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Snagless RJ45 connectors – How To Make Network Cables Snagless

Patch Panel

Snagless RJ45 Connectors – the Odd Request

Snagless RJ45 connectors are that odd request that my department makes from time to time. Why do you need RJ45 connectors anyway, it’s the invariable answer from supervisors, and the typical reminder: “You have all sorts of patchcords, all dimensions…” Well, first of all, we sysadmins never have all the patchcords dimensions available. The IT racks should be something that should be kept as tidy as possible, and one way is to have custom length of the patchcords.

Depending on your infrastructure, you might want or might not want to use handmade patchcords in your racks; however, in many cases this is totally acceptable. You can probably make a Cat 5 patchcord, but you won’t be able to make a Cat 6 one. In other words your hand made patchcords will be able to run at Gigabit speeds, but not at 10 Gigabit speeds, even with the proper connectors and cables. Having said that, most of the equipment in a business server room is connected into a Gigabit switch or at lower speeds, so this would not be a problem.

Custom Patchcords – Always Broken Lokcing Tabs

The major problem with all the handmade Ethernet patchcords and cables is that the locking tab is breaking. I probably don’t have to explain why broken tabs are bad; they will not be secured into the equipment’s jack, resulting in intermittent data loss, or even disconnection.

There are two reasons for the locking tabs breaking so often. Firstly, the little locking tab is very fragile, and we can’t change that, it is fragile to keep the costs down. The other reason is the design, the locking tab sticks out, and it is very easy to get snagged and broken off. All store-bought cables come with a snagless boot; it’s the standard these days. All the cables with broken locking tabs don’t have the boots, because they are terminated in place, by either a datacom tech, or an admin.

These plugs from Panduit are the best snagless RJ45 connectors.

The connectors are meant for patch cords, and they are rated as providing Category 5e performance.

The patented tangle-free plug latch prevents snags, hence breaking.

They are easy release, unlike some snagless boots, and they save time on frequent moves, adds, and changes.

The design facilitates easy insertion and termination of wires

What Is the Solution for Broken RJ45 Connectors

One of the solutions to fix the snagging network cables is to install a "snagless" boot over the cable, before crimping the connector. After crimping, just push the boot over the connector and the boot will protect the little tab.

My preferred way to fix this is to use snagless RJ45 connectors, and a boot. This ensures the plug will not break ever, unless you purposely do it. You can also use just the snagless connectors, they are very good, and I do it very often, but if I have both the snagless connectors and the snagless boots, I will use both for optimization. The snagless plugs are slightly more expensive than the regular ones, but when you draw the line, and consider the troubleshooting needed on the long term, and the fact that sooner or later those RJ45 connectors will break and will need to be replaced, the additional cost is worth paying.

Like I already mentioned before, with the low prices for commercial made patchcords, and the quality ensured by a machine made ethernet cable, there is no need to make your own, it's just not practical.

This cables are made in a commercial facility, they are tested, and they come in a variety of lengths, just choose the one that is right for you. You can even get  to choose the color, so you can color code your patch panel connections, so everything looks tidy, and easy to follow.

How To Find Pinterest Unfollowers – Pinterest Unfollow Tool

pinterest-unfollowersHow To Find Pinterest Unfollowers – Pinterest Unfollow Tool

Removing Pinterest users that do not follow you, or they unfollowed you is not and easy task. Pinterest does not make sorting and finding your unfollowers a simple process. In theory, you shouldn’t worry too much about how many people you follow and they don’t follow back, but in practice, there are some advantages to clean your profile.

You followed a few hundred people, and now your feed is filling up your feed with their pins, but they don’t get your latest, and greatest pinning creations. Or they followed you first, and you returned the favor, but later on they unfollowed you so that they look like authorities. Authorities my a… Let’s remove them from your feed, unfollow them.

Pinterest Unfollowers for IOS Enabled Devices (iPhone, or iPad)

The great news is that if you own an Apple device, such as a tablet, or an iPhone, there is an app that does specifically this. The app is called “Who Unfollow Me For Pinterest”, and you can grab it here: Who Unfollow Me For Pinterest – Yong Peng. I don’t own a MAC IOS device, so I can’t tell you how good the app is, but it’s there. A more famous app seems to have disappeared from the iTunes store, but the app was called Followers on Pinterest.

