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Remember the Lynx web browser? It let you browse the web on a TTY, or maybe more realisticly: from a text-only based command shell. It was The Solution for visually challenged users who could browse the internet on a braille line terminal.
In the 1990s, there was a general demand that information on the internet must be available to users without graphic capabilites. Publishing a picture without an "alt" attribute was a shame. With the predecessor of HTTP, Gopher (the majority of computer guys nowadays don't know how much HTTP builds on the Gopher protocol; they think HTTP came out of nothing!), pictures was a special case and text was the default. In the first years of HTTP (/HTML), the expectations were at the same level. Text-only browsing was perfectly fine, even with a 28.8 kbps modem on an analog phone line. ISDN with 2*64 kbps was described as a "broadband" offering.
I am surprised to read in Wikipedia that a preview of Lynx 2.9.0 was released in February! So it is still alive. I can't imagine that any large fraction of today's web pages make much sense in ASCII-only format, though!
One major sales point for ISDN in the 1990s, here in Norway, was that you could surf and use your telephone at the same time. Of course that would reduce your bit rate from 128 kbps to 64 kbps for the surfing, but there was little grapics and no video on the web at that time. With little but text, small icons and graphic effects made by HTML (separator lines, frames etc.), 64 kbps was enough.
Especially when your old connection was 9.6 kbps. BBSs became popular before faster modems were available (at least at a low price), and before the early comers were ready to upgrade their modems, ISDN became available. There were some 28.8 owners, but even for them, single channel ISDN more than doubled their speed. So people were certainly not complaining.
From what I recall, there were many places where ISDN didn't gain traction. It wasn't marketed well and was rather expensive. Modem speeds were constantly improving, and you could just get a second phone line if tying up the first one was a concern.
I had an ISDN phone for about 20 years, and there never was a better phone system.
First: Sound quality was excellent, totally without distortion and noise. Now that I have an IP phone connection, there is a lot of distortion, and sometimes a lot of noise. I really don't know what creates the noise. The provider won't give me access to the digital signal; the only way I can get access to it is through a pre-WW2-style analog interface (with one extension: I can use a phone with DMTF, which was introduced later than WW2.)
Second: There is no delay. Not absolutely 0, but it is so short that we never talk over each other (which I experience as a big problem with IP telephony, Skype and Teams).
Third: Connection establishment is really fast. When Norway threw out all the old analog phone stuff and replaced it with an all-digital system, the target was to complete the setup in less than half a second for the majority of calls, with an upper limit of 1 sec, for national calls. (Event though Norway's area is no bigger than an average US state, the country is long and thin; two phone users may be 1700 km, more than 1000 miles, apart in linear distance.)
Fourth: With ISDN, I could run a phone answering machine in my PC, and I could record any conversation. All required software for this was delivered with the drivers for PC ISDN cards, but there were several alternatives, both free and commercial.
Fifth: I could hook up several phones to the same line, and they could be adressed individually by subaddressing, or by different "main" pone numbers (intended for accepting incoming POTS calls, where the caller didn't have any way to specify the subaddress). I had one main number for calling my PC, for data connection, and another main number (with subaddresses) for voice calls, all on the same line.
Sixth: On an analog phone line, even 28.8 kbps never managed to provide the stated speed (and benchmark tests of 33.6 kbps modems showed that they ususally provided lower throughput than the 28.8 ones - too much time was wasted on handling the errors and fallback to lower speeds every time the modem tried to speed up, but encountered noise). Even single-channel, 64 kbps, ISDN was three times as fast as the 28.8, and it was stable as rock. I visited one of the main switches with a class of college students; I was teaching communication protocols, and one of the students asked the telco guy about bit error rate. This telco guy answered bluntly: With fiberoptic connections and digital switches, you simply have no bit errors! (He said it with a smile, adding that bit errors are so extremely rare that it should be handled end-to-end, maybe even over the Transport layer.)
As you say: It wasn't marketed well. In particular the pricing: I have opened two different ISDN phones and seen that the electronics was a single chip, with a couple additional passive components - capacitors, resistors. Yet, over the entire ISDN age in Norway, the price dropped from about USD 200 to a little over USD 100 for the cheapest ones, while analog phones sold for USD 10-20. I cannot believe that this single chip really had a manufacturing cost of USD 200! ISDN vendors tried to make huge profits from marketing ISDN as super-advanced and complex and a zillion arguments why those fancy phones just couldn't be made cheaper. People didn't belive them. If ISDN phones had been sold at POTS prices, reflecting the real manufacturing costs, ISDN could have been a much greater success.
