Last week’s poll on which old-style hardware capabilities people have added to their new Macs provided interesting results. About 1,000 people weighed in with approximately 2,100 votes, which says that, roughly speaking, if someone added any adapters for old-style capabilities to a new Mac, they added two such capabilities on average.
SCSI was by far the most commonly added, with 69 percent of the respondents saying that they’d added SCSI, usually to support external storage devices or scanners, although comments on TidBITS Talk also indicated that scanners have become sufficiently cheap that buying a new scanner was often an equally good option.
Access to serial devices, such as modems and Palm cradles was the second most popular capability added, with 42 percent of respondents. People generally added serial capability through USB-to-serial adapters, although we’ve also had good luck so far with GeeThree.com’s Stealth Serial Port. Support for a floppy was close behind, with 40 percent of the respondents saying that they needed access to a floppy. I wonder about the rate of that need, however, since although I’ve used a floppy once since moving to a Power Mac G4, I doubt it will happen again for several months.
Despite the fuss over the hockey puck mouse and the small keyboard that Apple ships with every Mac these days, only 24 percent of respondents said they’d added a USB-to-ADB adapter. Of course, ADB was in many ways the last of these technologies to die, since it was available on all the blue and white Power Mac G3s. Plus, USB devices like keyboards and mice are generally inexpensive, so buying a new keyboard is about the same price as buying an adapter to be able to use an old keyboard. Twenty percent of respondents added support for LocalTalk in some fashion.
Discussion on TidBITS Talk hovered around the various solutions people had used and then quickly turned to the quality of the adapters used for legacy peripherals. I strongly recommend reading this thread before buying an adapter for that old hard disk, printer, or keyboard.
Only 10 percent of respondents said that they hadn’t needed to add any old-style capabilities, which is lower than I would have expected, but it’s likely that the self-selective nature of this poll meant that people who had added adapters or come up with other solutions were more likely to vote.