First: If you haven’t read about the CD release yesterday, you should!

Okay, so. Supervillains, as everyone knows, need computers. Lots of computers. We, predictably, have a lot of computers, and last week, after an… experment… we needed a new KVM switch. (KVM switches keyboard, video, and mouse across several machines at once, so you don’t need so many monitors and such everywhere.)

So we got a new one, and it’s quite snazzy, supports USB and PS/2 both, also switches sound, yadayada nobody cares just make it work.

But what we forgot is that one of the machines is so old, it isn’t PS/2 or USB. It’s 5-pin DIN keyboard, and 9-pin serial mouse.

Nightmare City, 1995. This box is old enough to drink in British Columbia.

Not so bad; we can connect anything to anything, including the arm control nerve in your belly. So 5-pin DIN to PS/2 and good, right? We aren’t using the mouse, of course, because in the server room, GUIs are for the weak. If it weren’t for vi, those minions would still be using ASR-33 teletypes, and thank the gods for vi, because teletype paper is hard to find now.

Except turns out the switchbox has no idea what to do with a 5-pin DIN machine, because it was made in the modern era, not The World Before, or The Olden Times. I can switch to the display, but the keyboard doesn’t work.

Now, the old switchbox partially works – two connections out of four isn’t bad for a failed experiment, sometimes we have… seismic incidents… to clean up – so I try using it as an adaptor for the keyboard cable, since it talked 5-pin DIN just fine, and has PS/2 outputs.

That didn’t work either.

Eventually I figure out that the new switchbox doesn’t actually have any trouble with the keyboard! With a PS/2 adaptor, that’s just fine. No. It needs the mouse cable plugged in. TO SOMETHING. Why? I DON’T EVEN KNOW. So I plug it into the old switchbox’s PS/2 mouse connector and that works and everything is happy, except getting rid of that damned broken box was the entire point, so this isn’t happening.

But! Serial mice worked on 9-pin serial! So I have a henchie order a 9-pin to PS/2 adaptor. But then I discover I already have a PS/2 to serial adaptor! And I plug that in and that works! So I disintegrate the henchie and have a minion cancel the order, since no one must know of my mistakes.

…but then it turns out it works only on the switchbox, and not on the computer, because kill everyone. This machine doesn’t put out enough voltage.

…but a USB wall-charger most certainly does, which is how I ended up with my computer’s mouse cable plugged into the power strip in order to get the keyboard to work.

There, I Fixed It.

Some days, supervillainy IT is just kind of dumb.