Old Classiccmp archive

William Sudbrink wh.sudbrink at verizon.net
Thu Mar 1 16:56:37 CST 2018

Bingo!  Thanks a lot!

-----Original Message-----
From: cctalk [mailto:cctalk-bounces at classiccmp.org] On Behalf Of Dennis
Boone via cctalk
Sent: Thursday, March 01, 2018 5:50 PM
To: cctalk at classiccmp.org
Subject: Re: Old Classiccmp archive

 > Does anyone have an archive of classiccmp that goes back to the 90's?
 > If so, could I ask you to "hunt down" an old message of mine?  I once  >
wrote a "reminiscence" of connecting to the ARPANET when I was a kid  > that
I was rather pleased with.  Unfortunately, I seem to have lost  > it in a
disk crash (actually a couple of disks, primaries and  > backups).

This one?


That last exchange of messages has me reminiscing so (with a little tongue
in cheek)...

Procedure For Connecting To The 'net Circa 1978

(That's the ARPANET for all you young whipper-snappers.  What we called the
internet before they let all of the riff-raff in.)

Initial notes:

Do not begin this procedure before 11PM.  This avoids conflicts over
telephone usage with your parents.  Net resources are generally not
available to "tourists" before this time anyway.  Resource availability is
generally best on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights and holidays.
Keep an ear open for police sirens.  Rumor has it that the FCC will come and
arrest you (and/or your parents) if it detects illegal equipment attached to
the telephone system.  Another reason to operate late at night, they
probably aren't watching.

1) Move your computer from your bedroom to the kitchen table (that's where
the phone is!).  Don't connect power to the modem yet, it produces a carrier
whenever it is powered and you need to be able to hear the far end of the
telephone connection when you first dial.
Also, you want it to be cool when you initiate the connection.

2) Take the handset off of the hook and replace it with the piece of
broomstick that you fashioned for that purpose.

3) Get a big towel from the linen closet.  Fold it into quarters and put the
handset on it.  Attach the speaker and microphone to the handset with wide
rubber bands.  Fold the towel over the handset.
This will prevent various ambient sounds (like the sound of typing) from
introducing noise on the line.

4) Being sure that the cassette/modem switch (a DPDT switch that connects
the transmit and receive pins of the USART to either the cassette interface
or the modem) is in the cassette position, load the terminal program.  Run
the program.  You are greeted with a blank screen (this is normal but you
can't be 100% sure that it loaded correctly until you have connected).
Switch the cassette/modem switch to modem.  You may see a few garbage
characters on the screen (that's a good sign).

5) Get an ice cube from the freezer, put it in a sandwich bag and put it on
the towel next to the modem.

6) Remove the broom stick from the telephone hook and dial the NBS (National
Bureau of Standards) TIP (Terminal Interface Processor).
Listen for the call to be answered and for the carrier on the far end.
Sometimes the TIP is down and won't answer, sometimes it is down and will
answer but won't give a carrier.  If it's down, wait an hour and try again.

7) If you get a carrier, apply power to the modem.  Start pressing the @
(at) key once a second until it is echoed on your screen.
Listen for the chirp when you press the key.  If you don't hear it, the
terminal program isn't running correctly, hang up, unpower the modem, reset
the computer and go back to step 4.

8) Once the @ character is echoed, press enter.  You should get an error
message (I no longer remember the text).  Now type "@O 77<return>".  This
instructs the TIP to connect you to the MIT-DM (Massachusetts Institute of
Technology, Dynamic Modeling) computer.

9) Start pressing the return key once a second until you get a logon prompt
(I no longer remember the prompt text).  The user name and password are

10) Once logged on, wait for a minute or two, pressing enter every ten
seconds or so.  This gives the operator a chance to notice you and kick you
off if the system is busy.  If he's in a chatty mood, you'll get a message
like "The system's busy, get lost!".  If not, your connection will just die.
If the system is busy, try again in an hour or so.

11) I no longer remember how to start up Zork or some of the other
programs... anyone feel free to provide details I'm missing.  Keep an ear on
the connection.  If the carrier starts to change pitch, wipe any
condensation off the ice cube bag on the towel and then apply to the smaller
chip on the right on the modem board.

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