From the August 1999 issue of Startups

In a computer-driven home office, peripherals can proliferate like spam--a printer here, a scanner there, a CD-RW, a Zip drive and a SuperDisk thrown in. But there are only a limited number of ports on the back of your computer to plug them all into. Hewlett-Packard's solution to the peripheral jungle is the $106 JetDirect Auto Switch 4:1.

Compatible with Windows 3.x/95/98/NT, the Auto Switch allows up to four parallel port peripherals to be used by one computer. In case you have four computers, it alternately allows one peripheral to be used by all four machines. Simply plug your PC into one of Auto Switch's five ports, then connect up to four peripherals into the device (or use it to hook up four computers and one peripheral). Utility software is included to make device management simple. It's a low-cost alternative to installing a network. The Auto Switch comes with a one-year warranty and is also available in an $81 2:1 version. More specs are available at http://www.hp.com