Dungeon Office

Two years ago I worked under these appalling conditions.

Then, a year ago, I upgraded to these conditions.

But I wanted more.  I wanted…shelving.  For how else am I to present a pompous variety of books in my background while engaging in video conference calls?

Some might argue against IKEA, calling it cheap and juvenile.  But I say, in the appropriate conditions (such as an unfinished basement), it’s modularity and simplicity makes for an endless assortment of configurations, demonstrating that function alone can be an aesthetic.

Behold:

Plus, my physical movies and second priority books are actually organized now.  Never know when I might need that 1990s aquarium-keeping guidebook.

–Simon

Air Quality

I’ve given a lot of thought to the quality of the air inside the house.  Usually, this train of thought occurs after a sneezing/coughing fit, or after jumping awake due to the early stages of hypoxia.  Which begs the question: why as a species do we even suffer from allergies?  I’m guessing that the dust we choke on is largely a result of the artificial domiciles that we inhabit, and that our ancestors were never terribly concerned with this quandary whilst fleeing lions.

But the modern man, now living in the filth of his own making, must seek a solution.  And naturally, he turns to another creation of man (or retreats to the wilderness for an extended hiatus from all that tuberculosis).  I speak of the air purifier.

I’d say it’s a bit of a misnomer really, or at the very least an exaggeration.  Does a HEPA filter really cleans the air of microorganisms?  But I doubt that’s the problem anyway.  What I needed was something to remove airborne particulates–something to cleanse the colloidal detritus from the air column.  Something…overkill.

So I bought two air filters.  It was intended to be part experiment, really.  But after two months I opened one and saw this.

Where does this stuff come from?

Interestingly, the filter in the living room–the one with laminate–clogs the quickest.  I’m guessing that, without carpet, there’s a lot less available material to trap the dust and it gets airborne a lot easier.  Perhaps once all the carpet is gone, I’ll install more filters.  Then, for the first time in my life, I’ll be able to breathe out of both nostrils at the same time!  That, and the old lady smell will finally be gone from the house.

Until then, I have good health insurance that will pick up the prescriptions for the antibiotics needed to fight off respiratory infections.  Ohio!

–Simon

Patch Panel

A while back I offered my thoughts on the benefits of wiring devices rather than relying on WiFi, and my efforts with installing Ethernet drops.  The system worked well, but I had nagging doubts about my install.  Specifically, my jack punchdowns were not up to spec, my patch cables were self-made, and my drops terminated in the basement with RJ45 connectors.  In short, it was an amateurish install and didn’t look good.

After re-punching my wall jacks with the proper method, I decided that I would finally bite the bullet and buy a patch panel.  The only thing that had been holding me back was the price, and the fact that I lacked a networking rack to hold it, but these concerns were alleviated with a little bit of searching.  I decided upon these two items:

TRENDnet 24-Port Cat6 Unshielded Wallmount or Rackmount Patch Panel, Compatible with Cat 3/4/5/5e/6 Cabling, TC-P24C6
Monoprice 1.75 by 19 by 4-Inch 1U Wall Mount Bracket 108623

The intent was to mount the patch panel in the bracket on the concrete wall in the basement.  And, despite the irritations involved with drilling concrete, this idea played out perfectly:

It was also much easier than crimping.  A simple punchdown tool secured the wires and clipped the excess, and in short order I had secured my existing 5 drops.

For the record, I chose T-568A.  Although now, having purchased patch cables all configured in B, I probably should have chosen B.  Ah well, the difference is pretty negligible.  Regardless, though I haven’t benchmarked anything, the network does seem a little snappier now.  The previous RJ45s were properly rated for solid-core CAT6, but I still don’t think it’s possible to manually crimp a connection as well as punching.

And besides, it looks much cooler now.

–Simon

Holidays!

This time of year it’s hard to find the energy to do much of anything, blogs included.  So I’ll just post some holiday cheer:

–Simon

The Collapse of Civilization

I was fully prepared for Fallout 76.  I had taken the day off and downloaded the game in advance.  Then the region got hit with an ice storm and knocked out our power for 2 days.  If there was ever a moment in life where I questioned any understanding of the universe, that was it.

I ask why.  Why would fate be so cruel as to keep me from my digital entertainment?  And to answer, a loud groan of cracking wood sounded from on high.  I peered from the kitchen window inquisitively, and witnessed a large branch snap from the silver maple and plummet lethally, smashing my fence in the process.  Point taken.

Ironic, that the game’s genre–post-apocalyptic societal collapse–was rendered unplayable by a failure of modern infrastructure utilities.  No matter.  I would put my Fallouting skills to the test and repair that fence.  For how else would I stop an onslaught of feral ghouls than with an intact waist-high barrier?

Fortunately (I guess?), the contractors who installed the original fence massively over-ordered supplies.  The 1400 pounds of quickcrete is still a little annoying, but the 50 extra fencing slats proved quite useful.

I also used deck screws, which are far superior to the existing nails, making this the most structurally-sound section of fence.  No ghouls getting through this.

There.  I did something productive.  Now let me play Fallout.

–Simon