back to article Why did I buy a gadget I know I'll never use?

It could get steamy in here. I have stripped off the layers and am now looking to turn up the heat. I’m looking forward to an afternoon of delightful tenderness with plenty of oohs and aahs. I certainly don’t want things to be chewy. Preparing the Brussels sprouts for Christmas dinner is always a challenge. The Dabbs …

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Steamed

I think the only thing that I have ever steamed is wallpaper, I doubt if even my mum's gravy would have made it taste edible, a bit like sprouts really.

There is some kind of cosmic rule that makes anything that looks useful but isn't, gravitate towards a storage space in preference to the rubbish bin, so even inanimate objects have survival traits.

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Headmaster

just one user, never used

Sorry, but if it has never been used, then you arent a user, merely an owner.

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Alert

Sprouts

Love 'em. Have, since I was a kid.

The wife now prepares them sliced, roasted with broccoli, garlic and onions, sprinkled with olive oil. Even better than steamed, IMHO.

Can't understand the hate for them. But then, I like broccoli as well.

I do despise eggs. They're OK as an ingredient, but not welcome alone. Something about the smell and the texture makes me retch. Quiche and custard are just the far side of what I can stand. I told my kids, "everyone's entitled to one irrational dislike"

As to hoarding...well, I'm an engineer, and I do tent to collect "stuff" which "might come in handy", "I'm going to fix" or "can't bear to throw it out". Ask my long suffering wife. But my hoarding is "almost" under control -- there are quasi-regular purges...perhaps it's time for another one.

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Re: Sprouts

As to hoarding...well, I'm an engineer, and I do tend to collect "stuff" which "might come in handy"...

Yes quite; moi aussi. Inside another of our kitchen cupboards (close to Madame's long - unused vegetable crisp maker (thank you Lakeland) is a single "whisk thing" being the last remnant of a defunct electric whisk that was consigned to recycling long ago.

Pointless? Well no; if put into the chuck of my battery drill it performs its original purpose extremely well, notwithstanding its "other half" not being around to help.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Sprouts

"Can't understand the hate for them."

IIRC it is genetic. To some people they taste very bitter. Although I think they have now bred some of the bitterness out of them - the sprouts that is.

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MJI
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Re: Sprouts

Another egg hater.

Except I like custard but could not eat a boiled egg as I would throw up.

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At CommsWonk, re: drill & whisk.

Oh dear lord, I've just discovered someone else who has done that trick too?

My dad (RIP) pulled that trick once in mums kitchen & while I thought it was cool she nearly tore off his head for the mess he made. (If you fail to turn it off BEFORE you pull the whisk from the bowl it flings goop everywhere.)

I did a slightly modified version of the same thing many years later, using a Dremmel tool instead of a full sized drill. It took a little longer to mix the ingredients, but it also didn't make a hideous mess when my son (about 6yo at the time) yanked the contraption from the mixing bowl "and turned it on to see what made the noise".

I've since given up on using "alternate tips" with any drill-like power tool, at least around the kid whom might figure out some new, creative, & inventive lethal stunt to pull with it.

=-Jp

So enjoy a pint for evoking that memory, I'll probably finish laughing over it sometime next Tuesday. =-D

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Re: At CommsWonk, re: drill & whisk.

Ah... but a whisk in a drill is great for stirring paint. Just be darn sure to turn if off before removing it from the paint can. Don't ask how I know this.

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Re: sprouts cannot be fried

This is not only wrong, but IMHO the only way to eat them; gently sauted in a pan with lardons

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Re: sprouts cannot be fried

one man's frying is another man's sauté...

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I have:

- Two Video Backer cards (ISA card that outputs a recordable video stream that you can then play-back to get about 2Gb of data backups on a 3 hour VHS tape).

- A SyQuest Sparq drive (think ZIP drive, but with 1Gb disks and a parallel port interface / DOS driver).

