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Where Are The Founders Of The Dial-Up Revolution?

simoniker posted more than 10 years ago | from the hayes-today-gone-tomorrow dept.

Businesses 295

RIMBoy writes "The Atlanta Journal-Constitution recently tracked down the founders behind the dial-up modem revolution. The founders of Hayes Micromodem set the standard with their AT Command set. While Dennis Hayes finds himself inducted into the Computer Industry Hall of Fame, at the same time he is broke (with a stop as a bar owner) and trying to find the next big thing. Dale Heatherington cashed out early and has dedicated himself to several projects, including ham radio."

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A mule-like machine, which you all learn to hate (-1)

(TK4)Dessimat0r (669989) | more than 10 years ago | (#7601865)

-INSANE-PRIEST--INSANE-PRIEST--INSAN
I___________,.-------.,____________I Slashdot
N______,;~'_____________'~;,_______N fucking
S____,;____LINUX FUCKING____;,_____S sucks
A___;___SUCKS, YOU FUCKING____;____A
N__,'____SLASHDOT RETARDS.____',___N Rob Malda
E_,;___GET IT INTO YOUR HEAD___;,__E is a
-_;_;______._____l_____.______;_;__- cocksucker
P_l_;____________l____________;_l__P
R_l__`/~"_____~"_._"~_____"~\'__l__R Slashdot
I_l__~__,-~~~^~,_l_,~^~~~-,__~__l__I fucking
E__l___l________}:{__ (O) _l___l___E sucks
S__l___l_ (o) _/_l_\_______!___l___S
T__.~__(__,.--"_.^._"--.,__)__~.___T Rob Malda
-__l_____---;'_/_l_\_`;---_____l___- is a
-___\__._______V.^.V___((oo))./____- cocksucker
I__O_VI_\________________ll_IV___O_I
N_____I_lT~\___!___!___/~ll_I______N Fucking
S_____I_l`IIII_I_I_I_IIIIll_I__o___S lameness
A_O___I__\,III_I_I_I_III,ll_I______A filters,
N______\___`----------'__ll/____o__N will
E____O___\___._______.___ll________E this
-_________\..___^____../(_l___O____- ever
P_________/_^___^___^_/__ll\_______P fucking
R_O______/`'-l l_l l-';__ll_l___O__R WORK?!
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E_____O_l___\l l~l l__l/_ll_l______E Your mother
S_______l\___\ l_l l__;__ll_l__O___S was good
T__o____l_\___ll=l l==\__ll_l______T in bed, she
-____o__l_/\_/\l_l l__l`-ll_/______- grunts like
-_______'-l_`;'l_l l__l__ll_____O__- an ape.
I_O_______l__l l_l l__l__ll________I
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S_________l__"""_"""__l__ll________S is a
A__O______l____o_o____l__ll____O___A cocksucker
N_________l,;,;,;,;,;,l__ll________N
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-__________llIlIlIlIll___ll_____O__- By Dessimat0r
P__________`"""""""""`___""________P (c)2003 Trollkore
-INSANE-PRIEST--INSANE-PRIEST--INSAN

The bishop, while living, was a follower of God.
Now dead, his rotting fingers are able to raise
an army of skeletons from the grave.

Trollkore
"I hate you, I hate your country, and I hate your face!"

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Re:A mule-like machine, which you all learn to hat (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7601919)


I'd make an ASCII pic like yours, but I'm not a lame flamebait n00b who's not smart enough to use Linux.

early post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7601869)

early post propz to GNAA

I worked there (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7601874)


I worked at Hayes in the 1980s.

The atmosphere was absolutely electric. Dennis (Hayes) and Dale (Heatherington) were polar opposites but each had a unique take on the industry at the time.
Dennis' assistant, Henry Tuber, always had a witty joke that the EEs would end up spitting out their coffee over. That sense of humor was razor sharp.

It's because of this we could overlook Henry's penchant for anal fisting.

One day in early '82, we were having a design meeting. Designers from the board through the firmware were there. Well, in walks Henry wearing nothing but leather chaps and an arm-length rubber glove. Naturally we all laughed, thinking that this was just another Hayes/Heatherington/Tuber practical joke. We all laughed until we cried.. all expect Henry, that is.

Henry jumped on the boardroom table, then went on all fours. One couldn't help but notice a cable eminating from his anus with an RS-232 plug on the one end. "Yank Me" was written on the cable head.

Doug Stephens, one of the EEs I worked with, reached over and pulled. A good 6 feet of serial cable came out of Henry's anus then it went taught. "Pull harder!" cried Henry. Doug pulled at the cable hard, Henry's anus was distended and small vessels on it were bursting. Suddenly a loud pop echoed and a metallic box attached to the end of the cable flew out, striking Doug on the chin. Wiping the sweat from his brow, Henry smiled and said quietly"I present to you our latest design: 1200 baud!"

This modem was our best seller and made me a millionaire many times over.


5dbd42cea2fc2ae172ac3b9fc6848c4e

Re:I worked there (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7601957)


Redundant?!

