Confession: Proactive wiring



  • These days, Juan is a consultant for Evil Empire products, but once upon a time he started out at the helpdesk of a government service in a small European country. In his office, a 10 floor building that was the pinnacle of architecture, had it been build in Kazakhstan in the 70s, there was a wiring closet on every floor except on the top one where their department resided. The wiring box on the 9th floor was responsible for both the 9th and the 10th, resulting in reasonably impressive patching with about 200 cables. It looked like a mess - a mess, this young IT professional was about to clean up. But not alone.

    "John, why hasn't anyone taken care yet of the hodgepodge of CAT cables on the 9th? A cat wouldn't find her kittens back there."

    John was small and round, moustached man in his 40s who still lived with his mother. He seldom spoke and, thinking of it, also seldom did anything else either. Still, he was in the office since the 80s, in a time that working for the government guaranteed a tenure. Like so many others, he had become a part of the furniture. Just like an old cupboard, he would stand (well, "sit" - or, occasionally, "lie") somewhere in a corner until someone asked whether he could do something, as long as it's not too complex.

    "I know you're very busy and stuff, but come and help me. We'll turn that box into patching paradise at 16:30, when most people on these floors are already home and can do with a network outage."

    There wasn't much of a plan: Juan and John would remove all of the cables (error #1) and then, one by one, put them nicely back in again, using cable zip ties. Because everyone used dynamic IP addresses, it didn't matter much who got connected to what port (error #2). It's all TCP/IP anyway (error #3).

    When the last cables where removed, Juan noticed accidentally that some cables had slightly different wiring. Although the connectors where RJ45, those cables only seemed to use 4 pins. A thought dawned on Juan. A horrible thought.

    "John... Aren't these telephone cables? Isn't the wiring of our phones in the cellar?"
    "Oh no. This closet is network and phone. My, it's 17:00 already. I've got to go. See you tomorrow!"

    And John was off, leaving Juan in a, er, patchy situation until 2:00; to sort the network cables and the phone cables; to run around the whole office to check which connector connects to which patch panel in the wiring closet and subsequently who owns which phone number and to which port on the phone switch the patch panel needed to connect; and to repatch all network cables. After a short night in the office (until 6:00), Juan found out about the concept VLAN too. Some very unhappy people could no longer reach the mainframes that were very picky about who could access them from where.

    It cost Juan a lot of blood, sweat and tears, but by 9:00 all was fine again. Bart, his boss, came in, unaware of what happened.

    "Good morning Juan. Say, didn't you want to reorganize the wiring closet on the 9th? I saw it on my way and it still looks terrible. Juan? Juan? Did I say something wrong? Juan?"


    True story, except for the names. Yeah, I tried a bit to write it in usual TDWTF style, but I'm not a native speaker so sorry if it isn't as good as the featured articles :)



  • @YellowOnline said:

    True story, except for the names. Yeah, I tried a bit to write it in usual TDWTF style, but I'm not a native speaker so sorry if it isn't as good as the featured articles

    It's pretty much spot-on, with less typos than the usual ones.


  • SockDev

    s/typos/@accalias/g



  • I would have said so, but he seems new here.


  • SockDev

    been here a bit ;-)



  • I'm often wrong.


  • SockDev

    as am i.

    on the off chance that it's me this time...

    :wave: Hi. i'm Accalia. i make so many typos that my name's become a byword for typos here. ;-)



  • Since 2009 actually. Never bothered to register in pre-Discourse times though. You could post anonymously back then. But I was never a big poster. The only 15 seconds of fame I had was a Featured Article called Gone Phishing.



  • Anyway, don't worry about apologizing for your English. It's what SO noobs do, and you perfectly replicated a feature article.


  • Fake News

    But do you still work there?



  • @YellowOnline said:

    Featured Article called Gone Phishing

    Home of "rampart stupidity".... :smile:



  • @YellowOnline said:

    put them nicely back in again, using cable zip ties

    If I catch anybody going anywhere near any of my wiring closets with a gleam in their eye and a packet of zip ties in their hand, I am gonna zip tie their scrotum to the back of their neck. Do I make myself clear?


  • mod

    And if that person happens to be scrotumless?

    <I'm going to regret this, aren't I?



  • I'm sure he can find something equally uncomfortable to zip tie.


  • mod

    On a eunuch, that may be difficult. Not necessarily impossible, just difficult.



