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 …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Half a million years of evolution

    The A Africanus whose progeny survived was the one who thought "That rock looks like it might make a good axe - I'll add it to my collection". Fast forward half a million years and a characteristic which now has no real selection advantage persists because it has no real disadvantages either.

    1. Rich 11 Silver badge

      Re: Half a million years of evolution

      no real disadvantages either

      Excepting a threat from the missus that unless you chuck all that junk out, pronto, there's zero chance of you ever becoming a father (or, worse, of getting the pre-fatherhood practice in that evening).

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Half a million years of evolution

        ..and the day after, she asks you to do something/fix something and the bit you need just went off to the tip. Don't tell her so if you value your life. Just go buy a new whatever you just chucked away. In fact, get two, just in case. And whatever ever else might on offer that looks like it might be useful :-)

  2. Admiral Grace Hopper

    Interference

    It's not helped by well-intentioned but inappropriate gifts. I was bought and Amazon Echo Dot at Christmas which I really must put on eBay. I certainly don't intend ever taking it out of the box.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge
      Big Brother

      Re: Interference

      I bet it's in there brute-forcing local wifi, listening, and uploading. You can never have too much vital marketing information.

      1. elDog Silver badge

        Re: Interference

        And conspiring with eBay (or Amazon store?) to make sure you never can sell it. Blackmail?

    2. Daedalus Silver badge

      Re: Interference

      I pulled my Echo out of the drawer over Xmas to mollify the daughter who gave it to us. After I remoted James Marshall Hendrix Esq. into it a few times it got disconnected.

    3. Shadow Systems Silver badge

      Re: Interference

      My mum got into the habit of sitting down just after the new year, sorting through all the collected stuff, & either selling it online (Craig's list, Ebay, etc), giving it away to charity (thrift stores, church donation boxes, etc), or outright chucking it in the bin.

      Anything she hasn't seen/used since the last sorting automaticly gets added to the "Gotta go" pile; anything used less than a dozen times (1x/month) gets added to the "probably gone" pile; and anything used more than 1x/month is removed from the collection & moved to someplace it'll be more conveniently located.

      The upshot of this is that the collection is kept manageable, the hoarding tendancies of my dad (RIP) were kept from driving her to murder him in his sleep, & it's given me the impetus to do likewise.

      Now I sit down just after the new year among my own collection & start sorting into the same three catagories.

      Everything that gets kicked out the door gets sent to charity rather than sold, meticulously listed for tax purposes, & written off said taxes come time to hand said paperwork over to my local taxman.

      I can claim fair market value for everything I donate, which is invariably far more than I could have sold it for otherwise, & get a fat refund cheque back shortly afterwards when the taxmen realize I've just donated a small fortune.

      "Did you *really* donate nearly 5K worth- what's this? Ah, the receipt from the charity to whom you made the donation... Itemized. In alphabetical order. Counter signed by the charity. *Sigh* Fine. Approved. Expect your cheque in two to three weeks..."

      *Gleeful squeal*

      So all that crap I will probably never use ends up making me money rather than occupying what little storeage space I have left down in my cave.

      *Does an arms outstretched, tripping the light fantastic, dancing twirl in the middle of the room*

      Free! Free! I'm free of all the crap!

      *Cough*

      Frog pills. Definitely time for my frog pills...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Interference

        "My mum got into the habit of sitting down just after the new year, sorting through all the collected stuff, & either selling it online (Craig's list, Ebay, etc)"

        Selling it online? That would make you, what, four years old, right?

        Back in my day, the parents just gave the shite to more distant relatives and hoped that it didn't come around again. Crap like car-door kettles, Pifco buttoneers, and such like. The point of the gift was in the giving, and therefore it didn't matter WHAT you gave. Oh happy days.

        OTOH, unwrapping any gift from non-close family was something of a lottery: "Oh, Maurice, we've been given another grenade". "Don't worry dear, we haven't yet given one to Jessie."

        1. GBE

          I give up...

          Crap like car-door kettles, Pifco buttoneers, and such like.

          What's a "car-door kettle"?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: I give up...

            What's a "car-door kettle"?

            A 1970's innovation. A plastic jug with a hook to go over the car door with the window down, and a water heating element that plugged into the car's lighter socket. Would have taken days to boil a trivial amount of water, but was so craply made and obviously dangerous you'd have had to have been mad to even try. I suspect targeted at Austin Maxi driving old codgers who couldn't get a hundred yards without having to stop for a cup of tea.

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Interference

        "I can claim fair market value for everything I donate, which is invariably far more than I could have sold it for otherwise, & get a fat refund cheque back shortly afterwards when the taxmen realize I've just donated a small fortune."

        That's the US version. In the UK it's the charity that gets the refund. It was, after all, the purpose of donating it.

      3. John Presland

        Re: Interference

        Evidently one of El Reg's USian followers. In more civilised parts of the world "fair market value" means precisely one "could have sold it for". (This may not be true if you're large enough to be advised by one of the Big Four.)

    4. macjules Silver badge

      Re: Interference

      I seriously thought about taking it out of the box, but a glass or two of Margaux sorted that out. I now have this recurring nightmare that the bloody thing is actually running on battery power, listening to everything going on in the house and waiting for the day that one of my children finds it and releases it to wreak havoc.

      I think that you have to surreptitiously drop it into the unsuspecting pocket of an innocent commuter, á la M.R.James story 'Casting the Runes'.

  3. m0rt Silver badge

    I boil sprouts. They taste fine. Yay me.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Can't imagine them being any good without salt anyway.

      1. m0rt Silver badge

        Actually, here is an interesting thing to try: Tequila shot then a sprout. Trust me.

        1. DJO Silver badge

          Sprouts while being the vegetable from the devils own backside do have one redeeming quality, sprouts and mash make far better bubble & squeak than cabbage and mash.

          1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            "sprouts and mash make far better bubble & squeak than cabbage and mash."

            Which just goes to prove that can be eaten fried - after boiling.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Tequila shot then a sprout.

          A new twist on projectile vomiting??

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          I lose whole days whenever Tequila is involved. Given that I actually like Brussel Sprouts that combination misses the point of having them in the first place. Which is probably your intent?

          For the record, if frozen, boiled Brussel Sprouts is what I do here. Now fresh is another thing. Those get steamed in my Wok which is my Swiss Army Knife kitchen tool of choice.

          1. Shadow Systems Silver badge

            At Jack of Shadows, re: woks.

            Beware dubious cookbooks with titles like "101 ways to wok your dog".

            /runs away trailing frog pills...

        4. Kevin Fairhurst

          Sounds a better idea than

          Cinnamon challenge

          Tide challenge

          Whatever else has been “invented” since I last looked

    2. A K Stiles
      Coat

      Boiled Sprouts

      Me too.

      Preferably boiled what would technically be called "for a little bit too long". I was the only one at christmas that actually likes them, but still the preparer (I wasn't allowed in the kitchen) insisted on trying to cook them so they were still crunchy, and also some stir-fried with various spices. They still didn't like them, and I didn't get to enjoy them they way I like them. Everyone's a loser!!

      1. Terry 6 Silver badge

        Re: Boiled Sprouts

        This seems a common phenomenon; preparing food for somebody the way they are supposed to want them, rather than how they do. And it doesn't even need to be cooked. I love grapefruit, always have, but never ate them as a child, because the adults were convinced that the nasty bitter white bits had to be eaten too. So all the lovely vitamin C got wasted.

        1. Tom 38 Silver badge

          Re: Boiled Sprouts

          Fry garlic and onions in butter until soft, add some bacon, add sprouts and cook until brown edges. Add chicken stock and black pepper, braise over a high heat until the stock has evaporated and the butter is sizzling again.

          1. Olivier2553 Silver badge

            Re: Boiled Sprouts

            "Fry garlic and onions in butter until soft, add some bacon, add sprouts and cook until brown edges. Add chicken stock and black pepper, braise over a high heat until the stock has evaporated and the butter is sizzling again."

            all the above, but blanch the sprouts in cold water first to remove the stronger of the taste.

        2. Radio Wales
          Flame

          Re: Boiled Sprouts

          Technically at least, I am the notational head of the household.

          Consequently, when the dinner prepping gets under way, I insist that I shall be served Roast potatoes and Boiled parsnips, done in the way I have always liked them since my mum did them for me.

          So predictably, as we gather around our dinner table, I am ritually presented with Boiled potatoes and Roast parsnips.

          I spit fury and snarl 'I don't like either of them done this way, and for the last twenty years, you get it wrong'.

          The reply for the last twenty years has always been 'Well why didn't you say so, dear?'

          I am checking on the precise definition of war crimes now.

    3. AndyS

      The verse followed by canteens and grans across the country:

      Sprouts on in March,

      Carrots in May.

      The veg will be ready

      come Christmas Day.

