The HIJINKS ENSUE STORE Is where you can buy stuff that I made! It supports me and my family and keeps this little operation going.

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Every time I have to roll my own network cables (as I did last night), I creep a little closer to the edge of reason and to a true understanding of madness.

COMMENTERS: Is there a device, item or process in your life that just seems defective by design? Something that was obviously originated with no concern for those who would actually be using it, or how they would need to use it? Alternately, please come up with your own Mnemonic for the CATV color order (G, Gw, Ow, Bl, Blw, O, Brw, Br or the reverse). The more convoluted and impossible to remember the better.

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  1. There's actually an industry standard mnemonic for Cat5 cabling order: They Sell These Dirt Cheap At Fry's In Any Length You Could Possibly Need But I Have Two Spools In The Garage So I Still Refuse To Buy Them Pre-Made.

    The mnemonic for resistor color-coding is easier to remember, though.

  2. In the What Were They Thinking?!?! category: scissors designed to cut through those insanely annoying sealed-edge clamshell plastic packages – that are packaged in the same kind of clamshell plastic package as they're designed to cut through.

    • Nope. So do I. Also, useful skill. Myintern hates me after making her do it over and over again until she could do it right every time.

  3. I used to love crimping cat5, but the place I worked used their own convention. So the order that I got used to was alphabetical by color name, solids then stripes, so it was Blue, Blue/White, Brown, Brown/White, Green, Green/White, Orange, Orange/White. WiFi came around before I ever learned the "other" standard. And the only pnemonic that would have been useful to me would have been one to help me find the goddamn crimper. I have like 7 of them scattered around my house, because of Farris's reasons. Buy premade cables just cause I can't find my crimper? Eff that! I've still got 700 feet in my basement!

  4. With every big home improvement project we did (painting, putting up drywall, putting down tile, installing light fixtures, laying sod, networking the whole house with in-wall Cat 6 ethernet) I finished by saying "Well, we did that. Next time we'll just pay someone."
    Step 2: get someone to pay me for something, so I can pay other people to do my house projects.

  5. Try doing fibre patching, a fusion splicer is fun the first few times and then it is a machine of fiddly torture

    Alternatively, buy the two part cat5 connectors, there's a little bit that you thread the 8 wire through, and then trim the excess, and then that goes into the plug and gets crimped, it is seriously a thing of beauty. Spoken by someone who was stuck on a project where colour coding 4 cables from platform in about a 90ish platform system was deemed important. cut to length, crimp, test, if test failed die a little more inside and recycle cable to make one of the shorter cables. Repeat.

  6. The remote controls to all of my DVD players seem to have been designed to be counterintuitive. I mean, those things only need eight buttons, but each one has 50 or so, all the same size, with no discernable hierarchy.

    • Just got a Sony Blu-Ray player, and all the buttons for playing, fast forward, stop, etc. are at the bottom of the control! WTF! As you hold the control precariously in your hand, you have to curl your thumb back towards your wrist in an attempt to push the buttons…it is ridiculously awkward. What genius at Sony thought, "Hey, we'll put all of the buttons that get high use at the bottom of the control, not the middle or top where they would be easiest to reach. It is the worst controller I've ever had for a tv, vcr, or dvd player.

  7. Why are they re-crimping a cable that is literally pissed away free? I've got the length of the moon and back from all the times I've returned/repaired my cable modems.

  8. Oh my GOD. In the vein of previous comments, clamshell packaging. CLAM. SHELL. PACKAGING. It has been the bane of my existence since they started using it. I know that for some items, it protects them from damage, and others, it protects them from theft or being easily lost… but when they started using those damn things, I kept crying out in rage, at the fact that they seemingly did not want me to actually use the item I had spent a whole lot of money on.

    I still hate them passionately, to this day, and wish they'd go back to the more eco-friendly cardboard and boxing paper of yore, but I've learned to be more aggressive with the plastic. I'm emotionally armed against it. I guess that I will live, but I still don't honestly understand why so many things come in that damned adamantine-like plastic.

    • Kids toys are the worst offender. They current trend is for every toy and all of it's accessories to be on display so each item is snuggly fit into a bubble of plastic then individually tied in with either rubber covered wire or paper twine. We've taken to opening most of our daughters Xmas toys the night before so she doesnt have to wait 20 minutes for each thing to be properly freed from its prison.

  9. RJ45, like the electrical spade connectors have differing grades of supplier quality.
    Some are easy and solid, other cheap (or overpriced) ones a waste of time.

    Yay for wireless. (especially for fast setup lan-parties). So no longer does some idiot going for food take down hours worth of fighting M$ incompatibilities.

    • That's actually why I got cheap wireless mics for my Karaoke partys. One rogue mic cable and you've got 4 drinks knocked over and a PA system crashing to the floor.

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