Remember SCSI? After a ten year absence in anything I’ve ever used, I handled some Serial attached SCSI cables and devices last week, which prompted some nostalgic thoughts. As you know, I’m a sucker for these.

As many of you no doubt were, I was born slightly too early for USB. On my birth certificate, I’m listed as being strictly a Serial enabled device, something which may explain me being full of ideas, but lacking in the faculties or bandwidth to articulate them on a blog.

But I digress. In the mid 1990s, if you wanted sustained, high[er] speed data transfer your choices were SCSI, or more SCSI. After battling with Parallel port Zip drives and the like, we eventually tried to replace everything with this funny acronym. We had SCSI Iomega drives, SCSI scanners, SCSI espresso machines.

The cables were thicker than tree trunks, and their inverted Parralel port-esque connectors more so. Given they were plug in and forget devices though, that wasn’t really a concern. Where I ran into issues as a kid was understanding that devices all needed to be set with their own unique SCSI ID; many a weekend was wasted trying to figure out why a new device wouldn’t work when that was the only issue! You also had to end the chain with a SCSI terminator, otherwise all the electrons would leak out and cause a mess on the table.

With SCSI cards in our desktops, I was intrigued by their inclusion of a riser port that bore a striking resemblance to an IDE motherboard plug. They were much longer, meaning the IDE cables I’d plug in wouldn’t cover all the pins. Good grief, the things I used to try to do as a kid!

While SCSI has all but disappeared from consumer electronics, its in this capacity the standard is still widely used. Serial attached SCSI cables are just as inflexible, but the standard is comparatively fast and reliable. Well, as fast and reliable as storage devices can be. Their connectors have also long since been rethought, something the skin on my hand noticed when I scraped it on a dozen of the hard metal things.

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Ruben Schade is a technical writer and infrastructure architect in Sydney, Australia who refers to himself in the third person in bios. Hi!

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