The Hard Way to Unfollow

Now, what do you do if you don’t have an IOS device? I have seen on the Internet the following suggestion:
Step one: Go to your “Followers” tab and copy/paste in a text document all of your followers.
Step Two: After this, go to your “Following” tab and compare it with your text list. Take one name at  a time from your “Following” tab, and search it in your followers text list. If you find the name, then it means that Pinterest user follows you, if you didn’t find them in the list, just unfollow them right away.

The Easier Way To Unfollow on Pinterest

How to get all followers on PinterestI didn’t even considered doing this, because I figured it would take me days to complete the process, and because I knew it had to be easier.

So, I started the work, and the first thing to was obviously to view page source, like any person with a little HTML knowledge would do. That doesn’t work. The code for the page is served dynamically, through Ajax, so you would only see around 115 users at a time. I think this is somewhat done on purpose, so that unfollowing is very hard. It is in Pinterest’s interest, to maintain an artificial buzz, like everybody follows everybody. Anyway, back to work, we need the entire list for our operation, so I started to search again. Then I realized that if we scroll down to the last item in the HTML page, and we right click the user, and choose inspect element, we also get the HTML of the page, except this time we get all the users in the HTML code.  Just right click on the body element, and choose copy as HTML.

Pinterest-Copy-HTMLAfter that paste the HTML code in a notepad, and you have all your users in a document, save that document as Followers-raw-text.txt.

IMPORTANT: Save the text as UTF8 encoding to preserve the special characters, and to avoid a script freeze when saving as Unicode.

Don’t worry if the text looks gibberish to you, you just need to find the following HTML tag: <h3>. Immediately after the tag you will find the username. Don’t try to save the document as HTML and see it in a browser. The browser will crash while loading that long list.

Pinterest Find UsersAt this point you have a few options to further clean up your list of followers, one way is to use Microsoft Word’s find and replace feature, which does a decent job but is not meant for these kind of operations. Another option is to use an advanced string find/filtering utilities, such as grep, sed, awk, etc… Here is a command I wrote to spit out a plain text list with usernames only:

awk-Pinterest-script-two

 

awk-Pinterest-script-one

I couldn’t “convince” WordPress to  allow me to post the command as a text, so I posted it as a picture. Sorry, you have to write down that manually.

At this point you have a list with followers, and a list with your followings. I heard people trying to use text compare utilities, but they don’t work if you have many followers, or if you have followed only partially boards. I know I did that. Another problem is that the usernames in the following and followers lists, are not in perfect synch chronologically, so any text comparison will be tripped. But if you know they are in the same order, it should be easy enough to use notepad++, or Winmerge, to compare the two lists and get your unfollowers.
I wrote a script in awk, to compare the two lists, and give me only the unfollowers, so I don’t have to compare manually the lists. Here is the command that does that:

awk "FNR==NR{a[$0];next}!($0 in a)" list-of-my-followers.txt list-of-followings.txt > unfollowers.txt

The list in the unfollowers.txt will contain your unfollowers. When you search for them in your Following tab, you will see two types of users, some with a button saying “Follow”, and some with a button “Unfollow”. The ones from your unfollowers.txt are either users whom you followed part of their boards, (the button will say Follow), or users whom you followed all of their boards, (the button will say Unfollow). This will prove a bit difficult to clean, but to make it easier, you might want to follow all of their boards, and maybe they’ll follow you back. If not, you can always clean up next time, if you want.

Future Development

The only thing I have to do now, is to figure out the unfollow link structure, so with a few more adjustments with awk and sed, we can create the unfollow links automatically, so we don’t have to search for the users in page. That’s my next step. If you have an idea about that, drop me a line in the comments, or send me a message with the link below.
In the mean time follow me on Pinterest I will follow back, :).

