Digital Madness

Prepared to be impressed? Here’s my home office network, which I’ve been messing with since yesterday morning’s activities (see the previous entry). Excuse the mess, but when you’re head deep in this sort of stuff…


Starting from the left rear, that’s my Sony Vaio Digital Studio, and to the right, that’s a new HP Digital Studio that I just got for Bea yesterday to replace her iMac that’s sitting right there in the center. Yes, that’s a 19" Sony flat screen monitor, same as the one in my office at work. In the front, to the right is Bea’s PowerBook, and to the left, my Fujitsu Notebook.

And, guess what? They are all networked together. Not just the PCs with the PCs and the Macs with the Macs, but all together. They can all print to that laser printer (lower right), can all share files with one-another, and all share the high-speed Internet connection. The two notebooks are 802.11 Wi-Fi equipped, and so we can be hooked in to the LAN and Internet anywhere in the house, even out in the backyard. But, you want to see something really cool?


That’s an iTunes console, and I’ve got it installed on every machine. Since they’re all networked, they can share each other’s music, and you don’t have to transfer files. It just plays it on your machine right across the network. Right there, I’m playin’ somethn’ from Dire Straits that’s on my notebook, but not on the desktop. This will be useful when we have a party in the back yard. Just plug an amp and speakers into one of the notebooks, and access all other music on all other machines throughout the house–wirelessly. I told you it was really cool.

And here’s another thing.


That’s Fox News playing on the new HP desktop. I’ve had the DirecTV box hooked into my Sony for a long time, but Microsoft’s new Media Center is way better than Sony’s Giga Pocket. It’s really pretty much like having TIVO in your computer. It downloads the program guide off the Internet and keeps it current, so you can pick programs to record ahead of time, or, even have it record regular programs whenever they’re on. You can pause and rewind live TV, etc.

Alright then. Back to it. Time to clean up this mess.

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  1. Bea on April 3, 2005 at 14:51

    Thanks, sweetie. This computer is awesome!


  2. Karl on April 3, 2005 at 23:12

    Can I have the address? I could sell all that on eBay any pay for my beer bill for this month!

  3. Charlotte on April 4, 2005 at 11:20

    We have ours networked as well.. but how do you get your directv on the computer??

  4. chris on April 4, 2005 at 13:34

    I am thunking about getting the Qosimo laptop from Toshiba. Any ideas on if it includes the tuner card?

  5. Matt on April 4, 2005 at 11:44

    I must say that it is all very impressive. I am amazed that everything is so diverse and yet works together.

  6. Eric on April 4, 2005 at 12:07

    Oh yeah? Well I have an Emachine from like 1999. So TAKE THAT!

  7. William Volterman on April 4, 2005 at 16:22

    How many computers do you need!

  8. Richard Nikoley on April 4, 2005 at 11:47

    Well, you have to have the card in your computer that takes the cable, antenna, or cable/sat box inputs (my card has a choice between coax, PS2, or video/sound inputs. Then, you need software to run it.

    Now, the immediate question is, how do you control the box, in the case of a cable or sat box? Well, on my old Sony setup, I couldn't–not from the computer. I had to change channels at the box using the remote.

    With Microsoft's Media Center, I havr a USB IR sensor, and then another little wire that comes off the IR sensor that has an IR transmitter that you stick on your cable or sat box on or near its IR sensor. In this way, the computer can send IR signals to change the channel on the box, and since the software downloads the program guide info from the internet, you can pick progs to record ahead of time, and it can kick the box over to the appropriate channel at the appropriate time.

    Hope all that helps.

  9. Opforsoldier on April 4, 2005 at 12:46

    Man I am drooling! While I have a pretty fancy setup it is not quite on par with yours and my video card should be here soon for the DirecTv connection. Just got a brand new SATA 160GB harddrive set up externally with a firewire cable to record from the DirecTv and all I need know is that 30" screen I have been eyeing.

  10. Lord Smert on April 4, 2005 at 19:05

    Holy crap! That is one awesome set up- but what do you need so many computers for?

    -Lord Smert (

  11. Richard Nikoley on April 4, 2005 at 19:27

    But don't you see? It's having far more than I _need_ that makes it so much fun.

  12. Steve on April 5, 2005 at 10:40

    Now all you need is a VoIP phone, and everything's set!


  13. Q... on April 6, 2005 at 06:48

    I'm jealous.

  14. Mariann on April 11, 2005 at 06:51

    Surfing in via BlogExplosion… how does one set up the iTunes console? I see you've got at least one Mac so I'm guess the software/plugin/etc. to access another's music library is cross compatible?

  15. Richard Nikoley on April 11, 2005 at 09:09

    Yes, it's cross compatible (set up sharing in the preferences), but you'll need to either be on the same workgroup in a home or small office environment, or in the same subnet and domain in a large environment.

    You can download both Mac and Windows versions on iTunes at Apple's website for free.

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