Monday, 6 April 2015

Remembering... The Parallel Port

Parallel Port

David Hayward talks about his favourite connection on the back of a PC

Long before we had these new-fangled USB connections, there were just two choices for hooking up a printer or scanner to your PC: serial and parallel. (Of course, there are three if you include networking.)

Serial was a small, nine-pin port (mostly, although there were other examples) that looked very much like a VGA port, which is why being a techie in the 90s you often found someone complaining of a faulty monitor with the PC end of the VGA cable plugged into the serial port.

Alternative Ink

Alternative Ink

Mark Pickavance explains the options for alternative ink systems and how they can be a doubled-edged sword

Coloured ink for printers is often considered expensive stuff, isn't it?

It irks those who use it that it comes in receptacles that make a thimble seem spacious by comparison and that it is dispensed by the printer in picolitres, yet the cost is mind-numbingly high.

Take, for example, the classic Epson T0713 Durabrite Ultra cartridge that works on about 30 or more of the company's Stylus range of printers. A typical high-street cost is £10.49, and it contains a mere 5.5ml of ink.

Recovering From Spillages

Drying Out A Keyboard

James Hunt explores your options for when water-related disasters strike

Everyone knows that water and electricity don't mix well, but what does that mean if you spill something on your computer? We've all had near misses with drinks, be they soft or hard, warm or cold, in a bottle, mug, beaker or glass. If it hasn't happened to you already, one day a near miss will turn into a direct hit. But does that mean the end of your hardware, or is there anything else you can do to salvage it?

The good news is that you've always got a chance of sorting your system out. And over the next few pages, we'll tell you everything you need to do to put your waterlogged hardware back on the road to recovery.

Crucial BX1000 1TB SSD

Crucial BX1000 1TB SSD

Crucial adds some new cheaper options to its SSD range with the BX100

There are two battles going on in the world of the SSD; one is for ultimate speeds, and the other is for enhanced value.

Crucial's new BX100 range is certainly tilting at the latter, though it's hardly what you might call pedestrian from a performance perspective.

The BX100 comes in four sizes, ranging from the modest 120GB, through 250GB to the larger 500GB and the monster 1TB model reviewed here.

Seagate NAS HDD 4TB

Seagate NAS HDD 4TB

Seagate cuts itself a slice of NAS media sales pie

Normally when I review hard drives, the critical part of the exercise is a speed test. However, I haven't done one for the Seagate NAS HDD, because precisely how quick it operates isn't that relevant.

That's because once you've put a NAS box and a Ethernet network between the drive and your PC, even the slowest drive would deliver around the same performance, because it's not the limiting factor.