There was a time in the not-too-distant past when I split my days between slinging cappuccinos and hauling my rear end around campus with many, many pounds of textbooks strapped to my back. With all that time spent either standing behind an espresso bar or hiking around a university that seems to have been intentionally designed with inconvenient parking, I was in pretty decent shape, and felt exactly as a whippersnapper should: healthy and ache-free.
Then they handed me a diploma, at which point I traded my green apron in, and took a job that I continue to hold to this day: writing. Aside from thinking up pretty words and typing them out on my laptop, the other mainstay of this career is sitting. A lot. Sure, I hit the gym regularly, and I’m nowhere even near middle age, but I have to tell you: all of this chair time has made me feel like I’m falling apart. Aches, stiff muscles… I’m a groaning wreck. I’m thinking I should snag one of Middle Atlantic‘s new ergonomic, multi-shift workstation chairs.
These things look awesome. I’m not someone who’s remotely excited at the prospect of office furniture, but the features of these chairs made me rethink my standpoint on the stuff. They’re adjustable in pretty much every way possible (seat height, armrest position, and degree of recline), and are made out of the good stuff, like mesh and the lovely-sounding Technogel cushions (I imagine that would be like sitting on a body-sized gel insole). Lumbar support, high-tech weight balance, everything you dream of. These chairs are not for people at risk of falling asleep on the job.
The reason why these chair are so comfortably designed is that they’re intended for people who need to be pretty much glued to them once they punch in for the day. Security personnel at command/monitoring desks, programmers… writers… you get the idea. Longer on hours, shorter on aches – not a bad day’s work.
Here I am, huddled in layers and cringing as I get periodic updates on the “winter weather system” (aka “The Soon to be Historic Blizzard of 2011″) that’s getting ready to mercilessly whack my corner of the Earth at any hour now. Surprisingly, no matter how bleak and chilly both the current room temperature and my outlook are, my laptop is unfazed, cranking out the BTUs like nobody’s business.
At the moment, the gentle warmth emanating from my laptop’s side vent is like a balmy tropical breeze by which to warm my hands, but were the ambient temp in my office on the stuffier side, I’d be worrying about things like proper ventilation – after all, when our favorite electronics start feeling the heat, they tend to call it quits, whether or not we’re okay with that. This especially goes for components that tend to be housed close together on shelves. Group electronics together in a tight space, and conditions can go from comfortable to sauna before you know it.
Rack fans are great, but they’re kind of limited to, well… racks. And enclosures. The kind that you usually find in server rooms or data centers. But what if you have just a few high-tech home theater components that run hot and need some help cooling off? Or a small server setup that doesn’t quite warrant a full-scale cooling enclosure? That’s where Middle Atlantic’s Comp-Cool Component Fans come very much in handy.
Unlike your typical rack fan, Comp-Cool fans are individually paired with the devices that need them most. They install right over a component’s vent to draw out damaging heat, right at the source. Even better, they run quietly (at only 19 dB) and switch themselves on and off automatically, kicking into gear when the temperature registers 90°F, and going on break when things have been cooled down to a more comfortable 88°F. You get the double benefit of well-ventilated equipment, and the money savings that come with electronics that run only when they absolutely need to.
Filed under: Cable Ties, Clips and Grommets, Server Racks and Enclosures
I’m one of those people who’d really rather not fish around behind desks looking for computer cables. It’s annoying to have to crawl around on rough carpet, there are almost always dustballs involved, and I’m perpetually terrified that my rear pants-waistband will creep down well below where it’s decently supposed to be – and I do not want to come down with a case of Plumber’s Butt… ever.
With these neuroses in mind, I’ve become a big fan of products that keep unplugged computer and peripheral cables at seated arm’s reach, right along the back edge of your desktop. This solves the problems experienced by me, Ms. Crack is Whack, but what about all the IT guys out there who have to worry about keeping cables just so in a server enclosure?
Now, I’m pretty sure that locating stray cables in a server enclosure is free from the public exposure issues that I always run from, but still, it’s got to be super frustrating. Trying to grope around for a cable or two in what is essentially a dark metal box full of electronics pumping out hot air can only be unpleasant at best. And that’s before you even think about the tens or hundred of patch cords that already live in there. It’s kind of a hellish “Where’s Waldo?” scenario.
Luckily, it seems that some genius out there decided to apply their mental powers to server rack accessory design, because Middle Atlantic happens to offer the perfect solution to this needle-in-a-haystack-type predicament. I give you the Brush Grommet Panel. It may not look or sound too exciting, but this thing works, and in more than one way.
First of all, it’s designed like a brush, which means bristles. Said bristles gang up together, and united, they’re gentle enough to let cables move on through when they need to, but strong enough that they hold the cables in place, without letting them slip backward into oblivion (aka “the cabinet”). Secondly, even though the look like they completely block cable access openings, all of those bristles we just talked about still actually allow for airflow, helping to keep interior components cool. And lastly, while the bristles let air through, they’re not so easy on dust, which we all know is riff-raff and needs to be kept out and away from fussy server equipment.
So, IT/Network Admin dudes… why don’t you have one of these yet?