Why no more parallel ports on Dell desktops?

Discussion in 'Dell' started by Bruno, Sep 15, 2005.

  1. Bruno

    Ben Myers Guest

    Yes, and Steve Ballmer was the presiding judge in the divorce court. Microsoft
    IS a prime mover behind all this. Having all legacy-free systems would
    undoubtedly remove 5MB of code from what promises to be the incredibly bloated
    (???? GB) Vista... Ben Myers
    Ben Myers, Sep 15, 2005
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  2. Bruno

    Bruno Guest

    When I posted this message, I knew what my options were...

    1. Buy a Parallel to USB cable -- another 30-few bucks to spend, and
    bit of Googlin tells me that there have been some compatibility
    issues. Whether or not that would happen with my HP 4L, I don't know.

    2. Buy another printer -- but my printer works just fine and I don't
    want to buy another printer just because there's a faster interface
    out there. It's low usage, but I still want to use it.

    3. Buy a parallel port card -- gotta be sure to get a machine that'll
    take one.

    4. Keep my old machine for a printer server -- waste of power to keep
    it running all the time, just for one printer with low usage, not to
    mention the space.

    5. Buy a non-Dell machine with a parallel port -- probably the best

    Apparently the concept of backwards compatibility has escaped Dell, as
    well as a number of the posters. The fact that there are faster
    interfaces is irrelevant as long as there are tons of existing
    parallel printers out there still doing their jobs. The elimination of
    parallel ports must certainly have very minimal cost impact, and I
    don't see any compelling environmental or social benefit to be gained
    by their elimination at this time. As a matter of fact, I see just the
    opposite -- a need to dispose of tens of thousands of parallel port
    printers before their time.

    Fortunately, my old computer is still working (knocking on wood now)
    so maybe it'll hang on until the printer dies too.

    Bruno, Sep 15, 2005
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  3. Bruno

    Anne Guest

    Anne, Sep 15, 2005
  4. Bruno

    Ted Zieglar Guest

    Relax, relax...I was just making a joke. Nothing against you.

    Ted Zieglar
    "You can do it if you try."

    Ted Zieglar, Sep 15, 2005
  5. Bruno

    Ted Zieglar Guest

    You would eschew an otherwise capable and desirable computer merely because
    it doesn't accomodate your printer through the parallel port?
    Ted Zieglar, Sep 15, 2005
  6. Bruno;
    You are at least partially mistaken.
    Backwards compatibility has not escaped, it has been here in this very area
    for some time.
    When was the time new hardware came out exclusively parallel?
    I have not seen it in a long time.
    Backwards compatibility has been available since that time.
    Printers and computers with USB and parallel demonstrate backwards
    With price usually being a major factor and competition tight, even .10 on a
    part can be significant when support is also figured.
    Backwards compatibility can not go back indefinitely and sooner or later
    older technology will be dropped.
    Jupiter Jones, Sep 15, 2005
  7. Bruno

    Fixer Guest

    Is it????, I thught serial was or started out as wires running in a serial
    connection, and was originally thought that a serial port could go no
    faster, then some bright spark wired more wires serially and increased the
    speed as in PCI express and in theory its infornitum
    Fixer, Sep 15, 2005
  8. Bruno

    William Guest

    If the printer is that important then buying another brand PC would be the
    way to go. Bear in mind that parallel connections will go the way of 3.5"
    floppy drives which has now become an option if at all. Thats the way of

    William, Sep 15, 2005
  9. Bruno

    Ben Myers Guest

    So buy a parallel-USB cable. $30 seems a little high. Shop around. I picked
    up a bunch of them on eBay for short money, to keep around for my local clients.
    The LJ 4L is dumb enough that running it via parallel-USB should work just fine.
    (I'm not being critical in calling it dumb. It does not have its own printer
    monitoring software talking to the printer. The smart bidirectional inkjet
    printers often have trouble using a converter cable because the software that
    monitors printing, printer cartridge level, etc. only knows about USB.)

    Or get a PCI parallel port card. Same approximate costs, but requires that you
    open up the computer to install it. XP recognizes nearly all brands of parallel
    port cards. And ya gotta have at least one open PCI slot in your new computer.