Idiots, this is great insight into what made Hayes Corp. tick.

Inventing the Analog Modem (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7602069)

"Doug Stephens, one of the EEs I worked with, reached over and pulled. A good 6 feet of serial cable came out of Henry's anus then it went taught. "Pull harder!" cried Henry"

I was there too. Doug was the guy who worked on the technology of turning digital signals into an analog soundstream. Due to his anal proclivities, he was called "Anal Doug".

Someone once typed that into a bulletin to print on the old Epson MX-80. The keys on the Apple ][ were bad sometimes, and his name the title ended up printed as "Anal _o_g".

The rest is history.

Re:I worked there (1)

Uma Thurman (623807) | more than 10 years ago | (#7602230)

If that's the kind of things that happened at computer companies in the 1980's, I can totally understand why all the engineers were trying so hard to build smaller computers.

Uma, oprah? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7602254)

Uma, oprah? Uma, oprah? Umo, oprah?

Linux is Gay (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7601876)

If this is not first post I will bite off my own cock and swallow it. Links to pictures will be provided.

Re:Linux is Gay (-1, Offtopic)

grub (11606) | more than 10 years ago | (#7602123)


If you could bend down that far to bite it off, I'd suggest you instead give yourself head. It's likely the only head you're able to get, why throw it away?

Easy (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7601878)

They're waiting patiently for the web to load.

Ah, the dialup days... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7601948)

I remember sitting eagerly in front of my 386, waiting for a single GIF from the adult door of the BBS to download at 1200bps. Then it always turned out to be something crappy that I wasted 5 minutes to download. Porn in those days was so difficult!

That damn callback verification feature always woke up my mom in the middle of the night when I was cruising the BBS's for porn... Thank god for these "always on" connections!

--
Rate Naked People [fuckmeter.com] at FuckMeter! Not work safe (unless your boss likes pr0n)

Re:Easy (4, Interesting)

TowerTwo (237512) | more than 10 years ago | (#7602038)

Having been in this business since about the same time as Hayes, Katz and others you obviously have no idea what the difference between a acoustic coupler modem to, 300 baud, to 1200 baud, to 2400 baud and what we have now meant. Hayes was the standard after acoustic coupler. It defined everything up to 19.2k. When their designed reached the speed where I could not type fast enough to keep up, they changed the world.

Don't think about the web, think about your keystrokes think about those who saw they could send much more then just text for the first time.
(Never mind sending a 1 meg file for 60 minutes).

Tower

In other news... (0, Insightful)

MindSlap (640263) | more than 10 years ago | (#7602049)

The inventers of the Buggy whip are also looking for the next 'big thing'

Granted... this statement is not to belittle those that created the AT command set and Modulation/demoduation protocols, but rather to illustrate that technology marches on....

Re:Easy (2, Funny)

nizo (81281) | more than 10 years ago | (#7602120)

Actually, I think one of the reasons my blood pressure was so high back in college was because I had to wait ten minutes while the two page message of the day scrolled by each time I logged in with my 300bps modem. Boy was I excited when I learned which dotfile to create to not see the motd file!

Re:Easy (1)

jpu8086 (682572) | more than 10 years ago | (#7602272)

can you please tell me which dot file it is? i'd be elated with joy if i found out there is actually a way to disable those motd files.

i am serious. seriously.

Re:Easy (5, Funny)

drix (4602) | more than 10 years ago | (#7602232)

I'm came bit later than the truely nostalgic crowd, but I do distinctively remember as an 8-year-old my trusty Hayes 1200 baud modem with its distinctive metal case and red LEDs. I think I tried to download 600k Wolf 3D about 7 times over two weeks... frickin' Ymodem-G with no error tolerance whatsoever. I'd leave it downloading when I left for school and my mom picked up the phone every time. Finally someone gave it to me on a floppy... and that was how started learning about virii :)

Them were the days

Duh (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7601880)

They are working at AOL.

Blogzine [blogzine.net]
Fortress of Insanity [homeunix.org]

Come to think of it (4, Funny)

BillsPetMonkey (654200) | more than 10 years ago | (#7601882)

Where are the founders of the broadband revolution?

Working in bars, claiming benefits etc. etc.

Broad Band Revolutionaries (5, Funny)

AtariAmarok (451306) | more than 10 years ago | (#7602013)

Do you mean the great girl bands of the past? The Supremes, the Ronettes, or even the GoGos?

Check "VH-1 Where Are They Now?" to find out the fate of those great Broad Bands of the past.

I know about "Heart". They look like Roseanne Barr now.

Re:Corporate Broadband Still Available (1)

skidv (656766) | more than 10 years ago | (#7602175)

David Schaeffer is still CEO of Cogent Communications. Broadband for the corporate client.

good (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7601883)

story... slashdot blows.. when are you guys gonna fold.

think about it.... (4, Insightful)

neo8750 (566137) | more than 10 years ago | (#7601889)

what would our world be like this technology wouldn't of been explored and helped along the way. i highly doubt the internet would be where it is today let alone any other form of technology.

