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Author Topic: Geek Cave Thread
Colonel Panic
BlabberMouth, the Next Generation
Member # 1200

Icon 1 posted November 30, 2008 16:24      Profile for Colonel Panic         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Some of you may not know about the Man Cave.

Some of you have probably watched television shows about building a Man Cave and suffered from an overdose of NASCAR dad syndrome. I sympathize.

On the other hand I believe that even Geeks should have -- strike that -- must their own cave. And since it is a Geek Cave it is not discriminatory on grounds of sex.

Anyway...

I'm building one. It is heavily media oriented. After all I'm a media geek-- I live somewhere between MS Office, Final Cut Studio, and Adobe Creative Suite.

I have pieces parts, and a decent room for a eco-age Geek Cave. Livin' large on a small footprint.

Some of the parts are kinda old school. For example, 5.1 & 7.1 systems have not given me ample reason to replace my old Technics (Old School for high-end Panasonic) SA-GX650 4.1 receiver. I know it could be better, but it works. That kind of stuff.

Old school also means I run some old Phase Tech speakers that are highly musical, not like made-for-compression, reduced-dynamic-range, teenie-bop speakers made today.

(Just as an aside, we all know what a bad lo-res jpeg looks like, how many of you can tell where good mp3s go lacking?)

But I digress. Onward!

I still want a place for my DAT deck. Just because I might meet another T-Rex with some DAT sessions. Heck, I still want a place for my old Onkyo turntable. Let's not get started about reel-to-reel. (Yeah, boy, I remember when we cut tape on an old AMPEX then spliced it together with this white sticky crap -- scrub that wave form, boy, scrub it!)

Anyway, the Geek Cave will be 20'1" X 11'1" (Not Double-Squares at least!) in the basement. Foundation is cinderblock and all walls are cinderblock. I have a framed in wood door as entrance.

I have dedicated 20A circuit for computers and accessories, another 20A circuit for audio video on the other end of the room.

Lighting is handled from a Living Room 15A circuit.

Ceiling right now is 2x8 construction on 16' centers, 7'2" above floor gives me 2" to work with. Subflooor above me is diagonal pine 8" by 3-4. With Oak solid floor on top of that. Floor squeaks and should be stabilized before construction.

I figure double layer of 5-8 drywall on t-hat suspended from rubber isolation mounts should stop most sound.

Back quarter of room is office with -- right now 17" hi-def, 2.4 Ghz MBP feeding 30" cinema display. Flowerpot 800Mhz iMac handles dual-boot duties, plus scan, print, fax and server functions. 250mb-1tb breed like Drosophila Melanogaster around here.

Up front right now is 37" LG LCD I purchased at far below bleeding edge prices. LG DV player/recorder also handles a bunch of other formats. Just picked up a DirecTV HD-DVR, their latest for satellite. But HD satellite still doesn't come close to OTA -- and for that I have a 96" corner YAGI located 50' closer to the moon than I am. Channel Master rotater (a new one that works) points me in the right direction. Here in Glacier Melt it call pull down Green Bay, Milwaukee, Chicago & Burbs, Kalamazoo, Grand Rapids, and Battle Creek -- Five SMSAs ain't bad. I'm thinking about going to dual Yagis to improve reception.

Anyway, if any fellow geeks are up to sharing, that would be tres cool. I'll post crap as it develops.

Fun, fun, fun.

CP

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Free! Free at last!

Posts: 1809 | From: Glacier Melt, USA | Registered: Mar 2002  |  IP: Logged
TheMoMan
BlabberMouth, a Blabber Odyssey
Member # 1659

Member Rated:
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Icon 1 posted December 01, 2008 11:53      Profile for TheMoMan         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
___________________ CP when you or the person that pulls in the wire for the outlets hooks them up be sure that the white wire goes to the larger opening. I once had a house with every single outlet backward. Also mat the floor so if someone brings over an old tube instrument amp. that they don't complete the circuit with their feet. That could ruin their whole life. I still have my old H.H. Scott stuff, and the old "The Fisher" tube stuff is on loan. I am partial to Scott & Fisher as they designed in more headroom.

It ain't a sound system until when playing recordings of Bagpipes, the neighbors can hear the siding buzz. Another good test is E. Power Biggs playing the big Cathedral Organs of Europe. I had to play mine from tape, turntables, and CD Players would get accustic coupling. I had two sets of two three way BSR speakers on the tube linear, and one set on the Solid state unit.

