I spent about an hour and a half tracking down a problem at work yesterday, which turned out to be all the way back to one connector away from the source, where a sub-miniature coaxial cable had apparently been damaged by rough handling, wiping out a high-definition video signal.
In the old days, video was shipped around in RG-59-type cables, or big, fat Belden 8281. Both of them had relatively incompressible solid plastic internal insulators. You could very nearly hit the stuff with a hammer without harming it; you could walk on it with impunity and the normal wear and tear of being crammed into tight spots with a few score other similar cables was insignificant.
Fast forward to 2015 -- heck, to 2005 -- and the demands of high-speed serial digital video mean we're using foam-dielectric coax, in about 0.25" and 0.125" diameters. Kink it, bend it tight around a corner, bend it sharply at the connector or step on it, and you have killed it dead. Crunch a tie-wrap tightly around it and it'll conk out deader'n last years Cat. 6 cable under similar circumstances. The littlest stuff won't even withstand a straight pull of more than about 40 pounds force! And occasionally, it lingers, expiring slowly, waiting until the least convenient moment. Now the old-timers at work, they know all there is to know about working with coax -- if they don't know it, it's not worth knowing. Yes, they know everything about the proper care...of RG-59 and 8281. Foam-insulated coax, now, well, the habits of a lifetime are not easy to change. Especially if you don't give too much of a damn. Besides, it usually works. Until it doesn't.
And so it goes. Me, I never drink -- well, hardly ever -- but I came home from work last night and made a nice tall glass of Pimm's No. 1 and rose-elderflower lemonade. I'd've made and consumed two, if I'd had more lemonade. The mess I had to dig through was never very nice but it has somehow become exponentially worse over the last few months, and there's no way to fix it without causing considerable disruption. I'll probably have to be the disruptor -- again.
T. R. MCELROY'S STREAMLINED TELEGRAPH KEYS
8 months ago