I love the look and feel of hardwood flooring. After we positively destroyed the oldest carpet remaining in one of the rooms of our house by using it as a temporary kitchen (two spilled smoothies and a spilled kids art paint set sealed the deal), my wife and I decided the time was ripe for replacing the flooring in not one, but all three of the front rooms of our house—our 'front room' (used currently as a large play area, mostly), the foyer (which was, until now, a kind of dead area with beat-up parquet flooring), and the school room (where all the kids school supplies, art projects, games, and toys are stored).
About ten years ago, I bought a pair of used JBL J520m bookshelf speakers. They have nice, wood cabinets, a great-sounding woofer and tweeter, and a classic look (they don't really look dated, like 90% of 80s and 90s-era speakers).
Doesn't it look stately?
Whenever you buy used speakers, you should check the woofer cone and foam surround, as these are usually the first parts to deteriorate and cause terrible distortion in certain situations. In my case, the speakers had been stored in someone's garage for a few years, so I knew the foam wouldn't last long. When purchased, the foam flexed okay, but this year I noticed both speakers started making funny noises during explosions or low bass notes during movie and music playback.
My wife and I needed an extra dresser to keep up with the growing family (third baby is on the way in a few months!), and since we would rather buy things that last—but not buy new if we can save a bundle of money—we bought a used wood dresser on Craigslist:
First lesson: always inspect every last bit of furniture before loading it up and hauling it away! Most of the rails were in not-great condition, and the guides on the drawers weren't in great shape either:
We decided to make the best of the situation and make as good a repair as possible, resulting in much improved (like new!) rails:
I delivered a session on Tips for successfully working remote/working from home—both for employees and employers—at php[tek] 2016 in St. Louis today. This session was a bit shorter than yesterday's session on a HA Raspberry Pi cluster, but I had a lot of content I've been putting together for many months.
Every year, my wife and I try to tackle one or two large projects to improve our house and make it a more functional space for our growing family. This year, we decided to remove a giant brick chimney/fireplace that took up 30 square ft. of floor space both in the basement and on the main floor. With the regained space, we installed a TV/media center on the wall that had the fireplace, and arranged the room to have more seating so we could do more family activities in the room.
Here's a picture of what the room looked like with an old brick fireplace (it was wood-burning, but had been converted to gas logs prior to our purchase of the home):
Between projects at work, I decided to take a week's vacation and attempt a rather ambitious DIY project at the house. After working through some plans for the main rooms in our house, my wife and I decided we wanted to convert what was originally the formal dining room at our home, complete with a low-hanging chandelier and wall of floor-to-ceiling tinted mirrors, into a functional schoolroom with tons of storage and a teacher desk area.
So we started with this:
And ended up with this:
Sorry for the radio silence over the past couple months—I've been quite busy! In addition to finishing up my responsibilities at my old job (I'm going to start my new job at Acquia in just a week!), I've had a bunch of crazy, fun, and interesting things happen lately:
For the past eight months, I've been working at a cubicle, sitting around 8 hours a day, at my new job with Mercy. Prior to this job, I had gotten up to about 6 hours a day standing at my home office standing desk (see how I made the standing desk), and reverting to the sitting position has taken its toll on my back and neck!
I decided to start working from a standing position at work, but was presented with a challenge: how can I work standing at a cubicle that was built for sitting? Additionally, I couldn't drill any holes in walls or modify the cubicle structurally in any way. Challenge accepted!
I've written previously about my simple $50 standing desk that can be installed on a wall. That standing desk worked great at my house, where I worked full-time as a remote employee for a few years. I started a new job for a local company in April 2013, working on-site, and was relegated to a cubicle with a decidedly un-adjustable sitting-height desk top. Even when using a Pomodoro-esque technique of standing and moving around every 20 minutes or so hasn't been much of a help.
Not to be kept sitting down by 'the man', I eschewed the provided office chair and adjustable-height keyboard tray, and built a small surface on which to work in a standing position, while still working in the cubicle to which I was assigned. Behold:
Note: many of my suggestions are linked to products I recommend from Amazon.com—using these links when you purchase one of them helps me keep this article and site fresh!
In the past few years, I've moved three times; from a dorm room to a two-bedroom apartment, from that apartment to a two-bedroom condo, and from that condo to a house. I'm not claiming to be a moving expert, but the moves have gone very well every time.
It's nice to know that pretty much everything we own fits in a two-car garage (for now!).
The physical move itself is a very small part of migrating to a new place—it's the weeks of work getting 'settled in' afterwards that can make a move a nightmare, or a great experience. The tips, tricks, and tools I recommend below are things that have really helped me make the days and weeks following the move be a great experience.