      1. Omgwtfbbqtime Silver badge
        Unhappy

        My Gran was always of the opinion that if the veg doesn't need to be wrung out before serving it is underdone.

        So Sunday dinner was started around 9am for a sit down around 2pm, the house filled with the scent of cabbage steam for days after.

        I still dream of this.

        Sometimes I wake screaming.

        1. Wensleydale Cheese

          "So Sunday dinner was started around 9am for a sit down around 2pm, the house filled with the scent of cabbage steam for days after.

          I still dream of this."

          It used to give me nightmares. Whole houses smelled of boiled cabbage.

          "Sometimes I wake screaming."

          Ah, you too.

          The canteen cook needs teaching how to not boil sprouts to death.

        2. Radio Wales
          IT Angle

          My mum was in the habit of boiling cabbage on Sundays and boiling the washing on Mondays,

          On Tuesdays, I could never quite identify which of the two pongs inhabited the whole house until the following Saturday when we had a proper fry-up to annul it - before starting all over again.

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        "Carrots in May.

        The veg will be ready

        come Christmas Day."

        Surely carrots sown in May and harvested just before Christmas will be big enough and hard enough to club carol singers over the head.

    4. The_H

      Nah.

      Half your raw sprouts, spread 'em like little bald men packed together in a greased baking dish. Crumble over some very crispy bacon. Drizzle with maple syrup, balsamic vinegar and a touch of olive oil. Bake until caramelized. Your life will never be the same.

      1. elDog Silver badge

        With all that other goodness, just leave out those evil little cabbages!

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "Half your raw sprouts, spread 'em like little bald men packed together in a greased baking dish. Crumble over some very crispy bacon. "

        Yes, we tried that recipe.

        It works perfectly so long as you use plenty of bacon, drizzle the maple syrup over it, and discard the sprouts before serving.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
          Joke

          "It works perfectly so long as you use plenty of bacon, drizzle the maple syrup over it, and discard the sprouts before serving."

          You must an American. Only an American would use bacon as a sweet dessert!

      3. Modius

        I despised the things as a youngster, but love them now, prepared very similarly to this. Really, once you've figured out the baking and adding of bacon, the rest is just icing on the cake. Delicious!

    5. Alister Silver badge

      raw sprouts, shredded or finely sliced, make a really nice addition to a salad, with a pleasant peppery flavour.

      Seriously, try them.

      1. VinceH Silver badge
        Mushroom

        The best way to cook sprouts is to fire them into the Sun. All of them. Let no sprout remain!

        1. Shadow Systems Silver badge

          At VinceH, re: sprouts.

          YES! The first acceptable use for the damned things! Enjoy a pint in gratitude, as long as it's not a tequila-sprout shot like that other wierdo suggested. =-)p

          *Wanders off to go aim the catapults for sprout removal duty*

          1. VinceH Silver badge
            Pint

            Re: At VinceH, re: sprouts.

            "YES! The first acceptable use for the damned things!"

            Well, I wasn't thinking of it as a "use" as such, but in hindsight, it is: The Sun is gradually losing mass (and we're getting further away from it) - so feeding it sprouts (and other things we don't like) makes sense.

            1. Terry 6 Silver badge

              Re: At VinceH, re: sprouts.

              Presumably, though, the reaction mass required to get sprouts sunward would be greater than the increase in solar mass. So pushing our orbit further out.

            2. Shadow Systems Silver badge

              Re: At VinceH, re: sprouts.

              "...and other things we don't like."

              May I suggest May & Trump for starters? With all the shite they contain they should fuel the sun to burn for another billion years.

              *Cough*

              I'll get my coat, it's the one with the SCUBA gear in the pockets...

    6. Admiral Grace Hopper

      Boil? Pah!

      I curry sprouts, with excellent, if anti-social, results.

      1. Little Mouse

        Re: Boil? Pah!

        I'm a sprout fan too, but don't ever be tempted to make a sprout omelette.

        It tasted fucking awful.

    7. hj

      Try broiling them, they will taste finer.

    8. BebopWeBop Silver badge

      I feed mine into the composting bin - I'm sure they tasted fine as well.

    9. Whitter
      Coat

      Boil?

      Quarter then stir fry.

      I'm Scottish.

      I like to fry.

      1. harmjschoonhoven
        Thumb Up

        Re: Boil?

        @Whitter: I like to fry in Greek ILIADA virgin olive oil. FTFY. With a bit of hot curry powder. Yummy.

    10. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Nay, Nay

      and thrice nay.

      Roast them!!!!!!

      Gently, with a little bit of butter and seasoning to taste..

      Sweet, nutty but still with a little firmness.

      Conversely, boil sweet chestnuts, not roast them.

    11. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I 'curry' Brussels Sprouts.

      Basically, just slowly cook them in your typical spiced onion base. Rather like them as a side dish.

    12. Synonymous Howard

      I had sprouts today .. wifey boils them perfectly and they taste lovely. In fact today's lunchtime meal was Quorn 'steak' pie with boiled potatoes, petit pois, broccoli, sprouts and veggie gravy. Lovely stuff.

      And I've just made myself hungry thinking about it.

      1. MJI Silver badge

        "Sprouts today"

        Sorry cannot see the point in fake meats.

        Cows are not an endangered species and I would rather eat that than formed mould.

    13. MJI Silver badge

      I like sprouts but everyone is trying to ruin them

      Work Christmas meal, a small puddle of slop with cream, bacon, some other shit and a bit of sprout.

      Ughh.

      Please note

      Not everyone hates sprouts.

      Not everyone likes bacon.

      Not everyone wants cream in their roast.

      Oh also insufficient potatos and the turkey was not great.

      Food fads drive me mad, there are a lot of foods i do not like and they keep infecting things I do like.

      Bacon, thin strips of fatty pork (I can't eat lumps of fat) fills with preservatives turned into hard chewy things.

      Ham, a piece of pork ruined. We have freezers, stick pork in there and roast it don't fill it full of chemicals.

      Peas with everything, I hate them, if a meal comes with them I ask for an alternative (usually sweetcorn) but why not steak chips and sprouts?

      Why does a chicken need to be wrapped in salted smoked very fatty pork strips?

      Why do nice juicy butchers sausages need the same?

      They don't.

      It would be easier to be a veggie than a bacon hater.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: I like sprouts but everyone is trying to ruin them

        "Food fads drive me mad,"

        Like every pub/restaurant putting balsamic dressing on every side side salad, ni matter the meal it's accompanying. I once asked if they thought the salad was not being eaten by so many because of this. They just shrugged and said not everyone likes salad. They really didn't care. The salad is only there so they can claim some sort of "healthy" thing and the customers can feel good because they got some "healthy" thing (which they didn't eat). Balsamic dressing is like Marmite. love or hate and no in between.

    14. bobbear

      An excellent pest deterrent..

      I love boiled sprouts - a dozen or so, (preferably covered in onion gravy), and no-one will come anywhere near me. Peace is bliss..

    15. HelpfulJohn

      Greenies.

      I rarely eat greenery. My wife did, for special meals, put a couple of sprouts on my plate but they were raw. It was they only way I'd eat them.

      She also added a single mushroom just so I didn't feel left out.

      Now, I get my "greens" from the syrup in the alleged flavour packets of pot noodles.

      In my "this could be useful" collection, I have a back-up tape device. It uses a serial port of a type no modern computer has and the tapes can store, zipped, eighty megabytes of data each. I bought it for a PC with a 250 MB HDD but before I could install it I got a 3 GB drive.

      I now have a 3 TB drive.

      I doubt I'll use the tape machine for full back-ups.

  4. peterm3
    Happy

    stock photo

    I've just realised where the photos from our corporate broschure came from! In ours the same cabled-guy has a blue shirt however.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: stock photo

      peterm3,

      The wonders of Photoshop !!!

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "[...] they cannot be fried, boiled or microwaved. "

    A 1 litre microwave container with a loosely fitted lid. No added water. 800w microwave for up to 3 minutes at full power. The effect is the same as steaming and much more energy efficient.

    Usually it is a mixture of broccoli or sliced courgettes with the sprouts.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      The problem with all things microwave is getting the dosage right. 3 minutes for how many grams? Get it wrong they'll be worse than anything you boil or steam. Cooking things in water gives you greater control as the hordes of sous-vide fans will tell you.

      I do use a microwave for spinach for which it's excellent.

    2. Alistair Dabbs

      Microwaved

      You can cook sprouts adequately in the microwave but sprouts cooked in a steamer taste amazing and have a perfect texture. No salt or butter required.

      1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Re: Microwaved

        @I might give it a go but would have to add butter. But instead of a steamer I just use a colander over a water bath. Keeping the steam coming is a doddle on an induction hob.

        Jormans love over do it with sprouts and beans and serve them with bacon and nutmeg if you're not lucky.

      2. NBCanuck

        Re: Microwaved

        "You can cook sprouts adequately in the microwave but sprouts cooked in a steamer taste amazing and have a perfect texture. No salt or butter required."

