Whatever happened to …

… docking stations?

Thanks to Alfred Thompson for bringing back this memory.  He recently shared this picture.


Of course, I had to make a smart comment about him not embracing Bluetooth.  I then confessed that mine was behind my laptop and contained connections to my keyboard, mouse, printer, and tablet.

That’s what we do these days.  Many laptop computers have one USB connector (if you’re lucky) and you may well have to shuffle things to get the device that you want at hand.  That USB extender like the one above offers a solution.

But, before these things came along, there were docking stations.  You’d have all of your devices plugged into the station and then you would add your laptop as yet another device and through all the connections, everything just worked.  I remember having to do research once for my superintendent to get him the best one possible for his Lenovo laptop.  He claimed that his biggest use was going to be to connect a big external monitor to help him with the monster spreadsheets that he used to develop.

The one we eventually bought wasn’t cheap.  I think it ended up being $400 or more.  But he loved it.  A quick scan of the BestBuy website shows that there are devices that carry the same name but were nowhere near the unit that we ended up buying years ago.  It was anything but portable but allowed my boss the full desktop experience in a laptop that could be undocked and moved.

For a Sunday, your thoughts …

  • how many USB ports does your current device have?  How many devices have to content for these ports?
  • did you ever own a formal docking station?
  • do you use an external monitor for your laptop?
  • USB has had various variations over the years.  Can you name them or, more importantly, know the difference between them?
  • do you have a USB extender like Alfred does?  They’re commonly given away as swag as conferences these days?
  • Or, have you opted to drop USB altogether and outfitted yourself with Bluetooth devices to get rid of all of the wires?

I’d be interested in your thoughts.  They don’t necessarily have to apply to your current device; you’ve had more than one in your past, right?

Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

Published by dougpete

The content of this blog is created by me at the keyboard or as a result of an aggregator of my daily reading under the title OTR Links. On Fridays, look for my signature post "This Week in Ontario Edublogs" where I try to share some great writing from Ontario Educators. The other regular post appears Sunday mornings as I try to start a conversation about things that have gone missing from our daily lives.

3 thoughts on “Whatever happened to …

  1. That picture is from my computer at school. I have a similar USB hub on my desk at home. That one connects to wired internet and a wired mouse and sometimes my phone when I am deploying to the phone. I have another wire that connects to a second monitor.

    I have had docking stations in the past and they have been useful. The laptops I have today don’t seem built to support docking stations. The USB hubs work fine.

    I have have a blue tooth mouse as school. At home I fidn the batteries die all the time. The wire is not a big deal. Wired anything seems faster and more reliable.


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