Apple drops 56k modems from computers. . .

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I didn't see this topic elsewhere and thought that it was worth commenting on.

Apple announced (a couple weeks back?) that they will quit making computers with built in 56k telephone modems. This is the end of an era, as was the time that they dropped floppy disks.

At first I thought that this was a negative development, but now I'm not sure. It won't help to sell low end mac's to the masses (e.g. the Mac Mini, iMac), as thrifty folks may prefer cheaper access.

Any thoughts?

Mutant_Pie

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Most of the people I know hav

Most of the people I know have broadband internet, and I live out in the middle of nowhere! My treo's $15 a month internet package provides speeds 2-3x as fast as dialup. Yes, it is truely an end of an era... for those who are still using dialup. I realize that dialup will always have a place in special situations, but it is time to kill it.

I don't see Apple taking the modem out of the Mac Mini any time soon, though-- just in case some backwards stone age person buys one Wink

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this is great news...

In just a couple years, I'll be able to eBay the modem module from my pb for mad cash... maybe trade it for a 20th Anniversary Tongue

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Re: Apple drops 56k modems from computers. . .

mutant_pie wrote:

This is the end of an era, as was the time that they dropped floppy disks.

Mutant_Pie

this is a very good point mutant pie but I think that modems are inportent some houses can't pay for dsl and if this end a era this low cost service will be out fo reach hopely by thne high speed will be cheap
and file will not get bigger Smile

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Has any got a USB modem that

Has any got a USB modem that works? If so, then it'd be really simple to add one to a Mac. It's simple to add one to a modern PC right now. If there is a USB option for Macs, then Apple not bundling one is a great idea. USB floppy drives are available, and how many of us really use them, even if they are so cheap?

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or buy the reasonably priced . . .

Apple USB Modem at US$49-

So far available only as an add-on when purchasing a modemless Mac.

dan k

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Maybe not such a hot idea for powerbooks

Yeah,56k's nearing the end, (DIE, accursed modem of 56k!!!)

...but it would still be a handy feature for a powerbook to have one. Not everyplace has a WIFI hotspot just yet, and if you travel it might come in handy in a pinch

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D'oh! I forgot seeing that o

D'oh! I forgot seeing that online... Thanks for pointing it out, DK.

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$$?

Quote:

or buy the reasonably priced . . .

I guess you are being sarcastic about the price being reasonable, right? $50 would be a reasonable price for a wireless router with a modem, but for just a lousy modem? That should be $5-$10. Whoa... I just took a look... I can't believe how expensive these things still are! But just because everyone's prices are inflated doesn't mean its reasonable. Well, ok, there is at least one that is reasonably priced.

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Between broadband at home and

Between broadband at home and WiFi hotspots everywhere, modems are looking silly even for PowerBook users.

I had an easier time connecting to a wifi hotspot in Beijing than I did finding a phone jack and knowing what on earth number to dial to avoid some massive fees...all for more speed and less cost. Yes modems, you are going the way of the floppy. And you will be about as, uh, fondly missed...

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Where I live there is no reas

Where I live there is no reasonably priced high speed internet connection (and no cable or DSL at all).
For me and others out here a 56k modem is the only option unless you want to spend $500-$2000 Canadian on equipment then another $80/month Canadian.

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Like water

There's still tons of people out there who don't want to bother with their computers, think they're a pain and a drain on the pocketbook, or don't understand them, and only use them to retrieve email. I've set up a few female friends like that with old macs with modems and they're perfectly content with just a slow computer and dial-up service, and they're paying less than $10 a month for the internet, and I'm paying close to $50, so in the long run...well, who's to say?

But broadband should be like water and electricity already. It should be practically a public utility, just as gasoline should be. America will continually drop in its competitive edge as it has been steadily for decades because these crucial lifelines are ruled by a few monster blood-sucking, politician owning, corporations. We all should be paying less than $10 a month for broadband. Then I'd say it's time to kill the 56k modem.

