Old Classiccmp archive

r.stricklin bear at typewritten.org
Thu Mar 1 22:34:21 CST 2018

On Mar 1, 2018, at 2:18 PM, William Sudbrink via cctech wrote:

> 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).



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

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)

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 GUEST.

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

until further notice

More information about the cctalk mailing list