Twitter is nearly universally accepted as a dumpster fire of hate, misinformation, and just badness. And this is just said by people in Twitter.

But it can excel in small ways perhaps lost in the noise. If you ask for with something specific, people you do not know like to offer answers. This is not unique to twitter, the same principle that happened in flickr was the unknown flower seed for my collection of amazing stories.

Here it is. We lost an AC adapter cord for an old model hard drive. This is something that should be easy to find given the model number. But it was really just a enclosure, and the power requirements depend on the drive installed inside (I eventually did open it up to find it was 5V).

Nothing provided a specific model of adapter to use. I was ready just to order the same enclosure I found a few on eBay, just to get the power cord. But on a whim, I decided to ask on twitter with a picture of where it plugged in. The shape of the plug looked something like an old PC serial port, or later as I heard, just like S-video. But no adapters I could find provided this kind of connector.

It would not hurt to toss a tweet.

Responses came in quick. Many not specific, but I got pointed in the right direction, with identifying it as a DIN type (leading into a rabbit hole of old tech) (hey it’s name comes from the German standards organization that defined it Deutsches Institut für Normung) (see how I chase my pal Vannevar sliding down associative trails).

Ben Ritchie nailed it as a MiniDIN 4-Connector:

I was closer in my Amazon searches with this, but the inimitable gadget guy Andy Rush zeroed in on the right item.

All in all, I found myself learning from Wikipedia about how many types of MiniDIN connectors there were. There was a site that tried to teach me how to make my own cables (that was a bit too much). Then I learn that it’s not as simple as just matching the shape!

This lead to an even more exhausting treatise on Common Plugs and Connectors. This is interesting as this is a site that is running MediaWiki (the Wikipedia platform).

And this gets interesting, as by looking for one thing, I land in a spot of curiosity, a wiki of Helpful Knobs and Gadgets. This is a personal effort, the kind of thing that I relish in the web, a site of passion by one or a few passionate individuals rather than a corporate conglomerate honeypot of data snatchers.

Look at this description by the site’s creator:

The idea was to have information in the shape you were looking for.

Also, the idea is to augment.

Links to good notes,
intuitive bootstraps like how a friend might explain it,
Details if they are typically missing from summaries,
summaries if you can only find a mess of details out there.
“technically …” alongside a “and usually this means…”
Also in a “if you can’t explain it, you probably don’t understand it” sort of way.

It has become a general notebook for my hobby projects as well, e.g. notes made making an DIY electonic drumkit or electronics notes in general, or work stuff like ZFS notes.

Also because of the old thing where you process information better if you write it down, because you have to think about it.

I’d almost guess I was reading something by Jon Udell.

I am deep in the tunnels.

Anyhow, I did find one on Amazon, ordered it, and it arrived just the other day.

Even at its worst times, the internet, twitter, can be a bit good.

I just completed by TOOC (Tweeted Online Open Course) in DIN cables.

This is all saved in a Twitter Moment, although they have made it pretty impossible to embed the darn things (oh here is the hack, at the replace events in the moment url with moments). Fantastic job on your interface, twitter.

Featured Image: Public domain image of chalkboard from NeedPix overlain with Photopshop filtered diagram from ShowMe Cables and a twitter logo. This is a smorgasbord license.

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An early 90s builder of web stuff and blogging Alan Levine barks at on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person. And he is 100% into the Fediverse (or tells himself so) Tooting as


  1. Well, that is one of those old tricky ones that can take up forever then you have to find the right plug and you have all of them mixed up with all of the other ones, The thing that I always did after I got tired of that problem every time, was that I got a silver coloured metal sharpie pen (or a gold or a bronze) and wrote the name of the thing that the power brick was for on the power brick. Plus, sometimes even when I do that, I still don’t unplug it, just wrap it around and around to put it in the closet like one still-connected piece.

    There is no thing worse than not being able to find the power brick for a thing, except for when you have a power brick and you don’t have the thing that it plugs into because then you just have to toss it in the box with all of the other ones and then what do you do with them all? Because don’t throw them away otherwise someday you won’t be able to find them when you find the other thing.

    Plus, how is that Felix? It is a good thing that a dog doesn’t need a power brick plug-in.

  2. Oh, and one more idea that I just had.

    If Felix ever had a puppy, then you could name it Navi!

    Because then if someone found Navi and brought him home at Christmas time, then you could introduce them and say, hello, this is Felix, Navi’s dad.

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