faxes, modems and laptops


faxes, modems and laptops
   ‘Fax’ is short for facsimile transmission. By the early 1980s, cheap fax machines (previously used by the police to transmit ‘mug’ shots) were being manufactured and their widespread availability led to the almost complete replacement of the old telex system for sending messages. ‘Modem’ is short for modulator/demodulator, an electronic device which, when attached to a phone line, can transmit data between remote computers. A modem box, or a modem card housed inside a computer, is essential for connection to the Internet. A ‘laptop’ or ‘notebook’ is a portable computer which can weigh as little as under three pounds, and is usually carried in a nylon briefcase. They first appeared in 1984 and were used simply for word processing when on the move, away from a desktop computer. In the late 1990s, with a laptop and a modem and a mobile phone, it is possible to send a fax to Britain from the Kalahari desert.
   See also: Internet
   PETER CHILDS

Encyclopedia of contemporary British culture . . 2014.

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