I suspect many of you are like me in that you stash cables in a box. *Possibly* labeled "Cables". Or, if you are a bit more organized, "CAT5 Cables", "Printer Cables", "Centronics SCSI Cables", "VHDCI Cables", "10Base2 Cables", etc.
For the most part, this works great for me.
Except for CAT5 ("Ethernet") cables!
The problem, there, is they come in too many different lengths. And, you usually want a length that closely matches your actual *need* (lest you end up with spools of "slack wire" around the place!).
Years ago, I made the obvious distinction between "long" and "short" cables -- the long ones taking up a lot of space in an otherwise overcrowded box! (this gave me an excuse to start a *second* box of network cables :> )
I've been able to develop a pretty good estimating ability to gauge the length of a cable pulled at random from a box: count the number of loops and estimate the circumference, etc. (since I coil many of them around my forearm, this tends to be relatively constant)
But, invariably, I'll pick a cable (or three), uncoil it and discover it is too long or short for my needs (seems like 20' is a nasty operating point when it comes to cables).
Like tonight as I was cabling a pair of NAS boxes in the office.
I have previously considered using "manilla" (is that really a word?) tags tied to each cable bundle labeled with the length of that cable. But, once you remove the tag to uncoil the bundle, the information is lost! If you tie the tag *to* the cable, then it gets mangled as you "pull" the cable into place.
I had also thought of these little "number tapes" (0 - 9) that you can use to uniquely identify cables ("This is cable #23 which goes to the color laser printer"). Use them to mark *lengths* instead of "identities". Alternatively, I thought of using a "shrinkwrap labeler" that I have (prints "whatever" on lengths of shrink wrap tubing that you can then shrinkwrap onto "whatever").
But, all of these approaches suffer from requiring you to uncoil each bundle, measure it's length, label the cable and then recoil it for storage.
After tonight's fiasco, I'm wondering if a better solution might be to *weigh* cables and deduce length from that! (?) Of course, this assumes cables from various manufacturers weigh *roughly* the same per unit distance...
Any other suggestions -- besides "go 100% wireless"?