Are You Proud of Your Workplace?

I like decorated workplaces. And I don’t mean a cube with a swimsuit calendar and “motivational” posters from (that’s a real address too). I don’t like Despair, Inc Demotivators TM, although I wish I came up with that idea myself. It’s a big business, as illustrated by this spooky picture of their warehouse:

What I do like, is when an office has some artifact or artifacts that everybody is extremely proud of. For instance in Boston office of defunct company iXL they had an Aibo dog (the expensive first version), which they’ve got for creating I worked in New York office of iXl.

A company that I worship, iDEO, has an office which has the ultimate office decoration. Some engineers went to the airplane scrap yard and brought back a huge WWII bomber wing, which they polished and hung above a meeting room.

Art. Lebedev Studio, a company, which I think will become Russia’s iDEO, and which I also worship, has the coolest collection of old technology

Fog Creek Software (yeah, I worship a lot of companies) strives to provide the best working enviroment possible. From their website: ” … That means the nicest work environment we can get. For now, that means an historic brownstone in an exciting Manhattan neighborhood full of caf├ęs, bookstores, ethnic restaurants, movie theatres, and a rather disproportionate number of Persian rug shops. We have a real garden out back, a full kitchen, a pinball machine, and natural light… ” And that is even more amazing than an airplane wing.

Me? Well, I have a small collection of old vacuum tubes (or valves as Brits call them) in my cube. But I think a nice jet fighter’s helmet and a nice jet instrument panel from eBay’s fine selection would be much cooler.

Ok, I am off to install a 120 gig drive (a bargain at $130) in my Tivo. Wish me luck.

Tivo Tivo Tivo!

TurboNet card arrived yesterday. It’s an amazing feat of engineering – a tiny little custom-made ethernet card that fits into Tivo’s ISA slot and is powered by the motherboard. Install took 3 minutes (good hearted Tivo engineers included drivers for it with the latest version of software) + 5 minutes to staple cat5 to the wall. Well, and half an hour contemplating Tivo’s insides.

What am I gaining from having an ethernet card in Tivo?

Well, for one, it will not be phoning home every day. 30 calls per month at 5 cents each is not a huge saving, but I will not have to unplug the phone cord during thunderstorms.

I already had a burned out modem once. The nasty thing about it breaking was that it kept phone line “of the hook” so that nobody could call me. I had to send my Tivo to a Texan who goes by the handle Electriclegs. He figured out how to fix Tivo modems by replacing a few parts and even made a repair kit available, but I was not brave enough to solder surface mount components myself. The repair cost me $50 + shipping, but the worst thing was being without Tivo for a couple of weeks. Brrrr.

Things left to do:
1) Install bigger hard drive (not simple because I have a double drive model)
2) Mount the ethernet jack flush in Tivo’s case (cold not do it this time because my nibbling tool broke during cutting a hole for exhaust fan on my computer)
3) Install TivoWeb, other neato hacks
4) Learn to solder surface mount components, install memory kit from Electriclegs

Some quick nerdy news

Ethernet card for my TIVO is on it’s way. I wish it was available when my TIVO’s modem got killed by a surge from a lightning storm (I had to ship it to a guy who fixed it for $50). I’ll probably install TivoWeb because Yahoo! seems to be pretty slow in rolling out online TIVO programming that was promised.

Powershot G3 is available for preorder. I can’t believe they used the same moronic silver color for it. Again. Didn’t they get enough angry letters from photographers (so many that the actually made a black color version of G2).

By the way, it’s interesting to watch the progress of design of G1, G2 and G3. One thing that I noticed is that the grip handle gets progressively bigger and more comfortable.


My electric bill last month was $148.95 . It says there that I’ve used up 797 KWH. That’s 26.6 KWH per day. That means that on the average I consume 1.1 KW. That’s 1100 W every hour, 24 hours a day. It’s like having 36 light bulbs on at the same time. All the time.

The only things that work full time are refrigerator (84 W on the average, lets say 200W while it’s hot), TIVO (40W), aquarium pump (30 W) . One AC was on during the night most of the time, another for a couple of hours in the evening.

I have a suspicion that:
a) my KWH meter is connected to something of my neighbor’s.
b) the old 220V AC is eating an enormous amount of electricity
c) all of the power supplies for cell phones, hubs, router, a/v components are leaching a shitload of juice

I really wish there was a portable KWH meter that I could hook up to any device and calculate the _actual_ energy consumption. But looks like there is no such thing.
Ok, this is pretty idiotic.

I really got to do something about this. Maybe I can get a better rate then 15 -16 c per KWH. Maybe I can find the mooching device that eats all my juice. I need to try and check the readings on my meter myself. Here is how. Neat.

Now, this is pretty idiotic. If not, more idiocy can be found on the other end of the spectrum.

Also, I don’t think I have good surge protection for my stuff, and the wiring quality is pretty dodgy. Which reminds me, my renter’s insurance ran out and I really need to renew it. Crap.

Well, at least this post helped me to get my thoughts in order.