        No Butter?!!! How uncivilized!

      3. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        Re: Microwaved

        My steamer just lives on the hob permanently. It's got a big stainless steel saucepan underneath it, which is the perfect size for mash. And two steamer things that sit on top which can be set aside when I use it for that. But normally I can steam veg in it at the same time. Makes life much easier when you're doing a roast to have just one hob doing say cauliflower, french beans and peas. Admittedly if you're cooking for more than 6 people, it's not really big enough.

        Oh, and sprouts are yummy. And make great bubble and squeak too. Steaming does mean you can't salt them, but that's healthier and also what the gravy is for.

      4. Alistair Dabbs

        Re: Microwaved

        I think it's hilarious I actually got a thumbs-down for that comment.

        1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

          Re: Microwaved

          Alistair,

          The sprout hate is strong. Even though they're yummy. Although I admit that it took me a while to get over my Nan's half hour boiled sprout surprise. The surprise being that they still hold together. Just. Until you touch them with your fork, and they sort of slide to pieces. In fact, her gravy was more robust than her sprouts - though I do like a nice thick gravy you can stand a spoon in.

          1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: Microwaved

            "In fact, her gravy was more robust than her sprouts"

            Maybe she made it that way to stop the sprouts falling apart.

        2. Mark 110

          Re: Microwaved

          "I think it's hilarious I actually got a thumbs-down for that comment."

          Mate, you can get a thumbs down on here for saying something fucking genius. Its all to do with you slating someones comment five years ago and on reflection you were in the wrong anyway and probably went back to the thread to apologise but they never read it and they are still steaming about it . . .

          Either that or there are trolls roaming the El Reg forums looking for clever posts to downvote just so people don't get above themselves. Which would actually be a good thing. Nothing like a few down votes to make you either work out if you were pissed when you posted it or if you were wrong.

          Anyway, personally, as a hater of sprouts, I am going to forego steaming and investigate the whole burnt bacon and chestnuts miracle.

          It does sound like a miracle . . .

    3. MrXavia

      "[...] they cannot be fried, boiled or microwaved. "

      I dissagree, I serve fried sprouts, chop them (finely or quartered, add some bacon and chestnuts, a bit of salt & crushed garlic, and you have a lovely winter veg dish!

      1. DuncanL

        The main question...

        Crispy or crunchy sprouts?

        And "Hello!" to Stephen Fry and Jason Isaacs...

    4. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      "A 1 litre microwave container with a loosely fitted lid."

      As others have said, timing accuracy is vital in microwave cooking. And not forgetting that cooking is chemistry so sometimes the length of the process is an important step in getting the reaction just right. Speeding up is often detrimental. Microwaves are great for warming up but can be a bitch when cooking from raw.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Guilty as charged...

    Moved home recently and noticed a distinct pattern: Aldi / Lidl specials here's looking at you. We need an electrical tent pump thing, how dare you:

    #1. AV extenders to get TV into guest room, but the remote control sensor never worked and the range of the audio and video signal was different, so one was always shorter, WTF?

    #2. Watchmaker screwdriver sets and of course screwdrivers and hammers etc in general...

    #3. USB wireless hubs - Never used as they never really worked right...

    #4. Power strips - More than any human should ever own....

    #5. Multi-adapters - To go into those power strips more than atoms in...

    #6. Ethernet extenders using power sockets - Used once or twice...

    #7. US vs EU - 120 vs 240 transformers: 'Look they're on sale love'...

    #8. Plyers and wire cutters forever......

    #9. Every possible type of USB cable in triplicate....

    #10. Lots of strange cables for every camera / phone device because...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Guilty as charged...

      What.....??? No Allen-Keys (Hex sets)....

      Wrench packs? That's not even trying!

      1. DavCrav Silver badge

        Re: Guilty as charged...

        "What.....??? No Allen-Keys (Hex sets)...."

        I have an entire tub full of Allen keys, but found the need to buy a three-pack of Swiss-army-knife-style Allen key sets (one Imperial, one metric, one hex), that now sit in the same clear plastic tool box, next to the tub of Allen keys.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Guilty as charged...

        I have at least 3 of every type of hex key/screw/allen-key. However I only have a single triangular screwdriver set. Darn those types of screws!

    2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Guilty as charged...

      Recently swapped my existing power strips with ones with built-in USB ports. Yes, I still have the old ones but I've thrown out a couple of the older and larger USB-chargers. Turns out you can run lots of things like radios on 5V.

      Did get a power socket / USB combo for mounting in the desk but it needs a bigger hole, so replaced it with a USB-hub (USB-3 no less) for charging and possibly eventually connecting to my 4-port KVM (only USB 2). Anyone without a KVM can't really call themself a geek!

      But my proudest one-off buy was a set of allen keys with torque settings! Give me MOAR!

      All of this is nothing compared to my dad. How's about 45 oscilloscopes for starters?

      1. DropBear Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: Guilty as charged...

        "How's about 45 oscilloscopes for starters?"

        Well yeah sure but what if one of them breaks - you need a spare to repair it, don't you? And by the same token, what if the spare breaks too?!? I'm telling you, it was the completely sensible thing to do...

      2. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: Guilty as charged...

        For the old type bicycle cranks that attach to a square section bottom bracket, a torque wrench on the 8mm Allen key was recommended. In most other situations though just a bit if mechanical sympathy is all that's needed.

        The kit form Rep Rap 3D printer has its open source building instructions online, and sensibly starts with a list of required tools. Allen keys are there. What it doesn't say is that ball-end Allen keys will save a lot of swearing.

        Like spanners, the most commonly used sizes of Allen key will be the hardest to find when you want it. On bicycles this usually means that somewhere a herd of 5 and 6mm keys is hiding out with all the 10mm spanners, sharing the safe house rent with Elvis.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Guilty as charged...

          "Like spanners, the most commonly used sizes of Allen key will be the hardest to find when you want it."

          Ditto Torx screwdriver bits that are needed when removing hard disk platters for physical destruction. "Near enough" doesn't work - so a set with all the small increments is essential. Beware the market stall ones - the splines will strip off as soon as there is any strain.

          1. Stoneshop Silver badge

            Re: Guilty as charged...

            Ditto Torx screwdriver bits that are needed when removing hard disk platters for physical destruction.

            Nah. In my life as a FS tech I had to disassemble RA81 HDAs (70-18491-01) onsite in cases where the platters had to be left at the customer (sensitive data) while the shell and positioner still had to go back to Logistics anyway as part of the replacement parts process. For the (5? 6? mm) bolts holding the shell together you needed Torx sockets, then for the platters a Torx bit, with neither being present in the standard toolkit. So it was the best-fitting hex-nut socket for the shell bolts and an Allen key for the platters, and as the tools provided were of decent quality they managed without stripping or being damaged themselves

          2. DavCrav Silver badge

            Re: Guilty as charged...

            "Ditto Torx screwdriver bits that are needed when removing hard disk platters for physical destruction. "Near enough" doesn't work - so a set with all the small increments is essential. Beware the market stall ones - the splines will strip off as soon as there is any strain."

            The way I destroy hard disk platters, they can stay in the hard drive for all the good it will do them.

        2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

          Re: Guilty as charged...

          For the old type bicycle cranks that attach to a square section bottom bracket, a torque wrench on the 8mm Allen key was recommended. In most other situations though just a bit if mechanical sympathy is all that's needed.

          Torque is always useful when you have steel bolts in aluminium threads. Turns out to have been essential for the seat-tube mounted rack on my girlfriend's bike as otherwise one bolt invariably wore loose and I didn't want to tighten all the way to 11 and risk ripping the thread. Could have just taken the bike down to the bike shop but now I have my precious!

      3. Wensleydale Cheese

        45 oscilloscopes

        That one's hard to beat.

        I got 30 years' worth of bits of wood for my multifuel stove when my father cleared out his garage.

        It kept me warm for several weeks.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Guilty as charged...

      "We need an electrical tent pump thing, how dare you:"

      The neighbours were having trouble inflating the kiddies' paddling pool. No problem - my dusty 35 years old camping airbed 12 volt pump fixed that.

      On a hot day last year there was no sign of the paddling pool - it had apparently developed an unrepairable tear. I had noticed Aldi had some very large ones for a very low price - a bargain. Delivered one to the neighbours and all the local kids gathered round in anticipation to see it inflated. Drat - it needed a very large diameter pump connector - presumably a new (German?) standard for high volume things.

      Went round every possible shop and market stall to no avail. Last stop was Trespass who had a rather primitive plastic foot pump that surprisingly had several large connectors. It saved the day - and the hose could even be jury rigged to my 12v pump. A foray on ebay then found a mains pump that did the job for the rest of the summer - now added to my garage "useful things" collection.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Guilty as charged...

        "it needed a very large diameter pump connector"

        You can never find the duct tape when you need it.

