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What A Tangled Web We Weave…

EBW at Wampum has an interesting picture, well, interesting if you are a network/hardware person.

What a rat’s nest! You can only hope nothing goes wrong, and wonder why anything goes right.


1 Steve Bates { 08.26.08 at 11:05 pm }

My problem is not with EBW’s assessment of the spaghetti (in hard- or software) but in the strong implication that it has any connection whatsoever with the political party of the builder. In the cases in which I’ve known the partisan orientation of my colleagues (too many cases, IMHO; I’ve taken a fair amount of abuse for someone who does not willingly carry his partisan politics to the job site), I’ve found excellent tech people of conservative leanings, and of course I’ll put my own skills up against anybody I know in my own field… and yes, I’m an unabashed liberal. 🙂

Necessity is a mother, and I’ll bet the spaghetti depicted was the result of a high-pressure situation dealt with in a hurry by one person, with no extra resources available to hire high-powered techs on short notice. That is the reality for the Democratic side of the spectrum: what money alone can solve, the GOP can probably do better, or at least more tidily. OTOH, there is considerable evidence that Dems and liberals make better use of databases and software web resources, particularly small-scale efforts that can be built by individuals. We have a guy in Harris County who did a Dem voter, candidate, leadership, canvass etc. database, available by individual permission on an as-needed basis, whose result in about three months exceeded stuff I’ve seen corporations pay a year’s worth to develop. What does it look like inside? I don’t know; maybe it’s spaghetti code. But it’s been effective in a way local GOPers have nightmares about.

Pass the marinara sauce, please!

2 Bryan { 08.27.08 at 12:15 am }

Chill, Steve. You probably aren’t familiar with shows like this, but that isn’t a volunteer effort. That equipment is leased for the convention, and the people who installed it are getting big bucks to set it up. They should have had pre-made wiring harnesses and a detailed plan, but they obviously trucked it in there with a limited number of Cat 5 sizes and started slapping things together.

You saw the same trash at the big computer shows in Las Vegas and Anaheim, only there was no wireless and it was generally Ethernet coax, so it was even worse.

A sister-in-law’s sister is married to a guy whose company specialized in trade show exhibits, and he had pictures of a group of real pros setting up. Everything was numbered, color coded, and bundled to be set up in a couple of hours after it rolled off the truck. He was in the business and knew craftsmanship, even though he wasn’t in computers.

3 Steve Bates { 08.27.08 at 8:03 am }

OK. Obviously I don’t have enough context to be commenting on this, but that’s never stopped me before… 🙂

4 Bryan { 08.27.08 at 9:41 am }

Eric was commenting as someone who does this for a living observing the work of other “professionals”.

We may even see the same racks in Minnesota, as there aren’t a lot of people who do this because of the capital costs of having the equipment and people standing around with nothing to do if no shows are scheduled.

A couple of the big moving companies once had specialized trailers to move these operations, but they have probably been downsized. I don’t doubt that concerts are more reliable customers than political parties.

5 mapaghimagsik { 08.27.08 at 4:09 pm }

I can say little, since I propose to expose little, but where I come from, a layout like that would get you taken out to the woodshed.

6 Bryan { 08.27.08 at 7:28 pm }

As an amateur job, it isn’t anywhere near the worst I’ve seen, but for a crew of pros it’s pathetic.

7 Kryten42 { 08.27.08 at 10:08 pm }

Oh… That’s too funny! LOL I Haven’t seen a mess like that in a computer room since I took a job as SysAdmin for an ISP run by two advertising guys over 10 years ago! LOL One of them had his teen son who *knew about computer stuff* wire the racks up! LOL They hired me (as a contractor! NO way I was gonna be full time there!) because he couldn’t configure the mostly Sun based servers and FirewallONE systems. One thing about the advertising guys, they weren’t shy on buying the best or spending big bucks when they had to! They had a $200k+ huge Sun Server that was about 600+% overpowered for their needs for the next 2 years at least! 8 CPU’s, 16 SCSI HDD’S… etc! But when it came to hooking up all this expensive gear… *sigh* What really amazed me though, was that Sun offered as part of the huge $300k+ deal to set it all up for them. *shaking head* I figured it would take a minimum of a decade to recover their costs unless they grew VERY fast! 🙂

I’ve seen it several times though. People, even supposedly clued in IT people, think that cabling isn’t very important. And then it bites them, hard!