Re:think about it.... (1)

Frymaster (171343) | more than 10 years ago | (#7601933)

what would our world be like this technology wouldn't of been explored and helped along the way. i highly doubt the internet would be where it is today let alone any other form of technology.

at one point, the internet was mostly dial up. don't you remember waiting patiently for that uucp script to cron so you could get your email?

Re:think about it.... (2, Funny)

hondo77 (324058) | more than 10 years ago | (#7602295)

I remember often not being able to wait and firing off the process by hand...by walking three miles in the snow and liking it!

Re:think about it.... (2, Insightful)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 10 years ago | (#7601968)

poster wrote:
what would our world be like this technology wouldn't of been explored and helped along the way. i highly doubt the internet would be where it is today let alone any other form of technology.

Ah-ha - now we know who to blame!!! Seriously, it didn't have THAT much of an impact on other technologies. Not all technology is internet-related, not even most computer technology. Sheesh~

war against slashdot (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7601972)

Tired of Slashdot's subversive abuse [kuro5hin.org] by the editorial staff?

Bored with mindless [slashdot.org] groupthink [slashdot.org] ?

Had enough with Slashdot's unethical support for advertisers [slashdot.org] ?

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Re:think about it.... (1, Insightful)

keester (646050) | more than 10 years ago | (#7602039)

Any other form of technology?

Where would the wheel be without modems? 'Technology' has got to be the ultimate buzz-word.

Manager: Let's through technology at it.

Programmer: Can we hit the manager with a hammer? That's throwing technology at the problem as far as I'm concerned.

Re:think about it.... (1)

fafaforza (248976) | more than 10 years ago | (#7602189)

"...technology wouldn't have been..."

I hate to be an English nazi here, but if everyone uses "of" instead of "have", soon enough this incorrect form will enter the proper lexicon and at that point, I'll probably pull all my hair out. And the world doesn't need another bald white guy.

Where are they? (0, Redundant)

AtariAmarok (451306) | more than 10 years ago | (#7601896)

Where are the founders of the dial-up revolution? They're still trying to connect with their 2400 baud modems. Be patient, they'll be here and contributing to the conversation by the end of the day, once the carrier screech indicates handshake.

Re:Where are they? (3, Informative)

real gumby (11516) | more than 10 years ago | (#7602237)

They're still trying to connect with their 2400 baud modems.
Err, cute joke, but old modems were 110 baud (also speed of a teletype, i.e. TTY). Later 300 became popular, but really took off (so to speak) with 1200 baud. I think Hays' first modem was 300 baud.

I also remember using "split" modems which were asymmetric -- 1200 downstream and IIRC 150 upstream -- which prefigure today's ADSL.

Laugh if you must... (4, Interesting)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 10 years ago | (#7602299)

Sure dial 1200 or 2400 is up is slow, but back then we made good use of the stuff, mainly by doing direct host dial up rather than IP (not that there were a lot of ISPs back then). First up, no IP wrapper overheads. Second, you used text terminals - no graphics. Real work was more than just a theoretical possibility.

well duh (5, Insightful)

rootofevil (188401) | more than 10 years ago | (#7601897)

the revolutionaries never make any money. they care too much about their ideas to be hardassed enough to profit. its always the people who come around later that just see a business opportunity.

Re:well duh (1, Insightful)

kisrael (134664) | more than 10 years ago | (#7601947)

the revolutionaries never make any money. they care too much about their ideas to be hardassed enough to profit. its always the people who come around later that just see a business opportunity.

Yeah, but it's those hardassed people seeing a business opportunity that bring the technology to the masses, away from ivory towers and geek playgrounds. And when you have competition, that's what makes things affordable. That's what capitalism does well. It's not always free from problems, what with monopolies and a shortage of long-term thinking, but it is why I had a 9600 baud modem in 1994 and a direct connection to the whole damn Internet in my study today.

Re:well duh (1, Insightful)

Elwood P Dowd (16933) | more than 10 years ago | (#7602059)

It's not always free from problems, what with monopolies and a shortage of long-term thinking, but it is why I had a 9600 baud modem in 1994 and a direct connection to the whole damn Internet in my study today.

Um. I'd attribute that to legislation. Sure, it might have happened if we didn't regulate telecom the way we do, but... as it happened, it doesn't feel like capitalism to me.

Re:well duh (3, Insightful)

RealProgrammer (723725) | more than 10 years ago | (#7601982)

For years and years, Hayes defined modem technology. Far from being "too hardassed to profit", they were too profit-oriented to meet the market. They failed to make their products cheap enough for the home user, so USRobotics and other clonemakers won the modem wars.

Re:well duh (2)

taybin (622573) | more than 10 years ago | (#7602104)

If you read the article, you would see that both creators of the AT command set made a lot of money. One is still rich, and the other lost his fortune.

That's right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7602167)

And you might notice: the chief engineer left early with hundreds of millions of dollars, while the CEO got stuck with the headaches and the big empty bankrupt company.

That's my kind of happy ending!