    4. Cuddles Silver badge

      Re: Guilty as charged...

      "#9. Every possible type of USB cable in triplicate...."

      Surely that should be - every possible type of USB cable in triplicate except the one I'm actually looking for right now.

      1. DJO Silver badge

        Re: Guilty as charged...

        `USB leads! Amateur hour indeed - You should see my collection of SCSI leads at least one for almost every iteration of SCSI from the original vanilla up to ultra wide.

        Oh I dumped my last piece of SCSI kit years ago.

        1. Wensleydale Cheese

          Re: Guilty as charged...

          "You should see my collection of SCSI leads at least one for almost every iteration of SCSI from the original vanilla up to ultra wide."

          Other folks flinched at the cost when I bought a Thunderbolt cable, but not me.

          After years of dealing of SCSI cables I'd become conditioned to high prices for such things.

          (though I must admit, for SCSI cables I did rather well from cast offs from work)

      2. Omgwtfbbqtime Silver badge

        Re: Guilty as charged...

        I raise you USB to 1/4" Jack (Male) - how else do you connect a Stratocaster to a PC?

        1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

          Re: Guilty as charged...

          I found some 23-Pin (no typo) D-types the other day. IIRC they were for Amiga video connections. But they might still be useful someday.

        2. CAPS LOCK Silver badge

          "how else do you connect a Stratocaster to a PC?"

          My 'sound card' has a microphone input. I know it works with a cheap microphone - I use it for Skype. Wouldn't that do the job? Justaskin'

          1. Steve the Cynic

            Re: "how else do you connect a Stratocaster to a PC?"

            My 'sound card' has a microphone input. I know it works with a cheap microphone - I use it for Skype. Wouldn't that do the job? Justaskin'

            Sort of. A direct connection via a Rocksmith cable or similar has the advantage (for certain purposes) of recording the raw output of the electrics in the guitar AND of doing the correct line level conversions / pickup drive / other stuff that I don't know what it is.

            The instructions for Rocksmith are very clear that you plug its cable directly into the guitar without any other boxes in the way. The game needs to be able to monitor what's coming out of the guitar without being confused by whatever your amp and speaker are doing to it. Any effects you hear while using Rocksmith are applied in software by the game itself.

        3. Steve the Cynic

          Re: Guilty as charged...

          I raise you USB to 1/4" Jack (Male) - how else do you connect a Stratocaster to a PC?

          I have one of those, from my time trying to learn to play guitar using Rocksmith(0). Every time I install a new major version of Windows(1), the Rocksmith cable ends up as my default microphone instead of the actual microphone plugged into my sound card.

          (0) Despite the parts of the game apparently oriented towards helping you learn to play guitar, it remains "Guitar Hero with a real guitar" at its core, so not recommended for this purpose.

          (1) W10 Anniversary, Creator's and FCU do not count as majors for this purpose, thankfully.

        4. smudge Silver badge
          Pint

          Re: Guilty as charged...

          I raise you USB to 1/4" Jack (Male) - how else do you connect a Stratocaster to a PC?

          What do you plug it into? I've never seen a PC with a full-size jack socket.

          I have beside me a forest - well, small copse - of full-size-to-mini-jack convertors.

          But they are all crap. Nowadays I either use my Pod 2 or my NI Komplete Audio 6.

          1. Omgwtfbbqtime Silver badge

            "What do you plug it into? I've never seen a PC with a full-size jack socket."

            The USB goes into the PC, the 1/4" jack into the Strat.

            The convertors? yep got a few of those - in both directions - it's hard to find cheap headphones with 1/4" jacks these days.

            Also found a T-piece tree with half a dozen terminators on it in my spares drawer. - Haven't used 10 Base 2 in decades and moved house 3 times.

            1. smudge Silver badge
              Facepalm

              Re: "What do you plug it into? I've never seen a PC with a full-size jack socket."

              The USB goes into the PC, the 1/4" jack into the Strat.

              D'oh. Read more carefully before commenting, smudge...

    5. Radio Wales
      Happy

      Re: Guilty as charged...

      Have you been peeking in my drawers?

      That is an accurate inventory.

  7. smudge Silver badge
    Pint

    Amen to all that!

    And, for me, add a collection of batteries which have been taken out of things where they ought to be changed regularly - smoke alarms, movement detector, etc - but which are still OK, and are now forlornly waiting for a device into which they can fit. Anyone know what else takes CR123 batteries nowadays?

    OTOH, the most useful of all is a cheap, no-frills, traditional phone that is powered from the phone socket. For use literally when all else fails - such as when convincing OpenRetch that the fault is in their network, not mine.

    1. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

      Re: Amen to all that!

      My cars fob takes a CR123 - yours might too.

    2. DropBear Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Amen to all that!

      I'm in the process of assembling the most excellently tasteful auto-colour-changing-LED-powered "pot plant" desk tchotchke / night-light-wannabe with the sole and explicit raison d'etre of incorporating a merciless boost converter and one holder for every conceivably type of battery I tend to use in order to wring the remaining half of power out of them once their original gadget rejects them as empty. Just so I can ultimately throw them out in good conscience as completely empty indeed. You may now commence laughing at your earliest convenience...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Amen to all that!

        I have several large display MSF radio-controlled clocks about the house and garden. Maplin used to have regular sales where they slashed the price to £9.99 - only to restock the shelf at full price a couple of weeks later.

        They use one "AA" battery that lasts a couple of years. Very useful for draining AA batteries that have become too weak to power other devices. Trouble is that there is an increasing backlog of such batteries that shower out of the "battery" cupboard when the door is opened.

        Incidentally the separate MSF module in the clock looks like it might be the generic multi-voltage component that can be hooked up to an Arduino. The only apparent eBay source of those in Canada has stopped supplying to the UK.

    3. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Re: Amen to all that!

      Re: CR123

      They're wonderful and under-appreciated.

      I've bought a bunch of Chinese LED torches/flashlights which take CR123s. Keep one in the glovebox of each car for when things stop working at night. The advantage is that, unlike regular alkaline batteries, they don't seem to have a 6 month lifespan, even when not used. So, goodbye to the weak, flickering yellow glow, which goes out just as you have removed the last lug nut from your wheel. Hello to a bright white beam, and, as a bonus, the LED inefficiency heats up the metal case so your hand doesn't freeze! Mine are still going strong after a couple of years. I'll never go back to D cell lights.

      (lithiums don't like too much heat, so watch it)

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Five varieties of Firewire cables

    Firewire cables used to be useful.

    In the days when 1G cards where few and far between, one could (with the right OS) coerce firewire to talk Ethernet over Firewire forming a very nice 600Mbit point-to-point link.

    Those days are long past now. There is a 1G in nearly anything except idiotic "wifi obsession" Intel laptops where their similarly idiotic marketing tries to prohibit it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Five varieties of Firewire cables

      There is a large plastic container in the garage full of serial comms cables and adapters. I know as soon as I throw them away - someone will come and ask if I have such a thing to replace a lost/broken one.

      1. AJ MacLeod

        Re: Five varieties of Firewire cables

        If they also need say 16 more serial ports I can provide some PCI cards to help... (I can't throw them out, they've never been used!)

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Five varieties of Firewire cables

        "There is a large plastic container in the garage full of serial comms cables"

        Don't forget the breakout box.

        1. David Roberts
          Windows

          Re: Five varieties of Firewire cables

          Interfaker

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Five varieties of Firewire cables

      "Firewire cables used to be useful."

      They still are for some older digital cameras and camcorders. The USB cable box is a challenge to find exactly the right tiny connector that fits a digital camera - or one of the supposedly identical Arduino boards.

      One camera has a USB tiny-type cable that has a standard "A" connector at the other end - plus two phono plugs. Have never dared to use an ordinary USB cable with that camera.

      Had to buy a new waterproof Bluetooth speaker for the Halloween display. Could not find the unique USB cable for the existing identical one. It uses a 3 section 3.5mm plug to connect power for charging - with absolutely no indication of how that plug should be wired.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "In reality, it’s like miniature version of one of those houses featured in Hoarding Buried Alive."

    Having bought something minor from Lakeland a few years ago - their catalogue drops on the doormat with a thump every month. It really is the full colour pr0n publication for kitchen gadgets you never suspected people needed.

    Just the place if you want "Magnetic Wooden Toast Tongs".

    1. DavCrav Silver badge

      "Just the place if you want "Magnetic Wooden Toast Tongs"."

      Olive pitter. I don't even like olives.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "Olive pitter. I don't even like olives."

        Gave my (unused) cherry pitter to someone who actually needed it one day.

    2. Adrian Harvey

      >. Just the place if you want "Magnetic Wooden Toast Tongs".

      Those are one of the few gadgets that actually are findable though - as they stick to the toaster they are there when I need them. I was given them, and they haven’t managed to hide yet!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "[...] as they stick to the toaster they are there when I need them."