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The reason water and electric

The reason water and electricity are generally cheap is that they are runs by a few *govenment approved* monster blood-sucking, politician owning, corporations. Another reason it is cheap is that it is a simple product that is fairly easily created and distributed. Internet access is much more complex for the enduser and what you generally pay for in many sevices are the setup costs and support costs. If broadband was as simple as stringing wires (or WiFi...) and turning it on then it would be cheap. It's not as easy to push broadband over a long distance as electricity or water. There is much more infrastructure required to support massive distrobution of broadband than most people think about. Wink

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Re: The reason water and electric

Jon wrote:

...a few *govenment approved* monster blood-sucking, politician owning, corporations...

Government approved. Politician owning.

Whoa...loop.

-BW

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It's a feedback loop, ya know

It's a feedback loop, ya know? Wink

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Taz
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Apple drops 56k modems from computers

Okay, for all of us that live in the Gulag without DSL/broadband, or just don't care to drop the monthly cash, check out Wiflier. it is (to the best of my knowledge) the only wireless router/dialup modem combo on the market (short of cobbling your own together). At $130 USD, it's a bit pricey, but one-time only. Also, it will support up to 5 computers wirelessly. It's a thought anyway.

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What about AirPort Extreme?

What about AirPort Extreme? Some models come with a modem to dial out -- and supports something like 127 computers.

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Well, here's my input...

At last check, only 30% of the country had access to broadband. Now, this may seem unreasonable to some in places like New York City, or Detroit, or Chicago, since a decent sized wireless network can cover the entirety of those cities. The rest of the country, though, is spread out.

Let's take my area. I live and work in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. The Metroplex is a 16 county, 12,800 square mile chunk of North Texas that is bigger than nine states. This area includes bustling city centers such as Dallas and Fort Worth, but also rural communities that are only able to get sattelite TV, cuz cable don't stretch that far.

In the D/FW area, only 20% of the residential population has access to broadband. This includes cable, DSL, and Wireless. 90%, however, use the Internet at home.

I understand that technology must advance, and that in order to advance, certain companies (like Apple) must force their hand and just stop selling computers with modems. I don't think that time is now, though. I think that they should wait until a clear majority of the people of the U.S. have access to broadband. 51%, that's all I'm asking.

But what do I know? I'm simply a consumer. I don't have any say except with my $$

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re: or buy the reasonably priced . . .

Well, the Apple modem ain't the cheapest, but it certainly is reasonably priced within the group "well-made-nicely-designed-brandname-USB-modems". BTW, it is widely available separately from 3rd party resellers.

I think it's a reasonable for Apple to remove internal modems from some of their product lineup. Why force non-modem users to pay for something they'll never use? Plus of course, deleting a modem from inside the Mac simplifies (and cuts the cost of) the design as well as allowing potential further size reductions.

I doubt Apple will remove modems from their portables soon, travelers who need connectivity on the road need as many available options as possible. Hmm, well, still, the Apple USB modem is small . . . just another 'dongle' to toss in the bag . . . ?

dan k

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Apple's decision makes sense

Apple's decision makes sense to me. We're not talking about cancellation of dial-up ISPs...just removal of a modem from the default product line-up.

When I was looking into buying a G4 in the Sawtooth days, removing the modem from the store options saved something like $56 CDN. For products like the mini and iMac where it's not sensible - or possible - to offer the modem as an optional component, it seems cost-effective to just not have one.

If you can afford a new Mac, you can certainly afford an external modem if needed.

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Going slightly OT...

The big problem with Broadband (and deterent) is that it requires having cable tv subscritions in most (if not all) areas.

I have satelite and DSL. I hate my DSL when it goes out 'cuz the config panels suck. I won't do Broadband since I already have a TV solution.

I have mixed feelings about the loss of the modem in new Macs. My last employer had a connection solution that required me to dial in via RAS to connect to the mainframe. A new Mac would require a USB dongle or an Airport w/ modem in order to support this.