Re:well duh (2, Funny)

ccp (127147) | more than 10 years ago | (#7602139)

the revolutionaries never make any money. they care too much about their ideas to be hardassed enough to profit. its always the people who come around later that just see a business opportunity.

No, if they refuse a 140 million offer they certainly don't.

Cheers,

If I had a nickle... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7601900)

for everyone who is broke after doing net related buisness, I wouldn't be broke.

Re:If I had a nickle... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7602206)

That sounds like a business plan to me. When's the IPO?

How many buzzwords can you pack into your marketing material?

sounds kinda sad (2, Insightful)

digitalsushi (137809) | more than 10 years ago | (#7601918)

at least at first, but then we remember stories like this one [slashdot.org] and realize maybe it ain't as bad as it could be.

The next revolution: Sacred Jihad against slashdot (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7601930)

Tired of Slashdot's
subversive [kuro5hin.org]
abuse by the editorial staff?

Bored with
mindless [slashdot.org]
groupthink [slashdot.org] ?

Had enough with Slashdot's
unethical [slashdot.org]
support for advertisers?

If so, we invite you to join the jihad against Slashdot at
www.anti-slash.org [anti-slash.org] . We demand a full
acknowledgment and apology from the editorial staff for their crimes
against the community. Until then, we will take whatever action is
necessary to discredit Slashdot as a reputable geek news site.

Our tools:

  • Database Tool [anti-slash.org] -
    A huge searchable database of old Score:4 and Score:5 posts ready for
    reposting. Gain karma at your will. Then, use your mod points and karma
    bonus to cause mayhem.

  • Browsing Tool [anti-slash.org] -
    Browse Slashdot through our special tool to alert other brothers in Jihad
    to subversive posts worthy of moderation. Also integrates with the
    database tool for quick karma whoring.

  • Mail Tool [anti-slash.org] - create
    fake email accounts for creating new Slashdot accounts for jihad
    operations with ease.

  • Bait and Switch Mirror [anti-slash.org]
    Tool - Use this to mirror a Slashdotted site. After a certain amount
    of time (to let the mods push it up to Score:5), it switches to displaying
    goatse.cx or your favorite disgusting image.

Join the jihad today!

I'm more Heatherington than Hayes (0, Redundant)

swb (14022) | more than 10 years ago | (#7601932)

I'd love $20M over 10 years. I'd quit, too, and go do something more personally rewarding.

But some people are the Hayes and can't imagine what they'd do if they weren't doing what they're doing.

Not me, $20M and out sounds good to me.

Re:I'm more Heatherington than Hayes (2, Insightful)

danny256 (560954) | more than 10 years ago | (#7602135)

Its ironic that people who have the motivation and ambition to earn $20 million will probably not stop there, but people who would stop at $20 million will never earn that much.

Re:I'm more Heatherington than Hayes (2, Insightful)

jazman_777 (44742) | more than 10 years ago | (#7602233)

Its ironic that people who have the motivation and ambition to earn $20 million will probably not stop there, but people who would stop at $20 million will never earn that much.

In other words, the rich keep doing what made them rich, the poor keep doing what made them poor.

Re:I'm more Heatherington than Hayes (2, Insightful)

fafaforza (248976) | more than 10 years ago | (#7602258)

I think that people who would stop at a certain level, and instead focus on activities rewarding in other ways than money are the more frugal and humble ones. The ones you never read about in Forbes, or watch on tv. The ones that never see a limit are the money-, power-hungry and attention-starved monsters that will do anything to prove they are better than you.

Too bad about these guys.... (4, Interesting)

overbyj (696078) | more than 10 years ago | (#7601941)

Certainly, hooking up on a modem was one of the things that made my computer cool compared to other people that didn't have one. Those were the days when you would dial up some BB and hear EEEEE aaaaaa iiiii shhhhhh oooo bong bong bing (you get the point....)

I remember cruising along with my 1200 baud modem why others were stuck with 300 baud! Too bad that these guys are now out in the cold (figuratively speaking, though maybe for some, literally) because it was modems that people used to first connect to the internet, not DSL or cable. Modems unfortunately will become nothing more than a tale that we can tell our grandkids about many years from now.

"Back in my day, we didn't have these fancy wireless petabit connections. We had to use 300 baud modems over the telephone (uphill, both ways by the way!) and we liked it!"

Re:Too bad about these guys.... (1)

billimad (629204) | more than 10 years ago | (#7602125)

I remember cruising along with my 1200 baud modem

Lemme see here. You were in a car, with a modem, looking for chicks?

Re:Too bad about these guys.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7602242)

LOL! mod him upppppppp!

Re:Too bad about these guys.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7602294)

Back in 1993 I ran a BBS here in Nanaimo (there was about 30 of them here at the time), and the other BBS operators kept telling me I should ban people with less than a 2400 Baud modem. As far as I was concerned, everyone got 45 minutes; It made no difference to me how many bits they could pull in that time.

