Memorizing network ports and troubleshooting printers

Hello, so I tried to memorise list of network ports.basically it is a number and a name of port

80 is like TCP
1396 is something else and like that.
I was trying to use the peg method and remember the actual numbers and definitions of the port. So I was linking all 3 together. Its was really hard,and I wasnt successful. Any advice please?? Thanks

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Do you have a number system yet, like the major system? (If you haven’t seen it yet, there is a free ebook that introduces number systems.)

I would make images for the port numbers and then an image for the fact to remember (like TCP) and then link the two.

Peg Peg Image Fact Fact Image
21 aNTelope FTP I’d picture my old FTP program (Filezilla)
22 oNioN SSH Someone saying “shhhh” or a padlock
80 ViSor HTTP A web server

Then link the two images:

  • Antelope + Filezilla
  • Onion + padlock
  • Visor + web server

If you aren’t memorizing every single number, and you want to keep them in order, you could place the linked images in a memory palace.

If you’re still having trouble, post more details about what you’ve tried, and we could brainstorm ideas.


so i used nelson dellis book, e had a number system, up to a 100 and had word attached to it. the problem was i was memorizing 3 things, like prt 81 and lets say FTP for example. i was linking all 3 things together, i was took the alphabet peg method and was trying to connect all 3. it was really difficult. im not memorizing them now,its just been bothering me.

so are you saying dont use the peg method?just use major? that makes sense now. problem is i havent memorized any systems yet. cause the dillema was i was memorizing 3 things,and the fact that i didnt have a system made it harder.

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Sorry, I didn’t see your replies until now.

In my example, the Major System is being used as a peg system. A peg system can be made up of any list of things that you can keep in order: numbers, letters, etc.

Sorry I wasn’t being clear, how do you memorize

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@andrushky17, there’s several techniques involved in what I’ll suggest to you to do but if you have any questions about them, let me know. These are my own methods and you can always change them up for something that you are more familar with if it works for you.

First you’l need someplace to store your ports if you want to traverse them all. If all you need is a lookup from protocol name to port number or vice versa, you could skip this part. It doesn’t look like there are too many ports required for your A+ exam so maybe a journey would work. If you have to remember a lot more, then a palace would be a better choice. The Vancouver port area might be a good place to take a journey to place your port number images permanently.

In the Google maps image, I see eight umbrellas that look like ant hills so I’ll connect that up with the first protocol. I’ll let you select the other locations along the way to connect the other protocols to. But make sure to write out your list and your images so you can review them later and make them detailed.

Here’s my list of your first six protocols. I use the Major system to convert the digits to number pegs.

Port Number peg Protocol (meaning) Protocol image Combined visual sentence
21 ant FTP (file transfer) file cabinet on wheels from their anthills, an army of ants push file cabinets down the sidewalk into the ocean.
22 nun SSH (secure server) locked computer a nun using a ruler to pry open a locked computer
23 gnome Telnet (terminal) old monitor a gnarly gnome sitting in front of an old monitor
25 noel SMTP (simple mail) mailman with messenger bag a mailman carrying a sack full of Christmas cards
53 lamb DNS (name to IP) phone book, phone switchboard a lamb connecting cables on a phone switchboard
67-68 sheik, shave DHCP (auto IP config) Dora the Explorer in net stockings (the 4 phases) Dora the Explorer in net stockings giving a shave to a bearded sheik

I opted for a meaningful image for the protocol instead of a substitute word helping you understand the usage of it. Psychology tells us that sticks better in memory. I tend to modify the images if there are conflicts of similar imagery in the list. POP3 should be more like a mail truck with a popping muffler to make it distinct.

If you run into a difficult one, let me know and I’ll offer a suggestion, but I hope these examples will start you on your way to passing the exam.

Edit: I forgot the TCP and UDP part. Maybe you could use a mirror to show the checksum type of communication for TCP. UDP doesn’t have that so it would just be a plain image. Both would be two images, one reflected. Let me know if that works.


I merged the part about network ports into this older thread so that it’s all in one place.


I think I finally understand my confusion, how do you remember any info that is nested? because if you remember a list with just single items its not as hard you just linking single things. but when the info becomes nested what do you do? for example a list of vocal words, you need to attach the word to the peg or loci, but then you also need to know the defenition. so are you creating three links or associations? its not as simple as a single pice of info, thats my confusion.