Do not confuse the right of a public utility with the paid privilege of Broadband or gasoline. We can all make do without these, but having electric and water is tied to general public health.

That being said, I am all for regulation on the cost of gasoline and internet, but some folks will always need a modem.

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Apple Removing 56k Modems

A few questions persist in my mind: Is it really that expensive to add a modem to a computer? Are the cost savings significant enough to justify the loss of functionality?

Additionally, the modem does more than just connect the machine to the internet. I know a lot of people who, while they use broadband for internet access, also use their Macs as fax machines. It is a small group of users, I'm sure, but they still exist. To me, using a Mac as a fax machine makes sense. Less electricity, less paper, less cost. Can one do this with Apple's USB modem?

Just my $0.02.

Cheers,

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time to wake up

"Do not confuse the right of a public utility with the paid privilege of Broadband or gasoline. We can all make do without these..."

What century are you living in? You could make do without electricity and supplied water too! All you need is a hoe and an ox and maybe a bought wife and a bunch of healthy sons, not to mention some defendable land, and yeah, we could all make do. The smart societies in the world--and there's a few of them out there who have caught up with us and have even surpassed us in crucial strategic ways--understand that access to communication and delivery systems for the population as a whole is like blood.

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Unrestricted access to outsid

Unrestricted access to outside communication is an important part of a free and healthy society, I'll agree. But I don't think government-run high-speed is the best way to do it. "government run" to me means there's no competition, so no need to innovate or streamline. If all net access had been government run for the last 10 years, we'd all still be on dial-up.

Secondly, the $10 figure you quoted...I think we should all be aware by now that the government doesn't have some magic well from which money springs to pay for the services they provide. If they're charging you $10 up front for net access, you can be sure there's another larger chunk being sucked out through your taxes. Add to that that everyone is now paying for it, including those who don't want it or use it. And when they're the only game in town, we've seen there's little accountability...whether your name's Microsoft, or Parliament Hill.

And nevermind the cost of installing country-wide broadband access in large countries like the US and Canada. The reason some other countries' "smart societies" have surpassed us in broadband availablility is because they're small and centralized, so there's far less cost in installing high-speed to the existing infrastructure.

Bottom line for me is dial-up's not going anywhere and it's more than good enough for getting mail, news and casual browsing. For high-speed, I'm willing to pay for it, and where I am there's competition between providers so if one lacks features or costs too much, I can switch. That puts the onus on -them- to give me the best service.

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They'll have to pry my modem from by dead, cold hands

I'm not ready to give up my dial-up modems just yet. I've had both Road Runner and DSL, and both had random periods of downtime, and being able to dial in is a necessary backup. All these years I've kept my old ISP at $5 a month partly so I didn't have to change email addresses, but also partly because broadband needs a backup. Wifi is still too spotty, travelling often requires dialing in.

Quote:

If you can afford a new Mac, you can certainly afford an external modem if needed.

But in a few years when those are used Macs and I can afford them, I'll be annoyed that there's no modem.

As for the public utility discussion, I am opposed to government getting involved. Although my reasons are numerous, the one that would likely make for the most interesting discussion here is that I don't think broadband access, or any kind of "digital divide" matters as much as people think. I recall one study that studied how access to technology affected childrens' learning and IIRC it showed that how a child did had everything to do with social factors (behavior, being ready to learn, etc.), and little to do with whether the child had access to computers. I would be willing to bet that the same thing applies to the adult world. Even simple jobs, but particularly complex jobs, require a large set of skills, the most important of which have nothing to do with computers or high-speed internet. Internet access is important because it facilitates communication (which is important), but access at the highest bit rate is not going to affect our competitiveness. What I think is more likely to affect our technological standing in the world are things that affect our ability to adapt to a rapidly changing marketplace (i.e. gov't regulation that might hobble domestic companies but not a foreign competitor, or those that attempt to freeze into place current conditions that prevent innovation) and the reduction in foreign students studying here ("here" being from an entirely U.S.-centric point of view. I'm curious if other countries are now sucking up more of the worlds' best and brightest, or if they are just staying home) since 9/11. But that's a whole 'nother discussion!

