It’s Friday morning, and that can only mean one thing: product training time. I just had the opportunity to sit in on a session with a representative of FSR, a New jersey-based company that manufactures a pretty impressive array of electrical and data connection boxes, which install flush into everything from walls and floors to conference table tops. FSR floor boxes are really strongly built, and can be custom-configured according to your needs.
Aside from power and data connections, one of the best features of FSR’s floor boxes is their convenience. Having sung on both church and school stages, I can personally attest to how much easier a performance can be when you’re able to just plug microphone and other equipment directly into outlets recessed into a stage floor. And these aren’t only helpful for musicians – courtrooms, conference rooms, and any other settings in which presentations are regularly made can definitely benefit.
One other thing that I really like about FSR floor boxes (the FL-600P, to be specific) is the fact their top surfaces can be covered in carpet or hard flooring material to blend almost seamlessly into your floor, creating a very professional-looking appearance.
I’ve since moved into a workspace with wood laminate flooring, but the floor in my first office was covered in carpet — as well as a cable that stretched all the way from my coworker’s phone to the jack across the room. I’ll tell you, it’s pretty tough to glide gracefully across one’s office when a killer phone cord is laying in wait to ambush one’s unsuspecting feet. Okay, maybe I’m being a little overdramatic… but we did get snagged on a regular basis.
My office-mates and I tried to make things a little safer with a plastic dropover cord cover, but no luck — while you can usually apply a little double-sided tape to keep dropovers in place on smooth floors, that trick doesn’t work on carpet, and the thing just kept sliding around.
One day not long after, I was planning a project that resulted in the SafCord cord cover coming across my desk. It never had the chance to stray far from my desk after that, because I wasted no time in slapping it down over that phone cable running across the floor. “What is it about the SafCord,” I’m sure you’re asking, “that let it do the job no other cord cover could?”
First of all , it’s made specifically for loop-style carpets, the family of floor coverings to which the commercial-grade carpet on my office floor belonged (I should mention here that it also works on Berber and looped rugs). When you put it down, it doesn’t budge — not even if you vacuum over it. Yet you can pull the SafCord up at any time, without any sign that it had ever been there. Would you believe me if I told you that there is no adhesive involved? The magic that locks it into place on carpet is actually just the “hook” side of hook-and-loop, which grabs onto looped carpet fibers.
Other cool features include the fact that SafCord has a completely flat profile (because it’s made of Cordura Nylon fabric), can be cut to length with scissors, is machine washable, and can be reused countless times. Oh yeah, and it also hides cords and prevents you from tripping…
One of the first products I got to play with in my early days at CableOrganizer is still one of my favorites: the Velcro® ONE-WRAP® wire wrap. Yes, you heard right, a Velcro® cable tie. I’ve been a big Velcro® fan for most of my life, starting with the hook-and-loop fastened sneakers in my pre-shoelace-tying days, and proceeding all the way up through my college years, when double-sided Velcro® tape stood in for nails when I wanted to hang things on my dorm room wall.
Fast forward to 2006, when I found out that Velcro® is also terrific for bundling cables into neat coils. These little belt-shaped wraps loop around extension cords, computer cables, ropes, and really anything else that you can coil up and bundle. They adhere to themselves, so they’re incredible easy to use, and you can reuse them almost infinitely — it seems that no matter how many time you fasten and unfasten them, they never wear out.
Needless to say, it didn’t take me long to start converting my friends and family to Velcro-ism… so far, my Dad carries them along anytime he needs to take computer equipment on the road, my rock star Bro uses them to manage the cables on his recording equipment, and my friend the aesthetician finds that they keep the cords hanging off a laser machine perfectly tidy.
So, what will you use them for?
Filed under: Network Products, Server Racks and Enclosures
If you’re an IT professional who feels anxiety and tears welling up whenever you have to troubleshoot amidst the waterfalls of tangled patch cords hanging off your server, take heart. One of our favorite rack-mount cable managers, the Neat Patch, does away with network cable insanity and leaves you with rows of neatly ordered patch cords, none of which stick out beyond the edge of your server rack. I’ve seen the Neat Patch in action on our own servers, and the end results are really amazing. So what sets this cable manager apart from the rest?
To begin with, it does away with excess. The folks at Neat Patch had the epiphany that you don’t actually need 6 feet of cable to make a connection between patch panel ports that are only 1 foot apart! As a matter of fact, a 2-foot patch cable does the trick — not only does it achieve the connection, but leaves you with enough cable to form a single bend-radius-protecting loop, which is tucked into Neat Patch’s storage compartment, a recessed, rackmounted trough that’s installed between the two patch panels being connected.
But that’s not all. As a finishing touch, cover panels snap into place to cover the patch cord loops, and you’re left with beautifully organized, perfectly traceable connections — not to mention lower blood pressure.
I came in to work an hour early this morning, and boy, am I glad I did. No more than 2 weeks ago, I read about a really cool glow-in-the-dark cord cover, but had yet to get my hands on one. Turns out that today was my lucky day: not only is it Friday, but I got to sit in on a training session with Joe Proto from Electriduct, and it just so happens that he brought along a real live Nite Hawk (the cable protector, not the bird) to show off.
It’s easy to appreciate the functional attributes of heavy duty cable protectors - after all, they keep power cords, data cables and hoses from being crushed, even when they’re trampled by pedestrians and run over by vehicles. But the thing is (and call me shallow) they’re generally nothing special to look at. But the Nite Hawk caught my eye – it’s made out of the same super strong polyurethane as its competitors (same molded-in traction bumps and everything), but it’s a really nice dark blue, with a flip-open lid in a neutral-colored, photoreactive polyurethane.
It was good looking in daylight, but the real magic happens when the lights go out. Just like those glow-in-the-dark stars you plastered on your bedroom ceiling as a kid, the Nite Hawk’s lid “charges” while the Sun is up or lights are on, but when everything goes dark, it really starts to shine. Thanks to its luminescent “Wow, look at that!” quality, the Nite Hawk can’t be ignored, and makes for much safer pedestrian and vehicle crossings in dark environments.
Have I mentioned that I get a huge kick out of fireflies? This one’s almost as fun.