5 Telecom Moments That Kids Today Will Never Experience

The only constant in life is change.

Events and experiences that provided a common bond for all of us a scant 20 or 30 years ago are now just dust in the wind. Everything from reversible jumpsuits, to rickets, to pubic hair on Coca-Cola cans is but a distant memory today.

So it goes with technology. As incredible as it would seem to a turn-of-the-century Bluetooth headset dude, the once mighty Nokia will soon be merely a notch on Microsoft's belt. (See Nokia Sells Devices Business to Microsoft .)

With that in mind let's get retro-tech nostalgic for a moment and look at five iconic experiences that kids will never again enjoy.

Click on the image below to take a quick trip down the memory superhighway.

Digging into your pockets for loose change to stuff into a pay phone before the operator cuts you off.
Digging into your pockets for loose change to stuff into a pay phone before the operator cuts you off.

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TeleWRTRLiz 9/11/2013 | 10:37:16 AM
Texas Instruments I remember typing and typing and using a Sears tape casette player to record something (can't recall what though) to get my TI monitor to display "RUN RUN RUN RUN." Those were the days. After that, I'd get out the Sears version of Atari and play Pitfall. 

mendyk 9/10/2013 | 2:46:18 PM
Re: Port-A-PC Yes. They were big for a few months. I remember jonesin' for a Coleco Adam, because it had a typewriter printer. Went with the C-64, though, with the $300 5 1/4-inch floppy drive.
sam masud 9/10/2013 | 2:15:28 PM
Port-A-PC Remember the Kaypro computers?
brookseven 9/9/2013 | 7:49:22 PM
Re: Re Telecom Moments that kids today will never experience Duh!,

There were some 2 E&M wire systems outside the US particularly in Hong Kong before they switched to E1.  At one point AFC did about 1/3rd its business overseas with folks who were trying to privatize their telcos and DLCs were good ways to get lots of pair gain to hit their needed teledensity numbers.

Now - specs were not really easy to come by and lots of them we had to make.  :)



Carol Wilson 9/9/2013 | 5:10:36 PM
Re: Dial-up from hotel rooms I used to try to avoid carrying the massive suitcase fax with me to games because of the weight. But when the hotel phones sucked, you had no choice. 

My most memorable experience was the 1974 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament, eventually won by N.C. State. 
Phil_Britt 9/9/2013 | 5:08:03 PM
Re: Dial-up from hotel rooms Carol,


I carried the same type of machine, just didn't want to date myself so much. Had it when White Sox clinched playoffs in 1983. Had to lug it all the way up to press box at old Comiskey. The Chicago writers were already using the Tandy 100s, which we didn't get for another year or two.

Still, it was better than the Underwood manual typewriter I used in high school -- now that's dating oneself.
Duh! 9/9/2013 | 5:02:10 PM
Re: Re Telecom Moments that kids today will never experience Stirring up old memories...

E&M was 4-wire IIRC (supervision on one pair, speech on the other). 

2-wire interfaces were loop start, ground start, loop reverse battery, FXS and FXO.  There was one for pay phones and one that existed because Bellcore couldn't bring themselves get rid of it (even if it wasn't used anymore).

With options for DP, DTMF and MF address signalling, depending on the interface.

I need to break out my copy of Engineering and Operations in the Bell System. 

We sound like a couple of old fogies. 
Carol Wilson 9/9/2013 | 4:58:37 PM
Re: Dial-up from hotel rooms Wow, Phil, a Tandy 100! I remember the days of dragging one of those around and yes, they often didn't work.

But I'm even older and in my first job (sportswriting) I carried around what was essentially a fax machine in a suitcase, along with my electric typewriter. If you got a "good" line from the hotel, it sent six lines of double-spaced typed print per minute, but if it was "bad" line, it ony sent four lines per minute.

And about half the time, I just had to read the story over the phone to the copy desk.
DanJones 9/9/2013 | 2:03:32 PM
Re: Dial-up from hotel rooms Brookseven: PS - That is why I always joke with folks that if you can't do it with an 8051, 22V10, and a 555 it is probably not worth doing.


Be still my aching sides!!! :-)
brookseven 9/9/2013 | 12:10:46 PM
Re: Re Telecom Moments that kids today will never experience Its called Firebar service...:)

The only real difference is that its switched and it rings (sort of a combo of PLAR and H&H).

So....how many forms of E&M signaling (both 2 wire and 4 wire) were there?  Its been a LONG time since I counted them.

Time to go look for conditioned lines.


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