Don’t accept short shrift

OK, this month I won’t be as wordy as I normally am. That’s mostly because I’m not allowed to be anymore.

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by Patrick McLaughlin, Chief Editor

OK, this month I won’t be as wordy as I normally am. That’s mostly because I’m not allowed to be anymore. As you may have noticed, the space in which I write my monthly diatribe is no longer a full page; it’s now accompanied by our editorial masthead, which sits to the right of this writing in the section of the page we affectionately refer to as the “gutter.” Rumor has it the reason I now have 2/3 of a page rather than a full page for this column is that with less space, I’m less likely to make superfluous references to movies, my children, and the Boston Red Sox.

Once you’re finished reading this page (maybe you were done a couple of sentences ago), the next article you turn to will be an opinion piece written by Doug Coleman of Corning Cable Systems. And you won’t have to get too far into it-simply reading the headline might suffice-before it becomes clear he is a man of strong opinions, and has the ability to articulate them pretty clearly.

In his opinion piece, Doug (as in Doug Mientkiewicz, the Red Sox first baseman who recorded the final out of the 2004 World Series-hah!) Coleman makes the case that fiber-optic cabling systems are clearly superior to copper-based systems and are the wise choice, if not the only real choice, for high-speed communications.

Once we received the article here in our editorial department, it was the topic of several conversations, most of which debated whether it was anything more than a gratuitous thrashing of all type and manner of copper-based cabling. Ultimately, the decision was mine, and that decision was to run the article with Doug’s commentary pretty much undiluted.

That doesn’t mean I personally endorse the viewpoint. No more than I endorse the opinion that shielded cabling is the clear choice for high-speed systems, which you’ve also seen on the pages of this publication in months past. Or, that unshielded twisted-pair copper cabling can be engineered to continue to meet the electrical performance necessary to support the next generation of high-speed signal transmission. It might. It might not.

Doug Coleman’s highly opinionated article appears in this issue for a couple of basic reasons. First, he makes solid arguments based on sound technical information. And second, I like to think this magazine is an unbiased forum in which ideas can be exchanged. I learned a long time ago not to tell you, our audience, what to think. You can and do think for yourselves. If we can give you more to think about, we’re doing our jobs.

If you disagree with anything you see in this or any other issue of the magazine, you are not only welcome but also encouraged to let me know. As Doug Coleman’s article indicates, I’d like all opinions to be heard. 0709cim 4 8

PATRICK McLAUGHLIN
Chief Editor
patrick@pennwell.com

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