King cable guy

Technicalities

Forget about the Final Four, baby! The hype is overblown, the experts have analyzed the fun out of it, and your bracket has turned to chum by now anyway. It's money down the drain, so forget it! You want a real game? It's speedcabling, baby!

OK, we'll leave Dick Vitale to college basketball ' you can get a sore throat just typing like he talks. But for true techies who may have lost faith in big-money sports and don't have a taste for prime-time game shows, speedcabling could be a sport of last resort. The idea is simple, even if the task is not: to see who's the fastest at untangling a mass of Ethernet cables, the kind of snarl you see regularly under desks and in server rooms. The first official speed-cabling competition, held last month in Los Angeles, was won by Web developer Matthew Howell. First prize was a $50 gift certificate to an Italian restaurant ' how's that for amateur status?

The game was invented by Steve Schkolne, an information technology professional who BBC said has a 'passion for detangling cables.' To achieve a natural tangle, Schkolne takes either six or 12 cables, forms a figure eight and puts them in a clothes dryer on high for three minutes. For the final in last month's competition, which Howell called 'brutal,' 12 cables, some as long as 25 feet, were tangled.

Whether speedcabling becomes the Next Big Thing is ' we would suspect ' doubtful. But at least it's a sport with real-world applications. Event organizers even made sure to include real-world requirements: Once detangled, the cables still have to be able to carry a network signal. That's money, baby!

About the Author

Kevin McCaney is a former editor of Defense Systems and GCN.

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