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Comment Colour coding, velcro, brady labels (Score 1) 374

Disclaimer: I do this for a living I run a medium-sized datacentre, and my job is to plan new installations for anything from pizza-box servers to full mainframes. Here is a few lessons that I've learnt the hard way. Fighting human nature By nature people are lazy and interested in the quick fix. As soon as you compromise and let 1 'quick fix' through - it turns in to a production cable that you are then stuck with until it's time to decomission the system. Do not compromise - do it right the firs time, every time. Brady Labels These are the self-laminating wrap-round labels for cabling. Label everything with at a minimum the source and destination ports (along with a patch panel port if needed). This brings 2 major benefits - when it comes time to cable everything is already planned and so you just need to follow the labels, and secondly if there is ever a problem you don't spend hours tracing where each cable runs back to. Cable Ties Cable ties are fundamentally evil. Do not use cable ties. Wrapstrap is a better product (no affilitation with this product) - Velcro Velcro is your friend. Buy in bulk. Keep a stock. At home I nail small 3" to 4" pieces at the back of each desk for instant cable management. Cable Lengths Check what lengths you can get from your supplier - you should have a stock of 1m to 4m patch leads at 50cm intervals as a minimum. Use the right lengths. Colour coding Establish a colour coding scheme and stick with it - colour code for primary and secondary networks, colour code for firewalls, colour code for management, colour code for uplinks to additional infrastructure. Colour coding is your best way of verifying and proving that you have full redundancy to each device. OCD is an occupational hazard Yes - the job will make you feel like you have premanent CDO (the letters should always be in alpabetical order) - but the first time you have a problem that you can solve in minutes instead of hours by following the general guidelines above you will be glad you have it.

Submission + - Ugly Truth of Space Junk ( 2

fysdt writes: "Dealing with the decades of detritus from using outer space — human-made orbital debris — is a global concern, but some experts are now questioning the feasibility of the wide range of "solutions" sketched out to grapple with high-speed space litter.

What may be shaping up is an "abandon in place" posture for certain orbital altitudes — an outlook that flags the messy message resulting from countless bits of orbital refuse.

U.S. General William Shelton, commander of Air Force Space Command, underscored the worrisome issue of orbital debris during a presentation at the National Space Symposium on April 12, 2011.

In a recent conference here, Gen. William Shelton, commander of the U.S. Air Force Space Command, relayed his worries about rising amounts of human-made space junk."

Submission + - FLOSS Community nominated Principe Asturias award (

libroblanco writes: "The international FLOSS Community has been nominated to the Principe of Asturias award (maybe the most prestigious international award after Novel prize) in the category of International Cooperation. Up to the 15th of March you can download and sign the letter to support this nomination explaining your own reasons for your support."

Submission + - Microsoft Shows off 3D Talking Head Avatars (

autospa writes: "Microsoft has taken the wraps off some of the natural user interface projects currently in development within its research group. Following a natural user interfacte (NUI) and Kinect SDK TechForum event on Monday, the company posted videos of 3D talking heads, as well as new initiatives in smart displays — both of which make use of camera technologies to create new types of interaction experiences."

IBM's Plans For the Cell Processor 124

angry tapir writes "Development around the original Cell processor hasn't stalled, and IBM will continue to develop chips and supply hardware for future gaming consoles, a company executive said. IBM is working with gaming machine vendors including Nintendo and Sony, said Jai Menon, CTO of IBM's Systems and Technology Group, during an interview Thursday. 'We want to stay in the business, we intend to stay in the business,' he said. IBM confirmed in a statement that it continues to manufacture the Cell processor for use by Sony in its PlayStation 3. IBM also will continue to invest in Cell as part of its hybrid and multicore chip strategy, Menon said."

Submission + - New family of Arduino Boards launched (

EqualSlash writes: The Arduino Project is releasing two new boards — Arduino Uno to replace Duemilanove and Arduino Mega 2560 to replace the existing Arduino Mega board. With Uno, the board is not just getting a new pronunciation-friendly name but also has a custom made USB-serial converter to replace the older FTDI chipset, thereby removing the need to install drivers (they now have their own USB Vendor ID). It now has a logo, stylish packaging and soon will have its own branded web store. A new Ethernet integrated board and a tinkering toolkit will be made available shortly.

Outlook 2010 Bug Creates Monster Email Files 126

Julie188 writes with this snippet from Network World "Office 2010 is still in beta and a patch is already out. Microsoft is trying to fix a bug in the email program Outlook 2010 Beta that creates unusually large e-mail files that take up too much space. The Outlook product team has offered a bug fix for both 32-bit and 64-bit systems that fixes the problem going forward, although previous emails will remain super-sized. This could be a problem for email programs that limit message sizes, such as Gmail or BlackBerry."

The Murky Origins of Zork's Name 70

mjn writes "Computational media researcher Nick Montfort traces the murky origins of Zork's name. It's well known that the word was used in MIT hacker jargon around that time, but how did it get there? Candidates are the term 'zorch' from late 1950s DIY electronics slang, the use of the term as a placeholder in some early 1970s textbooks, the typo a QWERTY user would get if he typed 'work' on an AZERTY keyboard, and several uses in obscure sci-fi. No solid answers so far, though, as there are problems with many of the possible explanations that would have made MIT hackers unlikely to have run across them at the right time."
Input Devices

Razer, Valve, and Sixense Working On Motion Control For PC Games 126

An anonymous reader sends along this excerpt from Shacknews: "Gaming hardware developer Razer has announced a new multi-year partnership with Sixense Entertainment and Valve Software to deliver a '...revolutionary true-to-life, next-generation motion sensing and gesture recognition controller for PC gaming.' Razer, Valve, and Sixense, along with a selection of PC OEM partners, are aiming to produce '...ultra-precise one-to-one motion sensing controllers that use electromagnetic fields to track precise movements along all six axes.' Each controller will reportedly track its orientation within a single degree, and detect positioning within one millimeter. Thankfully, the device will be compatible with both current and future generation PC games."

Copyright and the Games Industry 94

A recent post at the Press Start To Drink blog examined the relationship the games industry has with copyright laws. More so than in some other creative industries, the reactions of game companies to derivative works are widely varied and often unpredictable, ranging anywhere from active support to situations like the Chrono Trigger: Crimson Echoes debacle. Quoting: "... even within the gaming industry, there is a tension between IP holders and fan producers/poachers. Some companies, such as Epic and Square Enix, remain incredibly protective of their Intellectual Property, threatening those that use their creations, even for non-profit, cultural reasons, with legal suits. Other companies, like Valve, seem to, if not embrace, at least tolerate, and perhaps even tacitly encourage this kind of fan engagement with their work. Lessig suggests, 'The opportunity to create and transform becomes weakened in a world in which creation requires permission and creativity must check with a lawyer.' Indeed, the more developers and publishers that take up Valve's position, the more creativity and innovation will emerge out of video game fan communities, already known for their intense fandom and desire to add to, alter, and re-imagine their favorite gaming universes."

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Kill Ugly Processor Architectures - Karl Lehenbauer