I have software (PADS Layout) that requires a parallel port dongle, and it
> works fine on my present (fairly old) computer, which has a native parallel
> port. But newer computers, particularly laptops, do not have these legacy
> ports and instead use USB to Parallel (or USB to Serial) converters. They
> generally work well for printers, but I have heard that they do not work
> for dongles. The usual solution is to obtain a USB dongle from the software
but they require the user to be on "maintenance"
> in order to get a USB dongle, and they impose outrageous penalties and
> payment of back (unused) support in order to be reinstated.
Newer DESKTOP computers, to my amazement, often still have parallel ports.
My department is upgrading computers this month - the lease is up for our current computers - and the newer, 2GB HP machines have... a parallel port! I expressed my amazement to the IT staff, and they looked at me like I was on drugs...
True, to save space, newer laptops likely won't have them.
Any particular reason you can't maintain an older machine to run "legacy" applications? Sounds cheaper.
The bridge chips on main boards almost all support LPT. Sometimes there is a pin header or at least the empty position for one. On my latest Dell there ain't. The bridge chip supports LPT and all other legacy stuff but they took LPT out of the layout. They even removed the 2nd floppy support from the BIOS :-(
Because they have been good to me and most of the other name brands didn't have legacy ports either. Before the purchase I found out that they use a particular Foxconn MoBo in there and that had all the header positions. Turns out Foxconn made a slightly modified one for them, taking all those out :-(
Another reason was because the Dell business section offered XP. Vista is not acceptable to me. Anyhow, you can order this particular PC with LPT if you wanted to. I guess then they stick a PCI card in there, which I can always do later.
I don't buy "name brand" PC's. My local PC Club churns out anything I want... cheaply. I also don't buy Intel, I buy AMD. AMD processors run circles around Intel chips when it comes to simulators. I also bought a bunch of batch of XP for future use... just in case I can't get it, though it looks like demand will keep XP there, at least for awhile.
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Dell's support is good but you have to be able to understand English with a thick Indian accent. Not a huge problem for Americans but it can become a challenge for others.
Just one example: A note inside the box and also the MoBo specs state a dual-monitor setup but the mentioned adapter wasn't there. Called Dell, they said that the adapter for that only exists for setups with a 2nd graphics card. There would only be a splitter for displaying the same image on two monitors but as a paid accessory. They then sent me that splitter for free and despite me saying that this isn't at all urgent they insisted on super-fast courier shipment. On the house ...
My experience with wrench shop PCs isn't that great. And yeah, AMD chips are good for math intense stuff but nowadays the processor isn't the pacing item in a PC. This one has an Intel dual core and it's faster than I'll ever need. Also, my real simulator is a DSO and a Weller :-)
I have noticed it as well since the laptop I usually take on the road has an AMD. OTOH my sims aren't anywhere close to the big ones you most likely do a lot so processor horsepower isn't all that important. Plus I use two PCs in the office so if one has to do lengthy sims I just use the other for CAD or Word. That's where the little file server comes in handy because I can access all docs from either PC.
Didn't you have a RAM reliability problem a while ago? As for technology I often use PCs a decade or longer. Steps in technology are not always forward steps. As evidenced in the latest, ahem, "new and improved" OS developments ;-)
makes a nice PCI dual parallel port board. I used an older version on the computers used at the work stations to program the various VME boards for the Microdyne RBC and DCR models. We had a single port in all the crappy Gateways that were passed down from the secretaries and purchasing, but we needed two different ISP cables. A few benches had a Needham's EMP20 EPROM programmer, as well. The extra ports saved a half hour a day, per bench by not having to move the computers and change cables. You could plug both cables into boards, apply power and install firmware.
I found a SIIG card in a donated XP computer recently, and thought it was kind of funny in these days of almost everything being USB, that the computer would have three printer ports.
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AFAIR the Dell desktop was around $550, with Dual-Core and 2GB RAM, _with_ warranty, remote diagnostics and all that. Keyboard and mouse came with it but sans monitor. The 24h helpline really does work.
I think nowadays they even have one with similar processor and less RAM for $299 but that's probably from their consumer group. No idea what level of support that would include.
At the same time that M$ is trying to push mostly-unfinished crap, you have to get out your machete to get thru all the glowing reviews that follow the releases of OS X and Ubuntu versions.
...and WRT Dell (I note Jan Panteltje's post): They are the closest thing I see to the Mom & Pop shops when it comes to giving the customer what he wants. (You've already mentioned the Ships-with-XP option.)
They also have several business Linux options (software support thru 3rd parties) and there is a pre-installed Ubuntu option for individuals. Their Ubuntu rollout wasn't spectacular because of a plain vanilla install
--without even a simple script included/enabled
...and, of course, all the bitching was due to *software patents* and the things those screw up.
The fact that Dell ships pre-installed Linux of *any* flavor, however, means that all the hardware has Linux device drivers so, if you don't like Dell's install or choice of distro, you can just install *your* favorite (without rebooting 42 times).
Yes, they have the feel of a mom&pop shop and I like that. Heck, they even offer to remove the loboto-ware and nagware off of the PC.
No idea what it is with those servers. I bought three PCs with XP so far and fully configured them without any registration in Redmond. I just keep the license stickers in the respective manila folders like usual. My old rule is to configure PCs with the LAN cable unplugged. Always. Oh, and no auto-updates or any of that. Except for anti-virus software, of course, but that isn't from Microsoft.
Bullshit. Intel surpassed AMD with their last iteration of CPUs, and for math, the CELL CPU included in IBM cell blades and the PS3 computer will run circles around ANY PC on the planet! By nearly a factor of ten!
You want fast simulations? Run it on a PS3 or a PS3 cluster.