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External modems were available for these platforms but required the phone to be dialed using a conventional handset, making them unable to accept incoming calls without manual intervention.
Internal modems could be software controlled to perform both outbound and inbound calls, but external modems had only the data pins to communicate with the host system.
But users found ways to express themselves outside these bounds, and the system spontaneously created stories, poetry and other forms of communications.
Unfortunately, the system was expensive to operate, and when their host machine became unavailable and a new one could not be found, the system closed in January 1975.
The poor quality of the original modem connecting the terminals to the mainframe prompted a user to invent the Pennywhistle modem, whose design was highly influential in the mid-1970s.
Bulletin board systems were in many ways a precursor to the modern form of the World Wide Web, social networks, and other aspects of the Internet.
It did offer the ability to tag messages with keywords, which the user could use in searches.
The system acted primarily in the form of a buy and sell system with the tags taking the place of the more traditional classifications.
Examples of direct-connecting modems did exist, and these often allowed the host computer to send it commands to answer or hang up calls, but these were very expensive devices used by large banks and similar companies.
With the introduction of microcomputers with expansion slots, like the S-100 bus machines and Apple II, it became possible for the modem to communicate instructions and data on separate lines.