We went from 100% analog switches to 100% digital ones in two huge sweeps, about a year apart. The "Televerket" (today: Telenor) took up a loan from the National Treasury of almost USD 2 billion to finance this. But the investment lead to dramatically lower operational and maintenance costs; they could sell off quite a few buildings or cancel rental contracts, because the new equipment was at least an order of magnitude more compact. So they wanted to pay back the loan much faster than planned. This was not accepted - and that is how Telnor became a major satellite communications operator: They built up a huge cash reserve, and had to invest it somewhere, and bought their first satellite. It grew into a huge and highly profitable business, and still is today.
So ISDN was certainly not "rather expensive". It saved huge amounts of money. But there was marketing, again: Rather than going into satellites, Telenor could have used the savings to reduce ISDN prices drastically. Rather, they sold ISDN lines for 150% of POTS lines, arguing that since you get two lines, it really is a bargain... People didn't see it that way: Only rarely did they use two voice lines at the same time.
In the US, another mistake was made: In the name of "free market competition", the telcos did not provide one standardized socket where you could plug in your phone. Telcos were required to provide a line pair, and the customer had to buy his own line termination. This significantly raised the threshold for switching to ISDN, both for the hassle of having to find a suitable termination box (there were a couple of alternate signalling alternatives on the line pair, so you might end up buying the wrong type), and the economic cost of it. Furthermore: In the US variant of ISDN, the set of B channels was not treated as a pool allocated at need; they had a permanent association to different subscriber numbers. So even if channel 1 was free, while channel 2 was not, someone calling the number assigned to channel 2 would get a busy signal. In other aspects as well, the US ISDN implementation did not provide several significant benefits of ISDN.
Finally: ISDN evangelists failed completly in communicating that the "Basic Rate", aka 2B+D, was indended to be the very first entry point into a truly high speed, general network. As early as in 1988, the standards for 622 Mbps lines were beginning to take shape, and you had several intermediate levels. (Around 1993 I was the advisor for a student project setting up and configuing a small PC card for switching 8 trunk lines of 155 Mbps; if the line loads were perfectly balanced, it could process 1,24 Gbps of traffic on a single PC card.) But people - most of all: computer network people - got the idea that 64 kbps channels was the upper limit, and nothing but line switched, fixed bitrate channels would ever be offered by ISDN.
Oh well. Over the years, I have seen numerous great techologies being killed by inferior ones. ISDN is only one of those that really deserved a better fate. I don't think we can hope for any "revenge of the ISDN", but when we kill a technology, we really should be much more aware of its quality sides, and strive to bake at least some of those qualities into those winning the war. That we are not very good at (neither in military wars nor in computer technology wars).
Some years ago I built a web application to allow training of all sorts - with a course having lessons and questions - Lessons could be any sort of media that your browser can display (even video, per the current usage). Actually, after getting this whole thing working, it sat on the shelf for over five years (not the first time this type of crap has happened, but I'm not paid for piece-work).
Anyway, it's finally gone live and the suggestion was made by the creator of the first live course that we generate certificates for those who've completed the course. I sent this link in order to suggest an appropriate source of pre-made certificates[^] to satisfy what might be described as a universally deep-seated need.
You actually grazed a concept that is quite a pet-peeve of mine.
The granting of honorary doctorates by university to "famous people" and rich donors.
Those with real doctorates (especially in a decent university) worked their asses off to get those three letters. Especially in the sciences, but it ain't easy.
To just give the away like that - it demeans the value of the efforts put in by the real scholars. If you're rich enough you can donate your way to a degree - not much different than buying your kids acceptance to a school since they weren't capable upon their own merits.
It could be worse. They could be digital... Not even worth the paper they are (not) printed on...
Anything that is unrelated to elephants is irrelephant Anonymous - The problem with quotes on the internet is that you can never tell if they're genuine Winston Churchill, 1944 - Never argue with a fool. Onlookers may not be able to tell the difference. Mark Twain
I had a co-worker who shared his certificates on LinkedIn.
So one day I logged in to LinkedIn I saw "your coworker just got his Microsoft Azure certificate!"
And I was like, wow nice job!
Those certificates aren't easy to get and they're worth something in the current market.
And then it turned out to be a certificate for completing a course on Udemy or some such
Literally all you have to do to get that certificate is click on every video in the course and I think they even added a checkbox so you don't have to open the video anymore.
Needless to say, I'm not impressed.