        Ah - I wondered about the "magnetic" property. Must admit that recently trying to fish a crumpet out of the toaster would have been easier with those tongs. Using a knife as a lever meant the crumpet just revolved.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Crumpets you 'Stab' with a knife to remove from the toaster or at a push a fork .... be careful of the glowing wires :)

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        One mans 'Crap' Gadget is another mans 'Crap but useful' gadget :)

        Just what I need ..... for getting 'Redhot' Waffles out of the toaster so they can melt the butter vs 1st degree burns and cold waffles after 15 attempts to remove them from the toaster before finally flinging them onto the cold marble top next to the plate. :)

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: One mans 'Crap' Gadget is another mans 'Crap but useful' gadget :)

          "Just what I need"

          Perhaps I should ask Lakeland for commission on their probable uptick in sales of the wooden tongs. :-)

    3. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Ooh! That Lakeland catalogue really is tempting!

    4. earl grey Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Wooden toast tongs

      What? You don't just use the butter knife?

  10. Potemkine! Silver badge

    Hushme

    Ot looks like a ... oh I see. As long as it's used with consenting adults I do not any problem with that ^^

    What to do with all that junk unused marvels? Sell them through Craiglist, or whatever the free classifieds most popular website in your country. It's better than throwing them out and it gives all these items a second chance to fill somebody's else cabinet be usefully used.

    1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

      I'm pretty pleased with my under desk cables collection - all catagorised and separated, dumped all the scarts too.

      Tools are fine to hoard. thats ok . I cannot go into aldi/lidl without buying any tools I dont already have, although I now have them all virtually.

      I do have a very large pile of junk round the back of the garage i need to ebay - a suv/people carrier. I keep forgetting its there.

  11. Franco Silver badge

    I found a static protection bag in a drawer last week containing a PCI 1G Ethernet card, a PCI 56K Modem, a PCMCIA 10/100 Ethernet card and a PCMCIA 802.11b WiFi card, with floppies containing the drivers for each.

    I've been given an Echo Dot (still have it, but it's turned off unless I need the timer or want to listen to music in the kitchen) and a faux Roomba (sp?) that my Mum took back from me when she found out I wasn't using it. Comments from her along the lines of me being an ungrateful so-and-so were met with what did you expect when you bought me a novelty vaccuum cleaner?

    1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

      "and a faux Roomba (sp?) that my Mum took back from me when she found out I wasn't using it."

      I bought myself one of those and dont use it! And given that the idea is it does the job itself its a bit of a fail! I set the timer .... it forgets ....i cant be arsed setting it again .....

  12. wheelbearing

    You can take a horse to water but a pencil won't be lead...

    My sister got my mum a Kindle Fire for Christmas about four years ago. It remains, unopened, in it's dusty, cobweb covered box underneath a sideboard in the dining room. Every now and again (usually over Christmas holiday) I ask mum if she's used it yet and get a bad look as an answer.

    If I really want a fight, I suggest I show her how to use it.

  13. Khaptain Silver badge

    Bags full of the stuff

    Having recently sold my home, and whilst waiting on my new one to become available I have had to move 3 times in the last few months.

    With each change of location I have been confronted with the deluge of items that "I will probably need one day".. Bags full of cables, chargers, adapters, welding tools, Raspberry PIs, SD Cards, an oscilloscope, electrical testers, hard disks, USB cables by the bagful, IPhones, Androids, SIM Cards,3G + Wifi Routers, Hubs, and lets not talk about power leads, it just goes on and on.......

    I could feel the tears welling up but I finally resolved to removing most of the "stuff" to the bin ( not very ecological I know).... It's amazing, I removed so much stuff but I had that horrible feeling that I would miss something.. Wrong, its been a few weeks now and not once have I had any remorse... I don't miss any of it....

    I am now clean, I've managed to kick the habit, my wife loves me more than ever, there's space on the shelves... but I just can't get rid of the feeling that it's all going to come back and bite me in the arse.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Bags full of the stuff

      My garage has two walls lined with a floor to ceiling 8x8 matrix of "really useful" clear plastic boxes. Each is labelled with the type of its contents: "serial cables"; "USB cables"; USB/Firewire adapters"; "Ethernet cables"; "Routers"; "Wi-fi"; "doorbells"; "mains timers, remote swirches"; "Dell 5150 spares"; "Dell L400 spares"; "mains cables"; "mains extensions"; "chisels, plane, stud detector, damp detector,..."; "screws and bolts" - and 48 more categories. I won't mention the other two walls of wooden racking.

      Then there are the half dozen half-height versions for electronic components and rechargeable batteries. Keyboards and video cards tend to be a bit too long so they are in several larger versions of the boxes in a central stack.

      The garden shed holds several similar ones with all the Christmas/Halloween lighting decorations.

      I like to think I maintain my upper arm strength by the simple expedient of finding that whatever box I want - it is always in the middle or bottom of a stack.

      Maybe I need a warehouse robot to handle the stacking.

      1. Chris G Silver badge

        Re: Bags full of the stuff

        Stud detector and damp detector! Do you buy them in adult shops?

      2. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

        Re: Bags full of the stuff

        "My garage has two walls lined with a floor to ceiling 8x8 matrix of "really useful" clear plastic boxes"

        Thats sounds awesome!

      3. Wensleydale Cheese
        Happy

        Re: Bags full of the stuff

        "Maybe I need a warehouse robot to handle the stacking."

        An Arduino / Raspberry Pi project if I ever saw one.

        And more tools and offcuts acquired in the process of building your robot.

    2. Mage Silver badge

      Re: Bags full of the stuff

      If you don't unpack something within a year of moving, it needs to leave your house. To kids (ours don't want the toys for their kids), charity shop, coffee shop library, recycling or bin.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Bags full of the stuff

        "If you don't unpack something within a year of moving"

        Unpacking means you can actually find it. My experience was that stuff disappeared after a move and reappeared after the next one.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Bags full of the stuff

        People have been using these swear words at me for years, I am unmoved (in my mind anyway).

        I am a real geek and these insults slide off me with practised ease.

        I am absolutely CERTAIN that my coated gramophone needles WILL be needed someday.

        Although, I am beginning to suspect that some of my 200v DC electrical gear may be out of favour temporarily.

    3. Stoneshop Silver badge
      Boffin

      Re: Bags full of the stuff

      Wrong, its been a few weeks now and not once have I had any remorse... I don't miss any of it....

      Just weeks, and you're in between moves? So not really having projects underway? Projects that you wouldn't manage to get working without that one particular part or cable that's in one of those boxes that you've now chucked out?

      I bet your new home doesn't have a shed either.

      1. Khaptain Silver badge

        Re: Bags full of the stuff

        "So not really having projects underway"

        Exactly, no projects at the moment because of all the moving.. It's also why I mentioned that I am worried that it will turn around and bite my arse..

        And no unfortunately I will no longer have a garage for my "stuff" ( weeps quietly in the corner of the room)

    4. Barry Rueger

      Re: Bags full of the stuff

      Best advice ever, for paper, but also works for junk:

      Box under desk. If you're unsure whether you need to keep/ file a piece of paper, toss it in the box.

      When the box is full, tape it shut, date it, stick it in a closet, and start a new one.

      If the box hasn't been opened in x months, toss it in the trash.

      Once or twice I've had to dig out something, but it's exceedingly rare.

  14. Ivor

    Mystery of packed office solved.

    Just ticking those off as I read..

    Various incarnations of Palm Pilots... with docking pods.

    A Dab wavefinder, simply too cool a design to discard, *Three* 3Com Audrey's, A Microwriter. er, a box full of ribbon cables.

    ah... a full height 5 1/4" EDSI hard disk. and a full length full height MDA video card (with onboard parallel port! woo)

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Mystery of packed office solved.

      I remember the Wavefinder... of a post iMac era when everything was greeny blue translucent. To save money it didn't have its own DAC, but plugged into one's computer instead.

    2. Steve the Cynic

      Re: Mystery of packed office solved.

      a full height 5 1/4" EDSI hard disk

      I gots ta know... Really a full-height one? The same height as two CD-ROM drives?

      (Way far back in the day, 1988 or so, I borrowed a 10 MB really-full-height MFM hard disk from someone for a while. It originally came out of a PDP-11, ffs. I gave it back and bought myself a Seagate ST-225 (which was only *half*-height) when the loaner started dropping sectors.)

    3. dgc03052

      Re: Mystery of packed office solved.

      "a full height 5 1/4" EDSI hard disk. and a full length full height MDA video card (with onboard parallel port! woo)"

      Ooh, those disks were great. Worked great to keep some lumber from warping for years...

    4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Mystery of packed office solved.

      "a full height 5 1/4" EDSI hard disk"

      That reminds me - what did happen to the full height 5 1/4" floppy drives? Are they still in the garage?

      BTW sheds are for beginners. Triple garage, cars live outside.

    5. David Roberts

      Re: Mystery of packed office solved.

