January 2, 2009: Ralstons Visiting

I am a bit behind on SGL updates.  Things have been busy this week.  The Ralstons are visiting this weekend having arrived last night and planning to stay until tomorrow evening.  Today I have to work but since the financial industry freeze is still in effect (today is the final working day of the freeze) there is very unlikely very much for me to do.

We had been planning on going out for breakfast when my lunch break rolled around.  We ended up getting stuck, though, as some people were out of the office and those of us who were still around needed to cover for them.  So I could not go anywhere and be away from the computer.  So we just had lunch at the house.

Even though we didn’t get a chance to go out we did get quite a bit of time that we were able to hang out at the house.  It was a pretty relaxing day overall.

For dinner we all went out to the New City Diner in Yorktown Heights.  Dominica and I have not been there in weeks.  We have really gotten used to eating at home these days.  Not normal for us at all.  What a change having a baby causes!

After dinner, Dominica, Danielle and Liesl went to the Stop and Shop to do some grocery shopping while Art, Michael and I went to Home Depot to do some shopping too.  Art and I have been looking into the wiring situation in the basement trying to figure out what needs to be done so that we can get a modicum of wires run so that it is not a giant disaster down there.

The wiring plan for the basement involves putting an equipment shelf in under the basement stairs that will be used to hold the house networking gear which includes the cable modem, battery backup system, Ethernet switch, firewall, access point and the small SAN system with 1TB of storage.  That is six separate networking devices that have been sitting mostly on or by Dominica’s desk taking up all of her available space.

Then, from the “cabling plant” under the stairs, we will be running Category 6 cabling (to handle Gigabit Ethernet speeds reliably) around the house including four runs to Dominica’s desk, four runs to my desk, six runs to the utility room in the basement, four runs to the basement theatre area (not yet built) and five runs to the living room to support the PS3, AppleTV, etc.  That is a lot of cabling.  Almost exactly 1,000ft so we had to use an entire CAT6 spool.  That wasn’t cheap.  I had wanted to run seven runs to the utility room but that would have required another spool so that is where I had to cut back to save money.

Instead of running all of the cables through the walls which is very difficult and potentially destructive the plan is to run them around on the floors or along baseboards using baseboard cable conduit and attaching the cables to the underside of desks whenever possible.  It isn’t a perfect solution but there is only so much that can be done when the wiring is not done as part of the house construction.  The one part that is going to be quite the pain is running the five CAT6 lines up next to the fireplace in the living room and bringing them up the wall by the fireplace so that they are available to the entertainment “center” there.

After we got back from shopping it was down to the basement for Art and I where I attempted to stay out of the way while he got the shelf installed and we moved all of the network gear into the closet.  Not all of the wiring is in place so an extension cord is running into the closet to keep things working at the moment.  Tomorrow he is going to add an electrical outlet in the closet to power the networking gear in there with its own plugs.  The cable modem (actually a cable bridge for those who know that all-digital devices can’t truly be modems) and the APC BackUPS 350 are wall mounted to make things nice and neat.  Everything else is up on the shelf. It really works great.

Work had to stop so that we weren’t making noise for the neighbours.  We don’t know if the people next door can hear us or not when we do house work so better safe than sorry.  We have not heard anyone else yet except for when major tile construction is going on next door so we are probably safe.

Leave a comment