One of the original authors, Harry
Baya, would like to share an overall observation: My experience with
RS232 communications, including modems, cables, and communication
programs has often been one of frustration, patience, and on-going
trial and error. When things don't work, I keep trying different
solutions and asking for help until they do. When they did work, I
sometimes took things for granted and failed to write down the exact
settings (mainly from the modem and from communication programs) used
on the working system. There have been many times when I regretted
1.0 Data Communications
You need little extra equipment for
data communications on an Apple ///. The system comes with an RS-232
serial port, the D-shaped 25-pin connector on the back of the unit.
For telephone line communications, you need no more than a ten buck
ribbon connector from your friendly local Radio Shack to link your
built in connector to your modem.
Almost any "asynchronous" external
modem will do. The Apple /// cannot generally use any "internal"
modem, one that is contained on a card you plug into a slot. Most
personal computer folk use Hayes brand or "Hayes compatible" modems.
If you need help, you are best off getting what most folk have. Hayes
compatibles vary in their compatibility. The Prometheus ProModem is a
good low-cost highly compatible modem. With modems, you usually get
what you pay for. The cheaper models have fewer features and often
have less reliability.
2400 baud modems are cheap and work
reliably on an Apple ///. So long as they are Hayes Compatible, you
should have no problems. What about higher speeds? Most /// com
programs allow you to go as high as 9600 baud. The higher speeds are
great for doing uploads and downloads, BUT not so good if you're
trying to read messages on-line. Better to download them and read
later, when you're not running up connect charges.
Look for such features as "auto
answer" that perks up your modem automatically when another computer
calls in. Look for the ability to switch between 2400/9600 or higher
speeds. Some computers you talk to can automatically adjust to the
call-in speed, but others cannot. CompuServe, for example, has
different phone numbers for different baud rates. You don't want to
call the 9600-baud number if your modem is fixed at 2400.
Consider strongly getting a second
phone line dedicated to your modem. It isn't very expensive (Most
houses are pre-wired to accept two different phone numbers), and it
can breed peace of mind. Nothing disturbs domestic tranquillity like
someone picking up an extension phone while you are on line.
Also get a cheap device known as a
"modem spike protector." The ones I've seen plug into a grounded
outlet and have in/out phone jacks. The modem line plugs into one
side, and the line from the wall plate plugs into the other.