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think different, right?

As Thomas Kuhn would have said, paradigm shifts are usually fraught with resistance, upheaval, and violence. Maybe it's time to think different about all that laissez faire stuff? It's a different world now.

Your argument against the need for fast communication access is obviously contradictory to your other argument for the need "to adapt to a rapidly changing marketplace."

I think the scene in the Apple boardroom would go something like this: Steve Jobs says, "You guys are all telling me how broadband access with good service can't be sold for under $10 a month. I want to know how it can be."

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Re: think different, right?

Hawaii Cruiser wrote:

As Thomas Kuhn would have said, paradigm shifts are usually fraught with resistance, upheaval, and violence. Maybe it's time to think different about all that laissez faire stuff? It's a different world now.

I'd say it's just an important time to think. By 'think different' you imply 'think my way'. I've thought about it, and judging by the responses above, so have others, and made our own conclusions. They may, or may not, be the same as yours. Maybe a "different world" makes it all the more important to remember what systems work and why.

I wouldn't call it a paradigm shift at all. State-owned media, or at the least state owned access to media, is nothing new. In the end that's what this is and would lead to. I don't want to give government any opportunity to control my online experience. Quality will suffer, innovation will suffer, freedom will suffer and likely so will my wallet. The points Dead Elvis made are also very good.

I'm sure country-wide broadband access will happen eventually, but it's going to be through private enterprise. They're the ones who are more motivated to find an innovative and profitable solution, before the company next door does. Whether it's cheaper cell phone access for net-only access, or some hybrid of satellite and dial-up (which has been available in some areas for a while now) or something new, it'll happen. I think I've outlined enough reasons in posts above as to why state-run access would not be a good choice.

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Re: think different, right?

Hawaii Cruiser wrote:

As Thomas Kuhn would have said, paradigm shifts are usually fraught with resistance, upheaval, and violence. Maybe it's time to think different about all that laissez faire stuff? It's a different world now.

I could easily say the same thing about regulation. It's not like the last 100 years have been some golden age of laissez faire.

Quote:

Your argument against the need for fast communication access is obviously contradictory to your other argument for the need "to adapt to a rapidly changing marketplace."

No. I am arguing that a rapidly changing marketplace values things other than the most rapid communication possible. Communication is necessary, but if you put two monkeys on a phone, and then give them high speed internet, you're not going to find any increase in the quality of their ideas (this is, perhaps, just my opinion. I'm sure researchers are working on this as we speak!). Give two creative, motivated, clear communicating, unfettered individuals a phone with which to communicate with each other and they will come up with better ideas than two people of average intelligence, poor communication skills, and low creativity who have broadband.

I am arguing that *good* communication is better than *rapid* communication, and that good communication is fostered from an early age primarily by factors other than technology or the internet. Given that we are beyond snail mail and the Pony Express and all communication can be pretty much instantaneous, what a voice is saying is more important than whether it gets there at 56kbps or 500.

Quote:

I think the scene in the Apple boardroom would go something like this: Steve Jobs says, "You guys are all telling me how broadband access with good service can't be sold for under $10 a month. I want to know how it can be."

If a company could do that, they would. As Jon said above, it's not that easy. And $10 is *very* little money, for something requiring completely new infrastructure.

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winners, losers, and all that synergism stuff

I have not asked anyone to think my way. I've no solutions here to offer, no expertise. But there definitely is a major paradigm shift going on in the world, and new "winners" are emerging, and a lot of them, if not most of them, don't look like us. Some factual stimulants for thinking differently might include: competition is global, major corporations are stateless and don't care if the profit they get is from affluence in India or affluence in the U.S., nor will they care where their workers are located, and aggressive state support in technology is proving successful again and again in many parts of the world. All I want is broadband for less than $10 a month. And you'd be surprised by the cleverness of some of those monkeys out there.

