On Phatnoise and Cables
For those of you who followed me at my old home (on gotdotnet using Chris Anderson's BlogX software), you'll remember that I purchased a Kenwood Music Keg, which is really an OEMmed version of the Phatnoise Phatbox. In a nutshell: it's an in-car digital audio player that looks to your car stereo like a really big CD changer. it consists of a base unit and a hard drive (mine is 10GB). I loaded about 150 CDs onto it before I got tired.
Well, I'd been having problems pretty much since I bought it -- the head unit (i.e. receiver) wouldn't talk to the base unit (i.e. the Phatnoise box). Over and again I brought it back to Car Toys for them to check it out. Finally, they sent it and the head unit back to Kenwood. Six weeks later, it's back. I'm happy. And I have new cables. Seems there was nothing wrong with either the head unit or the Phatbox: the cables that connected the units together were faulty. In fact, two batches of cables were faulty. We'll see how the third batch holds up.
Which reminds me about other cabling stories. Of the old BNC/Thin Ethernet cables (remember them before 10BaseT?) and how hard it was to get a good connection and how long I spent troubleshooting them when I was an assistant system administrator on VAX/VMS systems. Of the new digital cable I have in my house where the cable guy impressed upon me the importance of high-quality coax cable and connectors. And of the new condo my wife bought to use as an art studio where the electricians wired every 10BaseT Ethernet jack backwards.
Sometimes it's the stupid stuff.