56K limit... (1, Insightful)

dameron (307970) | more than 10 years ago | (#7601946)

Why 56k seems to be the limit on dialup speeds. I remember a good deal of speed ramping in the late 80s early 90s having used everything from a 300 baud KayPro modem to 1200 baud, 2400, 9600, 14.4, 28.8 and 56k but then nothing much since then. Diamond MM had a "shotgun" modem with two 56k connections, but that wasn't practical.

So, if anyone knows, why 56k and not more, and is there any research into anything beyond 56K for dialup?

-dameron

Re:56K limit... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7601977)

DSL is the next generation on the phone lines. And it doesn't tie up the phone line like a modem. Unfortunately, in my area, its over $50 per month for 128k. Damn phone company market monopolies.

Re:56K limit... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7601989)

If you would actually read what is written on the side of a US Robotics modem box you would see that the FCC limits the actual limit to 53K.

Legal, not technical (4, Informative)

AtariAmarok (451306) | more than 10 years ago | (#7601992)

I remember reading that the 56K limit was legal, not technical (and that this legal limit is actually something like 53K:

"In the U.S., the FCC places a power ceiling on phone lines of -12dbm average per 3 second interval. X2 modems work within this by restricting throughput to 53kbps in the U.S. X2 modems can theoretically work at 56k, although they are constrained to operate 5% slower than this in the U.S. (Some users have reported occasional connections past 53kbps.)"

(from this page [lowendmac.com]

Re:Legal, not technical (5, Informative)

blogboy (638908) | more than 10 years ago | (#7602061)

I worked for R&D at US Robotics for the first 56K rollout. Cots in the lab, X2 coffee (twice the grounds) as I used to call it, all week and weekend, to beat Rockwell to the punch. And we did. The first batches of course hit in mid-40's but steadily improved. Rockwell would *report* 53K or so but the actual thruput was far less. It was one of the last great times in R&D I had. Line noise is the limit. It explots the digital switching on the network. Good times.

Re:Legal, not technical (1)

evilned (146392) | more than 10 years ago | (#7602084)

And that 53k is only in one direction. downstream. To dial in and receive at 56k, the other side has to be a digital line, ala ISDN. Upstream is only 33.6k

Re:Legal, not technical (5, Informative)

Burdell (228580) | more than 10 years ago | (#7602298)

The "53k" limit was a problem with the way X2 worked. Blaming it on the FCC is just a marketing scam; the fact is that the US Robotics engineers couldn't make X2 hit 56k and still work within the pre-defined limits of the telephone system, so they tried to blame someone else.

Lucent's 56k system could actually do 56k and stay within the limits, but the v.90 standard didn't use Lucent's technology for that.

As to why nothing is more than 56k: that is all that a standard voice line (or POTS line, for Plain Old Telephone System) can do. A POTS line is carried within a DS0 (the base channel of the phone system), and a DS0 is 64k. You can't get all 64k though, because many voice lines use "robbed bit" signalling that takes one of every eight bits to handle switch communication. Getting 56k at all requires that one end be a digital line (ISDN BRI or PRI or channelized T1); you can't push 56k through the analog to digital conversion otherwise.

The "what's next" for the telephone system is already here; it is DSL. DSL uses different frequency bands that are not used for POTS lines but that can be carried over the same copper reliably (more or less). However, DSL is not a switched circuit like a modem connection; the DSL frequencies are pulled off the line (by a DSLAM, DSL Access Multiplexer) before the line connects to the regular phone network. So, you can't "dial" a different DSL provider or your friend's house; you can only be connected to one service (and any changes require a call to the DSLAM owner, usually the phone company).

The other "what's next" was ISDN, which would give you the full 64k channel (because signalling is always done on a separate dedicated channel with ISDN), or 128k if you use both channels (the base ISDN line is a BRI, which has 2 64k data channels plus a signalling channel). However, ISDN use was slowed because it was complicated to configure (you couldn't just plug a phone in and use it), required all new equipment, and even the telcos really never understood it well (so when there was a problem, it could take weeks to get it fixed).

Re:56K limit... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7601996)

As I understand it 56K (or actually 53K) is the max transmission limit imposed by the FCC in the US. I seem to recall some fear about damaging the POTS infrastructure or something along those lines - not sure if I remember the rationale properly.

Re:56K limit... (0)

cwernli (18353) | more than 10 years ago | (#7602006)

I wouldn't bet my head on this, but I do recall having heard that it has to do with the sound-spectrum being able to transport over the phone.

If I'm not entirely wrong it goes something like this: human-perceptible sounds allow for 33.6k connections, then someone figured out that out-of-band sounds can be used, hence 56k.

It definitely looks like a physical limit - there are only so-and-so many different sounds transmittable over POTS.

Re:56K limit... (4, Informative)

crow (16139) | more than 10 years ago | (#7602023)

Because that's all the bandwidth there is.

Most calls get digitized by the phone company, and the 53K modems take that into account to get almost all of the theoretical bandwidth. I know someone will correct me, but I think that most phone calls are digitized as 64Kb data streams. There may be some overhead in that, lowering the theoretical maximum throughput.