      Full height ESDI?

      I think I have one. Or perhaps SCSI.

      In a converter box which plugs into an Atari 520 Ste (which has 4 Mb of memory).

      No idea if it will power up, but some day....

  15. nichomach
    Facepalm

    Ulp

    The Dell Axim X51v PDA that will definitely come in handy one day.

    The USB to USB network adapter for migrating machines that never worked properly but we might need sometime.

    More software boxes than I can count for versions that are more than a decade out of date.

    Retired laptops that absolutely cannot be wiped and shoved into the recycling "just in case I need something from it".

    Old digital cameras with comically low resolutions (I've got one that takes smartmedia cards, FFS, what was I thinking?).

    Bluetooth keyboards that aside from their initial pairing have never, ever been connected to the phones/tablets/whatevers that I was definitely going to use them with.

    The first step is acknowledging that I have a problem...

    1. DropBear Silver badge

      Re: Ulp

      Well I don't have a hoarding problem, sorry. I'm able to hoard just fine...

  16. 0laf Silver badge

    Sprouts...

    Par boiled then roasted with pancetta and Parmigiano.

    It's wrong to work in IT in any way and not gather a wide collection of shite that might, one day, be needed.

    We've all got stories of needing that one weird cable and just so happening to still have it. I like having old gadgets around, especially PDAs for some reason.

    TBH I'd still use a b/w LCD Palm / Psion as a calendar if the software would still work.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "TBH I'd still use a b/w LCD Palm / Psion as a calendar if the software would still work."

      I still have a 1980's pocket Casio date/day calculator - somewhere. ..and my Texas "programmer" hex calculator from 1978.

      1. 0laf Silver badge

        I still have and regularly use the Texas scientific calculator I used at school in the early 90s. It's at least 25yr old.

        Until the last house move I also had boxes of Pentium II processors, some mobos and assorted bits. In my parents loft I have a P1 200MHz MMx with a Voodoo 1 card I bought in 1996.

        1. DropBear Silver badge

          "I still have and regularly use the Texas scientific calculator I used at school in the early 90s. It's at least 25yr old."

          Casio. Same age. And still, to this day, working off the bloody original battery, every time I bother to check. I'm not kidding.

          1. Radio Wales

            I had one of the original Texas Matrix calculators. I bought it myself to use in the office 'cos I hated the hand-cranked IBM machine with a passion.

            I was working on programming bars for IBM punched tape recorders then, and could only count to two. ( 0 & 1)

            Trouble was, it didn't auto-off and so with the novelty value of everyone competing with the ESSO OIL tricks, it got through two PP9 batteries a day. Seriously expensive technology that set the bar for IT equipment prices to this day.

    2. Stoneshop Silver badge

      We've all got stories of needing that one weird cable and just so happening to still have it.

      Them: "We've got these GPS trackers to fit in the support vehicles for $event, but they only come with mains chargers. Now, the vans have mains converters; can you fit those on your motorcycles too?"

      Me: "You're kidding? Something that big just to power a tracker the size of a ciggie packet?"

      Them: "Well, the battery doesn't last even half the event, so ..."

      Me: "Don't they have 12V adapters?"

      Them: "Maybe, but they weren't supplied"

      Me: :The charger outputs, mmm, 5 Volts, and this socket may be non-standard but it looks just like the socket on my digicam, for which I <rummage> have an USB cable. <inserts> <inserts in powerbank> Aaaaand it works. So, ten of these cables from fastandcheapcables.com, ten USB charger adapters for car ciggie lighters, and we're set."

    3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      "We've all got stories of needing that one weird cable and just so happening to still have it. I like having old gadgets around, especially PDAs for some reason."

      Like all the shite still in my toolkit. Some has been "retired" to a spares box in the boot of the car "just in case" but never gets looked at. Apart from the time a year or so back when I arrived on site to find the reason they couldn't print was because the DB9 to RJ45 printer cable had been damaged beyond repair and I found everything I needed to build a new one in the spares box :-)

      That was also the day the roll of solder, soldering iron and heat shrink tubing went into the spares box.

  17. chivo243 Silver badge
    Happy

    been bought, borrowed or stolen in the first place

    Raises finger, guilty as charged... and yes, I have those bins and boxes under my desk too!

    I guess we all need a bigger place for out stuff?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JLoge6QzcGY

    1. Geoff Campbell

      Re: been bought, borrowed or stolen in the first place

      If you can fit them under your desk, you don't have enough of them.

      GJC

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: been bought, borrowed or stolen in the first place

        Mea Culpa ... raised the floor in spare bedroom

  18. Zog_but_not_the_first Silver badge
    Devil

    Sprouts - the Devil's vegetable

    There's only one way to deal with them. Boil ferociously for five hours, to make sure that they are dead, then throw them away.

    No, I don't like them.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Sprouts - the Devil's vegetable

      Saw this on another website - no idea how true it is though - FWIW, I was taught about the crosses so that they would cook better.

      Brussels sprouts were housing tiny demons

      If you were to eat a Brussels sprout or even a little cabbage back in Medieval Britain, you would be especially susceptible to falling ill thanks to the demons that hide within the leaves of these satanic vegetables. At least, that’s what they believed, for whatever reason. The way that this was combated was by cutting little crosses into the base of the veggies before cooking them.

      1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge
        Thumb Down

        Re: Sprouts - the Devil's vegetable

        I was taught about the crosses so that they would cook better.

        Don't cut crosses, they make the sprouts overcook. It's an idea dreamt up by people that think the right way to serve cabbage is as a purée.

      2. Chris G Silver badge

        Re: Sprouts - the Devil's vegetable

        I think the tiny demons are the evil farts that sprouts engender.

  19. pstiles

    Misty-eyed

    My selection of Power Supplies is broad enough to make anyone weep. I'm particularly fond of my fine collection of Nokia Phone Chargers Throughout The Years. I'm sure there should be a Collector's Edition Box Set in there somewhere...

    But I think what I have most pride in is my collection of PS-2/USB adaptors for keyboards and mice. These little green and purple dongles nearly 2" long make me smile every time I find another one in the back of a drawer; actually I can see ten of them from where I'm sitting... They'll come in useful one day.

    1. Geoff Campbell

      Re: Misty-eyed

      Those sort of adaptor plugs make great desk toys for fiddling with as one contemplates the ineffable wossnames of the universe. Always fun to see how high a column of stuff-plugged-into-other-stuff one can construct. IEC power converters are my favourite currently, and Ethernet T pieces and terminators were excellent back in the day.

      GJC

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Misty-eyed

      Does no-one else have a big box, lined with anti-static bags, full of every SIMM and DIMM module from every computer that you ever broke up and scrapped? Am I the only one?

      Or a collection of ISA and PCI SCSI cards, just in case?

      PS - Is anyone looking for a pair of 30 pin 256K SIMM? I have 20 going spare......

      1. Geoff Campbell

        Re: Misty-eyed

        See above, under "eBay". Bits of old PC hardware pricing has a classic bath-tub curve. For some years you can't give them away, then they start increasing in value again as they become rarer and sought after.

        GJC

      2. Mage Silver badge

        Re: Misty-eyed: RAM

        I've got every sort, including 1K DIL chips and ones for a Pentium Pro.

        They don't take much space. Hence grow,

        Baffled by variety of ones for laptops.

        Discovered the CMOS / RTCC modules all dead when fixing up an old P4. However easy to hack open battery connections and add a CR2032 socket. The Compaq lunch box wouldn't even start video without replacing it.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Misty-eyed: RAM

          I raise my glass to your 1k DIL chips. Just in case you ever come across a ZX81 16K ram pack, that needs repair? Right?

          I think I have some 2716 eproms in a box somewhere. Used those by the bucketload in one job I worked in c. 1990.

      3. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: Misty-eyed

        ...every SIMM and DIMM module from every computer that you ever broke up and scrapped...

        [sheepish look]

        1. Khaptain Silver badge

          Re: Misty-eyed

          Just had a quick look in my desk drawer, I counted 12 "spare" modules.... The smallest one is 512mb , they have been there for at least 2 years, just sitting there waiting patiently for a donor box..

      4. dgc03052

        Re: Misty-eyed

        "Does no-one else have a big box, lined with anti-static bags, full of every SIMM and DIMM module from every computer that you ever broke up and scrapped?"

        Convince your SO that they are for a Christmas Wreath when you have enough of them. https://www.pinterest.com/pin/235383517998244985/

      5. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Misty-eyed

        "Does no-one else have a big box, lined with anti-static bags, full of every SIMM and DIMM module from every computer that you ever broke up and scrapped?"

        Does anyone not have one?

    3. jelabarre59 Silver badge

      Re: Misty-eyed

      But I think what I have most pride in is my collection of PS-2/USB adaptors for keyboards and mice.

