Always faithful

Nov. 1, 2000
The United States Marine Corps-an organization older than the United States itself-has a well-known slogan, "Semper Fidelis." It is frequently shortened to "Semper Fi," and it means "always faithful."

The United States Marine Corps-an organization older than the United States itself-has a well-known slogan, "Semper Fidelis." It is frequently shortened to "Semper Fi," and it means "always faithful." Many of us who have personal relationships with current or former members of the Marine Corps can tell you that the slogan is not just a catch phrase. Thousands of marines are justifiably proud of their current or past service to their country, and remain faithful to the ideals, discipline, and structure that prevail in the Corps.

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Any individual who served in any branch of the armed forces is recognized as a veteran. The term "veteran" is also used virtually everywhere to describe an individual who has been working at his or her craft for a long time. Of course, the cabling industry is no exception. Some cabling professionals were working with communications cabling years before the breakup of AT&T-the event that many view as the birth of our particular industry. Fittingly, many veterans of the cabling industry are also veterans of the armed forces, who obtained a significant amount of technical knowledge and expertise while in the service.

Regardless of whether you served in any branch of the armed forces, or whether you are a seasoned veteran or relative newcomer to the cabling industry, it might not be a bad idea to remember the phrase "Semper Fi." To put it simply, remain faithful to the job that you are entrusted to do-meeting the needs of your customers. And regardless of your job function, you have customers of some sort. For those who design and install structured cabling systems, the customer is the end user that ultimately will rely on the system. And for cable-plant managers, who are charged with managing these systems, every user on the network is a customer who expects network access to be as reliable as electrical power and doesn't even want to think about the cabling system.

Now I wouldn't suggest that you remain faithful to your job without me committing to remain faithful to mine. And I see my job as providing you, our readers, with information that you can use to help you do your jobs better or more efficiently.

Why do I bring all this up? Because a reader recently let me know that in his view, I fell short of that commitment in a recent editorial (see "Letter to the editor," below). In my September editorial, I used the phrase "band-depth," a term I more or less made up. George Stringe, a reader who obviously looks to our magazine for useful information, saw that "band-depth" piece, and the term in particular, as-how shall I say-less than useful.

After receiving Mr. Stringe's letter, I realized I could use this space to defend the article and the concept. Or, I could use it to issue a "mea culpa" and apologize. I will do neither. One of the many things I have learned while writing for this magazine and becoming a part of this industry is to trust in the sophistication of you, our readers. Many of you are indeed veterans of the industry, who have experienced its technical and business evolution. You have seen products, technologies, and phrases come and go. You have also seen many of them come and stay. And I have no doubt that you, like Mr. Stringe, have seen more than your fair share of marketing jingles. They seem to be everywhere. And you probably don't read the articles in this magazine to get more of these jingles. That's part of the reason that we do not recommend any companies, products, or technologies over any others in the pages of this magazine. We aim to provide you with useful information and let you decide, with your experience behind you, the direction in which you will go. It is our aim to remain always faithful to your information needs. And I ask Mr. Stringe, and each of you, to continue letting us know how we are doing.

This month, the United States celebrates Veterans Day-one day after the Marine Corps celebrates its 225th birthday. Thanks to those who have served our country through the years. To all of them, and to all of you, Semper Fi.

Patrick McLaughlin
[email protected]

To the Editor

Band-depth concept lacks depth

Regarding your editorial in the September 2000 issue (see "The concept of band-depth," page 11), it has always been true that factors other than the cable affect total system performance, whether you are talking about coaxial, fiber-optic, twisted-pair, or zipcord cable. Coining and using a term like "band-depth" sounds like a page out of a stereo-system salesman's training manual. Please don't help our industry slide in that direction. Those kinds of things might work with the customer, but not with us in the trenches.

George Stringe
via e-mail

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