Tools of the trade

I made a few minor hardware purchases recently. I have a new job, and they've never had someone like me full time before, so they don't have the kind of tools that a system engineer just accumulates over time. I'm slowly fixing this as I run across things I don't have.

So far:

  • A laptop with a DB-9 serial port on it. Because even today networking gear needs RS-232 to be configured.
  • A laptop with enough RAM to run multiple VMs. Because staging virtual-machines is part and parcel to what I do, and Logik doesn't believe in Desktops.
  • A docking-station/port-replicator for the laptop. Because I don't want a forest of wires plugging into the laptop where I can see it, I want the forest of wires behind it. Also, plugging all the USB and other power-drawing stuff back there means less heat generated on the laptop itself, which increases its lifespan.
  • An ExpressCard GigE adapter. Because having two network ports is occasionally very handy, and the built in one on my laptop doesn't like promiscuous mode for some reason. I need me my promiscuous mode. This card also supports a larger Ethernet frame-size than the built in one (9000b vs 4000b), which is useful for iSCSI work.
  • An ExpressCard eSATA adapter. Because in our business sector having 2 such on a device is occasionally very useful. Never used eSATA at WWU, and here we're regular users.
I'm sure I'll add more. They already have things like cable crimpers and the fiddly tools needed to flip hard to reach dip-switches or get into things with very small screws. They are missing torx-head screw-drivers, but I'll order those when I run into them again. At least at this job I'm no longer having to occasionally dismantle SDLT drives to extract tapes.


for the serial port, several vendors sell usb to DB9 ports. We've run into the same problems, where the new "corp" laptop doesn't have a DB9 OR it's too inconvenient to use easily (recessed and no room for the ears on the male connector). They work fine with hyperterm.

What laptop did you get? I've been using the USB-to-DB9 adapters for the guys I have to send out into the field. Didn't think *anyone* made laptops with DB9 port on them any more!

It looks like a very decent laptop. I never thought anyone still made laptops with DB9 ports.