Using a Modem With an Apple //e

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Using a Modem With an Apple //e

Hello, I have a Apple //e i'd like to use a modem with. What modem should I use?
Also, I've found a possible way to use a phone jack through the internet and I'm wondering if it will work.

Thanks, Jack

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Re: Using a Modem With an Apple //e

I like The Hayes Micromodem II very much.

As a modern solution I would recommend the WiModem 232 -
https://www.cbmstuff.com/proddetail.php?prod=WiModem232

How do you use a phone jack through the internet - please explain.

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Re: Using a Modem With an Apple //e

Sorry for the delayed response, but what I mean by use a phone jack through the internet is by using a device called the Obi200 on Amazon that uses Google Voice (basically a google telephone service) to make a call. Would this not work correctly because it's through the internet?

Thanks, Jack

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Re: Using a Modem With an Apple //e

Is the smartmodem II is the internal one? I kinda like the look of the modem outside of the computer, Does having an internal modem increase performance or is it just more tidy?
Does a modem require a phone (Rotary/Pulse) for the modem to work?

Thanks, Jack

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Re: Using a Modem With an Apple //e

Hi Jack,

If you tell us what you would like to actually do with your modem and Apple II, maybe we can help a little better. Please excuse the length of my post, but you should find it helpful!

Short version: you cannot connect an Apple II modem to a modern router (or VoIP system, like the Obi200) and get on the Internet. There are fundamental incompatibilities that make this impossible. Do not try it. The Wifi232 allows you to use Telnet on your Apple II, and the Uthernet card can hook you up with the World Wide Web (no graphics or formatting), email, FTP and IRC.

Long version:

An Apple II modem in the 1980s was used to connect to other computers (bulletin boards, etc), perhaps to giant mainframes at your place of employment, and to services such as Dow Jones stock ticker, specialised news services, etc. There was no real 'Internet' when these modems were sold, and certainly no World Wide Web. Unlike typing in a new web address today, you would need to redial a different phone number to connect to a different service (the Internet changed this for the better, by 'inter'connecting all computers). With the exception of bulletin boards (of which there are very few left), these services are no longer available, making a real Apple II modem very, very useless in 2018.

These modems (such as those produced by Hayes) could be internal or external. An internal modem was an all-in-one solution. You would plug one end of the telephone cable into your Apple II, and the other into the wall (or use an acoustic coupler, see next paragraph). You could then 'dial' a telephone number (555-201-1234) to connect to a service (bulletin board, etc) over the telephone network. External modems may have been cheaper, and the lights on the front could be handy for diagnosing connectivity issues, but were otherwise identical to their internal counterparts. An external modem also needs a serial card of some kind inside the Apple II, so really, an internal modem was more convenient.

Modems made in the mid to late 1980s could dial directly from software: you would type the phone number into your computer, and the connection would be made. Early on, however, a technology called acoustic coupling was used to make the connection. An acoustic coupler required you to place your phone's handset into a rubber receptacle on your desk. Then, you would dial the service you wanted to connect to on your physical telephone. Acoustic couplers were slow and unreliable, but otherwise the technology was practically the same as later direct-dial modems. Except as a novelty or collectable, an acoustic coupler is completely useless in 2018.

Now, compare this to a modem you can buy today. A modem bought today works very differently to a modem in the 1980s. Today's modems can connect to fibre, ADSL, or cable internet services. It cannot (unless it's an old dial-up modem) dial a phone number, and vice versa, an old Hayes modem cannot connect to ADSL or other modern Internet standards.

While VoIP can connect one phone number to another, it is not a solution for connecting an Apple II modem to anything. The compression used in VoIP makes it impossible for your Hayes modem to talk to another modem. And even if you could connect to another modem, you could still only use VoIP to connect to the handful of telephone-based bulletin boards that still exist, and not to the wider Internet.**

Most bulletin boards these days are accessible over the Telnet protocol. Products like the Wifi232 are great for this kind of bulletin board, with the added advantage that you can access regular Telnet servers that are online, such as Wunderground for weather, and a couple of others. A Google search will bring up plenty.

If you would like to 'browse' the 'World Wide Web' (web pages) using your Apple II, your best bet is an Uthernet card, which adds an ethernet port to your Apple II, which can then talk to your home router over an ethernet cable, just like any modern computer. Then, using software such as Contiki, you can then navigate to websites much like you would on a modern PC, only much slower and without any pictures or formatting. Contiki also has rudimentary support for FTP, email and IRC. The Uthernet card is unfortunately currently unavailable: http://www.a2retrosystems.com/

An alternative

Another way to get 'online' is to use a Linux computer, such as a Raspberry Pi, and connect it via serial to your Apple II's Super Serial Card. This is known as a bridge, as it 'bridges' your Apple II to the Internet via the Linux computer in the middle. You can then input commands to the Linux computer over serial on your Apple II, and see the outcome on your Apple II monitor. By doing this, you can use any software that runs on Linux (command line only) on your Apple II, such as the Lynx web browser, email services, IRC, Telnet/SSH, FTP and virtually anything else. This is a convenient and cheap way to get your Apple II online.