  • Liver will do.

    I loathe needing to cut zip ties. If you're absolutely determined to impose some surface illusion of tidiness on wiring that isn't going to be exposed to mechanical stress, twist ties are all that's needed.



  • THE VELCRO KIND ARE TOPS. <tops>



  • Agreed.

    Twist ties, on the other hand, don't even need to be bought; every patch cable comes packaged with two of them, and if you just throw them in a bottom drawer instead of in the bin they will always be there when you need one.

    Best of all is to avoid needing cable ties altogether, by using the shortest possible patch cables that reach between the required endpoints and doing your best to avoid creating braids. If you absolutely must succumb to the kind of OCD itch that makes people think they need to tidy up a working wiring cabinet, do it by applying this principle one cable at a time starting with the longest cables in the cabinet.

    Cable ties belong on bundles of unavoidably long cable that all have to go in much the same direction. If you're just using them to scrunch together dangling loops of assorted cable that would otherwise be in your way, like the orange one in the photo above, you're doing it wrong; replace those, one at a time, with shorter cables.

    Edit: while I'm ranting anyway: documenting your wiring cabinets is a complete waste of time. The documentation will always end up containing errors, meaning that people who rely on it will have their time horribly wasted; also, maintaining the documentation costs more time than is ever going to be consumed by hand-tracing cables on the rare occasions when that's necessary. Wiring cabinets are their own documentation, and people who can't read them have no business messing with them.


  • mod

    @flabdablet said:

    documenting your wiring cabinets is a complete waste of time

    There is one level of documentation I find helpful: labeling cables that run from an endpoint to a switch. Essentially, I like to label each end of the cable with the name of the server it's for. If you stick to just end points, you don't end up with too many labels to read, but it at least helps with tracing one leg. And it's easy to maintain.

    Anything beyond that isn't worth the effort, in my opinion.



  • @abarker said:

    eunuch

    I was thinking more of someone who never had one to begin with, but of course to contemplate doing that to such a person would be perpetuating rape culture. Being an equal-opportunity zip-tyer would obviously be misogynistic. Violence toward someone with a scrotum is fine, though; in fact, they deserve violence because having a scrotum means they are privileged oppressors.



  • @abarker said:

    I like to label each end of the cable with the name of the server it's for

    I prefer to use a Sharpie to draw a matching pattern of black rings around both ends of any cable longer than 1 metre. That's enough to make it easy to trace a cable on its way through the tangle that invariably results from people other than me getting their hands inside the cabinet. It's also useful when cables have been tied into a bundle; I use it on fibre patch cables even shorter than 1m because those are thin enough to make bundling tidier than not bundling in most cases.

    The fact that the labelling carries no meaning beyond endpoint matching means that moving cables around can't generate misinformation about what they actually connect, and the marking being on the cable casing itself means it's not subject to adhesive failure.



  • As far as I know from the time I spent in India, penis and scrotum were removed and then the wound was burned to close. Subsequently they were forced to drink water so the pressure would create a hole for urination. So if they survived - which most didn't - there wasn't much to be tied.


  • SockDev

    What if they have a scrotum, but it isn't attached to them?



  • @flabdablet said:

    Sharpie to draw a matching pattern of black rings around both ends of any cable longer than 1 metre.

    I remember reading a story where the cabler used knots to identify each end of the cable and they were wondering why the network was so unstable, but my Google-fu is failing me...



  • Is it their own scrotum?


  • SockDev

    An irrelevant and trivial detail ;)



  • ha, we love an edge case :smiley: . I was reminded of this:

    It's not that I have anything against this product. It seems like a perfectly decent leather draw string bag in which to keeps one's treasures. I just don't think it should be called a "Lucky Pouch", I mean, who is lucky here? Certainly not the kangaroo, who is probably not hopping too well, if you catch my drift. When I had my cat neutered they took the oysters and left the pouches so this seems a bit backward to me.


  • SockDev

    they took the oysters and left the pouches

    :rofl:



  • @Zemm said:

    I remember reading a story where the cabler used knots to identify each end of the cable and they were wondering why the network was so unstable, but my Google-fu is failing me...

    Here you go - It's the 6th story from the end of the page:

    ...to his great surprise, found that every cable (10baseT - cat5) had various numbers of knots tied in each end...



  • Ah ha! Thanks. That's exactly the page I had read years ago.



