Cables let old ports, USB items hook up


March 14, 2002|By James Coates | James Coates,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

I want to know how I can use devices designed for USB cables with older connections like the SCSI output on my computer. I have been told that I can buy a cable to use on a SCSI device to hook up to a USB port. Is it really that simple? I am looking at two Canon scanners for slides and could save $100 if I could use the one with USB on my SCSI.

There is a wide variety of companies that offer cables to translate among the various old standards like SCSI, serial port and parallel port to the new USB (universal serial bus) standard. Just go to and use the search phrase "SCSI to USB" to get a sampling. I must warn you, however, that my own experience trying to plug new USB equipment into old ports using these specialty cables has been spotty at best using products from the likes of Belkin and MicroTech, two of the most respected makers.

My question has to do with Windows XP and/or AOL 7.0. I have a new machine with both of these products and quite frequently - particularly when searching eBay - I receive an error message: "An error has occurred in the script on this page ... Invalid Character ... Do you want to continue running scripts for this page?" Is there an adjustment I can make to avoid this error message in the future?

I advise people with this disturbingly common problem to run out and find a copy of the AOL 7.0 software on a CD-ROM.

The trouble seems to be that when people upgrade to AOL 7.0 online or buy PCs with AOL preloaded, they don't get all of the code needed for Web pages that use the Java scripting language to display stuff.

The CD version of AOL's software includes a routine to install Java and Macromedia Shockwave along with the core AOL software. It has been my experience that running the CD fixes a great many of the script errors.

The AOL CDs are commonly available at chain bookstores and most computer superstore outlets. You also can order one by using the keyword "upgrade" while signed on to AOL.

James Coates writes for The Chicago Tribune, a Tribune Publishing newspaper. He can be reached at

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