Of course, if all the phone companies upgraded their equipment to some different standard, they could probably support significantly higher data rates. But then again, isn't that called DSL?

Re:56K limit... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7602101)

I know someone will correct me, but I think that most phone calls are digitized as 64Kb data streams.

You asked for it ... ;)

In the US the phone lines are digitized with 8000 Hz and 7 bits, resulting in a bandwidth of 56 kbps. In Europe 8 bits are used, giving 64 kbps. I can't remember off-hand what Japan uses (they mix happily european and US standards )

So you can't go above 56k and hope to sell your modems in the US, thus losing at least half of your potential customers. It's just not theoretically possible.

Re:56K limit... (2, Interesting)

RobKow (1787) | more than 10 years ago | (#7602174)

The difference is that US lines tend to use in-band signaling and get 24 lines to a DS1 whereas Europe tends to use ISDN which gets 23 lines to a DS1 with a separate line for signaling (call setup/takedown, dialing, etc.).

So the maximum usable bandwidth of the lines in the US is 56k with the degredation from the in-band signaling (which may account for the high bit).

Re:56K limit... (1)

eyeball (17206) | more than 10 years ago | (#7602313)

Of course, if all the phone companies upgraded their equipment to some different standard, they could probably support significantly higher data rates. But then again, isn't that called DSL?

I don't want to start some flame war, but telcos can't simply upgrade equipment to get higher bandwidth from pots lines. The entire phone system is based on these 64kbit blocks, which are time division channels that make up T1-T3 (and higher) circuits. It would be more a matter of rewriting telco standards that date back many centuries, and getting *all* national and international phone companies to coordinate adoption. Could you imagine? Easier to create a new technology like xDSL from scratch.

Re:56K limit... (5, Informative)

mdmarkus (522132) | more than 10 years ago | (#7602092)

Between the Central Offices, the connections are digital and multiplexed. The amount dedicated to each channel is 64k with 8k used for switching information. So while it's possible to run better than 56k over a phone line pair (DSL does it at least for limited distances), once you hit the CO, the 56k limit comes into play.

Re:56K limit... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7602100)

Because modern POTS uses 64 kb/s digital lines to route your phone calls. So 64 kb/s is an upper limit, and then there is some loss due to the digital-analog conversions.

Re:56K limit... (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 10 years ago | (#7602170)

Some of it is because of the sample limit of the equipment at the other end of the copper, which I think is around 64kbps. ISDN gets around this simply by bypassing the analog stages. Now it is DSL on the other end of said wire which makes it really the next generation "telephone modem" although neither ISDN nor DSL really seem to have any analog component.

I really don't think that is relevant because so few really saw much more than 33.6k

Funny how these people go in pairs... (5, Interesting)

JohnGrahamCumming (684871) | more than 10 years ago | (#7601949)

Just look at:

1. Hayes: Dennis Hayes stays with company, guy who did the technical work, Dale Heatherington, leaves
2. Microsoft: Bill Gates stays with company, guy who did the techincal work, Paul Allen, leaves
3. Apple: Steve Jobs stays with the company, guy who did the techincal work, Steve Wozniak, leaves

So seems like techies have all the fun: start a company, keep a low profile, get rich, and then quit. That way the techie gets to spend the rest of their lives with enough money to just hack!

Sweet.

The story was meant to be a sad reflection on Hayes-the-man, ended up making me feel good about being a geek.

John.

Don't forget this (3, Interesting)

NDPTAL85 (260093) | more than 10 years ago | (#7602082)

I know people like to gloss over this stuff but it needs to be restated.

Gates and Jobs were both programmers in their own right. Just because they didn't STICK with the hardcore tech side doesn't mean they were never there to begin with.

Gates coded early versions of Basic software/DOS and Jobs coded Atari games and helped manufacture the first Apple's.

Re:Don't forget this (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7602216)

Gates coded early versions of Basic software/DOS[snip]

BULLSHIT!
Gates bought DOS from another company and onsold it.

You lying cunt.

Re:Funny how these people go in pairs... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7602161)

That pattern is credible. Coders and designer tech guys see the world in terms of a 'project'. A project has a lifecycle, and lifespan. Once you have completed it, you get bored. Or make yourself redundant - which means your work is done and you did it properly. Every programmers purest aim is to make himself obsolete.

Running a business is an ongoing long term project so its usually just after test/integration that the designer often gets bored and the dudes part company.

The established company can then hire younger programmers while the original creative force goes on to his next project.

Businessman and Hackers are a different breed (not species) they work on different levels of abstraction and different timescales. Now and again they come together for mutal good and kick off something really worthwhile.

Re:Funny how these people go in pairs... (4, Insightful)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 10 years ago | (#7602176)

> The story was meant to be a sad reflection on Hayes-the-man, ended up making me feel good about being a geek.

Hear, hear.

Don't get me wrong, they're both hackers, and I'd be honored to buy either of 'em a beer. But the most inspirational thing of that article was seeing that Heatherington didn't just get out with the cash -- but that because he took the money and ran, and lived within his means, he's still hacking hardware for the sheer fun of it.

