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More...

Installation without computers

The last two days were busy, in a fun way. Yesterday, my dad and me drove to a friend of the family. We had the back seats collapsed to fit in a TV/stereo table we'd bought, as well as the beginnings of a large bookshelf that we'll build the next time we get there (once she's painted the boards). The rain stopped a while before we arrived in Metzingen, so unloading wasn't a problem.

The TV table was an interesting thing. Basically, the boards were glass panes with holes at the corners, through which you'd stick threaded metal bars, and then you'd put pieces of pipe in between the panes. It's a fun thing to assemble, and looked really nice (if you're not afraid of height -- looking through the panes at the floor can make you dizzy). It also had back walls that had holes in them to thread the wires through.

We proceeded to set up the TV and stereo, which included a record-player. Of course, that one was intended to be immediately on top of the amp, and thus had a fixed cinch wire attached to it that was ridiculously short. And since we actually wanted to put it in the taller top section so you can still open it, we had to fiddle and re-arrange components a little.

It was a tight fit, But we finally managed to set up everything, running wires behind the large cupboard and under the carpets to two speakers, and we even got the digital cable adaptor hooked up to the stereo (I was pleasantly surprised that her Stereo had a separate "video" input jack, so we didn't even have to explain that she'd have to push "aux" or something even worse-named to get TV sound on the stereo.

Then, I had a quick look at her iBook, changing a few settings to make it work better for her (e.g. the Mac went to sleep when she was still doing Software Updates, so I upped the non-battery sleep time and explained to her what had happened). It was a little shocking to me how much slower ISDN actually is than DSL ... I had completely forgotten the dark ages of dial-up ... *grins*

So, all in all, lots of low-tech fun, and it's not as if setting up gizmos was boring, even though I can't really give you much in the line of manufacturers, output impedances or other audio-nerd-info. On the way back we got into some heavy rain, but we missed all the traffic jams on our route, and I even got in learning some lines without the added distraction of being able to see nice scenery pass by outside.

After watching the first of the Canadian Robocop TV movies (with my dad? huh?!) late into the night, I slept in today. Then Fritz (a former classmate of my dad's) and me got started on work around the house. I reprogrammed the phone system so my sister gets calls to the main number if nobody picks it up (we used to have it set up to only be a fax and answer to only her number while she wasn't living here). I've done that so many times I barely had to look up the numbers you need to dial to program it...

A few 19-digit numbers later, I went to the city and got a wall socket and a few cinch plugs, while Fritz checked out the upstairs doorbell, which apparently bought it and doesn't chime reliably anymore. When I returned, one larger, and more fun bit of work started: Until now, our WLAN base station had been set up in the attic, with the DSL and electricity wires strung across the width of the house, and an Ethernet wire stuck under a few doors and down the stairs to my sister's iMac (it can't take an AirPort card). This really wasn't optimal, so we wanted to fix it.

We started by climbing up into the roof and running the DSL and Ethernet wires there and through a hole Fritz had drilled from below through the attic floor, along the wall and then through another hole above Ruth's door to feed the Ethernet into her room, adding an Ethernet socket at the end. That was a lot of climbing, crawling, avoiding sections with no floor, taking out boards and other stuff. Dusty, too. It also involved some trickery to find out which of the two connection schemes we needed for the Ethernet wall socket. As I said, fun.

This allowed us to wall-mount the base station and have the wires disappear almost out of sight. The cable is now also no longer stressed by doors squeezing and bending it. To top it all off, we also installed a dedicated electrical outlet for the base station. That was a bit fiddly, as there were a lot of wires meeting at the point we had to get the current from. But we finally managed by splitting the wires onto two clamps.

To relax, I then took the cinch plugs and soldered an extension cord that we'll take to Metzingen next time to be able to put the amp below the CD player while keeping the record-player attached. Makes the CD player more accessible. It's nice to occasionally do such things around the house. I'm a little out of practice, and I'd like to stay able to add wiring in the house when I need it.

 
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