this is from a friend of mine...
USAID Leland Initiative
The TIA/EIA-232 (RS-232) standard does not specify the color of cable
conductors. The standard specifies cable length, connectors, signals, etc.
but not colors. Each cable manufacturer is free to use any color for any
signal. The solution to your problem however is very simple. Use an
Ohm-meter or a continuity tester to determine which colors are connected to
which pins in the connector. This can be done by connecting one lead of the
continuity tester to a pin in the connector and the other lead of the
continuity tester to each conductor of the cable until continuity is detected.