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back to article Champion of competitive CAT-5 untangling is crowned

They came to the City of Angels to unravel the threads of destiny. Their gifts have been honed in plastic-shielded spiderwebs that writhe and twist in unspoken places. Sweating and seething. Endlessly toiling in the forgotten cavities of desks and closets. Indentured to their knots like vampiric shades. Yet no mean spirit could …

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I'm there

Sign me up! I am the wire untangling king amongst my colleagues. As a long time “wire man” I have often said that if I had a nickel for every wire I’ve untangled I’d be a rich man.

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Boffin

Excellent regulations

I checked the official regulations, and found this:

"The bundles are placed on a table at waist height. The beginning of time is sounded by the referee."

Quite how the referee travels to the origin of the universe isn't explained.

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re:official regulations

No doubt translated from Spanish; was in L.A.

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Happy

Mere Mortals

Why it only took myself 5 minutes to untangle about 100 5m cables....

Does it say in the rules (can't be bothered to read them) that you not to use Black and Decker Scorpion saws?

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Go

@By David Wiernicki

"The bundles are placed on a table at waist height. The beginning of time is sounded by the referee."

Quite how the referee travels to the origin of the universe isn't explained."

He doesn't travel to the begining of time, he "sounds" it by dropping a weighted cable to see how much time there is, just as sailors "sound" depths by using a weighted rope. This is important, as some cable tangles, such as the one under my desk, could not be untangled in as short a period as the age of the universe.

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Alert

How long did it take this guy to complete the challenge?

Need to know... Need to beat top score... Like PacMan all over again...

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Amateurs...

If they were at all serious about it, the rules would state that:

- at least three of the cables would have an end attached to a fixed point at floor level

- one of them (attached at both ends, of course) is deemed to be carrying critical data, and must not be disconnected. Breaking this connection results in disqualification.

- the entire competition takes place with competitors on the floor under a desk

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Anonymous Coward

A bigger challenge

A bigger challenge would be to untangle and reconnect a patch panel rack. We have some where you can't even see the patch panels behind the mass (mess) of cables.

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Linux

Missing a rule

Andrew had most of it correct but he needs to add a fourth rule.

While under the desk you need to have either a low end user or manager explaining how important this is, how busy they are, and how much work they have to do.

then it would almost be like being at work.

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Re: amateurs

And when they've mastered patch cables (which are after all easy because they don't kink badly and they slide over and through each other), they can move on to trickier tangles like:

* Christmas tree lights (extra bonus if all the lights still work when untangled)

* tiny silver jewellery chains worth about 60p but which somebody wants to wear to the function we should have left for ten minutes ago

* and for a gold medal, tackling my garden hose after it's woken up from its winter sleep in the shed.

That would sort the men out from the pimply faced youths ...

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Stop

Not Impressed

Meh, Wussies. Untangling a bunch of cables that can be lifted? Strictly for amateurs.

Anyone who’s cleared out a comms room knows what I mean. Where are the cabinet legs for wires to be wrapped around? Where are the patch panels to be unthreaded? Where are the multiple strata caused by the addition of an extra floor’s worth of infrastructure? How many cables were worn, had dodgy connectors, had some of the little locking lugs removed (can’t re-use them, it’s not worth the hassle) or even different colour end plugs? How many cable ties were used to hold random numbers of cables together? How many of the cables mustn’t be unplugged or else the building will lose its live connectivity?

Heck these guys could even stand up to do it.

Real untangling requires a minimum of three people with knives, all playing Twister with enough space to place huge piles on the ground. By the time you get to a self contained bit that can be lifted, it’s nearly home time: all you need to do is hold it up and shake it.

These guys are sprinters, Show us the Marathon Runners.

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Go

Need to know the time, I think they have some competition!

We really need to know the time, I reckon I too am king of cable untangling. What a claim that would be!!! Geek? Me? Never!

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Stop

Stop!

Do the cables have the "shoes" that stop the plastic lock from getting snapped off when you pull the cable?

There Should be another rule that the piece of cable is re-usable.

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Alert

a anothermissed opportunity?

why no video? surely this story is screaming for live action footage of the cloud method?!?!

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Paris Hilton

Prime time

I demand that we get this on TV at prime time on Saturday night. Much more interesting than the usual "Celebrity Pets On Ice" that the BBC wastes millions on at the moment.