"I'm sure country-wide broadband access will happen eventually, but it's going to be through private enterprise."

The question is, which country?

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Re: winners, losers, and all that synergism stuff

Hawaii Cruiser wrote:

Some factual stimulants for thinking differently might include: competition is global, major corporations are stateless and don't care if the profit they get is from affluence in India or affluence in the U.S., nor will they care where their workers are located,

Agreed-

Quote:

and aggressive state support in technology is proving successful again and again in many parts of the world.

-but there you lost me. Examples?

I will offer 80s Japan- wasn't their model of government-corporate co-operation supposed to have owned the U.S. lock, stock, and barrel by now? Oops, didn't happen. A slumping Japan is still pretty economically kick-arse, but their model didn't trump ours, and it took them more than a decade to recover.

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Wow! What a hot topic. . .

This topic inspired some conversation. After reading all of the above conversation, and considering the advantages of backward/forward compatibility with computer equipment, I've come to a couple of conclusions;

1) While they are cheap and readily available, I'll be purchasing a PCMCIA 56k modem for future PowerBook usage.

2) Just because a function incorporated within software or hardware is old, doesn't mean that it is obsolete. Someone's example, listed above, of the USB floppy disk drive, reminded me of this. I still have licensed data that I use, that came only on floppies (yes I've transfered it to a more modern storage format, but if I ever need to demostrate that I'm a legal copyright user, I have the floppy evidence.)

Mutant_Pie

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Examples

South Korea, parts of India, Singapore, Taiwan, and the ever-popular PRC.

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Re: Examples

Hawaii Cruiser wrote:

South Korea, parts of India, Singapore, Taiwan, and the ever-popular PRC.

Since all of the countries you've listed have greater levels of poverty, fewer personal rights, and a distinct lack of country-wide broadband (well, Singapore I'm not sure of), I don't see how this supports your original argument.

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apples and oranges

The point was investment in technology in general, not broadband specifically. South Korea, for example, has invested very successfully in wireless communication systems. Current human rights and levels of poverty are also not the point here. The point is methods of energizing the population base. The point is rising levels of education and skilled workers, rising levels of affluence, rising GNP,and most importantly, global economic strategic positioning. In many parts of the world, the first half of the 21st Century is fast becoming radically different from the last half of the 20th. I want cheap broadband because I think it will make us better competitors, but I'm open to other ideas as well. I want cheap broadband because I'm cheap, as well.

And now for something completely different:
Why did the dinosaur cross the road? (my daughter's favorite joke)

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I gotta do all the work?

Well shucks, if no one's gonna make a stab at the joke, then I'll just have to give you the answer from the mouth of babes:

Because the D@MN chickens didn't exist yet! (cheap, cheap...cheap, cheap)

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It does seem Apple offers it,

It does seem Apple offers it, buried in the Apple Store under More Mac Accessories - Networking - Apple USB Modem

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what about broadband powerlines?

those would make less accesable areas get broadband. I believe some areas are already doing it, and it is hitting a minimum of 1Mbps. Still a far improvement then 56Kbps modems, which drop tremendously because the wires carry more cross-feedback than a digital line with powerline acces. it is easier to correct something digitally, than analog lines which are limited by either 1. frequency can only change so many times per second, and 2. analog audio, can get inturrupted by static, and the modem is not able to seperate the static from the signal it needs to receive.

Doing thing digitally requires less maintnance, as the lines are already in places and it is pretty fast, in that the only thing it has to route thru, is at one place, and doesn't need a crap load equipment to do the routing. And it's easy to block people from seeing each other on the network, by building a firewall into the block, that blocks other people from seeing each other by preventing them to see other blocks with ID. Same way as the cable does, by sorting out the DHCP ID on the same subnet.

