Still here… somewhere…

by mike on February 23, 2011

in Computing,DIY,HomeImprovement

I’m sitting in a local Starbucks, for coffee and Wi-Fi access.  A lot has happened since my last update, which I hope to blog about again.  The holidays came and went, we sold our house and bought a new one and are now trying to do some important repairs updates before we move in.  I think it would have been interesting to record my stress levels during the past four months, but sadly, I was too stressed out to even think about doing so.  OK, let’s be honest, it would probably be a spiky, upward-trending graph that only now has finally started to turn around.

Mostly, because this week, I finally caved in and started calling a bunch of different contractors for electrical, carpentry, plumbing and heating work.  Up until this point I had believed I could do most or some of the work to help offset costs and because, well, how hard can it really be?

Without going into all the detail that I don’t have time to blog about at this instant, the past seven days have been a roller-coaster through the complexities of buying a 42 year-old house where it has become exceedingly clear that the original (and only) owner did *nothing* to update the house, not even a fresh coat of paint.  We are coping with the interconnectedness of all the utilities in the house, and there is so much work needed that I had to transition away from doing it to become the general contractor.  I’m sure I could blunder my way through some of the work, but I had to admit to myself that I didn’t have the patience to wait for me to do it all.

On the positive side, besides some relief of pressure, I now have more time to plan for things like the new home network and media system.  Anyone have recommendations?  Stay wireless or install structured cabling?

Ah well, my time is up, mustn’t keep the contractors waiting.

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Phil February 23, 2011 at 4:37 pm

Do the structured cabling while you have the walls up for other utilities anyway. The old-wall boxes for cabling don’t support the tubing, so you end up running riser-rated cat6 without tubing; if you can fit new-wall boxes and tubes, you end up with a closer-to-code decent setup.

It’s nice to be able to put the main wifi router in a different room to where utility Internet comes in, and it’s nice to not have to worry about interference, overlapping channels, etc and have problems which can be readily debugged.

mike February 24, 2011 at 8:45 am

Interesting suggestions… I have been a Cablevision customer for several years, and decided when I moved here to give Verizon FIOS a shot. (Strictly for Internet access, we get our phone from Vonage and TV from Netflix, Windows Mediacenter and free over-the-air). To this day, the townhome community I lived in does not have access to FIOS.

Since Verizon installs their own wireless router, I do not think I will be able to have it placed in a location of my choosing, but I will try.

At this point, I am going to ask them to do their install in or near a closet (in a room I have dubbed “my office”) that I have dubbed “Media closet.” We’ll see how well that goes.

Phil February 24, 2011 at 2:09 pm

I have Verizon FiOS; the installer lets you choose which room to put it in, so I chose the basement; I asked about IPv6, which apparently is one of the triggers to let the installer out of pushing their own router on you, so the installer gave me RJ-45 termination, instead of BNC. So I patch from the FiOS box up to the living room, where my Apple Airport Extreme is.

By not using their router, I apparently lose some of the video-on-demand menu stuff (?), but since I’m using my own TiVo anyway, I haven’t actually lost anything.

The corner of the basement where the FiOS comes in is also where I bring the structured cat5 to, so I have a media patch cabinet.

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