Post of the Day
August 20, 1998

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Subject: Re: the pdp4? the PDP4??
Author: GlowingFire

"What in the hell you guys talking about, and what does it have to do with AT&T?"

Well, to answer the second question first, this thread started 34 messages ago, with a message I initiated called "Maybe things aren't as bad after all" (#967). It referenced an article at CBSMarketWatch that was pretty upbeat about the AT&T/TCI deal. The thread then evolved into a discussion of communications links and whether AT&T was positioning itself most effectively in the market going forward. This lead to the discussion of comms links in general and what we have all had to (pick all that apply) tolerate/enjoy/curse/utilize over the years.
  "It used to be fun, BTW, to make the connection and then take your phone out of the coupler and whistle as bizarrely as possible, to see if you could cause any significant transmission."
When johndinca mentioned that he was tired of his 56K lines and wanted something more, the discussion briefly went two directions. Zathrus continued the discussion about whether AT&T was making the right decision, while TMF2Aruba opined the days of 9600 baud lines, to which captc countered with his memories of acoustic couplers and 110 / 300 baud lines. (It used to be fun, BTW, to make the connection and then take your phone out of the coupler and whistle as bizarrely as possible, to see if you could cause any significant transmission.) I followed up shortly afterward with how touched I was to be lead down memory lane, and made an offhand comment about the PDP4 I used in 1968, when I was in high school.

That lead to this 'sub-thread,' which was initiated when pita had a temporary but recoverable head crash, thinking that the PDP4 had never gone to market. After another can of Jolt Cola, he realized his error and sent a reply to that effect. But the genie was out of the bottle, and a long string of memories was kicked off from the details of PDP boxes on the market. THAT is what this thread has to do with AT&T.

As for your first question, well it's all about time, all about space, ... , sorry, I mean it's just about what has become of the computer industry in general and communications in particular, and AT&T is certainly a part of that. Not everyone is interested in history of this sort or even a little levity. wooooo preceded you by six messages (#1029), when he essentially complained that he was tired of our "walk down memory lane." In response, I think that new2dfool said it best:

  "Ahh, but this is denial - a good place to hang out when the market is rickety."

"Ahh, but this is denial - a good place to hang out when the market is rickety."

The motto of the Motley Fool is "To educate, amuse and enrich." As you know, many of the threads throughout the Fool are scattered with offhand remarks, humor, and non sequitur-ish observations. With few exceptions, long threads that I've ever read at this site tend to go off the beaten track, sometimes far off that track, and have fun. This one certainly qualifies, IMHO. Whether this thread has been talking about AT&T/TCI, communications, computers, or the 'glory days' of systems development, I have personally found it an entertaining learning experience.

==> david


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