With the ID, it is also able to block boxes from being hacked into getting on the network, by keeping a database at the powerplant with the blocks that are registered.

Plus, it can be added to the utility bill, and it would be cheaper than having to pay a company to maintain seperate lines. all it has to have to connect, is the same lines that deliver power to the house.

I really think that is going to replace long distance communications for broadband. it is cheaper than maintain trunks of networks, when the only thing needed is in just one location.

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some good news

I still don't like this but in two years out were there will be free wifi ofr all resedents
so it is not all bad.I still need a modems for when I
go somewere

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The problem is, BBoPL turns a

The problem is, BBoPL turns a whole bunch of unshielded, untwisted wires in to giant antennas. That means massive radio interference. Currently, at 50-60Hz they don't do much to anything but AM at close range, but if they run in MHz or GHz range, they start to interfer with commercial and emergency radio systems.

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Interesting, I had wondered w

Interesting, I had wondered what happened to BBoPL.

For a very interesting and important read on the pitfalls of one city's effort at municipal wifi, check this out:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2005/12/23/sf_muni_wifi/

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Joined: Jul 7 2005
Posts: 45
it barely costs much at ALL f

it barely costs much at ALL for a modem chipset ic alone so I say it stay.

there are just certain things that should stay regardingly. which of is why I don't really wish to even actually own anything newer than a beige/powerbook G3 at all, etc because trying to add the missing parts externally to a newer mac is lot more expensive than just having it onboard in an recent/older mac.

just my worth here Wink

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Joined: Nov 13 2006
Posts: 2
modemless

A lot of rubbish been written here. Many parts of the word still need modems. Millions of PC users are happily using modems. Typical of some users to call for the death of a product they no longer need themselves. Pity there are no reall techie people here.

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Joined: Nov 13 2006
Posts: 2
modemless

A lot of rubbish been written here. Many parts of the word still need modems. Millions of PC users are happily using modems. Typical of some users to call for the death of a product they no longer need themselves. Pity there are no real techie people here.

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Joined: Aug 17 2004
Posts: 686
Do you realise that this topi

Do you realise that this topic is nearly a year old?

Most of the world is wired for broadband internet access (and the parts that aren't should be coming any time now), and the lowest tier DSL package (768kbps down/128kbps up, where I live) almost always costs less than AOL's monthly fee. The omission of an internal modem is a nuisance for some people, but most people won't miss it. Could Apple have left the modem in the computer without any major design or cost problem? Of course they could have. The world is moving away from dialup, though. Even Dell's default computer configurations are without internal modems.

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doug-doug the mighty's picture
Joined: Apr 14 2004
Posts: 1355
Play nice!

Read the AUP, nicely linked at the top of every page).

This was a technical discussion about the concerns of Apple dropping the modem as a standard offering. Just because some folks feel that there is no need for a modem does not mean there are no techie people here. Obviously you are making a snap judgement of the whole site's community from just one thread.

Looing at the AUP; 2g, why did you bring this up? and 2i, you sound like you are slamming folks here. With all due respect, I do not care how long you may or may not have been a lurker. Making your first post here a slight against the technical merit of this forum won't earn you cool points. If anyone has the right to gripe about topics (outside of the mods) it is the folks who have been here longer than 24 hours.

Here is a challenge, put a serious question out there and see what responses you get or contribute something of worth, otherwise, please reread 2i of the AUP.

xoxoxHugsAndKisses!xoxox

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BDub's picture
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Joined: Dec 20 2003
Posts: 706
Re: Play nice!

doug-doug the mighty wrote:

Looing at the AUP; 2g, why did you bring this up? and 2i, you sound like you are slamming folks here. With all due respect, I do not care how long you may or may not have been a lurker. Making your first post here a slight against the technical merit of this forum won't earn you cool points. If anyone has the right to gripe about topics (outside of the mods) it is the folks who have been here longer than 24 hours.

The rules apply equally across all users, regardless of the time they've been here.

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