I don't even have a unit yet - I ordered one from justdeals yesterday and should hopefully get it sometime next week - so I can only comment so much.
Now I'm really confused as to what kind of port this damn thing has. I got the impression from the CIDCO website it was a standard parallel port -
Q: Does MailStation™ print e-mails?
A: Yes. MailStation is parallel port compatible. Recommended compatible printers:
HP Apollo P2250
But then when I was looking around on the mailstation website, it states on the Yahoo version features
Prints messages to standard printers (RS-422)
The mailstation manual says on page 40
Using a parallel printer cable (IEEE-1284), connect your
MailStation to a printer that supports MS-DOS printing.
Now comparing the pinouts of an RS-422 (/http://www.hwb.acc.umu.se/co_RS422.html)to a parallel port (/http://www.hwb.acc.umu.se/co_ParallelPC.html), doesn't look like they're even remotely compatible, or could co-exist together.
Now I've looked at both the HP648C and P2250 and both are just USB/Parallel, nothing is said about a serial interface.
Ok, so I've been doing alittle more digging and this is what I've found. RS-422 is what Macs (not sure if new but definitely older) use instead of a parallel printer port. So even though the printer specs/manual say they're only USB and parallel, they DO support Macs, so they probably are RS-422 compliant.
I found some products out there that allow RS-232 to RS-422 conversion, but they're all pricey (by my standards at least)
/http://www.telebyteusa.com/catalog/products/63-2s.htm - $99
I can across this usenet post that might help as well.
For a one time, home use solution, just take the RS-232 signal from the
PC and connect it to the inverting RS-422 input through a 5K resistor.
Put 2 parallel diodes between the two RS-422 inputs. Ground the
non-inverting RS-422 input. The diodes keep the RS-422 from seeing more
than 0.7V. The 5K resistor terminates the RS-232 properly.
The RS-422 common mode voltage bounces around a bit, but it will work.
PC RS-232 ---------^^^^^ ---- RS-422 Inverting IN
output 5K |
^ V (2 diodes in
paralllel, | | opposite
GND ------ RS-422 Non-invert IN
Make of it what you will - but might be worth playing around with. I think I've got an old isa serial card sitting around. It wouldn't be the end of the world if I fried it, so I might give this a try. It's been awhile since I've pulled out my soldering iron and I need to get better at it - don't need my joints looking like I'm making lead bullets... :-p At that point, I don't know what I would do. I guess have my PC listen to the serial port as I power on the mailstation.
As a side note, I found that uBid has Mailstation's VERY cheap - $9 right now. They have 2 versions - one with Caller ID (I take it the old one - starts at $29) and one that doesn't give much info, but starts at $9. The pictures for both look like the old white ones, but at $9 + $10 for shipping, I'm ordering one.
I also came across some people comparing the Mailstation to a TRS-80 Model 100 - they do look VERY similar. The Model 100 has a 8x40 display and a decent sized keyboard. They're also pretty popular on ebay - going for $50+ right now...