      Hah! I have some AT/DIN5 to PS/2 adapters. And PS/2 to AT ones as well. add in the USB-PS/2, along with a wireless keyboard dongle, I'm sure I could hook up a wireless keyboard to an IBM-XT.

    4. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Misty-eyed

      "But I think what I have most pride in is my collection of PS-2/USB adaptors for keyboards and mice. "

      My very old 4-way KVM started off with no adaptors and now sports a USB to PS/2 adaptor in every port, it being PS/2 only and all my PCs being non legacy nowadays.

  20. Geoff Campbell
    Go

    eBay

    Every couple of years, I have a big trawl through the storage tubs, and sell everything that looks like it still works, and which I can identify. Quick photo, list at 99p starting bid plus a couple of quid postage. A lot will sell for that 99p, some will go a bit higher, but some go silly, for no reason I can fathom - I recently sold a 15 year old Roland MIDI synth thing for three times the new price, to a chap in Italy, who was delighted with it, and old Nokia phones and tablets are perennial good sellers.

    Be prepared for a couple of buyers complaining that their purchase doesn't work or didn't arrive - just refund them immediately and in full. Life's too short to argue.

    Anything that I can't identify goes back in the tubs for the next round in a few years, of course.

    This normally nets a few hundred quid, which can of course be spent on new, even more useless, gadgets and cables.

    GJC

  21. Dr_N Silver badge

    Municipal Tip/Recycling Centre

    There is an alternative to hoarding that gives its own pleasure:

    Chucking stuff in skips.

    Very liberating.

    Make sure to apply for your déchetterie card in France, Mr Dabbs. You can even weigh the stuff you are binning. And your car.

    1. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Municipal Tip/Recycling Centre

      Chucking stuff in skips.

      Not as much pleasure as digging through the skip (dumpster) and finding a piece of equipment that only needs a slight bit of repair to be fully functional!

      // could explain the pile-o-crap in my garage...

      1. jelabarre59 Silver badge

        Re: Municipal Tip/Recycling Centre

        Back when I worked at an IBM complex, my afternoon exercise/walk involved me making the circuit around the 700-series buildings to poke through the electronics recycling bins. Have more than enough toner cartridges to keep my NetPrinter12 stocked until it dies (and well beyond). Although I find myself sometimes wanting the printer to die just so I can throw them out.

        But what to do with the pile of T40 and T60-series port replicators and docking stations. And everyone in the family could have a USB floppy drive of their very own.

        Unfortunately, right now I need a usable mid-tower case (the one I have is missing the HDD cage) for a working motherboard I was given recently. And I'll actually have to *buy* extra drive rails for my x3200.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Municipal Tip/Recycling Centre

          "Unfortunately, right now I need a usable mid-tower case[...]"

          Dumped a pile of them a few weeks ago. On the last tech refresh all the youngsters had wanted black cases - and water cooler fans needed newer style cases. Stripped them down to only bare metal for the modern equivalent of the rag&bone man. Each one reminded me that the PC had cost the best part of £1k several years ago.

          Anyone want a P4 motherboard? Actually about a dozen.

    2. MJI Silver badge

      Re: Municipal Tip/Recycling Centre

      I had to do this with some electronics.

      Removed hard disk

      Put on ground

      Parked on it

      Chucked in electronics skip.

      Served me right for not getting a Humax then, as the manufacturers refused to update the Freeview box firmware, even though hardware was OK.

      Learnt my lession, only buy Humax PVRs now.

      1. Wensleydale Cheese

        Re: Municipal Tip/Recycling Centre

        "Parked on it"

        I really do miss my old Land Rover.

  22. Commswonk Silver badge

    Dear Mr Dabbs...

    In order for sprouts to be edible, even to we few who can appreciate the finer qualities of an overpriced green vegetable that tastes like a cross between warmed-up Irn-Bru and a donkey’s fart, they cannot be fried, boiled or microwaved. They must be steamed.

    You do realise that it is possible - nay, even preferable - to steam other vegetables? Our steamer is permanently resident on a kitchen worktop as it is used several times a week. A Steamer is for life, not just for Christmas.

    OTOH I have to confess that Madame Commswonk bought a popcorn maker several years ago and ferociously resists any suggestion that it be relocated somewhere more suitable, such as the dustbin. It takes up valuable space in the cupboard where I keep the slow cooker (a valued possession that I have had for >35 years) and which, yes, does get used from time to time.

    @ 0laf: Sprouts...Par boiled then roasted with pancetta and Parmigiano. Or tossed with said pancetta (or bacon) and chopped chestnuts.

    The idea of the Lakeland Catalogue being "kitchen pr0n" is one that I find more than slightly amusing.

    1. Alistair Dabbs

      Re: Dear Mr Dabbs...

      As a vegetarian, I don't normally cook vegetables as a side-serving but as an ingredient, except for Christmas dinner (to accompany the inevitable nut roast - the only time I make one of those either).

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Over the years my neighbours and friends have become used to my "Tardis" garage contents. They are genuinely disappointed if I don't have the thing they desperately need when the shops are shut.

    Often it is for a school project that has to be delivered next day. Requests for ink cartridges at 6am on a Monday - to print their weekend's homework - can be a bit trying.

    On Christmas day a neighbour found they had bought all their Xmas food - and forgotten the normal milk. So they were not surprised that I had a spare litre.

    The request for bolt cutters to free someone's bicycle was a thing too far though.

    The people who pride themselves on having "no clutter" can be annoying. They borrow something they need to do a specialised job then don't return it. On politely enquiring whether they have finished with it - the response is "oh we threw it away - it wasn't expensive was it?". Well no - but you can't buy it nowadays.

    1. GlenP Silver badge
      Happy

      I've even got the bolt cutters!

      Amazing how often someone has said, "I need a..." and I've had one in a shed.

      1. Mark York 3 Silver badge
        Pint

        It's Nice To Be A Miracle Worker.

        I was walking across a car park & I was asked by a Harley Davison rider if I had jump cables in my vehicle (No kick starter & battery flat), while I was digging them out I heard his lady say:

        "Why did you ask him that for?"

        "He looked like the sort of guy that would carry that sort of thing just in case".

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: It's Nice To Be A Miracle Worker.

          "He looked like the sort of guy that would carry that sort of thing just in case".

          Stopped one evening to help a young lady who was obviously struggling trying to change a flat tyre. Then another car pulled up and the driver got out. I anticipated saying "No thanks - all under control" - except he asked for directions to somewhere.

    2. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
      Happy

      ...my "Tardis" garage...

      Would that it *were* bigger on the inside. That would solve a lot of problems with SWMBO.

    3. Stoneshop Silver badge

      The request for bolt cutters to free someone's bicycle was a thing too far though.

      And you were right in denying that; it's the domain of cordless angle grinders, to set you off from the low-life bicycle-pinching yobbo's.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      >"The people who pride themselves on having "no clutter" can be annoying. They borrow something they need to do a specialised job then don't return it. On politely enquiring whether they have finished with it - the response is "oh we threw it away - it wasn't expensive was it?". Well no - but you can't buy it nowadays."<

      The worst kind of 'No clutter' people are the ones who'd rely on me for just about everything that needs a tool, cable or PSU for this and that, and were never shy of commentating - as I rooted through my stock to supply them with what they desperately needed just then - 'Oh! I don't know how you can live with all this clutter, it would drive me mad'.

      One day I agreed with them and chucked the lot of it, then stood by to see the face the next time they 'desperately' needed something, I threw open the garage door for them to see it full of - my car.

      Then watch with satisfaction, as I supply them with a obsolete part number and sit back with the popcorn as they start phoning around trying to find what it was I threw out last week.

      Empty space ruled supreme - at least for a while, until the wife caught wind of the room going begging - and I lost the acquaintances of quite a number of 'friends' who used to drop by for free parts.

      Anonymous posting is essential given the feathers I've ruffled in my neck of the woods as I notice that the clean-sweep freaks empty shelves have begun filling up a bit and I've realised that quite soon I will be calling on them... Mwahahahah!

  24. Mage Silver badge
    Coffee/keyboard

    Attic

    I must clear out the upgraded PCW256 (512K RAM, 720K DS SD floppy added). Loads of ISA cards, old motherboards, cables, genuine IBM AT stuffed with VGA card and maybe three AST RAM cards and IDE HDD. Also must chuck the MFM drives, various SCSI drives, ZIP and Bernoulli drives and boxes of cables.

    A half dozen boxes of old PCBs from test gear, radios etc in workshop.

    Dabbsey has been secretly visiting my home office and kitchen. We now have the never used multi-chopper in a box ready to junk.

  25. $till$kint

    I was grinning along as I read this until I got to the bit about the drum of telephone cable. Too close to the truth for comfort....

    Tech Hoarders Anonymous anyone?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Doing this year's new Xmas lights I needed 12v cable. There was a roll in the box with the remainders from when the house was partly rewired in 1990. In fact I couldn't really bear to cut it - so the hoardedsaved lengths from the 1980s tree lights were used instead.

