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Comment 1970s design mentality? (Score 1) 162

While it doesn't always go this way, often simple things like the User Experience of a business gives an indication of the ethos behind a whole lot of the processes and systems they are using. To wit, compare the US Arrivals card that all "aliens" need to use upon arrival into the US, with the one from Australia. A clear 1970s look-and-feel versus something from this millenium.

http://www.immihelp.com/visas/sample-i94-form.pdf

http://www.immi.gov.au/managing-australias-borders/border-security/travel/passenger-cards/_pdf/english-ipc-sample.pdf

Comment It enforces a management design constraint (Score 4, Interesting) 460

With the increasing complexity of network devices - switches, routers, load-balancers, firewalls, the expectancy of a functional terminal console puts a good design constraint on system developers. If they have to provide the ability within a 80x24 terminal funtionality to configure, operate and maintain a such a device it is a good thing. A good management is useful in providing an overview of the configuration and helps provide linkage to the management of components.

A serial terminal console is good because:-

* It enforces the designer to limit the presentation of management information to the 80x24 screen (possibly using pages), and often with a 9600bps data rate. My view is if they can't do it properly in a console they have not though well enough about management. Too often GUIs for management tend to hide important configuration parameters away.
* A terminal console allows easy copy-and-paste and script munging of configurations to ensure consistent deployment. GUIs don't allow such duplication of configurations very well.
* It allows simple out of band management through the use of a terminal server connecting multiple consoles. Such a simple management connection provides am always available management window in a network down situation. (Assuming this is deployed properly). You can also manage the risk well if management can ONLY be done by serial (preventing the management network inadvertently being connected to a production network.
* While standarardisation of the physical port (male or female DB9 or RJ45) and host type (DTE or DCE) and even hardware handshaking is right royal pain. At least it is usual possible to determine it after a minimum number of tries. But essential it is pretty straightforward to implement.
* While a USB connection sounds good, I would only prefer it if it was guaranteed to be a zero driver installation.

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