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Author Topic: Did the 1983 film War Games feature the internet?  (Read 4975 times)

Offline Eric A. Taylor

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In the 1983 film War Games a teenager uses his computer to link with his school's computer database to change his grades, make an airline reservation, and finally almost start World War III.

What happens is he programs the computer to call every number in the city that contains a video game producer looking to play some new video games. He thinks he get's that companies computer but in fact has contacted the NORAD computer that has just been placed in charge of the US's ICBM's. I don't want to spoil it for anyone who's missed this "classic" but I'm wondering if he was using the internet?

His computer of course uses 5.5" floppies and DOS.

A scary thought, a few years later (I think around '85 or '86 a computer malfunction in the Soviet Union lead a missile commander to believe that an attack was underway from the US. He realized that it had to be a mistake because the US/USSR relations had been improving so he held off launching his own missiles. He literally saved the world that day. For being the world's coolest hand that day he was court marshaled.


 

Offline CliffordK

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Did the 1983 film War Games feature the internet?
« Reply #1 on: 11/01/2011 06:50:50 »
Must have been that extra ¼" on the floppies that gave him all the extra power ...   ;)

I wonder what happened to the Russian.  Perhaps he is the one who should have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize rather than Obama.
 

Offline JP

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Did the 1983 film War Games feature the internet?
« Reply #2 on: 11/01/2011 07:03:17 »
A scary thought, a few years later (I think around '85 or '86 a computer malfunction in the Soviet Union lead a missile commander to believe that an attack was underway from the US. He realized that it had to be a mistake because the US/USSR relations had been improving so he held off launching his own missiles. He literally saved the world that day. For being the world's coolest hand that day he was court marshaled.

I think this was Stanislov Petrov: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/inatl/longterm/coldwar/shatter021099b.htm
(although according to the article, he was interrogated, but neither rewarded nor punished.)
 

Offline yamo

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Did the 1983 film War Games feature the internet?
« Reply #3 on: 11/01/2011 14:22:15 »
Perhaps he is the one who should have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize rather than Obama.

And Bush should be in prison for war crimes and crimes against humanity.  There is no justice, wot?
 

Offline Mazurka

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Did the 1983 film War Games feature the internet?
« Reply #4 on: 11/01/2011 17:32:35 »
I guess he was using some from telnet protocol - as all of his remote access was in a text / command line type environment. So he was kind of using the internet as most of the internet protocols used today grew (beyond all recognition) out of Telnet.

The other tech you missed mentioning was the acoustic coupler, which he puts the telephone handset into, even though the first true modems were becoming avaliable... 
For the young uns out there, this is a device that physically connects the telephone itself to the computer and effectively predates modems let alone always on broadband routers.  At the time of Wargmaes film, 300 baud (i.e. 300 bits per second 38 bytes per second)was the standard rate for data transfer... 
They are still avaliable today and can be used to connect a computer to the internet anywhere in the world with a phone line and can now acheive speeds of up to 28kB / s     
 

Offline CliffordK

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Did the 1983 film War Games feature the internet?
« Reply #5 on: 11/01/2011 18:00:46 »
Oh..
I remember the 300 baud   [xx(]
It was about the speed of my Dot Matrix Printer.
56Kbps is common now.
 

Offline Paul_1966

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Did the 1983 film War Games feature the internet?
« Reply #6 on: 19/01/2011 17:28:01 »
I guess he was using some from telnet protocol - as all of his remote access was in a text / command line type environment.

Telnet was designed to work over a packet switched network.  The type of dial-up access depicted in the movie involves nothing more complicated than direct data connection to the distant computer into which he was dialing - Effectively just like typing commands on a terminal connected to a computer right next to you, but with the telephone line and modems extending the distance between them.

He might have gained access to the Internet via one of the systems into which he dialed, although there's nothing to suggest that in the movie.  Many commercial systems at the time did not have such access, the dial-up connections via telephone lines being the only link with the outside world.

Quote
The other tech you missed mentioning was the acoustic coupler, which he puts the telephone handset into, even though the first true modems were becoming avaliable... 
For the young uns out there, this is a device that physically connects the telephone itself to the computer and effectively predates modems

It was still a modem (MODulator-DEModulator); it just used acoustic coupling to and from the telephone handset rather than being connected directly the line. 

Quote
At the time of Wargmaes film, 300 baud (i.e. 300 bits per second 38 bytes per second)was the standard rate for data transfer... 

It depends upon the application.  300 bps was very common in hobbyist use at the time, but 1200 bps was also in widespread use commercially, and had been so for quite a few years (at a cost).   But going the other way, there were still a large number of teletypes in use, such as the ubiquitous ASR33, which operated at a slower 110 bps, a limitation of the mechanisms employed.

In the most widespread use of 300-bps modems which used asynchronous communication, the maximum character rate was actually limited to 30 characters per second, since each character needed to be preceded by a start bit and followed by a stop bit, i.e. 10 bits per character.   Many teletypes running at 110 bps actually printed at 10 characters per second, since they need 2 stop bits for mechanical reasons (i.e. 11 bits per character).

And although the standard 300-bps modems were also 300 baud, it's worth pointing out that baud and bits per second are not the same thing, despite common misuse which suggests otherwise.

Quote
They are still avaliable today and can be used to connect a computer to the internet anywhere in the world with a phone line and can now acheive speeds of up to 28kB / s     

And higher.  56 kbps modems have been available for some time, although telephone line limitations generally limit the actual achievable speed to somewhat less.
« Last Edit: 19/01/2011 17:33:52 by Paul_1966 »
 

Offline Geezer

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Did the 1983 film War Games feature the internet?
« Reply #7 on: 19/01/2011 19:26:02 »
1983? Impossible! Al Gore didn't "create" the Internet until much later  ;D

http://www.snopes.com/quotes/internet.asp
 

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Did the 1983 film War Games feature the internet?
« Reply #7 on: 19/01/2011 19:26:02 »

 

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