- A serial cable that is about 20m long and is made up of every possible combination of M/F/25/9-pin serial cables in series, plus gender changers and adaptors (this once was the basis of a two-computer "Ethernet" network using an old DOS packet driver that nobody can find any more - used to play IPX and TCP/IP games over it under DOS / Windows 3.1).

- A similar chain of USB, mini, micro, full-size, male, female, etc. adaptors/gender changers.

- A floppy drive for an IBM Thinkpad from out of the Ark (a 360? Which I still have)

- A modem-based VPN device that you could dial into to talk to local Ethernet / serial lines, I think it's datestamped 1980-something.

- PS/2 and even serial ball-mice (I kept the serial as you could play The Settlers in DOS split-screen if you had a PS/2 and a serial mouse)

- A Trust-branded VGA -> TV convertor that can just about make a mess of putting 800x600 VGA into a standard coax signal if you don't mind missing half the screen and it being all wibbly.

- A box full of proper non-Winmodems, which I still use to form the basis of fax->email systems in places that still have analogue lines. Sadly these are on the verge of retirement, however.

- A PCMCIA GSM data card. Pretty much far too expensive to use even when it was possible, but did at one point form part of a PCMCIA-only laptop that was a router / gateway / firewall for my home network - PCMCIA 56K modem, PCMCIA 10BaseT Ethernet, PCMCIA GSM data card, all in the same machine and it managed my home network for years, after booting from a single floppy (Freesco/Linux).

- Bags of other stuff.

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I had all that stuff in the basement

... and then we had a fire in the basement. We lost some useful stuff, but also a ton that was no longer needed...

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Re: I had all that stuff in the basement

... and then we had a fire in the basement. We lost some useful stuff, but also a ton that was no longer needed...

The fire wasn't in the basement (the rest of the house was totaled though) but the fire was a very cold February, and the parts were stacked in the basement, right where a lot of water drained down. Lost some of the rarer/unusual Model-M keyboards there (one with a trackball, another with the extra PF function keys).

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Minoru 3D webcam

Red/green glasses supplied. Used once, one careful owner. Offers...

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Anonymous Coward

Packaging

Just wondered, but does anybody else keep the packaging? I have in my attic, every box for everything I've bought in the last 11 years. You know, just in case I need to return it to the manufacturer.

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Re: Packaging

Just wondered, but does anybody else keep the packaging? I have in my attic, every box for everything I've bought in the last 11 years. You know, just in case I need to return it to the manufacturer.

Yes, but I've become smart about it. I put the date acquired on it, and when the warranty has expired I put it in the bin/recycling. Gets checked twice a year (in the fall when putting things in storage, and in the spring taking them back out).

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Packaging

"You know, just in case I need to return it to the manufacturer."

They look nice in a picture on ebay - especially if you left all the special function cables in it for safety . For some collectors the original boxes are important - especially if in near pristine condition eg Dinky toys.

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Re: Packaging

I always keep hold of the packaging but not *in case* I need to return the product: it's *because* I will definitely need to return it *because* it will definitely break down / fail to function / fall to bits. In some shops, I wonder whether to go straight from the till to the returns desk and save myself time.

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TRT
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Hushme.

The bane of the office. And the Bane.

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PTW

I'll raise you...

A tub full of m/m, f/f 9 pin serial connectors, 9 pin to 25 pin serial converters in various m/f guises, and a hand full of serial loop back plugs.

Oh! And Neo Geo Art of Fighting cartridge and a Neo Geo to Jamma board

Now I feel old

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Categories

1.) Gadgets that turned out to be genuinely easy and time saving to use, but are impossible to assemble, clean or pack away ( this includes pop-up kids play house that somehow doesn't fold back again the way the instructions describe it, and probably those pop-up tents). So no one dares to use them. For example we had a juice extractor that worked really well, but the lip across the top meant that the pulp just wouldn't ever wash out.

