Re: Lonely machine needing company before it would work
On the theme of cables behaving badly, the ISP I worked at sent me and one other to the data centre in early 2014 to fit a SIP to E1 converter box to connect to our then new call centre provider's Avaya kit. It absolutely HAD to be working before we left, and of course we needed an E1 crossover cable, and that's not the sort of thing we had lying around. Did we have any RJ45 jacks or a crimp tool there either? Nope.
So while my colleague configured the box I googled pinouts on my (now deceased) HP Touchpad, and calculated the adjustments required to modify a straight Ethernet cable. Again, no tools available so the cable was literally hacked into using a house key, appropriate wires cut and rejoined, twisted together and held together and insulated with electrical tape. It was ugly as hell and had no right whatsoever to work let alone exist, but it did work. Our call centre was online.
A few years later it was decided a proper lead would be crimped and taken to the DC. Sadly, this replacement cable refused to function as intended, or even remotely close to it, so the old hack-job cable was reinstated, with service restored.
The cable was finally retired in early 2019 along with the E1 kit when we changed call centre operators who interconnected with us using SIP.