Before I grow up, I wanna be like Heatherington.

Re:Funny how these people go in pairs... (4, Insightful)

hondo77 (324058) | more than 10 years ago | (#7602270)

Agreed. Heatherington has now become my idol:

While Hayes dreamed of empire, Heatherington dreamed of quitting.

It's one of life's paradoxes that those who are most able to accumulate lots of $$ are those who are least able to enjoy it. It's nice to find someone who can enjoy it.

Correction. (1)

linuxislandsucks (461335) | more than 10 years ago | (#7602215)

Steve Jobs never in his life did any tech woprk Woz was the one..

Re:Correction. (1)

GizmoToy (450886) | more than 10 years ago | (#7602302)

Which is exactly what the parent said. Woz did all the work, made some cash, and got out...

Re:Funny how these people go in pairs... (1)

MsWillow (17812) | more than 10 years ago | (#7602284)

Don't forget a few other notable pairs, like:

Ward Christenson writes MODEM7 and CBBS, while Randy Suess slings the solder. Ward is forgotten, while Randy starts Chinet, one of Chicago's first publicly-available UNIX systems, complete with e-mail *and* Usenet news :)

Karl Deninger and Randy Suess - Randy runs Chinet while Karl learns about UNIX on it, then Karl starts his own ISP - MCS.Net.

I lost track of that whole crowd many moons ago, when I moved away. Haven't heard about any of them, but far as I know, both Chinet and MCS are still alive and kicking.

BBS Documentary (5, Informative)

jkeegan (35099) | more than 10 years ago | (#7601956)

It's been covered on slashdot many times so I'm sure people will remember, but there is a BBS Documentary [bbsdocumentary.com] in the works.

The history of such revolutions should be documented for future generations to learn from.

MOD PARENT DOWN (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7601984)

yes toss teh taco salade

word up gnaa

Never get married TWICE! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7602015)

One retires at 36 to putter around a geek heaven of a workshop. The other gets married twice and goes blind.

I got my Multitech 300 Acoustic coupler out (4, Informative)

teamhasnoi (554944) | more than 10 years ago | (#7602018)

and dialed until I found this AT command Set [sdf1.net]

Relive the good ol' days at textfiles.com [textfiles.com]

"If early on he had taken the company public ..." (1)

burgburgburg (574866) | more than 10 years ago | (#7602022)

If early on he had taken the company public and brought in professional managers, "the guy would be a billionaire today."

If the dot.com bust taught us anything, it's that taking a company public while trusting professional managers is the quickest way to get yourself a big fat tax loss.

Tough times, eh? (2, Funny)

mattACK (90482) | more than 10 years ago | (#7602042)

#ATDT18005518900

Connected at 1200 baud
---
Welcome to the Diesel Driving Academy BBS. The road starts right here!
If you haven't been innundated by their commercials, this might not make sense to you.

XModem (3, Interesting)

wombatmobile (623057) | more than 10 years ago | (#7602045)

Everybody who knows Hayes remembers Ward Christensen's Xmodem file transfer protocol.

This was Ward in 1980 [portcommodore.com] . I wonder where he is now?

In lieu of the vi vs. emacs debate... (4, Funny)

RevMike (632002) | more than 10 years ago | (#7602094)

I'm proud to initiate the Xmodem vs Kermit flamewar.

Let's get ready to RUMBLE!

Extra points for anyone who can segue smoothly into an Anti-Bush/Anti-US rant.

Re:In lieu of the vi vs. emacs debate... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7602209)

Zmodem rules your pathetic Xmodem and Kermit protocols. :-P

They were a breakthrough (1)

trailerparkcassanova (469342) | more than 10 years ago | (#7602114)

I bought two Smartmodem 300s when they first came out. I remember when I called the distributor they had never heard of them. Before we were using Universal Data Systems line-powered modems. These didn't have dialers so being able to dial from a terminal or application was like magic. Hayes also made a Smartclock which was just a clock with a RS232 interface but it was simpler and cheaper than anything else on the market.

Founders of the dial-up revoltion? (1, Informative)

xtermin8 (719661) | more than 10 years ago | (#7602115)

This is somewhat off-topic, but I think the honor of that particular title should be "The World" http://www.TheWorld.com operated by Software Tool & Die. Since 1989, the first public dialup Internet Service Provider (ISP) on the planet. And we're still proud to be the best. These other guys may have set up the technology, but "the revolution" is another matter. Its like crediting K&R for starting Open Source. Not quite.

I still use a dialup modem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7602116)

There are still a few BBS's local in my area so I use my analog modem sometimes just to give it a workout. Lots of telnet BBS's these days at places like telnet://toga.cx.

