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“Now, if it was a HOmodem, I'd have a better quote.”
“Daddy, what's a modem?" "Well, son, when two computers love each other very much...”
A modem is a device for exchanging animated ascii art over voicemail. A clever piece of technology, it allows you to connect to remote services, such as the Newport Pagnell Rest-Your-Legs Driver Refreshment Centre. But more commonly it allows you to connect your computer to fabulous creations such as the Microsoft website, Uncyclopedia and other internet delights offering information, pleasure and entertainment. Services available include viruses, porno and spyware. Modems are, unfortunately, two-way and can allow undesirable things, such as unfriendly software, evil viruses and nasty code-bacteria, to enter your computer. You may not even see it happening, and you will be working one day when the whole system goes belly-up or, perhaps worse, starts playing hard porn automatically in front of your confused virginal grandma. ("But Grandma," you could protest, "you can't possibly be virginal: you gave birth to one of my parents. You've done this dirty copulation stuff!") The wireless chair is a relative of the modem, but it doesn’t visit very often and is known to send begging letters. “Dear cousin of mine,” it will whine, “lend me a few dollars till Tuesday and I’ll speak highly of you in Heaven. (Heaven? Heaven is a place, a place where nothing, nothing ever happens.)
The initial modem protocol was developed by President Rutherford B. Hayes.
The Sound of the Modem
A modem makes an entertaining noise, if you turn up the volume to the correct level. We can represent the noise thusly: A loud scream over the top of a lengthy drone. It has been suggested that under water the modem dialling noise could transmit an audible message that could dictate the future. It is thought that this is because the other frequencies of modem dial noise are so loud that you cannot hear the horoscope beneath. Underwater, the noise of the modem horoscope is amplified greatly. It is therefore audible to the human ear. Unfortunately, a recent experiment to prove this failed when the scientist involved, Herbert Splutter-Tendon III, realised that he would have to put his computer under the water as well as the modem. He decided to continue regardless, hoping that the damage would not be too great. The product was fatal, to say the least.
Applications of the modem
The modem makes life very easy, allowing people to access more material than ever before via the internet. Unfortunately, the modem’s stupidest failing is that it lets information back into the computer/network that is running it. The optimised modem would be one that allowed a corporation to suck all of the information from your computer, whilst not actually being expected to give you an irrelevant, ostentatious website to distract you, while a large progress bar appeared with the label “Please wait while we copy the contents of your HDD to our insecure server”, colourfully illustrated with a large picture of a broken padlock.
It has been posited that the removal of the progress bar form might make stealing information easier, and people are looking into it right now as you read this.
Things to do with a modem
There are many extra things you can do with a modem, beyond just accessing the boring old internet. One thing to do is remove it from your computer and attach an ethernet cable. Given that the ethernet cable clips in to position, you can perform a satisfyingly wide range of actions with it. For example, you can swing it around and use it like a medieval weapon, or you might like to use it as a kind of racquet in a game of “hit the mouse-ball (rubber-coated steel) at the window”, which is popular with drunks in the summertime.
If you are lucky enough to own a large external modem with a serial interface, then whoopee – you can screw it into the computer and use it like a kind of lead, whilst taking your computer out for a walk. Congratulations! You have a new pet. Really old computers were actually called Pets, you know, but I’m showing my age.
One use that peculiar people have found for a modem is to create viruses and utilise the internet to spread them. This has not been proven to help spread the common cold, which as everyone knows can only be spread over the telephone or in a sports bar in a small American town.
Some models of modems (the so-called "real modems", in opposition to imaginary modems), are also known to work with Linux. However, they are useless, as Linux has no viruses (just ask your favorite Linux lover). Regardless, you can allow yourself to download OpenOffice.org (OOo), which can result in the violent maiming of Tux the lovable penguin by evil seagulls. And that’s only the start of your fun.