With vocabulary, you can link the mnemonic for the word to the mnemonic for the meaning of the word. If you’re using the method of loci, you can then place the compound image into the location of a memory palace.


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so what if its other nested information? do you understand the previous question? do you have all three images interact with each other? they don’t teach that for any memory techniques, unless I missed it. they teach to attach only one thing whether its a peg or link or a loci. hope im making you get my dilemma??

I have to remember nested info, it’s not just attach one thing to a loci. It’s confusing, I’ve tried to read a lot of stuff on memory and I can’t really find the answers.thanks

OK, @andrushky17, what you are asking for is more than a short answer so here’s a tutorial that I wrote to answer your question. This covers so many different techniques in designing a mnemonic that I understand how it was difficult for you to come up with a good answer. After you get comfortable using the basic techniques, putting them together like I did below will become much easier I hope.

Memory systems are built up from visual images created from words (test page = paper with red marks on test questions). Visual images are made better by putting them into more detailed images which can be expressed as sentences. For instance the two sentences that are about scanning or printing a test page would be

  1. You put a test paper with red marks on the glass platen of the printer and eyeballs underneath scan it from top to bottom.
  2. You press a red pen icon on a button on the printer, and somebody writes on a paper with red marks inside the printer and is then output.)

The main topic of all the information is troubleshooting a printer. It’s sick. It needs a doctor. We are the doctor and we will want to remember all ten of the items that will get it well. Ten items might require a peg system if you knew a peg system you’d like so that you can go to the item that you want to remember. But a narrative is easier to adapt and less complex. You may use a peg system to convert some information and add to the images later.

Lists of items like narratives and peg systems require a well-known ordered set of keywords that you can then associate the information you want to remember with. In addition, in my usage, I always specify a background and an explicit traversal method. The backgroud suggests itself as a doctor’s office. I need ten different subjects, items or locations that I can store the ten troubleshooting sections with. The best type of system for items is one built on locations (commonly called a palace or a journey and both types are called a method of loci). Do not select items in the doctor’s office to work with. This is a bad practice in my opinion and not a method of loci (by position).

The ten different locations/keywords must be ordered by a narrative or a rule. I favor the narrative in this case because of the chronological nature of a doctor or vet’s visit. The rule based palace could be used because you could just as easily pick out locations by walking down the hall looking in the rooms in an ordered left-to-right or a clockwise manner. My narrative, called a journey, is an imaginary one which requires us to provide much detail, but if you have familiarity with another, please try it. A real location has tons of detail to work with and we end up trying to ignore the detail. The locations, or terrains as I call them, have to be spaced out to be usable and don’t always work with a rule easily. My journey would involve these areas:

  1. the entrance of the medical building where you bring in the printer and “its food”, a ream of paper with you. The printer is on all fours and being led by a leash. Maybe the building is shaped like a laser printer also.
  2. the registration desk area
  3. the waiting room area
  4. the weight check area
  5. the exam room area
  6. the doctor’s office area (because he needs to approve more tests)
  7. the x-ray room
  8. the x-ray image viewing room with large illuminators
  9. the scheduling desk for the next appointment
  10. the pharmacy at or near the medical building (maybe optional)

The first section in troubleshooting a printer is testing the printer. Imagine there’s a living being in the printer who is able to write very fast and because it’s a scanner also, he has large eyeballs. He’s able to walk into the medical building because his four feet stick out of the printer case. Let’s call him Blinky. Blinky is sick. We have to fix that.

The first piece of the next level of information actually presents a problem. It’s a union of two independent sentences that need to be connected. When there are several connected pieces of information or visual sentences, you have to create either a narrative or use a peg system. Peg systems are for long lists of more than five to seven and require building a separate scaffolding. A narrative is more for a short group like this one and is less complex. Narratives usually create links between the two sentences by using previous keywords in the next sentence. So we elaborate on the eyeballs a little and visualize a hand connected to the eyeballs (make up your own scanner creature) that presses the test button on the printer.

The next piece of nested information will be a continuation of the narrative because there are less than five items. We will use the style of a narrative that is a subject driven or a protagonist who will connect it together. That would be our printer/scanner creature Blinky. This is called the story. The test print or scan is in Windows and not the application so Blinky has to be in a window. I see his hand reaching through the window to press the test button and maybe looking through a 4-panel window under the glass platen. Being in Windows rules out the application driven printing but you could reinforce that with Blinky throwing an apple (application, not a Mac) at you through the window.

