Thursday, August 26, 2010

You Will Be Missed: The Dial-Up Internet Connection Sound

A fond farewell to things that are gone or leaving contemporary life.

Dial up modem better
The Dial-Up Internet Connection Sound

It was that twinkling, polyphonic intonation of electronic correspondence that seemed to come from another world. The digital grappling hook thrown over the castle wall of technology. The tender shout of a loving robot to the information superhighway! Ah. The dial-up internet connection sound!

In our present-day lives, hearing the dial-up internet connection sound is sadly uncommon. Come to think of it, it was occasionally an unpleasant sound (I'm sorry, loving robot!). However, it holds a sentimental value in my heart, not because it sounded like an early 1980’s video game, but because of what it promised.

It was around 1994 that I first remember using the internet. TV, movies and my dad’s magazines all told me that the internet would change the world as we knew it. What binary excitement! My dad bought a modem for our computer, and we were off! ...Slowly.

In truth, it wasn’t until 2000 – when I began using Google – that I felt the internet could be used to its full potential (for more than just stealing music and downloading games that contained viruses). Of course, by then most people were using faster internet connections, like DSL and cable, and dial-up internet was already becoming a thing of the past.

Oh, the bittersweet irony! People like me only began to appreciate the full spectrum of the web when the one who first delivered it – the dial-up internet connection sound – was rotting away under a stack of old envelopes and scratch paper somewhere on a computer desk in a middle-aged aunt’s basement.

Perhaps someday, when that middle-aged aunt dies and her nephews return to gather up her belongings, they’ll find the dial-up modem. It will blink sleepily under a layer of dust and let out the most beautiful sound. The nephews will listen nostalgically and one of them will say with fondness, “I remember when Auntie almost caught us looking at naked pictures of Pamela Anderson.”

To which the other nephew will reply, “Do you think the pictures are still in the modem?”

And then they’ll smash open the modem with their aunt’s pink hammer, destroying the modem forever, because these nephews– like almost everyone – have no idea how a modem works.

Dial-Up Internet Connection Sound, you will be missed!

Click here to hear that sweet sweet sound! (
It’s angelic until about halfway through.)