Archive for Monday, May 4, 1998

PARALLEL PORT POSES PROBLEMS

May 4, 1998

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I went to the store recently to purchase a scanner and it had two versions: parallel port and SCSI. Which would work better on my IBM machine? The parallel port costs about 20 percent less.

I strongly recommend the SCSI version for a few reasons. For one, SCSI scanners are usually faster than parallel port models and they don't require as much processing power as a parallel version.

It is very difficult to do anything on your computer while a parallel port version is scanning. A SCSI scanner generally allows your computer to keep working while you scan.

Also, SCSI scanners tend to have fewer compatibility problems. Parallel port scanners connect between your computer and your printer, and the printer frequently will not work right if the scanner is connected. Since SCSI scanners have their own connector on the back of the computer, they don't interrupt the printer.

Parallel port scanners, to their credit, are easier to install than SCSI versions, which usually require you to open up your computer and install an interface card.

What is an a MP3 file?

An MP3 file is usually a compressed audio file. Normally a CD-quality song takes up between 30 and 40 megabytes of space on a hard drive. An MP3 file, by comparison, is between 3 and 4 megs in size. Because of their size, MP3s are easily downloaded from Web sites. This is why they are now so popular. You usually need a fast machine to listen to these files, either a Macintosh PowerPC or Pentium class machine. Do be careful, since not all MP3 downloads may be legal.

-- David Greenbaum is director of Geeks on Wheels. You can send him questions at dsg

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