Once the oldest daughter dropped the tonearm onto the turntable mat and the thump blew the line fuse for the system, it was fused at 110% of max.load guess that big thump was more than I had anticipated.

On the idea of Two or more Yagis, phasing them correctly is a bear, I have a Cushcraft Boomer stacked array for two meters, and the phaser is always getting out of tune. Take it from an old Ham get the longest Yagi for that band and run with it, stacked arrays are a nightmare, I swear I am up that tower all the time. Then another ham that has a boomer offered his to me, to build a quad stack, I asked him if he wanted my Boomers, he declined.

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Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.


Benjamin Franklin,

Posts: 5845 | From: Just South of the Huron National Forest, in the water shed of the Rifle River | Registered: Sep 2002  |  IP: Logged
CommanderShroom
BlabberMouth, a Blabber Odyssey
Member # 2097

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Icon 1 posted December 01, 2008 12:23      Profile for CommanderShroom     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
No man/geek cave here. Though I do have a basement office that is currently running a 3 large LCD's and virtual machines to the tune of dozens. And probably towards the first of the year acouple of small scale Macs.

But upstairs I am working on a media computer. This one uses Freevo to house all my audio and some video, and pictures. I need to replace the video card with something newer to really get the video right. All this goes into a simple sub-woofer system that is being piped into a 52" projection HDTV. Not exactly a wow factor system, but it seems to be doing the trick for us so far.

Posts: 2465 | From: Utarrrrggggghhh!!!!!!!! | Registered: Mar 2003  |  IP: Logged
TheMoMan
BlabberMouth, a Blabber Odyssey
Member # 1659

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Icon 1 posted December 01, 2008 12:29      Profile for TheMoMan         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
____________________ When you can hear fretting errors on Mommas & Poppas albums then you have a sound system, Speakers to be faithful must play a piano sound that sounds like a piano, that is one of the hardest notes to recreate correctly, if it won't handle piano then it is not doing any thing else right either.

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Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.


Benjamin Franklin,

Posts: 5845 | From: Just South of the Huron National Forest, in the water shed of the Rifle River | Registered: Sep 2002  |  IP: Logged
tweety
Assimilated
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Icon 1 posted December 01, 2008 12:54      Profile for tweety   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I've said it before and I'll say it again: Wharfedales. They are some of the best speakers I have ever heard, then throw in their insanely good pricing (I got mine for ~USD$310/pair) and you'll wonder why anyone spends $2500 for a pair of B&Ws. Sure, they're accurate as anything, but sound like you're in an OR. No thanks, I like my music musical. (BTW the Wharfedales are accurate as well, just warmer, they exhibit the "British bump" and have that "I'm in a jazz lounge" feel.)

As for receiver/amps: Harman/Kardon makes some of the best sounding equipment for the price. Can't go wrong. But, back in the day, Technics made a pretty nice/feature packed single disc CD player.

As for where MP3s go wrong: It's the M, P & 3. All my CDs have been ripped using Apple Lossless (didn't feel like diddling around with getting iTunes to recognize FLAC). Anything of lower quality has been free (legal iTunes and straight from the artist).

The plan is take one of the Mac minis and turn it into a media/music server. It's a G4 model, so no optical out, but my CD changer is hooked into my amp via good ol' RCA cables. Now, if things go well, I may eBay my G4 mini and get a new Intel mini with optical out. We'll see.

I have no Geek Cave, but I am planning on making sure the house, whenever and if we ever buy one, will be fully digitized. It will be all Geek Cave. And, if it's still apartment living for me, well, I'll still be sure to make sure everything is digitized. Wireless is the future.

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If I were a good man I'd talk to you more often than I do.
American Fairy Tales
IT, A Philosophy

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Tech Angel
Alpha Geek
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Icon 1 posted December 02, 2008 00:08      Profile for Tech Angel     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
OK, Colonel, you have inspired me. Since I work (and sleep, eat, and breathe) in the field of Assistive Technology, I need to turn my office into an ATCave (sans Robin).

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We must be the change we want to see in the world. -Mahatma Ghandi

Posts: 330 | From: the Great State of Confusion | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
TheMoMan
BlabberMouth, a Blabber Odyssey
Member # 1659

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Icon 1 posted December 02, 2008 03:12      Profile for TheMoMan         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
___________________ No, Never, Never, Never, Believe that Digital is better than ANALOG. The whole waveform is in an ANALOG signal not some bunch of numbers that represent what was happening at a certain point/s in time.