Let us know if this helped at all, and what you would like to do with an Apple II modem for further help.

** VoIP is mostly unable to send any kind of non-voice data, however, by configuring your modem(s) to send and receive at lower baud rates (below 1200bps), it may be possible. 300bps is probably doable. This is an extremely slow connection, and I haven't tested it myself. You can read faster than 300bps, which makes this option more of a complex novelty.

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Re: Using a Modem With an Apple //e

I should have been a little more clear about what I'm trying to do but, I know there was no internet back in the day, there wasn't but the closest thing to it at the time were BBS's. (Right?) My goal is to connect to some or at least one of the multiple BBS's i've found and made a list of that claim to use dial-up connection, I guess i just want to check it out and maybe become a regular to one or two of the BBS's on my list. It's really me wanting to get the feel of things, try something new with my one or both of my apple //e's. Hope i'm not being too annoying.

Thanks, Jack

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Re: Using a Modem With an Apple //e

Oh, and about the modem thing... you said 300 baud might or might not work? well, If it does I guess I would experiment with / adjust the Baud rate to see what is the best and where it starts to malfunction.

Thanks, Jack

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Re: Using a Modem With an Apple //e

You're not annoying, sometimes it's just easier to have a clearer idea of what an enthusiast is trying to do before offering advice Smile

Let's say you want to connect to a bulletin board today.

These BBSes you found, I'm assuming that they are Telnet-based, right? I.E instead of a phone number (eg 555-212-1234), you use a Telnet DNS (eg dura-bbs.net:6359) to connect to them. If this is the case, you will not be able to use a vintage modem to connect to these. The vintage modem can only dial a phone number, and vice versa; a Telnet-based bulletin board is not connected to the phone network, and can't be 'dialed' (just like how you can't 'dial' a website, think of it that way). To connect to these bulletin boards using your Apple II, you need a modern solution like the Wifi232 or a Raspberry Pi running TCPSer, and a serial card. (The Uthernet card cannot be used to connect to a Telnet service, either). Your choice of software on the Apple II (ProTerm, ZLink etc) will work just fine with a setup like this. Instead of inputting a phone number into these programs, you simply type in the Telnet DNS, and everything just works as it would have in 1985.

Regarding baud rate, telnet-based bulletin boards have almost no restrictions on baud rate, as the connection is routed over the Internet which is magnitudes faster than the maximum speeds allowed on traditional bulletin board software. For aesthetics I enjoy reading bulletin boards at 2400bps, but you can use any speed between 300bps and the maximum speeds configured for the bulletin board you are connecting to. Most bulletin boards operate no faster than 4800bps, some as fast as 9600bps. Regular Telnet sites (like the aforementioned Wunderground weather service) can go anywhere up to 115200bps.

In these setups, there is no place for a vintage modem, just a Wifi232 or similar module, and a serial card.

There is an extremely small amount of bulletin board systems still accessible with a phone number, in which your vintage modem can still be used. Just like how you can still dial from your landline phone to another landline phone today, a vintage modem is fully compatible with the POTS (plain old telephone system), you could probably even have your choice of pulse or tone dial, as today's POTS network still needs to be compatible with telephones going back more than 100 years!

However, if your home phone is on a VoIP system, this is not the case. VoIP (Voice over IP) uses your home Internet connection as a bridge between two landline telephones, and does not use the POTS network. It uses compression to make the magic happen - this is perfectly fine for voice communication, but it makes signals from a modem very scrambled. By slowing the baud rate to 300bps, you may have more luck, but it will also depend on the error-correction capability of each modem. This is why you can't use that device you linked to. So while it is technically possible to still use a vintage modem to connect to another Apple II on the POTS network, it will be very slow, probably won't work at all, and you will have a hard time finding such bulletin boards in the first place (I don't know of any, but I believe there are a couple). In places like Australia, where the POTS network has been almost entirely replaced, using a vintage modem is all but impossible.

I haven't even mentioned cost yet, either! Telnet bulletin boards cost nothing to connect to, as it's routed through your Internet connection. Even if you did find a bulletin board on the POTS system to connect to using a vintage modem, it's probably going to be in another country, or certainly outside of your local area code. In which case, your phone provider would charge you long-distance rates to connect to it, just like any other long-distance call. Back in the day this was still the case, however since there were so many bulletin boards available (hundreds of thousands, perhaps more), you could normally find one in your local area and only pay for a local call. It's already extremely unlikely to even find a bulletin board still on dial up, and even if you do, it'll be expensive to connect to.

Summary:

If you just want to connect to a bulletin board using your Apple II, you will have far more luck and enjoyment with the Wifi232 or other modern solutions. Using a vintage modem is fraught with extreme difficulty and cost for very little reward, compared to modern solutions. I routinely enjoy connecting to the above bulletin board using my Apple II with a custom solution I have engineered. There are actually quite a few Telnet-based bulletin board systems out there these days, there has been something of a revival in recent years.