8 Bryan { 08.27.08 at 10:32 pm }

Kryten, remember we did these things with coax instead of Cat 5. The fact that things just plug in, instead of screw in, and the cables are colored instead of all black, should drive people to organize.

Yeah, the two or three rack set ups were some of the worst. Everything was the same color, and no one marked or labeled anything – it’s like the circuit breaker boxes in most homes, except most breaker boxes don’t have hundreds of feet of extraneous wire behind them.

Sun techs always did a nice job. Actually, in my experience all of the minicomputer techs did nice wiring jobs. I assumed it was because they knew they would have to trouble shoot if anything went wrong.

9 Kryten42 { 08.28.08 at 12:09 am }

Well, I duuno where you learned, but I was taught from day one as a tech at DEC (Digital/Compaq/HP) to label every cable with the correct code tag or I’d be fired, and it better match the rack log and diagrams! And I’ve always done it that way. 🙂

The ISP were run by clueless idiots. They got sold Sun’s biggest iron on the day (nicknamed by Sun as *Goliath*) because Sun wanted a showcase in Melb! So they gave them a $30k discount and free setup (probably worth another $10k). Advertising people! *Sigh* They got done by their full time IT Manager (who mysteriously went AWOL as soon as I arrived) because they barely knew how to turn a computer on. He ended up sucking the company dry because he was gay and he gave free websites to everyone in the gay community in Melb, unbeknown to the Advertising guys, until the bill came! And they just scratched their heads, until the next half-yearly bill came from the upstream provider! Then they called a guy who knew me, and I went and spent a couple weeks sorting it all out. The IT manager had more free clients than the ISP had paying ones! LOL

I also ran the Melb POP for a National (and one of the very first) ISP’s in Aus. They started in ’89 with a UUCP/telnet/Archie net. LOL Ahhh… the ‘good ol’ days'(tm)

However, one of the very worst jobs i had was for a US ISP (called Powertell) that came her with a huge bang and budget, and created a complete disaster in the middle of the city! They even had a 10,000 liter LPG tank installed on the roof of the building for the backup generators, right next to a hellipad!! I kid you not! I called a guy at the MFB (Metropolitan Fire Brigade) and emergency services, and they came immediately and closed the building down and forced them to empty the tank immediately, and move it within 48 hours to the underground carpark! And they got a huge fine! Can you imaging 10k liters of LPG exploring or raining down into the center of a major city?

Morons are everywhere. They had many other issues too. 😉 LOL I still have my report which I read now and then when I need a laugh and a reminder of why I don’t do that crap any more! 😀

10 Kryten42 { 08.28.08 at 12:46 am }

Oops! That should have said 1,000 liters! (actually, I think it was 1,200). I was in a rush. LOL

11 Bryan { 08.28.08 at 1:00 am }

I trained in the military on aircraft and there was no such thing as a “Patch Cable”, there was a specific cable with a specific part number between any two pieces of equipment, because some of the equipment was classified and had special connectors and shields.

On my own I used colored tape or heat shrink and cable tags, and usually built my own cables. I have/had a great little cable tester for RS and RJ connectors and well as coax, an absolute must when everyone seem to want to route cables through drop ceilings rather than conduit. It saves a lot of time.

It is my own suspicion that Rudy Giuliani’s 50,000 gallons of diesel were the reason that WTC 7 collapsed after the Twin Towers went down. He put his emergency operations center in the building and installed that huge tank for the generators. When the building caught fire you know it turned it into a blow-torch. You don’t store that much fuel in the middle of people, it’s insane.

They had the “telco” mindset: they can do anything because they are the phone company.