Get off the internet, I need to make a call



The modem is the digital descendant of the telegraph, enabling computers to send data to each other over a telephone line. Short for ‘modulator-demodulator’, it translates an analogue signal into a digital signal, and vice-versa. Before the modem made it possible to visit other people’s machines, the computer was simply a useful tool. The modem turned it into a place.

An ad for the Hayes Smartmodem, offering fast download speeds of 1.2k per second.

Until 1968, AT&T had a monopoly on the use of its phone lines, only allowing its own Bell Laboratories devices to be connected to its ...

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