Bring that a little closer, please

Efficiently and effectively using this relatively new technological capability will require careful consideration and thought

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Efficiently and effectively using this relatively new technological capability will require careful consideration and thought.

As I write this on a Monday morning, I have just learned that the much-talked-about movie Hannibal lost its three-week hold as the top-grossing film at the weekend box office. I had heard enough reviews from people I trust to stay away from the movie, in part because the term "top-grossing" was particularly appropriate. But then I heard almost universally that this sequel failed to capture the suspense that marked its predecessor, The Silence of the Lambs.

I certainly was disappointed by the reports I heard, because I thoroughly enjoyed "Silence" for the psychological thriller that it was. In my opinion, one of the most chilling moments occurred early in the movie, when FBI Agent Clarice Starling first met Hannibal Lecter. Warned by her superior not to get too close to the killer, Starling answers Lecter's request to see her FBI credentials by showing him her badge. But she is standing so far away he apparently can't read it. So, he asks her to step closer. After she takes something that falls short of a full step, he says with more emphasis, in his distinguished-yet-evil voice, "Closer." Starling swallows hard and takes a trembling step forward, holding out her badge almost as if it is a shield.

That scene ran through my mind when I first read the final section of Donna Ballast's column for this month. She talks about some recent technology that is allowing system managers to bring networking electronics closer to system users (see page 12). It seems harmless, and in fact, advantageous when you think about it. And it can be. But Donna, as she always does, brings us a dose of reality when she characterizes the set-up as a telecommunications room without floor space, lighting, controlled air flow, or grounding.

Once Donna raised the flag on those considerations, I wondered if facilities managers and others might consider bringing networking equipment closer to the desktop about as enjoyable as Agent Starling viewed stepping toward the mad doctor. Thankfully, Donna also informs us that there is a way to address these concerns, and the TR-42.3 Committee of the Telecommunications Industry Association has already set about doing that.

We at Cabling Installation & Maintenance are also tracking developments in this area. We have covered the topic in the past, and in the coming months, we plan to bring you more coverage. As Donna points out, standards activity is underway, and we intend to follow that activity to keep you informed of its progress. Several manufacturers have developed, and continue to develop, technologies and products that enable this movement of networking equipment closer to the user.

In the end, I suspect, efficiently and effectively using this relatively new technological capability will require careful consideration and thought-brainwork. So, bringing this soliloquy full-circle, and assuming that what I have heard about Dr. Lecter's latest escapades is actually true, professionals in the cabling industry will once again be asked to "show us your brains" when carrying out your craft.

The good news is, in our case, that's a figurative expression.

Still on the move...

In the March 2001 issue, "The not-so-softer side of cabling" (pg. 35), several women in the cabling profession were profiled, and it seems that some of them don't stop moving up the ladder and striving to reach new heights. Since that article was published, Elesa Berard, formerly a sales engineer for Rexel Datacom (Orlando, FL), has moved into outside sales with Communications Supply Corp. (Chicago, IL)-an independent distributor of data communications products.-Ed.

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Patrick McLaughlin
Chief Editor

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