(no big message today I'm running a fever of about 104-105)
If you don't have one here are two solutions:
Quick demo showing the Arduino Mega and NKC ethernet shield controlling LED's over a network connection via an iPhone. This will later be able to control the pumps and valves in our automated brewing system. ($70 but it's a fun toy even after you disassemble the lab)
I've also seen Iboots on ebay for about $8 but right now there's only two and it's sitting at about $75 & $150. (also those are single pull the arduino can clearly do more)
Unfortunately that part is a security feature and the only way to get around that is physical hackery. This would be another good place to make use of an arduino.
Edit: After doing some research there are 2 ways to do this. The cheaper way is simply taking some cat 5 strands and hooking it up to a USB board (for network connectivity control the usb ethernet boards are more expensive and whats the point if you already have a nic in your pc) and creating a throw switch. Alternatively if you don't wish to physically mess with the inside of the cisco switches to get at a toggle button you can get some servo's:
Note programming requires a USB to TTY connector you can find them in many computers and if not they are like $1 or less at a local hardware store. (personally I have one already I would not be shocked to hear you have one already)
Edit: I was thinking about it and a solenoid would be better than a motor. Also you can pick them up at the hardware store cheap as many doorbells use them or goto goodwill and rip open an old vcr. Also you may need to put something between your button pressing so it doesn't fry the circuit. May have to do some research on that one.
I know this thread has been pushin daisies all year, but after having tried it out, I've got to give props to jmalacko on his lab!
I was fortunate enough (and kinda shocked) to happen upon his URL from this thread. I spent a while checkin it out and finally thought, "what the heck?". I have to say, for everything being offered, it's more than a bargain.
I'm currently deployed in Afghanistan and A) getting my own personal network gear here would be quite a feat, and B)we have no lab space and not quite enough consistently available networking gear to support my studies... All that said, I've looked around for "free" labs like firewall.cx has, which is a great concept; but I certainly don't mind paying a little as .11/hr for this lab access. Booking has been easy and steady and I've been able to book more than 20 hours this week alone(!), and there are definitely others booking. Lastly, I'm sure I've lucked out because this offering is fairly recent, but the majority of the Cisco gear is definitely recent enough to support my CCNP studies (and possibly CCIE when the time comes).
Anyway, I thought I'd give him a plug for those of you who may be hesitant. I'm currently working my Train Signals (Chris Bryant) labs through here; I'll let you all know how things work out.