FOSSPicks

Software modem

Minimodem

Even before the Internet was accessible outside of universities, thousands of us wanted to connect our computers to each other. The best solution was to use a modem connected to your serial port to connect to a privately run bulletin board system (BBS), using the likes of FidoNet to communicate across these federated portals, download files, and share updates. The modem was at the heart of this experience, turning the raw data sent from the serial port into an audio stream that could be transmitted across a telephone line. Like loading data from a tape recorder and compact cassette, the sounds emitted by a modem as it negotiated a connection became ingrained into our subconscious. Those modems may be gone, but the sounds they made can live again – all thanks to Minimodem.

Minimodem can generate those exact modem sounds, directly from the command line. But it's far more than a piece of software nostalgia, as it can even decode those sounds. This makes it a pure software emulation of one of those old hardware units and gives your machine the ability to communicate with any BBS you can still find running, or perhaps that Amiga 1200 you left plugged into the phone line at your parent's place. It's even useful if you have old hardware like the Amiga hanging around, as you can use Minimodem to communicate with a computer that perhaps doesn't have any networking capability but can still talk to a modem through its serial port. Simply connect an audio cable in lieu of a telephone line and connect the modem at the other end, and you'll be able to launch your own local BBS. Minimodem even lets you turn audio recordings of a session into the data the session would have generated, which may be a great way to reverse engineer WOPR in War Games.

Project Website

http://www.whence.com/minimodem/

Even if you don't have a modem with which to send and receive signals, Minimodem generated sound is almost its own music genre.

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