      I do regret throwing away (recycled) all the shorter lengths of high amperage cables though. My figurative sculpture hobby has reached the size where I need to make a metal armature. To stop the clay slipping off you need to wind copper wire round the struts to give a ridged surface. The price of a small spool of copper wire is eye-watering.

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

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

      I have a drum of Cat 4 (yes, that's right) if you need it.

      The best stock of telephone cable was taken when a manual switchboard was decommissioned in 1976. Not very long but a really thick bundle of tinned single cores with all sorts of different coloured insulation. It solders beautifully. I've been snipping bits off to hook odds together, repair PCBs with broken tracks etc. ever since.

    3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      "Tech Hoarders Anonymous anyone?"

      Anonymous Tech Hoarders LONdon, ATHLON for short.

      Meeting at the pub nearest Reg Towers, first Tuesday of the month, 7:30pm. Drinks and munchies provided from El Reg tea and biccies budget. (aka the El Reg lecture series)

  26. juice Silver badge

    I hate throwing things away...

    Not because I'm an excessive hoarder[*] - I actually quite like the feeling of dumping large quantities of obsolete tech in the local rubbish dump's skip.

    However, from long experience, I can pretty much guarantee that as soon as said tech is definitely beyond all possibility of rescuing, I'll find a need for it. Similar applies to the various bits of craft junk stored in overly large tupperware boxes.

    Admittedly, the opposite applies to needle-nosed pliers and stanley knifes. No matter how many I purchase, these will always vanish into thin air at even the merest suggestion that they could be useful...

    [*] Well. Not hugely. Ish. Much. *ahem*

  27. Magnus Ramage

    Braised sprouts are great. Ordinary saucepan (ours are cast-iron). Strip the sprouts of outer leaves, chop in half. Melt some butter, bung in the sprouts, cook on medium heat for a few mins until they're beginning to brown, put on the lid, turn down heat (or off) and let them steam for a few mins more. Add a little bit of hot water if needed to stop them sticking.

  28. SVV Silver badge

    Good solution

    Try a car boot sale. Not to try and sell the stuff, but just to see wehat others are selling. You'll be amazed how much ancient tech you can find, and if you go past the half way stage of it, you can bargain people down to amazingly cheap prices as they'll be desperate not to take it home again with them. You won't be able to resist snarfing up bagloads of long forgotten stuff you might have once been impressed with when you read about it 15 / 20 / 30 years ago and can have a fun afternoon taking it all home, trying to get it to work and being vastly entertained at the sheer crapness of it all when you do. The real benefit is that you'll forget about alll the other crap that was already occupying space, as the new crap will obscure it, and the excitement of tryimg to locate a driver for all the newly aquired kit on the web, or get a ZX Spectrum / tape recorder / bag of old games combo working with your 70 inch Ultra HD telly will make you completely forget your worries. This approach can also conveneiently be applied to other ares of the house, such as the kitchen gadget collection at the same time. Constantly buying more, not fretting about whether or not to throw stuff out is the true answer to your problem.

    1. Wensleydale Cheese

      Car boot sales

      "Try a car boot sale. Not to try and sell the stuff, but just to see wehat others are selling."

      Did that once, before it opened, and got chatting to one of the professional sellers.

      He'd got a huge box of useless wires, with connectors on only one end, the likes of which I couldn't imagine actually fitting anything.

      He said they'd come as part of a job lot and he hadn't a clue what to use them for either, but they were his currently best selling item.

      He had inadvertently stumbled on something about human nature there.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Car boot sales

        He said they'd come as part of a job lot and he hadn't a clue what to use them for either,

        Some years ago, an auction house near my office was selling the remains of a closed business. One item on the catalogue was an "electronic switch box". Accurately described, but for some reason they throught it was the only part of the assembly worth noting. The attached PDP-11/84 and ½" tape drive didn't get a mention. I was the only bidder, got the lot for the starting bid of £10.00.

  29. Alister Silver badge

    Professional hoarding

    So, as someone who works in IT, and is also a Land Rover owner, I reckon to have all the necessary qualifications (and collections of strange gadgets) to claim professional hoarding status.

    I have, of course, boxes of ISA cards, including SCSI interfaces, ATA Raid cards, 3com network cards (by the hundred) old PCI cards, AGP graphics cards, broken keyboards and mice, ATA hard drives from 40MB capacity upwards - yes you read that right, 40MB Hard drives... loads of PC cases, including an original IBM XT, an original IBM AT, and an IBM PS2, a Sharp MZ80K, a couple of TRS80 and a Video-Genie, a Camputers Lynx, and some ZX81s.

    BUT, I also have a replacement Series 3 rear-quarter chassis, a Ninety front axle casing, a pair of swivels from a Discovery 300Tdi, an R380 gearbox with a broken layshaft, a complete and intact LT230 transfer box, at least 2 pairs of halfshafts, a couple of propshafts, a set of 5 steel wheels, a 2.25 Petrol cylinder head, a complete but scattered around in bits Rover V8, so cylinder heads, sump, block, pistons, camshafts, crankshaft, tappets, rockers, pushrods, and all the other ancillaries, A Smiths heater, a set of Series2A dashboard instruments, a Series3 instrument binnacle, A Series3 seatbox, a set of Discovery 300Tdi sills, inner and outer, and door pillars, A and B, One Series2A R/H front wing, quite a few rusty outriggers, and a dismantled truckcab roof.

    Then, I have a welder, a compressor and a full set of air tools, and hundreds of sets, partial sets, and mostly lost sets of sockets, allen keys, torx wrenches and individual tools. Whenever I go the find a 1/2 inch spanner and can't, I buy another one, same with 13mm spanners. I recently bought a 1/2 inch socket drive which you could use in confined spaces by twisting the handle, which I thought was cool.

    As too finding the actual bit of Land Rover, or particular tool, when I want it... HA, no chance...

    1. 0laf Silver badge

      Re: Professional hoarding

      I have a strong longing for a landrover defender despite knowing them to be pretty crap.

      I fear getting one would simply feed my addiction to gathering odd tools and widgets and add odd car parts to it.

      Saying that I've a washing machine, fridge and tumble drying in me garage, just in case. I need to get them to a charitable concern

      1. MJI Silver badge

        Re: Professional hoarding

        Just get one then.

        But they are not a normal car, they are a utility vehicle and very good at that. They are not crap.

        Howver if you want comfort buy the same age Discovery.

  30. Nifty

    Nuts bolts washers and screws

    In that order in case misunderstood.

    I keep all kinds of old rotating fasteners and spacers.

    Believe it or not the really do come in handy when fixing things or doing some sort of DIY improvisation.

  31. Chris G Silver badge

    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.

  32. Ian Emery Silver badge
    Headmaster

    just one user, never used

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

  33. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
    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.

    1. Commswonk Silver badge

      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.

      1. Shadow Systems Silver badge

        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

        1. Mark 85 Silver badge

          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.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      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.

    3. MJI Silver badge

      Re: Sprouts

      Another egg hater.

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

  34. davemcwish

    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

    1. Alister Silver badge

      Re: sprouts cannot be fried

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

  35. Lee D Silver badge

    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.

  36. Joe Werner Silver badge

    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...

    1. jelabarre59 Silver badge

      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).

  37. Anonymous Cowerd

    Minoru 3D webcam

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

  38. Anonymous Coward
    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.

    1. jelabarre59 Silver badge

      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).

    2. Anonymous Coward
      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.

    3. Alistair Dabbs

      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.

  39. TRT Silver badge

    Hushme.

    The bane of the office. And the Bane.

  40. 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

  41. Terry 6 Silver badge

    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.

  42. Triumphantape

    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.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      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.

  43. Russell Chapman Esq.

    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 :(

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      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.

  44. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

    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.

  45. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
    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...

  46. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
    Pint

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

    Only one unused Wi-Fi camera?

    I have three. Unused.

  47. Fihart

    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

  48. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    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.

  49. Cynic_999 Silver badge

    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."

    1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

      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)

  50. onefang Silver badge

    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.

    1. Wensleydale Cheese
      Happy

      @ onefang

      You're new here, aren't you?

      1. onefang Silver badge

        Re: @ onefang

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

        And now my welcome is complete. B-)

        1. earl grey Silver badge
          Trollface

          Re: @ onefang

          And now your conversion to the dark side is complete.

          1. onefang Silver badge

            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.

  51. Unicornpiss Silver badge
    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...

  52. DBarber

    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.

  53. Muscleguy Silver badge

    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.

  54. J 3
    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.)

  55. Kned

    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"!

  56. Rajiv_Chaudri

    Random "gift" culture: well meaning consumerism.

  57. the Jim bloke Silver badge

    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"

  58. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

    HAXBY (n.)

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

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

  59. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

    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?

  60. earl grey Silver badge
    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.

    1. Radio Wales
      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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