Retrocet Pairs a 1987 Laptop, Windows 1.04, and a 1964 Hand-Built Modem for Some Reddit Browsing
Pseudonymous retro-communications enthusiast "Retrocet" has completed a self-set challenge: using Reddit on Microsoft Windows 1.04 via dial-up from a wooden-boxed 300-baud modem built in 1964.
Released in 1987 as the last entry in the original Microsoft Windows family, just prior to the release of Microsoft Windows 2.0 later that year, Microsoft Windows 1.04 is not the first operating system you might think of when it comes to communicating with a modern website. For Retrocet, though, it was the perfect accompaniment to an even older modem.
"I have a bit of a thing for modems and have started to accumulate a small collection of them," Retrocet explains. "This modem is definitely the coolest one of the bunch though: a Livermore Data Systems Model A, in a hand-made wooden enclosure, circa 1964. Connects at a blazing 300bps."
"[The] laptop is a Zenith Z-180 [released in 1987] running Windows 1.04 on [MS-]DOS 3.20. A terminal of some sort would probably be more appropriate than the laptop I used here, but this is the oldest machine I have at the moment."
In demonstration of the modem's functionality, Retrocet dials up - via a Teltone TLS-4A telephone line simulator hidden in a wiring closet - to a Rocky Linux 8.5 virtual machine. It's this system which serves as the interface between vintage hardware and the modern world — acting as a router. "It's a pretty normal dial-up experience," Retrocet notes, "if you can call anything dial-up normal any more."
In a follow-up video, Retrocet swaps the dumb-terminal approach for a browser running on the Zenith Z-180 itself — installing Microweb connecting to a modified proxy to strip out the images and handle the HTTPS side of the connection.
Full details are available in Retrocet's first and second Reddit threads.