2.) Gadgets that just never quite live up to the promise

3.) Gadgets that have an anonymous looking lead that isn't permanently attached and can't be found, let alone identified, or essential components such as nozzles, chuck keys etc. that can never be found within a reasonable amount of time or effort when needed.

4.) Gadgets that are too big or heavy to actually be at hand when you need them - often taking longer to access than doing the job the old-fashioned way ( see 1 above).

5.) Gadgets or components who's purpose has been forgotten - possible part of 3.) above - that can't just be slung out because the purpose may be remembered when needed

6.) Gadgets that are kept because the essential missing bit might turn up one day - and bits that are kept in case the gadget that requires them suddenly reappears. Neither of these can be matched up with one another.

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When you're old and retired, I hope one of those giant stacks of magazines (or DVD's if you prefer) in your home does not collapse on you.

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Anonymous Coward

My DVD collection is in four large storage bookcases and probably totals 3000 or so***. When I get too old to do anything else I'll probably get round to watching a few of them.

In the meantime my neighbours' son keeps borrowing from the collection - and that is effectively a black hole situation. At the moment he turns up his nose at anything rated 12 or above.

***I keep trying to devise a cheap automated cataloguing system to avoid the classification dilemmas involved in "genre" groupings. Inadvertent duplicate/triplicates from the charity shop solve that problem to some extent.

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Please don't mention spiders in atics

I still shudder when I remember, years ago, looking in a box in the atic and there was a spider the size of my hand. I have a 9 inch span between the tip of thumb and little finger when my fingers are splayed. It really was that fucking huge, body was size of a 5p, with seriously hairy legs. Thanks for the memory :(

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Re: Please don't mention spiders in atics

"I was grinning along as I read this until I got to the bit about the drum of telephone cable."

On one of our house moves one of the juniors in the removal team admitted to being an apprentice joiner. And that he was scared off spiders and even disliked their webs. I think he was training for the wrong job.

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Shall we start some sort of reg readers tech junk freecycle group? then all the junk can circulate .

Although I wont be able to contribute much - these days employers wont let old Hardware off site unless they've paid through the nose for some licensed cowboy to take it to India and chuck it in a ditch.

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Pint

"...an external USB floppy disk drive..."

Me too.

Upon delivery, when I went to test it, I couldn't immediately find a file small enough to fit within the 1.44MB capacity of the 3.5-inch floppy media. Hilariously, I had to open up Notepad and create a little .txt file just to test the drive.

Annoyingly, the drive works fine. But it successfully reads 0.000% of all my legacy 3.5-inch disks.

There goes $6 (Shipped from China) down the drain...

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Pint

"...And that Wi-Fi webcam..."

Only one unused Wi-Fi camera?

I have three. Unused.

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Don't let this man near a car boot sale*.

"Children do this with lost dogs. I do it with IT gadgets."

Oh God, yes. I see some neglected piece of quality hifi or IT stuff and I have to "rescue" it.

*For our transatlantic readers: garage sale or flea market

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A client had one of these http://www.constructor-storage.com/Global/Constructor-Group/Images/Products/Storage-Machines-and-WMS/Vertical-Carousell-Paternoster/Vertical-Carousell-Paternoster_6_large.jpg in their despatch area. It would make the perfect kitchen accessory for storing the other kitchen accessories.

I'd need another in the study/office/computer room/storage area for all the computer stuff.

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Law of nature ...

There is a law of nature that I don't have a name for that states:

"Whenever you throw away something that you have never used for years, you will desperately need to use it within a week."

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Re: Law of nature ...

NOTTAGE (n.)

Nottage is the collective name for things which you find a use for immediately after you've thrown them away.

For instance, your greenhouse has been cluttered up for years with a huge piece of cardboard and great fronds of gardening string. You at last decide to clear all this stuff out, and you burn it. Within twenty-four

hours you will urgently need to wrap a large parcel, and suddenly remember that luckily in your greenhouse there is some cardb...

