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Thoughts from David Cornelius


I opened the box of the new server for the Beaverton SDA Church and was reminded that we didn't order a keyboard or mouse to go with it. At first this makes sense--why not just use the one we have on the old server? Well, the old server is, uh, old! Like over 8 years. That's an eternity in the computer industry. Some people alive today haven't even heard of the OS we still have on that machine, Windows NT 4.0.

But still, keyboards and mice don't wear out quickly on servers--they just sit there and collect dust over the years. You blow them off twice a year when you actually need to use them. So why get new ones?

Because computer manufacturers can't leave things alone. The old server has a perfectly good keyboard and mouse. And every computer needs exactly one keyboard and exactly one mouse, right? So why change the interface if there are millions of keyboards and mice out there that work with it?

I don't know but I believe that interface has actually changed TWICE during these years. The new server has no parallel printer port, no keyboard port, and no mouse port. (Surprisingly, it does have an old 9-pin regular serial port.) However, it has 7 USB ports! Seven? Really? Yes, 2 in front and 5 in back.

USB--the new thing. OK, it's nice that I can now plug a keyboard into either the front of the computer or the back. But why would anyone need 7 USB ports? When USB first came out there were only one or two of these connectors on computers. But then again, there weren't very many USB devices on the market.

Now, most printers and cameras and mice are USB. A lot more keyboards are turning to USB, and new devices are being thought up every day to connect to your computer using USB. But what more could you really need?

Have you ever been browsing the web in bed with your laptop and had trouble seeing? Just plug in your USB Flex Light. Or need some Christmas cheer on your desktop? Get the USB Holiday Tree. Too warm? Get a Kennsington FlyFan. Want to keep your soda cool? Get the USB Beverage Cooler. Feet or hands cold? Yes, you can actually buy USB slippers and gloves. There is also a speaker disguised as flower pot. And finally, one of the most absurd devices I stumbled across, the George Foreman USB iGrill.

It should now be obvious that 7 USB ports is vital. In fact, that might not be enough! But don't worry, you can always expand your available ports with a 24 Port USB Monster Hub.