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So, first off, to begin with this isn't "exactly" retrocomputing; the technology in question is about 5-10 years old. That being said, I couldn't find answers anywhere else, so my best bet was to ask here.

Anyway, I recently found my mother's old (~5-10 year old) laptop, and I saw a few ports on there that I have been unable to recognize.

Here's some pictures:

on the side

below

What exactly are these, and what do they do?

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  • Mind to say what laptop that is and which port you're talking about? So far it seams to be USB, sound, microphone, USB?, PCMCIA and some custom system bus. So, while it might be more like 15 years old, still not really retro.
    – Raffzahn
    Oct 30 '20 at 22:46
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    DId you check the manufactorers website for the manual for the machine, which most likely explain all ports? Oct 30 '20 at 22:48
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    on the first picture there is one USB port, 2 audio female jacks, a card port and another small usb-like port. Can you highlight the ones you don't recognize? Oct 30 '20 at 22:48
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    btw you could have specified that the second picture is a picture of the back of the laptop. That would have led to "docking port" much faster. Oct 30 '20 at 22:52
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    Could you upload these images on the Stack Exchange Imgur, please? (You can use the edit button to do so.) This is important for licensing reasons (one of our goals is to produce a repository of information, and having self-contained questions is important for that) and accessibility reasons (the Imgur website has really poor a11y as of late).
    – wizzwizz4
    Oct 30 '20 at 23:27
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That would be USB, Audio out, Microphone in, FireWire. And PCMCIA slot above the two connectors.

And there is a connector for a docking station at the bottom.

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  • The three I am interested in are the "FireWire", "PCMCIA", and "docking station". What do these do?
    – The Daleks
    Oct 30 '20 at 22:51
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    now that you have the names, you can easily look those up. firewire is an old usb-like transfer protocol, pcmcia is a card interface (modem, memory...) and docking station ... is to hook up the laptop to a device that allows to expand the laptop ports, display, ... Oct 30 '20 at 22:53
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Those images show PCMCIA, USB (looks like 2.0) , Headphone audio out, Mic audio in, FireWire 400(4-pin type). Second image is Laptop Docking Port, and battery disconnect slider.

Here is a very handy link that shows you MANY of the varied symbols on computers: Among others the FireWire, which is likely what tripped you up.

https://www.computerhope.com/issues/ch001801.htm#port

Or for the actual port & cable appearance: https://www.whatdoesthatlooklike.com/firewire-cables.shtml

As for the laptop.. that smells like an HP Compaq? from... Brazil? Just wondering.

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  • Thank you for the help! Yes, the laptop is an HP Compaq, although I don't know where it was made.
    – The Daleks
    Oct 31 '20 at 11:27

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