Modem Noise

Modem Noise

For a lot of us, the sound of the 1990s is the sound of a dial-up modem going BREEEEE-EEE-EE-AAAA-EEEEE-DOODLEY-DOOOO-GHHHHZZHHHHHSHHHHHKKK! (And then a really long wait while AOL downloaded "art." No one knows what was happening when AOL told you it was "downloading art," but it basically meant "you might as well go fix yourself a nice cup of coffee, because this is going to take a while.)
When was the last time you heard the sound of a modem connecting to the internet? For me it was as recent as 2006, because I spent a few winter months living in my aunt and uncle's summer home. Believe it or not, there are still parts of the country that broadband internet access hasn't reached, and people still have to access the internet with dial-up!
But for most people, the sound of your computer's modem dialing your ISP's number (beep bop bop beep beep bop blorp) followed by the sound of the modem handshake is a distant memory. Luckily some hardy souls have preserved it for us on YouTube!
For a while there in the 1990s it seems like everyone was on AOL. These days the only people still on AOL are old people who haven't figured out how to cancel their accounts, or who don't realize that you don't have to keep dialing into AOL's system when you have broadband internet.
I lived in Seattle in the 1990s, which means that for me, a lot of the time instead of that glorious modem noise, when I tried to connect I would get a busy signal. That's because AOL sent out trial disks to literally every man, woman, child, and house pet in the nation. And in tech-savvy markets like Seattle, this meant that their systems got completely over-saturated with customers, far beyond their ability to add more dial-in ports.
We were watching movies like Hackers and Sneakers, while still hollering at our roommates not to try and use the phone because we were going online. Back then you wouldn't have specified "land line," it was just called "the phone." Some people had cell phones, but it wasn't until the 2000s that land lines began to get phased out in such huge numbers.
In fact, the rise of broadband internet not only killed dial-up internet providers, it also killed the land line providers as well. Once you were free from the tyranny of the 56k connection, a lot of people realized that they didn't need a phone in their homes at all! (The same cannot be said of DSL customers, obviously.)