Re:I still use a dialup modem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7602188)

TELNET RULES!!! BAN SSH! :)

Dale Heatherington (5, Insightful)

chroma (33185) | more than 10 years ago | (#7602142)

I've met him a few times at Robot Battles [robotbattles.com] , where we both compete. Dale is the only guy I know of who not only builds robots, but also:
  1. makes his own radio control system
  2. builds his own motor controllers
  3. winds his own motors

I also bailed out.... (3, Informative)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 10 years ago | (#7602183)

Back in 1995/1996 when 56K modems were becoming the rage I also folded shop and sold my mid-sized ISP that was serving 2 cities. Hayes modem cards in a 19 inch rack chassi were the standard then, 33.6 was the MAX you could get on a good day and ISP's like me that spent the long dollar for the real modems instead of a pile of crap sportsters like one company I remember you could get that speed. (I started as an ISP when 14.400 was the fastest you could get.)

56K killed it for most of us... T1's required for incoming lines as well as horribly priced interfaces for the 56K dial up side made it impossible for the medium/small guy to survive. the Small towns I was going into and started out with 3-4 modems now had a minimum of 24 incoming lines because of the T1 requirement. each dial in node now doubled all it's costs for operation and quadrupled it's costs for equipment.

Dial-up died when 56K came around.

So you could say that ... (4, Funny)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 10 years ago | (#7602210)

That 56K killed the dialup star?

kermit (2, Interesting)

ftide (454731) | more than 10 years ago | (#7602203)

In many ways kermit and its ymodem/zmodem counterparts are better then TCP/IP. Kermit is fast for BBS style transactions, simple and has no exploits! (L4m3 deprecated DOS stuff notwithstanding)

Who's down for developing a ppp-centered, kermit-over-IP protocol for places communicating by telephone only? I wrote a whitepaper on this and sent it to the Redhat/K12 newsletter.

Does anyone have easy to decipher conversion specs for baud xfer and UART? I've speculated most of the work is in hardware translation at the local level (send/receive from users end). I'd say bring in existing codes but projects like CKermit are too encumbered by Columbia elites or whatever school it is with their own agenda. Engineers and phreakers alike drop me a line [mailto] . I'm in NW U.S.

Hey bartender! (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7602204)

I was in that bar once.

To get his attention, you'd to yell: +++

that story brought tears to my eyes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7602218)

it really did
*sniff*

And for all the college boys (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7602219)

After reading some of the pompous replies in the recent Linux Certification topic, it's worth pointing out that Heatherington was not a 4-year CS major:

The company was recruiting people with master's degrees and Ph.D.s. Heatherington had a two-year degree from a technical college. "I think he felt funny having that kind of horsepower looking to him for guidance," Hayes says.

Keep that in mind when you sit there complaining about all us 'pseudo-engineers' that didn't have the cash to get a degree, but had the brains to make a difference in computing.

Marriage is killing the guy (5, Insightful)

zymano (581466) | more than 10 years ago | (#7602239)

He's not a millionaire anymore with ex-wives taking most of his income. Kind of sad. No wonder people aren't getting married anymore.

Hayes saved my bacon! (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7602240)

The university I was at had a perpetual shortage of terminals on campus for their VM/SP system. After the usual tricks of removing the fuse from a terminal or putting the terminal into some mode where it appeared to be broken stopped working, I got got my own microcomputer at home and started dialing in. It soon turned out that cheap-ass U had only 5 dialup lines and contention was FIERCE. If the line dropped on my acoustic modem I sometimes had to dial for an hour to get another line. Enter Hayes and their wonderful autodial modem; I made a MS Basic program to continually dial and to immediately redial if the connection was lost. This worked beautifully and I practically had a home VM terminal for 2 years. Thanks again Hayes! (Posted anon 'cause I made a LOT of enemies doing this).

I work in Denis's old office! (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7602297)

Hey,

I have worked for GPN (formarly NDC) since 1998 and moved in to Denis's old office last year. Yes while he was teamed up on all this he sat in this office and looked out this window! Funny thing is I now run the network over here and connectivty is still a core value. . .

Now if only I could score some cash on the side. . .

Ian Griswold
Director WAN/LAN Engineering
GlobalPayments Inc.

Ah yes, my first smartmodem (3, Interesting)

renehollan (138013) | more than 10 years ago | (#7602301)

... a 300 baud direct-connect beast made by Hayes. Plunked down some CA$420 at the time.

I didn't have a computer (yet), but it was a joy to type the appropriate AT commands from my MIME I video terminal (complete with lower case character set!) instead of having to dial the phone.

Before I had a real computer (a homebrew SWTPC 6809-based clone running Flex), and WAY before I had an IBM PC clone, I built a 6809-based SBC with 4K EPROM, 2K RAM (IIRC, it may have been more, but not much), and three serial ports. I wrote a monitor program for it so I could enter code, in hex, by hand (later, I would write a cross-assembler on Concordia University's CYBER 835 mainframe in Pascal, that spewed out S1S9 records that the monitor could read).

One of the first programs (hand assembled at the time), was a "RAM-dialer": it would control the Hayes Smartmodem to repeatedly dial one of a set of numbers until it got a data connection -- see in those days most BBSes had one phone line. Bliss!

Ah, the nostalgia of the early to mid 1980s.

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