In the late 1980s, LapLink was one of the must-have devices. In 1987, IBM turned the computing world on its head with the introduction of its PS/2 line of personal computers. These were designed to help IBM break free from the plunging prices of PC clone market, which it inadvertently created with its original PC personal computer. (The PC was made with off-the-shelf components, thus easily copyable.)
The PS/2 contained some features that booted personal computers to new levels, but other features that fell flat. The one feature that was most irritating (and most quickly copied) was the 3.5" diskette.
Until then, the 5-1/4" diskette was the primary means of communications between computers. That's because networks were expensive and rare; modems were expensive and slow. Thus, data was primarily carried on diskettes by hand or courier between computers. It was common for us to have stacks and stacks of 5-1/2" diskettes.
The 3.5" diskette was a disruption, creating incompatibility between current computers and new ones. LapLink found a solution: they came up with simple-to-use communications software that ran on two computers, and a multi-headed cable that connected the two. This allowed us again to transfer files, albeit limited to computers that could be spanned by the cable. (I still have a copy of LapLink in my software/hardware archive.)
The cable was multi-headed to allow for two types of port: serial or parallel. The parallel port allowed faster transfer speeds, but suffered from inconsistant implementations. The serial port was slower, but could be easily adjusted to ensure the port on both computers had matching communications specs.
With the advent of high-speed modems, CompuServe, and then the Internet, the need for LapLink disappeared. Or so I thought.
Today, a promotional mailing involving LapLink arrived in my In box:
-- Laplink PCmover transfers programs, files, and, settings from one PC to another, such as an old PC to a new PC.
-- Laplink PCsync automatically synchronizes and transfers files and folders between PC and/or USB drives.
-- Laplink USB Cable connects with computers not on a network, such as at conferences and in hotel rooms.
I could see PCmover being useful for that event that occurs every year or two: my primary desktop computer's hard drive stops working, and I have to install another new one.