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Updating the Modems

updating modems

The Explorer service US Robotics Courier V.34 "V-Everything" modems come with "flash" memory that can be updated via software. Unfortunately, only the most recent update can use a regular telecommunications program; all previous updates require an MS-DOS (only) custom program. Fortunately, Macs can run MS-DOS: SoftWindows 2.0 was loaded on one of the Power Mac 7200/75 machines in the Tutorial Room and large stacks of modems were ferried in for updating. In this photo, Dale Smith (left) and Lawrence Charters (seated) try to recall the secret to MS-DOS: is it "I before E except after C:\>" or some other archane chant? Note the double pile of Courier V.34 modems on the right.

Modem updates proved to be a stumbling block in the remodeling project: US Robotics posted a variety of "latest updates" on their Web and FTP servers, forcing all the modems to be updated at least twice. Along the way, it was discovered the modems will not properly erase and reprogram the "flash" memory if the modems are warm. Given the temperature outside (ranging from single digits into the mid teens on the Fahrenheit scale), this was frustrating, but not for long.

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Copyright ©1997 Washington Apple Pi, Ltd.
Photo: Jon C. Thomason, QuickTake 150
January 29, 1997 lic