Talk:2503: Memo Spike Connector

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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Just made my first ever wiki edit! There was no text yet so I filled in some basic info. I guarantee what I wrote will be removed though :( . Oh well, I tried! Zman350x (talk) 15:20, 16 August 2021 (UTC)

Your first edit inspired me to my own first edit. Maybe at the end there will be a good article made entirely by noobs. :) 16:33, 16 August 2021 (UTC)
Seems like some parts of your edits have survived, to what seems close to a final version now. Any start on an explanation is difficult so cool that you are now on the editing team ;-) I make a lot of edits, but is not typically the one that makes the actual explanation, more keeping the format and making small improvements --Kynde (talk) 07:20, 17 August 2021 (UTC)
 :o -- 10:55, 17 August 2021 (UTC)

In restaurants these are not used for orders for the kitchen. Those are usually put on an order wheel or ticket holder, which have clips that the order can easily pulled out of. The spike is at the checkout counter, and it's used after the bill is paid. Barmar (talk) 19:57, 16 August 2021 (UTC)

Do we want to mention the vampire taps in both the article and trivia? Cause that's how it currently is. Zman350x (talk) 21:27, 16 August 2021 (UTC)

No. Have removed trivia. --Kynde (talk) 07:20, 17 August 2021 (UTC)

My first comment too! Where it says... "The implication is that any cable can be connected to any other cable as a form of universal adapter/splitter/combiner"... That's not the title text joke. It's that a device like an iPad could also be impaled on the spike, making electrical connection to its innards. It says nothing about cable to cable connections. 21:47, 16 August 2021 (UTC)

Didn't see this comment until I intervened, under the same impression, but I totally agree. Looked like an orphan comment intended for the pre-titletext 'explanation'. Still valid, and rather than move it I expanded it to fit better where it is. Doubt it'll be the 'final' version, though. (Anecdotal explanation of my thinking: If I put my tablet down on my opened laptop, it'll sometimes 'agitate' the laptop trackpad. Technically I could probably get the tablet to control this inbuilt mouse deliberately through whatever ¿field-effect? is interacting with the ¿capacitative? finger-sensor. I am imagining something like this (only more puncturing!) is what is 'promised' if I impale two otherwise incompatible devices on the same spike. But also lets one connect otherwise incompatible cables to further cables/devices. Like I don't have an ethernet dongle that works with the tablet, but spike them both and I'd be laughing.... Right?) 03:14, 17 August 2021 (UTC)
The title text is also about old types of cables and not just smartphones and tablet. --Kynde (talk) 07:20, 17 August 2021 (UTC)

This explanation does not answer the one question I came here to find the answer to, namely why it is named “memo spike.” 03:19, 17 August 2021 (UTC)

Some (not me, but that's because I've never used one in anger, maybe) seem to call the non-connector thing that the connector is based around a "memo spike". Apparently one can impale successive memos (in a memo-heavy administration job?) upon the spike and then later thread a chord (or treasury tag?) through the holes to perpetuate their 'spiked collection' status. It's possible there are other names (like: thumb-tack <=> drawing pin), but this is how Randall identifies it. Better than "that thing you spike paper onto - but now with power!!!111oneoneone", etc... 'Though YMMV. 03:56, 17 August 2021 (UTC)

The detail on the free cable end is more clearly visible in the double-sized image version, suggesting that it isn't just a coax. BunsenH (talk) 04:28, 17 August 2021 (UTC)

It is actually the x2 version that is now showed per default on the xkcd page, and thus it is that one that should be used here on xkcd.. ie. the one you are presented with on xkcd. Have uploaded that version to explain now. --Kynde (talk) 07:20, 17 August 2021 (UTC)
"It is actually the x2 version that is now showed per default on the xkcd page" - you're wrong about that. The x2 is an optional image if the markup-linked code decides it wants to make it the embedded image. Maybe that becomes default in your case, but don't assume it's true for everyone, all the time. (You can break the explainxkcd page rendering for people, like me, if you force a typical x2 image into here, even when xkcs original is sane and allows deliberate zooming.)
My suggestion in this case/similar is to clip the detail from the x2 to highlight the feature and embed this exact bit in the explanation, if you want to make sure everyone sees the high-res version of that bit in particular. 13:41, 17 August 2021 (UTC)
I have added an imagesize parameter, so it renders with the 'standard' size while keeping the detail from the 2x version when viewing the file's page. theusaf (talk) 16:32, 17 August 2021 (UTC)

Possibly a reference to the 1987 movie RoboCop; the titular character had a similar looking data spike used to interface with OCP computers. 19:16, 17 August 2021 (UTC)

Similar looking? It's a spike, which is action-relevent at another point in the movie (or maybe franchise, if I'm thinking of some sequel/requel scene). But not (if I'm not missing anything by my dotty memory) a thing with a round base that acts to vampire-tap cables. 02:23, 18 August 2021 (UTC)
This here looks pretty much like the comic to me and it is a data connector. 18:54, 18 August 2021 (UTC)

It would be interesting to get a list of cable types for which this could actually work in some circumstances. Also how would the device deal with multiple cables being impaled on it as in the picture? How would the information be separated? 07:42, 18 August 2021 (UTC)

Even with one cable, it would need to be a majority-insulating spike with a myriad of pin-prick conductive patches arrayed (like a ring-barelled audio+ connector, but radially distinct also) each ready to leach one and ony one bit of bare copper (though a wire may/should touch multiple spike-patches) without bridging to another.
All these would need bundling into the base - or maybe with very clever in-spike isolation/relaying conductor paths - for any currents to be assessed and sorted and build up a logical picture of whhat the few contact-patches that are contacting wire are actually contacting (perhaps moment to moment, as movements of the impaled cable happen).
For 'passive' wires in the bundle, maybe tentative pulses can detect the altered capacitance/impedance they give the patch-spots, then (from clues based upon any active signals) a complex and careful handshaking attempt would need to auto-negotiate which kind of auto-negotiating might be expected by the device(s) at the other end(s) of the cable.
Hopefully enough connections exist to operate any particular carrier-cable correctly (single-pair +/-, or ground/pos/sig+/sig-, or DA+/DA-/DB+/DC-/DC+/DB-/DD+/DD-, or whatever), and with enough current capacity without cross-conductor signal-lraking (either physically or inductively). Adding a second cable (which may jostle the first, requiring hot/on-the-fly reinterpretation of its patch-mapping and capabilities therefrom) just repeats the process with previously untouched patch-contacts.
...and if you can get that working. You're welcome to the patent. A similarly dynamic 'induction/inducer clamp' version might be my own prefered choice, but probably also difficult to get working well (for different reasons). 12:30, 18 August 2021 (UTC)