The Handshake Protocol via +Jennifer Ouellette…

The Handshake Protocol
via +Jennifer Ouellette 

"This is a choreographed sequence that allowed these digital devices to piggyback on an analog telephone network. "A phone line carries only the small range of frequencies in which most human conversation takes place: about 300 to 3,300 hertz," Glenn Fleishman explained in the Times back in 1998. "The modem works within these limits in creating sound waves to carry data across phone lines." What you're hearing is the way 20th century technology tunneled through a 19th century network; what you're hearing is how a network designed to send the noises made by your muscles as they pushed around air came to transmit anything, or the almost-anything that can be coded in 0s and 1s."


The #handshake  protocol is the way we got our machines to talk to each other. Now there is more machine conversations happening online than human conversations. 

Yet humanity is so generous that we'd turn these grating noises not meant for us into fond memories, and even music. Consider Aphex Twin's Corn Mouth:

From a review of the album:

“Make no mistake, this is NOT dance music. But it is music, and more importantly music generated by technological devices. And in an industry where such devices amount to incesant counting 1-2-3-4, 1-2-3-4, James taps out secret messages to us in what can only be described and this incredible, ambient morse code.”

The Mechanics and Meaning of That Ol' Dial-Up Modem Sound


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