    If you look at non-Dell computers, you will also see that many other computers
    (HPaq, IBM, Gateway) do not have parallel ports, especially newer motherboards
    with an Intel 900-series chipset and PCI Express graphics.

    Lots and lots of other perfectly good and not-so-good interfaces have fallen by
    the wayside over the years. There is good progress and bad progress in the
    computer business. Most of the change in the hardware segment of the industry
    is to provide computers with ever greater speed and capacity. Remember 30-pin
    SIMMs? How about ISA bus slots, both 8- and 16-bits? What about the original
    large IBM XT and AT keyboard connector? Serial mice? VL-bus, a real
    monstrosity? Not to mention 72-pin SIMMs, 168-pin 5v EDO DIMMs, 168-pin SDRAM,

    Despite what some trolls may say, I am not a Dellbot, but one who sees lots of
    different brands of computers as part of a service business. So... Do not be
    overly critical of Dell for falling in line with an industry trend. At least
    you have a couple of viable and not-too-expensive solutions to continue using a
    printer which still meets your needs... Ben Myers
    Ben Myers, Sep 15, 2005
  10. Bruno

    Fred Mau Guest

    I wouldn't necessarily take Dell's word that the printer "will probably not
    work on XP anyway".

    If there's a rhyme or reason to what printers are or aren't supported under
    XP, I haven't been able to figure it out. I've seen ancient '80s-era
    printers supported while some late-'90s or early '00s printers aren't.

    For instance, can anyone tell me with a straight face that they're actually
    using an ancient Canon LBP-8 or IBM Personal Pageprinter or IBM Quietwriter
    III with XP ? Yet they're all in the XP printer drivers list whilst some of
    their newer printers aren't.

    - FM -
    Fred Mau, Sep 15, 2005
  11. Bruno

    Nick Guest

    I have yet to see a single rational explanation why people keep suggesting
    that people spend buy a new printer when all they need is an adapter that
    probably costs a lot less.

    I asked about the same issue back in June, just before I bought my new XPS
    Gen 5, and received several answers similar to yours.

    Like I said back then: a new printer roughly equivalent to the one I already
    have would cost me close to $300; USB to parallel cable adapters cost $30 or

    Admittedly, a current model printer would be a bit faster than the one I
    have, but the one I have now is plenty fast enough for my needs, and I don't
    see any sense to spending $300 to replace it when all I need is a $30
    interface. Once the printer expires of old age (or otherwise fails to meet
    my needs), I'll replace it with a current model rather than having it
    repaired. Until then, I have better things to do with $270 than throw it
    Nick, Sep 15, 2005
  12. Bruno

    alien Guest

    You forgot 5 1/4" floppy drives. You know, the ones that had disks that
    were actually floppy. :)

    alien, Sep 15, 2005
  13. And the answer is, "Who submitted their driver software to MS for
    testing and approval as XP compatible". With XP, MS was much less friendly
    towards third party software developers than in the past. Many small
    companies and no longer supported hardware was simply left out.
    Kevin Childers, Sep 15, 2005
  14. Remember, I still end up dealing with some of that equipment every so
    often. Not to mention my wife's family in PI sending me text messages
    looking for parts and support for hardware that back in school they
    mentioned, but also told us we'd never see in actual use..

    I sent my in-laws an old Epson letter (impact) printer and almost 100
    old IBM Selectric II cartridges. The cartridges won't it the printer, but
    you can very easily replace the old ink ribbon with the film ribbon from the
    selectric cartridge. You can also re-ink the old ribbons, so the life cycle
    of this type hardware can go on as long as the motor last, and even that
    could be replaced. I think the final end of it may be when the actual
    hammer keys start breaking.

    Kevin Childers, Sep 15, 2005
  15. Bruno

    Ben Myers Guest

    Yep, KC, I deal with some of it, too. Once in a while. Mostly the printers.
    Anything Slot 1 or earlier generally costs more to repair than it is worth,
    which is what I tell my clients. Usually they opt for a newer system, but
    sometimes somebody has a love affair with their computer and they do not want to
    part with it.