(Paris, because looks like the kind of girl who knows one end on a piece of CAT-5 from another)

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@Van bussel etc: RTFM

If you'd read the rules, you see the cables have to still function after the untangling. This rules out cutting with skorpions, etc, and snapping off the shoes.

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Coat

There are only three sports...

... hunting, shooting and fishing. The rest are but games; but this, this is obsession.

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Not a real sport......

Championship dishwaser loading on the other hand..........

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Coat

Heh

Did you see the first prize? a $50 ticket for a meal at an Italian Restaurautn! lol

I'll get my coat, its the one with my name spelled wrong...

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Ben
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Happy

Interesting variant.:

Naked Cable untangling. Surely would help getting the sport more known....and safer* than naked darts.

It should be noted in the interests of good taste** this be only open to female competitors.

* not for males.....

** for given value of good taste.

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@Ben

It would certaily boost the ratings for the London Olympics

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Stop

Noooooooooo

It's taken years of rolled up newspapers, forced documentation, pizza and bribery to get our network team to embrace neat structured cabling and now you give them a reason not too.

Shame on you!

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Jen
Boffin

Amateurs

Real untangling needs to be done under the floor of a comms room 4 feet by 3 feet.

There must be a minimum of 2 inches of dust on the floor and around the bottom of the rack and walls, you know that weird "furry" stuff that looks like iron filings on magnet.

It should be at least 30 degrees C and the Air Conditionings only function is to blow more hot air, dust and dead spiders into the room.

The only light should come from a 10 year old 60 watt light bulb mounted in just the right way above the rack as to fully illuminate the top panel of the rack but leave the rest of the room and the sides of the rack in complete darkness.

There should be at least 10 live mains cables tangled in with the cat 5.

Your torch should have been fitted with already dead batteries and will last no more than 20 seconds (enough time to get into a tight turn just under the floor).

The comms room will also have been used by the maintenance staff to store their broken fluorescent tubes and there will be tiny shards of glass everywhere, not big enough to see or remove with your fingers, but just the right size to cause sharp, stabbing pain when you lean your hand on it.

Untangling should be performed just as lunchtime starts so as your colleagues walk past the comms room door on their way to a nice lunch they can see you slowly turning into the creature from the black lagoon as you get covered in sweat, dirt, spiders, dust, glass and more dust.

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@Nick L

Made me laugh, thanks.

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.....and in business clothes

You're a professional right... Don't forget cans of half open lacquer, paint, DDT etc. Some of the tangle has to be up high... room full of misc objects, but not enough room for a ladder. So you have to stack broken chairs, manuals etc to reach. Make sure the boot is on the cable solid, then make sure the boot is hard from age, so you can't depress the clips to remove them from the patch panel. Not like it matters, cuz the patch panel was designed to put the entire clip inside the jack, so you need to use your multi-tool knife to cut off the boot and pry out the clips. Make it impossible to complete, and set a deadline. Score based on number of 'fixed' runs.

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They call me the cable guy....

No, really, check our notes system at work, my rank is a level 63 cable guy.

Yes, our notes system is level based, everyone at work is a whorecraft geek, it's grim.

These guys are amateurs, 6 cables? That it? Wimps.

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And now a word from our corporate sponsor...

After you win the gold as an amateur, it's time to turn pro.

On to the CNBC building!

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Dead Vulture

Title

"Then the bundle is placed in a laundry dryer for approximately three seconds."

Or, as the linked rules state,

"The figure-8 structure is placed into a dryer, on high heat setting, for exactly three minutes"

Is one the Amateur and the other the Pro version?

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Meh, that's nothing...

I'll see you all! I used to work in lighting, there is nothing to compare to untangling a collection of DMX Data cables, single phase mains (13, 15, 16, 32 and 63Amp) three phase mains (32, 64 and 120Amp) multicore mains and the occasional multicore analogue -10v. All of these cablies are covered in a load of raver sweat (possilby also mud, if outdoor/festival) piled on a floor covered in God knows what, all at 7am in the morning after a 12hour rave. You also have to coil them properly (NOT OVERARM!!!) sort them and put them into the correct flight cases.

I claim cable king.

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Black Helicopters

@fraser

You are indeed the cable king. There wouldn't be parties without you guys. Respect ...

Nick (black helicopter symbol cos it looks like a laser in the woods)

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Pirate

@Fraser

It's the selfless buggers like you that make our festivals ROCK!!! I salute you!

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