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December 08, 2010 08:02

Well, Xmas is upon us. I've started to put together the Christmas display in the living room (running a bit late, I know). In the next day or two though, I'll have everything set up and running. I'll probably set up a second cam in there so the Christmas village will be more visible.

I've set up some new shelves on the back wall and immediately filled them up, with no obvious evidence that they have helped clear up any mess. I've got one more smaller shelf to add for the electronic component trays which will sit right above the top of the table. The black shelves that I used to have there have now been moved over next to Gertie's desk and she's got them filled up with pictures and other nicknacks.

Over the last few months I've been purchasing parts for a new computer and last night the final component showed up. It's a Athlon II X3 running Windows 7, with 4 gigs of ram and a GeForce GTX 460 video card. That will become my primary workstation/gaming machine. My next step is to determine what to do with my current system. Even though it's 3 years old, it's still quite adequate for practically everything I do, and I have may set up a third monitor on the desk and move it to the other side. That computer can then be used for playing movies/tv shows when we're in here so I don't have to give up using my computer when we do that. It's also been suggested that we get a medium sized LCD TV and hang it on the wall in front of us so we can watch our shows on that instead. All to be determined in the near future.

My X10 modules have been giving me trouble lately. I've swapped out tranceivers and that seems to temporarily clear things up, but after a day of operation, the lamps quit working and I have to reset the module to get everything working again. Considering that I purchased all of these about 10 years ago, and they have withstood operating conditions that likely far exceeded the recommended specs, I'm not really surprised. While I still like X10, and the fact that it's cheap, simple to use, and very easy to interface with, I will likely switch to using a relay or triac based custom solution. I forsee a controller circuit in a project box with 6 conductor phone cable being used to communicate with 2-gang outlet boxes, each of the 4 plugs being an individually controlled circuit. Since the lamps are typically near each other, this would be feasible without creating a lot of wiring ratsnests, which is always a concern with ANYTHING I do.

And for a project for everyone else: I'm looking for inspiration for a futuristic bridge type console. Something like you would see in the more recent Star Trek shows, but I'd want to do something different. The thing is, while I'm able to find PLENTY of examples of LCARS displays, designs, etc, I'm not really able to find anything else. There are other science fiction shows, certainly, but for some reason, the Internet isn't being helpful in finding me good examples of the workstations. I'm not entirely sure what I want to do with this, if anything. I have a notion to build some type of futuristic looking desk or workstation, or work area, either for practicality, or just because it looks cool. Need some ideas though.