[conspire] Re: pcmcia 16 bit modems

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Sun Jan 5 15:12:04 PST 2003

Quoting myself again, to post another afterthought:

> Just for completeness's sake, I should mention that, just because
> cardmgr finds a match for the card's ID strings or manfids, and just
> because it's insmod'ed a driver that you or David Hinds considers
> appropriate, doesn't absolutely guarantee that it'll actually work.
> The manufacturer could have done something really perverse like change
> to a completely different -- or subtlely different -- chipset without
> changing the ID string / manfids.  Or the card could ID properly but be
> defective.

Or you could have the wrong dongle (external piece of flexible plastic
that serves as an intermediary between the card and connecting cables
to elsewhere).  Once, the ethernet dongle for my aforementioned Intel
EtherExpress/PRO combo card broke.  Since I was due to attend a Robert
Austin Computer Show thereafter, I brought it along and inquired at one
of the vendor tables.  The guy said he had what I needed, handed me a
3Com dongle, and charged me some tiny pittance for it.  It seemed to
fit the card.  I didn't have a laptop with me to test it on, though.

I took it home.  Kept trying known-good network configurations -- no
go.  No link-status LED turning green, nada.  Cross-checked the OS and 
socket using a different card:  Those proved OK.  Tried the 3Com dongle
with a 3Com card:  It worked there.  

So, finally I concluded that the confident-sounding vendor didn't know
fsck-all about the hardware he was selling.  My $3 (or whatever) wasn't
entirely wasted, though, because I later bought a 3Com 3C575 PCMCIA
ethernet card at Action Computer (something like $12?), and now I have a
spare dongle for it.

The other lesson I learned is that spare dongles are cheap and
ubiquitous for some cards but not others.  Ask politely about this at
the Action Computer front desk, and you'll see.  And that's why I bought 
the 3Com card.  (It's not a question of _if_ you'll break or lose a
dongle, it's when.  And the manufacturers tend to really gouge you on 
replacements.  Because they can.)

Cheers,                   I once successfully declined a departmental retreat,
Rick Moen                 saying that on that day I planned instead to advance.
rick at linuxmafia.com                  -- Alan J. Rosenthal, in the Monastery

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