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The Mechanics and Meaning of the Dial-Up Modem Sound

Alexis Madrigal:

What you’re hearing is the way 20th century technology tunneled through a 19th century network; what you’re hearing is how a network designed to send the noises made by your muscles as they pushed around air came to transmit anything, or the almost-anything that can be coded in 0s and 1s.

If you’re of a certain age, the sound of a dial-up modem initiating a connection will forever trigger a Pavlovian response.

Tuesday, 5 June 2012