  • Of course now I'm wasting time reading the stories...

    The customer had cleaned his keyboard by submerging it for a day in warm soapy water in his bathtub.

    I once cleaned my iMac aluminium keyboard by soaking it for about 10 minutes in the bath before putting the kids in. They had split some kind of conductive oil on it so it was basically wrecked anyway. I did dry it for a whole week before plugging it back in and it works fine!



  • I repaired many a printhead by soaking it for 5 minutes in lukewarm water and then drying it. The only effective way to free the holes from dried ink, excluding buying a new (expensive) printhead - which the printer company would like you to do.



  • @flabdablet said:

    I prefer to use a Sharpie to draw a matching pattern of black rings around both ends...

    :question: :question:
    @flabdablet said:
    ...the marking being on the cable casing itself means it's not subject to adhesive failure.

    :aha.moment: .... so, like resistor markings?

    http://www.minikits.com.au/image/cache/data/components/resistor3-500x500.jpg



  • @No_1 said:

    ...to his great surprise, found that every cable (10baseT - cat5) had various numbers of knots tied in each end...

    Idiot. Everyone knows that if you tie a cable, the Internet can't flow and may burst and spill all over the floor.


  • mod

    @flabdablet said:

    I prefer to use a Sharpie to draw a matching pattern of black rings around both ends of any cable longer than 1 metre. That's enough to make it easy to trace a cable on its way through the tangle that invariably results from people other than me getting their hands inside the cabinet. It's also useful when cables have been tied into a bundle; I use it on fibre patch cables even shorter than 1m because those are thin enough to make bundling tidier than not bundling in most cases.

    The fact that the labelling carries no meaning beyond endpoint matching means that moving cables around can't generate misinformation about what they actually connect, and the marking being on the cable casing itself means it's not subject to adhesive failure.

    The only trouble with that is coming up with enough unique ring patterns.


  • mod

    @YellowOnline said:

    As far as I know from the time I spent in India, penis and scrotum were removed and then the wound was burned to close. Subsequently they were forced to drink water so the pressure would create a hole for urination. So if they survived - which most didn't - there wasn't much to be tied.

    I … did not need to know that.



  • @abarker said:

    The only trouble with that is coming up with enough unique ring patterns.

    And having a steady enough hand to reproduce them consistently.



  • @abarker said:

    The only trouble with that is coming up with enough unique ring patterns.

    If you buy enough colors of Cat5, you could use that as a factor and minimize the patterns.

    Or you could just grab one of these things:

    Which is just as quick and as an added bonus works over any length of cat-5.

    BONUS GOOGLE IMAGE SEARCH RESULT FOR "FLUKE CAT-5 TRACER":



  • Ah yes, I knew this thread was missing something: furry porn.



  • Google Image Search always finds the image you need.

    Then three rows down, there's some WTF image in there too.



  • Well, I'm not exactly famous for my modesty. My English is good enough to differentiate were from we're, its from it's and their from they're. Writing a story, however, requires a feeling with a language that is hard to get* if it's not your mother tongue.


    * Even 20 years of reading Terry Pratchett didn't make me a great writer in English.†
    † Although I did inherit his usage of footnotes.‡
    ‡ And I do have both Brian's Common Errors in English Usage and Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable.



  • Well again, I wouldn't have guessed.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    I see you found your next avatar.


  • SockDev

    @blakeyrat said:

    I'm @accalia and I approve of this image result!



  • Tally of people who find this surprising:



  • @blakeyrat said:

    BONUS GOOGLE IMAGE SEARCH RESULT FOR "FLUKE CAT-5 TRACER":

    I don't know what's in your search history that would bring that up. I don't get anything like that at all.


  • SockDev

    @tharpa said:

    I don't get anything like that at all.

    it's probably just a

    @tharpa said:

    FLUKE

    :-P


  • SockDev

    Have you figured out what the girl on the right is meant to be? The one on the left is likely a spaniel (or other dog), but the one on the right has rabbit ears and a cat tail?


  • SockDev

    @RaceProUK said:

    Have you figured out what the girl on the right is meant to be? The one on the left is likely a spaniel (or other dog), but the one on the right has rabbit ears and a cat tail?

    hmm... no i havent, but now that you mention it it is rather ambiguous.

    /me makes a note to do some research



  • @accalia said:

    /me makes a not to do some research

    I'm going to not do some research, too.


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