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Intelligentleman

Did you use the Aquarius Modem to go "online?"

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I'm interested in hearing from or speaking with anyone who remembers using the Mattel Aquarius to go "online."

 

Either back in the day (1982-6ish), or any other time after that.

 

 

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Edited by Intelligentleman
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I used the Aquarius modem to logon to CompuServe starting around the time I was in 5th and 6th grade.  That would be around 1984/1985.  I distinctly recall having a chat/email with my 6th grade teacher on via platform.  At school, she was teaching us how to program in LOGO on a room full of C64's.  It was a good time.

 

I remember being disappointed that there was no choice for "Mattel Aquarius" in the CompuServe setup menu, so I had to choose something like "Other/Terminal".  At least I was able to set the correct column width and lines per screen.  Played a couple MMORPGS that were all text character based...at 300 baud.  ;)  IIRC, it was $6.00 per hour during off peak hours.  Occasionally, I'd sneak in some time during peak hours (I think it jumped to $12/hr), and my dad was NOT happy to get the bill.  LOL  

 

Within a year or two after that, I bought a COCO3 with my own paper route money, so that upped my online game a little.  I was also afforded the "opportunity" to start paying my own online fees.  ;)

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55 minutes ago, MattelAquarius said:

I used the Aquarius modem to logon to CompuServe starting around the time I was in 5th and 6th grade.  That would be around 1984/1985.  I distinctly recall having a chat/email with my 6th grade teacher on via platform.  At school, she was teaching us how to program in LOGO on a room full of C64's.  It was a good time.

 

I remember being disappointed that there was no choice for "Mattel Aquarius" in the CompuServe setup menu, so I had to choose something like "Other/Terminal".  At least I was able to set the correct column width and lines per screen.  Played a couple MMORPGS that were all text character based...at 300 baud.  ;)  IIRC, it was $6.00 per hour during off peak hours.  Occasionally, I'd sneak in some time during peak hours (I think it jumped to $12/hr), and my dad was NOT happy to get the bill.  LOL  

 

Within a year or two after that, I bought a COCO3 with my own paper route money, so that upped my online game a little.  I was also afforded the "opportunity" to start paying my own online fees.  ;)

That is incredible. How did your family come to acquire the Aquarius and the necessary gear to actually get "online?" Can you describe the process of logging on and what it was like? How long did it take? What was the interface? And then once you did log on, what was the first thing you'd see? Any detail you can remember would be awesome!

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I had been nagging my parents for a computer for many months, then I received the Aquarius for Christmas of...must be '83?  It was the common KayBee closeout boxed set which came with the cpu, Mini-Expander, and 4 games (Tron, SNAFU, AstroSmash, and Utopia). 

 

Since the Aquarius had already been discontinued by Mattel, it was impossible to find any other software/hardware.  I started calling random Mattel numbers found in the manual and warranty info, and finally got an answer.  The guy said "Sure, we still have some items, give me your address and I'll send you a order form."  Once I received the form in the mail, I convinced my dad to order the modem, printer, and cassette cable.  I used my own recorder at first, before later ordering the Data Recorder from either Bentley or Crimac.  I was disappointed that FileForm and FinForm were crossed out on the order form.  In retrospect, it's a good thing I got ahold of Mattel, because they must have given my info to Bentley and Crimac.  I later received the order brochures from both companies.

 

As to the logon experience.  I was a kid trying to figure it all out on my own.  It was a little confusing at first.  I had to dial into...Telnet(?) first, and then somehow choose CompuServe.  It wasn't working at first until somehow I realized I had to enter Ctrl+C on a cryptic blank screen before a logon prompt would appear.  It was one of my first IT victories when I figured that out!  LOL

 

Pretty much after that, it was all multiple choice text menus in CompuServe.  I also had a cheat sheet of "GO" commands for Compuserve, which was a shortcut method for getting right where you wanted to go.  I recall visiting the Star Trek forum many times.  I also accessed an encyclopedia service, and it was very exciting to have all this information at my fingertips.  :)

 

Good stuff.

 

That's about all I can recall at the moment.

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The modem software allows you to change foreground and background colors for the session.  Sometimes, I played around with the colors to get better text clarity, but I usually left it with the default Aquarius black text on blue-green background.

 

Perhaps, if the Aquarius was a selectable choice in the CompuServe setup, it would have used special Aquarius control codes and/or the Aquarius character set to create nice menus and pseudo ANSI graphics type displays.  Alas, the Aquarius wasn't on the market long enough for any of that to happen.  :(

 

 

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11 hours ago, MattelAquarius said:

I used the Aquarius modem to logon to CompuServe starting around the time I was in 5th and 6th grade.  That would be around 1984/1985.  I distinctly recall having a chat/email with my 6th grade teacher on via platform.  At school, she was teaching us how to program in LOGO on a room full of C64's.  It was a good time.

 

I remember being disappointed that there was no choice for "Mattel Aquarius" in the CompuServe setup menu, so I had to choose something like "Other/Terminal".  At least I was able to set the correct column width and lines per screen.  Played a couple MMORPGS that were all text character based...at 300 baud.  ;)  IIRC, it was $6.00 per hour during off peak hours.  Occasionally, I'd sneak in some time during peak hours (I think it jumped to $12/hr), and my dad was NOT happy to get the bill.  LOL  

 

Within a year or two after that, I bought a COCO3 with my own paper route money, so that upped my online game a little.  I was also afforded the "opportunity" to start paying my own online fees.  ;)

i was a coco2 user in 1984 and got a coco3 in 1986.  We did not have a local Compuserve number to dial but we did have a local GEnie and Delphi number so i spent a ton of time on there Tandy SIGs back then.  

I was lucky enough to get another Coco3 a few years ago and picked up alot of stuff for it from the last couple of Chicago cocofests and VCFMidwests that i went to

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19 minutes ago, Intelligentleman said:

I don’t know why I find this so fascinating. My earliest online memories are of Prodigy and the “free” discs they’d always send in the mail.

I was in grade school in the mid 80's and we lived in the country. We had one phone in the house and it was hard wired to the wall. I remember bugging my parents enough that they had Bell Canada come  and put in a phone jack. I was so excited to be able to go onto GEnie with my 300 baud modem and 64k coco2.  I spent alot of evenings and weekends online chatting (non peak times were cheaper)  

Edited by rietveld
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6 hours ago, MattelAquarius said:

I had to dial into...Telnet(?) first, and then somehow choose CompuServe.

You may be thinking of Telenet, which was a dial-up packet-switched network.  CompuServe (amongst others) was connected to and accessible through it, IIRC.

Edited by x=usr(1536)
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