If you want to ask me a question, or if you want the list of your unfollowers delivered by email, send me a message using this form: Contact Me about the Pinterest Script

UPDATE: If all of these look gibberish to you, you can hire this guy on Fiverr, for five bucks he’ll do it for you. Actually, his gig gave me the idea to make my own script. I didn’t want to pay the five dollars. Anyway, here is the link:  Find Unfollowers on Pinterest

Copy and Backup Utility Review – Robocopy or Xcopy, Which One?

Robocopy or Xcopy Which One to Use?

These two command line file copy utilities seem to provide the same functions. However don’t be deceived by the number of options xcopy provides. It is just a as it is a poor relative of the more robust, featured,
When to Use Xcopy and When to use Robocopy?
If you need advanced features such as backing-up, type of copy and you want 100% reliability of the copy process then Robocopy (robust copy) is your choice. If on the other hand, you don’t have a complex copy job Xcopy will do it. Xcopy is part of the operating system, it comes with Windows, whereas robocopy needs to be copied from another system, or you need to install the Resource Kit. To put it more simple, xcopy is always available as the shell command “copy”.

Features of Xcopy and Robocopy

Why not use the shell command copy then, is the next question. Because “copy” is just too minimal and cannot accomplish what the other two can. It only copies files and not directories with the afferent directory structure. It cannot copy attributes and ACLs.
In contrast, the other two file copy utilities are featured in such way that they can be easily used as backup systems if the correct options are setup. In conjunction with the scheduler and using a batch script this can be a powerful backup solution that is both inexpensive and flexible.
The features of Xcopy and Robocopy are: selective attributes replication, ACLs can be maintained or not for the files copied, ownership can be copied or not, folder structure replication, fully automation, archive attribute support – which makes it a real backup utility, file exclusion option, verification of the copied files, performance tuning.

What are the differences between Xcopy and Robocopy?

If we were to sum up we could say that Robocopy is way more powerful than Xcopy. But of course you might ask me for arguments to support my statement, here they are:
The most annoying thing about Xcopy is that you can’t use the network restartable mode if you copy ACls. Isn’t this annoying? For me this was enough of a reason to install the Resource Kit and get the Robocopy immediately. But wait, the list doesn’t stop here.

Robocopy as a Backup Software

Why is Robocopy worth writing about? Robocopy is a great software that can be used as a backup utility. Its features makes it fit for maintaining automated file backup using various approaches. It can be used for directory mirroring, for archiving files, for moving files, etc…
It can be used to copy only new or changed files, it can use the archive bit, as any good backup software would.
If the target directory is enabled for compression, it can save space as well.
Another application of Robocopy is during migrations or server upgrades. Because sometimes migrations or server changes are time sensitive, we need to copy as much as possible before switching to the new server. This where Robocopy comes in handy. You start the mirroring ahead of time, so all the files are copied. When the time of switching is close there are only minor changes to be done so the operation is very fast. The key options for this applications are: robocopy /MIR to mirror the directory, robocopy /MON:n to MONitor the source and run again when more than n changes occur and robocopy /MOT:m to MOnitor source and run again in m minutes Time, if changed.
Another neat application is to archive files that haven’t been used in a given period.
This command moves files that haven’t been used in 500 days, in restartable mode, copying the attributes, the file’s owner, and the ACL, excluding older files.
robocopy C:\FILES \\SERVER\FILES-ARCHIVE /e /zb /r:0 /w:1 /copy:daso /xo /move /MINLAD:500

Other Cheap Backup Utilities

Another cheap, (free), utility is xxcopy.
The utility competes with Robocopy, has versions for both 32 bit and 64 bit OS, and has more command switches.
However, this isn’t a free program for businesses, it is free for for personal use though.

Downloads and Resources

Download the resource kit for Windows 2003 here, (the resource kit contains robocopy): http://www.microsoft.com/download/en/details.aspx?id=17657
You can download xxcopy here: http://www.xxcopy.com/xcpydnld.htm
A robocopy GUI interface can be downloaded here: http://download.microsoft.com/download/f/d/0/fd05def7-68a1-4f71-8546-25c359cc0842/UtilitySpotlight2006_11.exe
Another robocopy GUI interface can be downloaded here: http://download.microsoft.com/download/f/d/0/fd05def7-68a1-4f71-8546-25c359cc0842/HoffmanUtilitySpotlight2009_04.exe