Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Now you see it; now you don’t

I don’t think I’m dating myself, but I remember when the dongle on a DeltaV system was this big, black thing that plugged in (and screwed down) into a parallel port on your ProPlus. Now everyone saw the writing on the wall – as parallel ports started to disappear, parallel port dongles were going to have to give way to something else.

Enter the USB dongle. Now don’t get me wrong, I’ve got nothing against these guys, but my first thought when I opened that little black box was “that’s really cute – I’m going to lose this”. I must not have been the only one with that thought because each dongle comes with this wire lanyard attached.  See, without being able to secure the dongle in a USB port, that little sucker is going to get lost or sheared off or something else.

And let’s not forget our well-meaning IT dude (you met him in my last post). That dongle looks a whole lot like a USB memory stick, and he will try relentlessly to run an anti-virus program against it.

The other thing that’s happened is the good old PS/2 ports for keyboards and mice have followed the parallel port out of our lives. Now your keyboard and mouse need a USB port also.  Combine this with a trend away from so many USB ports (cyber security and all), and we’ve got ourselves a dongle location gap (you can just imagine George C. Scott in the War Room with Dr. Strangelove, can’t you?)

So guess what’s INSIDE the Dell computers designated for use with DeltaV? An internal USB port. How cool is that? I had no idea until Mark Moore and Russ Wolterman pointed them out to me. Now they’re in slightly different places depending on the computer, so you might have to look around (this picture is from a T3500).
Plug your dongle into one of these, lock the case, and it's not going to walk away or get broken off. Make yourself a label and place it on the outside of the computer so everyone knows what’s inside (well, almost everyone – make it a little cryptic), and you’re good to go.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Make sure that little wire sucker doesn't get shorting out your Proplus. Suggest you take it off if you go this way.