I want you to consider a sixty Hz sine wave for one second. Now take that second and divide it into 44K pieces and average each piece. Now reassemble the maths and will you have a sixty Hz sine wave or a representation of a sixty Hz sine wave. I see a bunch of saw teeth following the original pattern. Now lets add a few more notes like an orchestra and remember that each instrument has its own waveform. Please remember that standard CDs are based on a sample of 44KHz and now can you pick out the trombone or French horn? The human ear can detect rate of change on notes that equals 200KHz when recorded to a CD that is lost, Analog tape and what are called Live Cuts "Records made with a turning lathe right at the concert," have almost all of the music on them, from then on sound is lost.

Vinyl is not dead but it is dying, but it did and still contains more of the original sounds that the artest/s wanted you to hear.

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Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.


Benjamin Franklin,

Posts: 5845 | From: Just South of the Huron National Forest, in the water shed of the Rifle River | Registered: Sep 2002  |  IP: Logged
Colonel Panic
BlabberMouth, the Next Generation
Member # 1200

Icon 1 posted December 03, 2008 16:07      Profile for Colonel Panic         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Mo-Man -- Never, ever, never, ever, never break the white wire. In two-wire systems it is also the ground wire, and if that is broken then things like people can be the shortest route to ground. Of course, the exception is romex used to wire switches and then use black marker to color white wire black, since both are considered hot in the circuit.

I have installed 3-prong grounded outlets throughout the Geek Cave (GC) per code. Wiring in the ceiling that feeds main floor will need replacing before I seal the ceiling. I will hate that job because it is old cloth over rubber wire, which is difficult to work with. I may farm that job out.

On GC floor I have already installed laminate flooring. It came with its own insulation pad, I added some more, and under that put 4-mill plastic as moisture barrier. I don't think I'll be shocking anybody with poor electrical installation.

Thanks for advice on corner yagi. Right now I have a Winegard HD9095 pulling down signals. It's almost 8' long.

http://winegard.com/offair/antennas/hd9095p.htm

Take a look at those nice front-to-back ratios. I live smack dab in the middle of two TV stations on the same frequency and it really works well in keeping the two apart. All I gotta do is rotor around. Maybe I'll get a quieter amp up on the pole. I have a nice channel master, but there is a Brit company that makes a very quiet one for about $250.

I love this link for antennas. The writer is a monster-class geek:

http://www.hdtvprimer.com/ISSUES/erecting_antenna.html

Shroom -- your basement sounds pretty geek cavey to me. Make sure to have plenty of spiders around to keep the women folk out and you are set!

Tweety -- How is the bass response on those Wharfdales? Just looking at your handle I have to be suspicious, you understand. [Wink]

Tech Angel -- What would go into that room of yours?

All -- I USED to have some nice tube stuff years ago, but the ex got it in the divorce. Marrying a geek gal is cool, breaking up with one can be crushing. Not the tuuuuuuuuubes! At least I got to keep the huntin' dawg.

I do have some very nice vinyl packed away. Used to play it once while recording to metal tape then store it. Much Jazz and Classical recorded the high-end way Mo-Man described.

In my collection, I have John Lennon's "Double Fantasy" which was purchased at 7:35 PM on December 8, 1980. I went home, recorded to metal tape and went to bed. The next morning, I heard the news, oh, boy. Never played the platter again. The dated and timed receipt is still with the album cover.

Albums, by cracky! Bought back when record stores were called "Head Shops." Durn fool kids, anyway.

BTW, Mo-Man, the SACD sampling rate is 2.8224 MHz, which is 64 times the 44.1 sampling rate used in Compact Disc Digital Audio. You still get the saw teeth, but it's like seeing the magnified saw teeth on a brand new razor.

Oh yeah, for those of you wanting to split and route HDTV signals -- try this site:

http://www.cablesforless.com/

More stuff, later as I progress.

Also working on a combination workout room/light room.

Wind trainer set up with cadence, speed and heart rate. Dumbell set from 2lb. to 50, incline weight bench, punching bag (a real one, not "W"), 22" Samsung multi-media monitor with 70-W 2.1 sound. I've run component inputs through a cinderblock wall from a DirecTV HDR and use an RF remote. Riding the bike is the only way to watch the Detroit Lions. (I don't want to hear from Titans fans right now).

