Tuesday, 22 March 2011

It's like spelunking, but with less echoes...

Occasionally I come across an item being used for IT support that has been borrowed from other disciplines or places that you wouldn't expect.

This past weekend I was working on one of my computers, a task which is made up of crawling into the dark area under my desk to dis- and later reconnect the tower. The disconnect part is easy, but getting the color-coded audio cables into the right jacks is not something that can be done by feel.

At one point I found myself reaching for a flashlight that I could hold in my teeth so I had both hands free. Unfortunately, the first one I found was a 3 D-cell Maglite, a little too heavy to try holding that way. The next one was the right size, a little 9-LED model, but the aluminum case starts to irritate after a few moments. I decided I needed to find an alternative method of holding a flashlight.

Lee Valley sells a clamp for the little LED flashlight, but I don't have a metallic surface under my desk to stick it to, other than my computer. I'm not sure I should mix rare-earth magnets with hard drives. How about somehow sticking the flashlight to the under-side of the desk? Oh, the on/off button is at the back of the flashlight, so pressing it upward into a blob of poster-tac or old chewing gum would just turn it off. Maybe I could hold the Maglite between my head and shoulder like a phone. That lasted until I relaxed my grip and the flashlight fell in my...um...lap, causing me to jump and hit my head on the underside of my desk. Not fun.

Crawling around in the cave under my desk and wishing for some form of protection for my head, in case something else dropped into my...um...lap, I found myself envisioning a miner's helmet. That is when I remembered. Not two feet away was my head lamp, originally purchased for camping so I could set up the tent in all degrees of gloom, but just as handy for a little home-office spelunking. With that on my head there was no longer any danger to my...lap and I was able to quickly reconnect the myriad of cables it seems my computer requires to run.
Best of all, the back of my head is protected by the battery pack, so I don't have to worry about any sudden, unplanned, upward movements of my head.


  1. Glad my present could reduce further damage and danger to your...lap. :))

  2. Sounds like the headlamp is good Sean, but if you ever find that lacks a bit as well, I could also build a flat flashlight with a wide beam and design an arm band that it would be attached to in way that it could swivel and point to where to need. Let me know!!

  3. Gosh, I was thinking I could quilt you a headband, add a scrap of velcro and a pocket for holding a glo-stick. There are solutions a plenty, but I think you're on the right track. Necessity is the Motherhood of inventions or something like that.