Crap-5 Cabling

This one’s a tale that happened back at the beginning of the pandemic this year.

With everyone in the family here doing their work/school from home, I decided to double check the networking in the house to make sure everything’s up to snuff. Everything seemed okay.

Except for one thing. The network switch on the main floor was a fast ethernet (100 megabits per second) switch, not a gigabit (1,000 megabits per second) switch. This same switch was feeding my Unifi wifi access point, and was working fine up until now.

However, it wouldn’t be just a few Echo devices and the occasional Netflix viewer being serviced now. My wife would need the wifi to be rock solid and as fast as possible to get her work done.

So, I decided to update the switch to a new gigabit model.

Honestly, the slower switch would have still been viable to use, but I wasn’t taking any chances. Plus, if I hadn’t done that little upgrade, I wouldn’t have discovered the following little annoyance.

You see, as soon as I plugged the new switch in, it showed a link speed of… wait for it… 100Mbps.

I tried different network cables from the wall to the switch and got the same result. I then tried all the different ports on the switch and got the same result again.

Wondering if I was going crazy, I checked the main switch in the basement to make sure it actually was a gigabit switch. It was. (As a side note, it’s not good practice to chain switches together like this. It still works – it just makes tracking down a fault very painful. If you’re a business, don’t do this – one bad switch port can take down a good chunk of your network because you were cheap. Also, I didn’t want to pay our house builder’s exorbitant $500 price tag to run a second cable to the main floor.)

Thinking I had bought a faulty switch for upstairs, I connected the access point directly to the wall.

Same thing.

What the heck was going on here?

Somewhat thankfully, the basement isn’t finished. So, I was able to peek at the ceiling and see if there was any funny stuff going on with the cables. This is what I saw.

Those, folks, are heavy staples being used to tack the tv, telephone, and network cables to the joists.

You don’t staple network cable. In fact, you shouldn’t staple any kind of wiring to anything else. You’re supposed to use proper cable clips. These things:

Basically, what I think happened is that there’s probably a broken wire somewhere along this cable run. Either that, or some of the 8 tiny wires inside the network cable have sustained enough staple damage to degrade their performance. So, good enough for 100Mbps, but forget about ever getting gigabit.

I’m really glad I didn’t pay extra to have them install a second run.

And that’s the story of how I further confirmed, 10 years later, that our home builder really was incompetent and/or cheapskates.

That last statement might seem a bit harsh, but, believe me when I say I have many more upcoming stories regarding their incompetence. This was just the latest one that I found.

Take care, folks, and stay safe.

Horrible DIY: Ottoman

Hi there, guys and gals.

Thought I’d toss some more nonsense at you folks. Not sure how interesting this’ll be for most of you, but here we go.

Thankfully, I’ve been able to work from home for the duration of the pandemic. Long story short, I had a small ottoman under my desk to act as a footstool. He started complaining after a while, so I had him deported and replaced with a piece of furniture instead.

The ottoman (furniture) was covered in faux leather. This, ladies and gentlemen, is what happens to faux leather after months of exposure to my feet:

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Update On The Next Book

Hi, guys and gals.

This little update is exactly what it says on the tin. It’s just a quick update to keep you in the loop.

With a little bit of a twist.

The next book is not Artifice: Episode Six.

Now, please put down your pitchforks for a second and hear me out.

I’ve got a few book ideas that I’ve been planning on writing for a while. Many are still just skeletons of books at the moment, and may never see the light of day. Truth be told, Artifice was not intended to be my first book. But, that’s a story for another day.

The next book will be a one-off. That is, it’s not a series, nor will it have any sequels. I don’t want to spill the beans too early, but here’s a tiny bit of a teaser – it’ll have spaceships in it.

Artifice: Episode Six will be the next book after that.

More to follow soon… ish.

Take care, folks.

Discount Crystal Ball

Hi there, guys and gals. Got a little bit of a treat for you tonight.

Anyone interested in a sneak peak into the future of the Artifice series?

You are? Well then, sit back and enjoy.

Now, because we’re using a discount crystal ball, this little revelation could be the real deal, or it could be a false vision sent by a trickster. If it’s not a fake, it could happen in the next episode, or ten episodes from now. (Read: this is intended for the next episode, but I may find that it works even better in another one, or that it may just end up not working out at all. The latter two scenarios are highly unlikely, but just wanted to be transparent with you folks.)

Also, there may obviously be a few slight spoilers, so feel free to skip over this post. I won’t mind.

Now, with the disclaimers out of the way:

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Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween, guys and gals!

No profound or boring essay for you this time. Just well wishes in these strange times.

Stay safe, folks.

Xbox Appendectomy

Hi, guys and gals. Hope everyone’s doing well.

As a beloved comedy troupe once said, “And now for something completely different.”

As you (probably don’t) know, I like to collect retro games. I recently came upon an original Xbox in one of the local thrift stores for $25 (Canadian dollars, approximately 82 cents USD). It appeared to be in good condition with no roaches or anything pouring out of it, so I decided to bite the bullet.

All the warranty seals were in place, which was a good thing. It meant no one had been in there before to tinker around, and that it had never needed repairs. Now, the thrift store claimed that it was “tested”, but I’m not sure if that meant they just plugged the power in and made sure it didn’t immediately catch fire. However, it was still a good sign.

It was also a bad sign. See, the original Xboxes (up until the last revision) all had a very distinct issue.

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Geopolitically Bad Timing

Hi, guys and gals. Hope everyone’s doing well.

Here’s a free tip: If you’re thinking of upgrading the flooring in your home, try to do it before you cover it with furniture…

We’re got all the furniture out from the second room, and I’m going to start laying down the actual flooring tomorrow. Why not today, you ask? Well, because of this:

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