Now you have one story which should be stored at the entrance of the medical building. What’s the connection between your scared sick pet Blinky and the entrance? Well, stories need lots of elaboration so we’ll make up an action of Blinky having to provide his credentials of a test paper first before he can enter the building and a guard at a guard station with a red pen checking it. The guard station is a location within a location and solves the problem of nested groups of information.

The next section will continue the story where the guard has checked Blinky’s test page but he needs to test him in a special area. He tells Blinky to please step over on the diagonal (diagnostics) lines please. This diagonal lined area acts as a second location within the main location of the entrance. Now we need a story or a peg system for the next six items. I’m still in favor of a story.

The guard directs our Blinky into a corner of the diagonal lined area where there are lots of spider webs and the guard wipes them off him. He then sticks a fancy thermometer into his mouth and gets his temperature and more data. Blinky wears a collar about his “breed” (vendor information) and the guard writes down his internal info as well as the collar info. The collar is old and frayed so the guard orders another new collar on the internet. But he has a few plain generic collars just in case you want them, but you like the better ones online. The guard is pleased with the results of finding nothing but offers a take-home diagonal lined box the size of a pair of boots (LiveCD = bootable system) that plays music from a CD for making our scared Blinky a little more calm.

Making stories requires quite a bit of detail and then review to make them stick but since this is information that will not change, it’s worth creating a distinct system. The important part of working at this level with peg systems or narratives is to make sure to write them down so they make sense and combine the visual words/sentences logically.

The next location in our printer troubleshooting journey is our registration desk and will be connected to your words and sentences you create for bad output. Blinky is not feeling well and is coughing up badly printed paper all over the person who is collecting our information at the desk. I noticed that there was a separate section in the second column of bad output also. Do you want to combine these two? We could drop the pharmacy if that is the case.

Final print images would be stored at the waiting room and paper jam images would be stored at the weight check area. I don’t understand why the section is called a final print so it’s hard for me to come up with a relevant image. When you don’t have relevancy you choose a substitute word by similar sound. For final print, I would pick funnel for bad prints. In the middle of the waiting room is a funnel that all the sick printers throw their bad colored and smudged output into. It funnels the paper into a trash truck below. The paper jam is a ream of paper stuck under the weight scale. It rips as you pull it out. Oops, you pulled some wires out too.

See what you can do to work out the rest of the images. This is an advanced exercise. You really need to conquer all of the less difficult individual parts first but I’ve tried to give you the overview and a structure to follow. See if the images stick with you after you review them a few times, and then add more detail or reinforcement if they don’t. If you need help with an image or want some feedback, let me know.


interesting, I think you answered my question. so basically make a memory palace and integrate a story in it. I’ve read nelsons delis book about memory and he uses link method and creates a story to remember all the presidents.its very cool.

wow its really cool how you did this. I have to take the Comptia A plus, I saw you talk about programming before, do you work in the field? CS or IT? so yea I gotta memorize a lot of stuff. So do you recommend a journey for everything? I was thinking that if I need to know the order I need to use the link method. ill try to use the journey, I get the idea of all the systems, its just implementations hard and getting confused if I have a nested info, cause it becomes recursive. thank you so much for taking your time


That’s a good summary, @andrushky17. Except that my palace is a journey and is based on a flexible narrative rather than a pre-planned set of pegs. You’d have to learn the pegs well first for that one. This way you can jump in fast and learn the narrative logic as you go. One visual sentence such as one president or full stories to remember lots of details are what hang on the pegs.

I taught apps, programming, and business for corporate clients and am slowly retiring. I stayed mostly a software guy and never did the A+. My local library has a free O’Reilly Safari access so I checked the All-In-One A+ Certification Exam Guide by Mike Meyers and the chapter on Printer Troubleshooting and it looked like you might want to study some too!

I like journeys if you don’t have a good reusable peg system in your head. My favorite peg system right now is my body palace with 11 locations and I’ve reused that three or four times. I’m working on generic house item pegs with 100 items in it that I’m expanding to 200 soon.

Glad you found the info helpful!