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Comment Re:Horizontal cable management (Score 1) 374

I had a situation where we had token ring, ethernet and voice all in the same patch frame once. Rather than getting huge supplies of different coloured cables in lots of different lengths myself and a colleague just got some large packs of very small cable ties in a variety of colours and would then just put a little coloured collar around each end of the cable in the frame to indicate the type of data it was carrying.

If you don't have the budget for an every port live situation or you have an environment where you have multiple use frames then the cable management bars between each pair of panels and switches are the best way I've encountered along with decent space for cables at the side of the cabinets [ie don't use 600x800 or 600x1000 cabs, or any other depth for that matter, always go for 800x versions so you have room at the sides.

Another situation I had to deal with was where we had multiple frames between end points in a data centre [don't ask - bad design!] and lots of glass to glass fibre patching. What we did was put a label tag on each end of the cable, on one side was the ultimate source/destination patch points and the other side was the source/destination points in the local cabinet so we could easily trace a cable through the mess of patching without manually tracing each cable.

Ultimately though in 20 years now I've not found a really good way to make patch frames that get used on a regular basis look tidy except making sure the entire building uses ethernet for just about everything from telephony to the building management and getting the budget to make every single data point live [and introduce lots of redundancy] and then mounting the switches between the patch panels and using tiny 20cm patch leads to plug every single port into it's neighouring patch port.

Comment Re:I may have sold fake Cisco (Score 1) 239

There's grey and there is grey. As you've already noted a lot of grey market Cisco in the UK channel comes from within the UK or frequently from within Europe. The common market means that if you can get it cheap within one part of the EU you can sell it in another and because of Ciscos channel setup you can frequently exploit promotions or pricing differences to make good money and failing that there is the good old purchase a bulk load of kit at a heavy discount and sell it on piecemeal approach that you describe. Then there is the grey stuff that comes from outside of the EU, typically China, that will quite often be counterfeit. Cisco, however, lumps all this together and calls it grey - probably to try and scare people into buying from channel.

The SFPs, GBICs etc are a somewhat different story. All these devices actually conform to a standard - the Multi Source Agreement, or MSA, - that was agreed between companies to simplify production etc. However Cisco [and HP for that matter] deliberately chose to check the specific details of the SFP in it's firmware [like serial number/mac address etc] to make sure it is one of theirs and to reject any generic ones - thus breaking the compatibility agreement. As a result there is a huge markup on optical transceivers for Cisco switches and why you can make silly money selling those compatibles that are made in the same factories from the same parts and all they have done is change the firmware to report the appropriate numbers. But since, in my understanding, you can't copyright/patent a number in this context, so long as these devices are not labelled with Ciscos branding there is little they can do to stop it except issuing scare stories about how they invalidate your warranty/will blow up your switch etc.

Comment Re:Simplicity of a MUD and a 2496 Baud Modem (Score 1) 111

I'd tend to agree. In my experience I've found that a class of players will want to constantly grind and level up and a number of people will then portray that as the only way to play the game and highlight it as a disadvantage. I think it's a human nature thing - some people will always want to have bigger numbers of some arbitrary metric than the people around them.

Where some MUDs were, and still are, undoubtedly grindfests others have been built with variety and provide many ways to play them. I like to think my particular MUD (Discworld FWIW) does but I know there are a lot of people that would disagree. I think that ultimately a lot of peoples dissastisfaction with social networking games, muds, or any other game is that for most people the game will eventually get boring and that's when it's time to walk away rather than bitch about what's wrong with it that makes it boring. Even great open ended games like elite got boring for most people and games like chess or go get boring after a while for most people but some others will always take it on furthur and furthur.

In the sense that they are a fun diversion then social networking click games are a fun diversion, just like MUDs, but when they are done to excess they take on that grind element so the rule would be, when it becomes a grind rather than fun you're probably spending too much time doing it!



