Early features included e-mail, FTP (File Transfer Protocol for making files available to others), gopher (a hierarchal index of FTP sites and their contents), and newsgroups (open predecessor to commercial ...


16

It's called a #-literal. It's basically an Internet host number (IP address) written as a decimal number and it's been obsolete for almost as long as the Internet has existed. The current version of the SMTP protocol - RFC5321 (appendix F.4) - states it as being deprecated and it must not be used. RFC 821 provided for specifying an Internet address as a ...


16

The WebTV service launched over 20 years ago, so it's probably "retro" enough. :-) WebTV had contracts with a network of IAPs (Internet Access Providers), such as Concentric Networks, UUNET Technologies, and PSINet. While the big carriers provided plenty of capacity for urban areas, dozens smaller IAPs were also used to get coverage in less ...


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