USB Parallel Transfer Cable
Huddle CNE MCNE MCSE CBS ES-RC
P+, November 2004
by: Keyspan, go
to the web site
95 through XP, parallel port (Windows 95), USB port (Windows
98 through XP)
If you've had a PC for any amount of time you have
probably needed to use some kind of utility software.
Way back in the dark ages of DOS, utility software
usually consisted of a single app that did one thing.
If it was a decent bit of coding it did that one
thing well although the convenience of the Graphical
User Interface (GUI) was absent in DOS. On the other
hand, you only paid for the utility you actually
needed and it required very little disk space. Keyspan's
USB Parallel Transfer Cable strikes me as that kind
of utility. It performs one function: file tranfers
between two PCs where one PC does not have a USB
port. It's reasonably priced and it has a small footprint
on your drive. It does have a GUI user interface,
so you Windows babies are covered.
consists of a cable with a USB connector on one
end and a DB25 parallel connector at the other
end. The driver disk contains both the local and
remote portions of the software and installs both
by default. The cable is a good length at about 3
meters and is quite sturdy. The software has a very
small installed footprint of less than 2.5MB. Included
in the package is a 5"x6" quick start guide
card. There is also a user guide in PDF format on
the CD, but it really isn't needed to get started
or to do basic file operations. It takes five steps
to fully connect two PCs using the Keyspan cable
and no rebooting is required.
provides its own Explorer-like user interface for manipulating
files and even the most hopeless user
can figure it out in about two minutes. For those who are
beyond hopeless, moving the mouse over the icons pops up
a quick description of each icon. To initiate the data
transfer connection Keyspan recommends that you start the
remote software on the PC with the parallel connector and
the local portion on the other PC. The local side has the
user interface. The local module opens with two panes.
The left side shows the drives on the local PC and the
right side is empty. To begin the session start the remote
side, then click the Connect icon on the GUI. Within a
couple of seconds the remote's drives appear in the right
pane. From that point it's simply a matter of copying,
moving or deleting files and directories between the two
panes. All operations work both ways. You can select files
or folders and either drag them where you want them or
click the appropriate icon. Note that clicking & dragging
will only copy, not move. To move you can either right
click on the selected file or use the icon.
Each command used will pop up a configuration dialog which
allows you to specify how the operation will work. For
example the copy command gives you the option to decide
how the copy will act. You can set it to confirm replacement
of existing files, replace all or none, or replace older
files. There is also a Freshen option which will also overwrite
older files. It differs from the Replace Older option in
that it will not copy files that don't already exist on
the target. Besides the expected file operations there
is also what Keyspan calls a Favorites command. This allows
you to add folders on both sides which the remote and local
will jump to on startup. That allows you to quickly access
folders you may work with frequently.
This is a decent utility and a good addition to the toolkit.
It only does file manipulation, but it does it simply and
well. It's unobtrusive and uses very few system resources.
The product manual on the CD is well written and easy to
use. There are two things I'd like to see added to the
product. The first is use of the F5 key to refresh the
panes after a file transfer operation. The second is a
way to install a smaller, floppy based remote that allows
the local module to access files on a remote where Windows
will not load. Other than those two items, the Keyspan
is a buy. Recommended.
Letters to the Editor are welcome and occasionally abused in public. Send e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org