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Re: Using a Modem With an Apple //e

I do have another kinda roundabout way of doing it if you really REALLY REALLY want to use your old modem. You can get 2 modems, one for the apple and another (preferably a external hayes 56k that picks up automatically) and a wifi232 and the really important one a Analog PBX like a Panasonic 308 Easa-phone. A PBX is a Private Branch eXchange, its basically like having a CO (Central Office) in your house that give you a POTS line. You connect each modem to its own extension and then the wifi232 to the modem that picks up on the first ring with a null modem cable and the other modem to the Apple. dial the modem that is connected to the wifi232 and tada! you have just made a very over-complicated serial cable, and you can now play with BBS's over a "phone line". But to be very realistic just hook a null modem to a device that can get to the internet like a uthernet II or telnet with a serial cable like a wifi232 or a modified rasberry pi like Wilko said.

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Re: Using a Modem With an Apple //e

No, The BBS's I found are not Telnet based. There are actual phone numbers listed to call and connect to dial-up Modems, I called some numbers on my regular phone and a modem picked up and was trying to sync with another modem that was not there. Some of the BBS's do have Telnet and Dial-up phone Numbers though.

Thanks, Jack

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Re: Using a Modem With an Apple //e

Hi Jack,

So yes, if you have a phone-based BBS you want to connect to, you can connect to these with an Apple modem (in fact it's the only way you can connect!). If you have a regular telephone line this should work well. If you have a VoIP setup, it probably won't work.

I would recommend an internal modem, unless you already have a Super Serial Card, in which case you can use an external modem.

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Re: Using a Modem With an Apple //e

Alright, I've got an Apple Super Serial Card so I guess that means an external then.... What modem should I choose? I have heard good things about Hayes equipment, are there any other modem brands that are worth checking out?

Thanks, Jack

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Re: Using a Modem With an Apple //e

I'd also like to ask you a question, I have a floppy disk that when I boot my //e up with it in the Disk ][ it asks for a password when its finished reading the disk. I'll have to dig around and find it... I've searched around the internet for an explanation about this password protected floppy, the closest thing I've found like it is this thread. http://www.applefritter.com/?q=content/apple-ii-password-storage-program#top

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Re: Using a Modem With an Apple //e

JackBillman2e wrote:
Alright, I've got an Apple Super Serial Card so I guess that means an external then.... What modem should I choose? I have heard good things about Hayes equipment, are there any other modem brands that are worth checking out?

Thanks, Jack

So you really don't need anything special, anything Hayes AT compatible will do, I personally use a 56k US Robotics modem when i play around with my other comps with my PBX, I found a relatively cheap one on eBay with everything you'll need. https://www.ebay.com/itm/253427449994, or if you want something a little older here's this, https://www.ebay.com/itm/132526416058 don't exactly know if this is a good price for a micro modem, but it is tested and complete.

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Re: Using a Modem With an Apple //e

Ok, I'll look around for a modem. Do you need software to use a modem like ProTERM? I've found a Hayes Smartmodem 300 on eBay with eveything it origonally came with https://www.ebay.com/itm/HAYES-SMARTMODEM-300-External-Modem-With-Box-Cables-Powers-Up/332578874056?ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT&_trksid=p2055119.m1438.l2649 The Hayes Smartmodem 300 is fixed at 300 Baud? Right? If so would this not be a good choice to use?

Thanks, Jack

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Re: Using a Modem With an Apple //e

Hello, I'd like to ask to confirm if this eBay item is a clone of a hayes smartmodem:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Capetronic-External-Phone-Modem-Model-MD1207/323143355570?ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT&_trksid=p2055119.m1438.l2649

Thanks, Jack

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Re: Using a Modem With an Apple //e

I've noticed that I need to have the enhanced Apple //e in order to run ProTERM, is there any other software I can use? Plus, I've ordered the modem that i have listed above.

Thanks, Jack

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Re: Using a Modem With an Apple //e

Hi Jack,

ASCII Express is also a very good terminal program that will run your modem. I use it with my WiFi232, WiModem 232 and my Hayes Micromodem II to make "real" calls via landline.

Here:

https://mirrors.apple2.org.za/ftp.apple.asimov.net/images/communications/ascii_express/

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Re: Using a Modem With an Apple //e

Thanks! I'm Making a disk as I write this reply.

Jack

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Re: Using a Modem With an Apple //e

Hmmm, Says i need 128k of Ram. Any other programs you know of?

Thanks, Jack

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Re: Using a Modem With an Apple //e
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Re: Using a Modem With an Apple //e

The program is at a screen that says Go... and then a prompt, but it won't respond to any key on the keyboard. Am i doing something wrong? I'm thinking about getting an enhancement kit so that I can run PROTerm, should I buy here? https://www.reactivemicro.com/product/iie-enhancement-kit/

Thanks, Jack

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