I'll seal this room for sound and try to pump at least 30,000, 5K Kelvin lumens into the room. Hope it keeps me on the sunny side during the winter dark.

CP

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Free! Free at last!

Posts: 1809 | From: Glacier Melt, USA | Registered: Mar 2002  |  IP: Logged
Xanthine

Solid Nitrozanium SuperFan!
Member # 736

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Icon 1 posted December 03, 2008 17:15      Profile for Xanthine     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I do not have a Geek Cave. I have two Geek Shitholes though. One's my desk and bench at work. The other is my desk* at home.

The work Shithole features a dual G5 with a cinema display. We got it for free when the campus IT service was turning over computers. It runs Tiger and has some badass crystallography software installed. The work shithole also has shelves full of lab notebooks, textbooks, back issues of Science, old class notes, and a happy red betta fish. The top of my desk is covered in paper.

The home Shithole features an old and retired low-end custom PC with a flat screen monitor. That machine served me well for eight years but the time came and I park my laptop there now. Along with an assortment of papers. I have a filing cabinet on one side of the desk and a guinea pig on the other. My cat likes to prowl around on my desk and steal stuff and knock my piles of paper into each other and onto the floor. He also likes to sleep on my computer while I'm typing but that's another story.

Oh yeah, and I have computer speakers with a subwoofer in my home Shithole. The subwoofer has a weak jack. Tap the cable and I lose all sound. :roll: I'll do something about that scenario when I start making money. Ill be doing something about a lot of things when I start making money. My boyfriend and I are scouting out getting a nice LCD screen for watching movies and that'll probably result in an upgrade to the whole stereo system out in the living room right now.

*If it's really a standard kitchen table and standard kitchen chair placed in a bedroom and used like a desk, it is still a desk?

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And it's one, two, three / On the wrong side of the lee / What were you meant for? / What were you meant for?
- The Decemberists

Posts: 7670 | From: the lab | Registered: Mar 2001  |  IP: Logged
Colonel Panic
BlabberMouth, the Next Generation
Member # 1200

Icon 1 posted December 03, 2008 17:31      Profile for Colonel Panic         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Xanthine:
I do not have a Geek Cave. I have two Geek Shitholes though. One's my desk and bench at work. The other is my desk* at home.

*If it's really a standard kitchen table and standard kitchen chair placed in a bedroom and used like a desk, it is still a desk?

But you are a biochemist, X.

If your desks and benches were anything but shitholes you would have your license to practice science revoked and never be allowed to publish in anything but "The Journal of Irreproducible Results."

Now, go put that in your gas chromatograph and smoke it!

On the other hand, I'm sure they are really great shitholes.

CP

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Free! Free at last!

Posts: 1809 | From: Glacier Melt, USA | Registered: Mar 2002  |  IP: Logged
The Famous Druid

Gold Hearted SuperFan!
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Icon 1 posted December 04, 2008 00:53      Profile for The Famous Druid     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Xanthine:
I have two Geek Shitholes though.

I knew a guy like that.
Hunting accident, very nasty.

</coat>

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If you watch 'The History Of NASA' backwards, it's about a space agency that has no manned spaceflight capability, then does low-orbit flights, then lands on the Moon.

Posts: 10679 | From: Melbourne, Australia | Registered: Oct 2002  |  IP: Logged
TheMoMan
BlabberMouth, a Blabber Odyssey
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Icon 1 posted December 04, 2008 05:51      Profile for TheMoMan         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
__________________ Colonel Panic __ I looked at that antenna and it appears to be a dandy.

Now look at

http://www.cushcraft.com/Wireless_Product_Details.asp?style_id=6&group_id=1723

Look at the top antenna and then look at the stacking kit, it takes three stacking kits to hook up four boomers. Cushcraft is about the best staking kit builder and their prices show that they know it, on two meters and 70CM their timing on the phasing is dead on.

That Winegard corner beam is a well known design and has an excellent front to back, however it does not tune into two meters or 70Cm. I also wonder how much of light show I would get if I fed RF up the lead. Ham antennas need more insulation than receive only antennas.

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Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.


Benjamin Franklin,

Posts: 5845 | From: Just South of the Huron National Forest, in the water shed of the Rifle River | Registered: Sep 2002  |  IP: Logged


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