Feeling Upset? Look At Some Meat 155

Meshach writes "A study out of Canada claims that seeing meat actually calms a person down. From the article: 'Contrary to expectations, a McGill University researcher has discovered that seeing meat makes people significantly less aggressive. Frank Kachanoff, who studies evolution at the university’s department of psychology, had initially thought the presence of meat would provoke bloodlust, believing the response would have helped our primate ancestors hunt. But in fact, his research showed the reverse is true.'" I can see all the "Make Steak, Not War!" protest signs already.
Hardware Hacking

Grad Student Invents Cheap Laser Cutter 137

An anonymous reader writes "Peter Jansen, a PhD student and member of the RepRap community, has constructed a working prototype of an inexpensive table-top laser cutter built out of old CD/DVD drives as an offshoot of his efforts to design an under $200 open-source Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) 3D printer. Where traditional laser cutters use powerful, fixed-focus beams, this new technique dynamically adjusts the focal point of the laser using a reciprocating motion similar to a reciprocating saw, allowing a far less powerful and inexpensive laser diode to be used. The technique is currently limited to cutting black materials to a depth of only a few millimeters, but should still be useful and enabling for Makers and other crafters. The end-goal is to create a hybrid inexpensive 3D printer that can be easily reconfigured for 2D laser cutting, providing powerful making tools to the desktop."

Comment Re:They just need to treat it like it's a privileg (Score 1) 312

Zyxel do quite an easy to use one

but it's still going to be quite a few hundreds of dollars and with the margins etc on coffee that could take quite some time to recoup.

The Internet

The Puzzle of Japanese Web Design 242

I'm Not There (1956) writes "Jeffrey Zeldman brings up the interesting issue of the paradox between Japan's strong cultural preference for simplicity in design, contrasted with the complexity of Japanese websites. The post invites you to study several sites, each more crowded than the last. 'It is odd that in Japan, land of world-leading minimalism in the traditional arts and design, Web users and skilled Web design practitioners believe more is more.'"
Classic Games (Games)

Video Game Legends To Be Inducted Into Hall of Fame 94

killdashnine writes "Last year we discussed the creation of the International Video Game Hall of Fame and Museum in Ottumwa, Iowa, and a first event in 2009 which brought 3,500 people to witness it. Since then, there's been much progress toward creation of the museum, including the upcoming 'Big Bang 2010' exhibition. Their first event kicks off with formal induction ceremonies, tournaments, record-setting attempts, and an array of concerts from 8-bit music to modern rock. This serves as the first official fundraiser for this new non-profit. Iowa is positioning itself as the Video Game Capital of the World. While some sneer and scoff at this, pointing to LA or Seattle as gaming giants and rightful heirs to the title, the real goal is not to glorify software developers but rather to memorialize the 'heroes of video games,' from the iconic Pac Man to pioneers such as Ralph Baer." Here's a list of this year's inductees. Who gets your vote for next year?

Comment Re:Do they mean WDM? (Score 1) 129

Actually it appears to be Lambda switching/Optical Cross connects. Lucent sell similar gear and I think the tech was invented at Bell Labs back in the 90s.

Essentially you're switching the path to destination based on it's optical components rather than the encapsulated data - so you pick the destination node(s) by selecting the appropriate colour(s) on a tunable laser and blast the data out effectively switching the data at the optical level without decoding it to electrical signals.

It's very fast and very expensive so I'm not sure it really has a cost/benefit equation right now over using traditional kit with a passive DWDM solution for example.



MythTV 0.23 Released 214

An anonymous reader writes "After six months of our new accelerated development schedule, MythTV 0.23 is now available. MythTV 0.23 brings a new event system, brand new Python bindings, the beta MythNetvision Internet video plugin, new audio code and surround sound upmixer, several new themes (Arclight and Childish), a greatly improved H.264 decoder, and fixes for analog scanning, among many others. Work towards MythTV 0.24 is in full swing, and has be progressing very well for the last several months. If all goes according to plan, MythTV 0.24 will bring a new MythUI OSD, a nearly rewritten audio subsystem capable of handling 24- and 32-bit audio and up to 8 channels of output, Blu-ray disc and disc structure playback, and various other performance, usability, and flexibility improvements."

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