User:Memo Spike Connector
|Memo Spike Connector
Title text: Backward-compatible with many existing cables, and can connect directly to phones or tablets if you press them down hard enough.
This is the third installment in the series of Cursed Connectors and presents Cursed Connectors #102: The Memo Spike. It follows 2495: Universal Seat Belt (#65) and was followed 9 days later by 2507: USV-C (#280).
The comic depicts a large metal spike with a wire coming from the base. The spike stabs through two other wires, thus creating an electrical connection between the three. As the name suggests, the spike resembles a stationery spindle, colloquially known as a spike, called a Memo Spike here by Randall. However, unlike normal spindles, this one has a cable of some kind coming out of it, suggesting this is a hub of some sort.
Spindles are used to temporarily hold paper by "spindling" or impaling the paper onto the spike (as depicted in the comic). They're most known for their use in restaurants as a way to hold bills that have been paid, or traditionally in offices that work with many bits of paper, e.g. with invoices in a finance department or hardcopy in newspaper editing, to prevent accidental disturbance/shuffling, at the expense of a small puncture mark in each sheet so impaled. (This could cause errors in papers with punch-holes that are meant to be read by machines, hence the admonition against "folding, spindling, and mutilating".) In the latter context, the editor might put all the rejected stories onto a spike (rather than into a wastebasket) to prevent them going astray, and this might be the source of the term 'spiked'.
The joke of the comic is while any number of non-destructive connection standards exist, a large spike can provide much of the same results: a conductive object that retains a connection of multiple wires in a way that allows electricity to pass through. Indeed, in the early days of Ethernet, vampire taps were used, essentially spikes that bit into a cable to establish a new branch in the network. Another type of connection which involves piercing the wire is a punch-down block, a type of insulation-displacement connector, where one or more wires are pushed into a cutting channel instead of onto a spike.
Depending on the type of cable it is also likely to create a short circuit, e.g. by connecting both strands of a twisted pair of strands in a typical Ethernet cable, or the central wire and the sheath of a coaxial cable. In an enterprise environment, this could even happen on a PoE-Connection, which actually carry more noticeable amounts of power (up to 25.5W). Even if this is avoided, the single spike may be large enough to mechanically sever a random subset of the finer strands that exist within a multicore cable such as is commonly in use today.
The title text takes this a bit further. It says that it is backwards compatible with many existing cables. This means any cable large enough to be impaled by the spike could be used. Needless to say it will likely not work anyway. It also continues by saying that phones and tablets can also be connected using this method if you press them down hard enough over the spike. Thus if you actually manage to make the spike penetrate the device's coverings to reach the electrical parts, then there is a connection. The implication is that any device or cable can be connected to any other device or cable as a form of universal adapter/splitter/combiner across arbitrary hardware and communications/power standards. In reality, this could be even more dangerous and will surely destroy the phone/tablet either directly or by overloading their cable connection. Also be careful not to impale your hand while trying to push the spike through your tablet's screen.
- [A memo spike is shown (a device also called a Spindle). It is a long spike standing up from a round base plate. A wire is coming in from the left and appears to be hardwired into the spike's base element. Two other wires comes in from the right. Both are firmly impaled down upon the spike, penetrated completely through shortly before their apparently unterminated ends. The end of the impaled wire closest to the base faces out and the details appear to show it to be of some variety of multicore (rather than co-axial) manufacture. The other cable's end is a bit higher and points into the image. Above is a title and below is a label.]
- Cursed Connectors #102
- The Memo Spike
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