    And... How could I ever have forgotten 5 1/4" diskettes, both 360KB and 1.2MB?
    While we're at it, how about 720KB floppy media, and 2.88MB drives pushed mostly
    by IBM and DEC? Monochrome text-only monitors, anyone??? ... Ben Myers
    Ben Myers, Sep 15, 2005
  16. Bruno

    Ben Myers Guest

    Paying the troll the toll has always been the way with developers of drivers for
    hardware. A lot of them have finessed the Microsoft WHQL certification,
    choosing to release drivers without it. And, of course, there is always the
    problem of limited space for drivers on the Windows install CD, but grease
    Billy's and Stevie's palms with a few bucks and voila your drivers are on the

    I'm pretty much dead certain that any HP LaserJet printer (well, maybe not the
    original LaserJet) is supported with some sort of driver on XP. Of course, Dell
    will tell you no, because they want to sell you a printer. Disinformation and
    misinformation abound in the computer industry, as in politics and other spheres
    of influence in the world... Ben Myers
    Ben Myers, Sep 15, 2005
  17. Bruno

    Colin Wilson Guest

    While we're at it, how about 720KB floppy media

    I`ve got about 1000 of them for my Amiga !
    Colin Wilson, Sep 15, 2005
  18. Bruno

    John Guest

    It does work with XP. However I am about to update mine to a newer
    model to get decent color. Note that many current printers, including
    Dells, have parallel, USB and Ethernet ports.
    John, Sep 16, 2005
  19. Actually Ben, I've seen a proprietary system using 8 inch and 12 inch
    floppies. The Army actually paid some one to come up with hardware and
    software hacks that allowed an entire library of school teaching materials
    to be read off the old big floppies and copied onto 720Kb floppies (two for
    one). Original materials were on some sort of proprietary system and the
    output was ASCII text. To add to task each class had handouts, notes, etc.
    in several languages. It took about 4 or 5 minutes per disk transfer and
    there were a minimum of 3 disk per class, per language. They did have about
    a dozen hacked machines to make the transfers, ugly as hell with a ragged
    hole cut in the side where a 3.5 inch drive was stuck. I wonder what they
    paid for it all, not counting the man hours it took to actually make the
    transfers. Dropped students work cheap and most were happy to have
    something easy to do waiting for their next class date.

    Worst hardware love affair I ever saw was a 386sx being used to run a
    dyno set up at local H-D speed shop. They just had a hard time
    understanding that unlike a classic bike, classic computers really don't
    have that many enthusiast and they just don't make parts for them any more.

    Kevin Childers, Sep 16, 2005
  20. <gryn> My "buying options" have always consisted of building
    systems from the ground up. The only pre-made systems I've ever bought
    have been laptops.

    I'm not terribly worried. Ruggedized and industrial-class
    computers will continue to supply serial, parallel, and PS-2 ports due
    to ongoing demand for said ports outside of the pure "consumer"
    environment. If this means I have to spend a little more, or devote more
    attention to the used/surplus market to find what I need, then so be it.

    Another factor I neglected to mention. My typical life-cycle for
    upgrading my own systems is at least seven years, often ten or more. I
    will not inconvenience myself, nor retire still-useful equipment, just
    because the computer industry decides to save a few pennies per
    motherboard or system. Heck, I still have applications that use 386 and
    486-based systems, and they do just fine!

    Along those same lines: I won't buy any system that has DRM hard-
    coded into it that cannot be completely disabled by yours truly, now or
    at any time in the future. Why should I allow Hollywood to tell me what
    I can or cannot do with hardware/software that I've bought and paid for?

    If this means I eventually end up with decades-old hardware and
    software, fine. I don't really care. What I have now does everything I
    want it to, at speeds I'm happy with, and I've still got headroom to

    I guess the simple way to say it is that I really believe in
    getting my dollar's worth out of anything I buy.

    Keep the peace(es).

    Dr. Anton T. Squeegee, Director, Dutch Surrealist Plumbing Institute.
    (Known to some as Bruce Lane, ARS KC7GR,
    kyrrin (a/t) bluefeathertech[d=o=t]calm -- www.bluefeathertech.com
    "If Salvador Dali had owned a computer, would it have been equipped
    with surreal ports?"
    Dr. Anton T. Squeegee, Sep 16, 2005
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