Universal Serial Bus (USB)
Let’s take a break from the XP support and virus issues and look at plain old hardware.
The USB interface replaced several different connectors, enabling the ease of connecting and disconnecting peripherals and the ability to remove the PC from its attachments. No longer do we require a cable for our printer, one for a modem, or one for more esoteric equipment. One connector and some very well written code lets one connector do it all.
There are three versions of USB-- 1.0, 2.0 and 3.0, each one transmitting data faster than the one before. For the most part, interchangeable connectors (the one that looks like a duck bill), can be used with any of the versions.
The only caveat is that version 3.0 hardware will not work with version 1.0. If one connects version 2.0 in a 1.0 version PC or a 2.0 in a 3.0 PC, one gets a message that this device can run faster in the proper port, and provides a map of the USB hardware tree, but it is displayed in “computerese” and does reveal if one has the correct version of USB ports or not. When that message appears, there is nothing that you can do without upgrading either the PC or installing an upgraded USB hardware card. If you connect a 3.0 device into a 1.0 PC, it seems to lock the PC up without explanation or message.
The nice thing about USB is that it does not matter to the PC what input connector a device is plugged into; if you are one of the people that needs to label the wires as you disconnect them so you can put them back in the same place, with USB that is not necessary. When you figure out which is top and bottom so the two connectors match, it does not matter to the PC which connector the device originally came from, as it will see where it is now and use the device where it is plugged in.
Next year there is a new USB version coming out that does not have a top and bottom and will stop having to flip the connector.
Version 3.0 is different from the other versions; both the male and female ends have blue plastic centers instead of black. 3.0 may also have two different device connectors; they have two parts to the connector and will only work in the correct device.
‘til next week
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to Past ComputerFAQ Columns:
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