(Douglas Adams, John Lloyd - The Meaning of Liff)

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Long time lurker, only recently started posting around the place, and now I get a chance at the traditional "here's a correction, but I wont send it via the corrections link, coz that didn't work for me and I can't be bothered dealing with it manually".

There's a dangling /li tag in the list in the article.

Now I need a "you're new here, aren't you?" and my initiation is complete.

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Happy

@ onefang

You're new here, aren't you?

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Re: @ onefang

"You're new here, aren't you?"

And now my welcome is complete. B-)

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Trollface

Re: @ onefang

And now your conversion to the dark side is complete.

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Re: @ onefang

"And now your conversion to the dark side is complete."

But but but... I started on the darker side. I got lighter? I guess that'll be good for my diabetes then.

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Happy

Hoarding has saved me a few times

Much to the chagrin of my boss, and other corporate 'leaders', I save a lot of things at work that they don't understand why I'm keeping them. The "5S" mentality. (mine is more like 5F)

But when a 15-year old production system that they've been too cheap to upgrade for a few generations goes down, and I can dig through my bin and find the funky power supply or proprietary controller card needed to fix it and have production running in an hour, instead of in weeks and with $$$$$ they are occasionally a bit more appreciative.

Of course being able to rescue this old crap repeatedly does add to the complacency about ever upgrading...

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2 Words

2 words for someone who thinks that brussel sprouts must be steamed, and goes to this much trouble just to do so: Sous Vide.

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Ahem

Sprouts can and indeed should be fried, stir fried at high heat in fact. Tail and quarter the sprouts from the base. Then get a high smoke point oil very hot in a good wok. Stir fry the sprouts with a sprinkling of salt and pepper until not just browned by slightly charred.

They go nutty. My wife who can taste the bitter in vegetables and used to hate sprouts now actually requests that I cook them that way.

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Coat

And we know, we just KNOW, that, if we throw a certain gadget/cable/adapter away today, in about a week's time there will finally come the perfect opportunity, nay, the absolute NEED, to use the damn thing...

(That also goes for coats. Like the heavy ones I brought, from my many years in the US, to Brazil.)

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Re: Sprouts

I always loved the old Christmas time holiday advert (I think it was Thomson's Holidays) showing a large tureen of steaming sprouts with the tag-line "It's time to leave the country"!

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Random "gift" culture: well meaning consumerism.

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The missus has a long standing competition with her best friend - who can find the most useless kitchen accessory - which is used as a gift to the other.

As for sprouts, they taste the same as urine smells, and any attempt to make them palatable can be simplified and improved by not including them in the first place.

Also referred to as "budgie heads" and "little green balls of death"

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HAXBY (n.)

Any garden implement found in a potating shed whose exact purpose is unclear.

(Douglas Adams, John Lloyd - The Meaning of Liff)

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More or less all of the above...

But (and this is a big but) - what about the stuff that sits there inbetween all the other stuff, except that there is no way to account for how it got there? I'm not talking about "oh, I forgot I had this". I'm talking about stuff that just materialises or congeals out of it's own will or from a parallel universe. Do tools and IT kit breed when we're not looking?

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Happy

Sprouts - love 'em

Apparently i'm the only one in the house who does, though.

As for parts? Still have my QIC drive and tapes, dual floppy drive, hordes of cables and old drives.

But wait! There's more. Boxes of screws, nails, nuts, bolts in various sizes, shapes, and metals (steel, copper, brass, bronze, aluminium); miscellaneous hardware (hammer head wedges) and saw handle bolts.

My only collecting problem is not enough space.

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Holmes

Re: Sprouts - love 'em

>My only collecting problem is not enough space.<

...and you think that affliction is rare enough to warrant inclusion as a notable feature?

I have a garage [full] a shed [full] an outhouse [full] a study [full] and a whole wall dedicated to storage of stuff that will be indispensable - tomorrow.

I am definitely going to have a clear-out this spring (New Year resolution #2006- 3)

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