AsantéTalk voodoo

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Macintosh
December 17th, 2003 • 8:22 am

I’ve been using an AsantéTalk box to connect my old LaserJet 5MP to my Ethernet/wireless network for years now, and on the whole it’s been working fine.

But there is one thing that the AsantéTalk really doesn’t like, and it’s power outages. Whenever we have one (and it happens often enough in these parts of the world, especially in the nasty winter season), the AsantéTalk “forgets” which devices are on the network and the LaserJet is no longer visible or accessible via AppleTalk.

Usually a “power up cycle” is good enough to get it working again. Just turn all your devices on first, with the AsantéTalk unplugged. And then when they are all up and running, plug the AsantéTalk in and let it do its thing for a couple of minutes. Usually, there’s a fair amount of receiving and transmitting activity on the box, and after a while the LaserJet magically appears everywhere on the network.

Yesterday, however, we had a nasty sequence of outages. And obviously they did a number on the AsantéTalk. I tried the power cycling once, twice, three times. No cigar. I tried other approaches, such as turning the LaserJet itself off, turning the AsantéTalk on, waiting a couple of minutes, and then turning the LaserJet on. I tried unplugging from the Ethernet hub and plugging again. Still no go.

After about half an hour of fiddling and plugging/unplugging cables, I did the regular power cycling thing one more time. And all of a sudden the LaserJet showed up!

Very puzzling and frustrating. I didn’t do anything differently for the last power cycling thing. I didn’t wait longer. So why did it finally work this time? I have no idea.

I’ve tried to get more support from Asanté on this over the years, but every time, while they have always responded to my request, they have ended up referring to the same thing, i.e. the power cycling. But there’s obviously more to it than that.

Unfortunately, there’s no reset button on the AsantéTalk box. In fact, it’s an impenetrable little metallic box with two plugs and a few LEDs. Obviously there is only one thing that the user can do, which is to unplug and plug back in…

It’s exactly the kind of thing that makes you go Mmmm, and it explains why it’s not surprising that so many people think that electronic devices in general and computers in particular require a certain amount of voodoo to work properly. I wish I could always demonstrate to them that they are wrong, but what can I do when something like this happens?

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