IT and AV installation job at Salford property

For the past week or so I’ve been working on an IT and AV installation job at a friend’s house in Salford. It’s a large Victorian house which he bought and is in the process of having it gutted and extended.

As part of this he wanted a fully integrated IT, telecoms, TV and and audio system installation, which he’s asked myself and Chris to do since we’ve some considerable experience with such things. He knows nothing about such things since he’s a GP, and so is trusting our judgement on what to install and buy. I hope he doesn’t regret doing so!

Phase 1 is first fix, so basically the hard work of pulling 80 runs of CAT6 and loudspeaker cable through the house (67 runs of CAT6 and 13 runs of speaker cable, including outdoor cables to the gardens). Once this is complete (on Thursday) we then have to wait for the builders to finish ready for second fix (where the cables are connected to sockets and patch panels). This forms Phase 2.

Phase 3 then becomes the really fun bit where we install all the specified equipment, including a computer network, a 9.1 speaker home cinema system, a distributed satellite TV system, a zoned audio system and other smaller features. After that comes the housewarming party where our friend gets to impress everyone with our work :)

It’s a manual job but it’s a fun job and it’s something I’ve done many times before so I don’t mind doing it. It’s not every day someone asks for a structured cabling system in their house, let alone on the scale of this one. Luckily, since it’s an old house, it has a cellar and lots of voids through which cables can be run. Ironically newer houses are harder to retrofit in this way unless it’s done at initial first fix because they simply don’t have such spaces, usually in the name of cost saving and profit maximisation on the part of the developers.

Here are a few geeky pictures of Phase 1. Apologies for the poor quality, they’re iPhone pictures. I’ll replace them with nicer ones if I remember to take any.

AV cables ready for home cinema installation

Many of the cables run through the cellar

The smallest bedroom is being set up as an office and so has trunking

Plant room in basement, where cables will terminate in a rack (image helpfully rotated by WordPress)


Retro phonetastic

I’ve always wanted one of these ever since a mate of mine bought one. They sell on eBay for about £40, all refurbished and modified for use on modern networks (BT’s network at least still understands pulse dialling). Firebox also sell them, for £60, but it’s not clear whether they are new or refurbished. I frankly can’t see how they could be new, I find it hard to believe that someone’s actually started manufacturing them again.

Anyway, I bought a black one for the spare room, and it looks fantastic in there. It’ll never, ever get used, of course, the landline at home is only there for the broadband and rarely do we make or receive a call on it, but the phone does work! When it rings it breaks windows in Salford!

I love the description of it on the Firebox page, it’s hilarious. Especially:

Lovingly refurbished internally and ready for use in the modern world, this endearingly clumpy phone is guaranteed to bring the memories flooding back the second you poke your finger in the dial and hear that familiar ugh-ugh. You might even be tempted to start answering it by reciting your number in your finest nasally operator voice.

My Dad still does that! I think he still only announces the last 5 digits too.

Absolutely no modern features whatsoever!

Absolutely no modern features whatsoever!


Retro lift

Lift like TARDIS that only goes to the 70s

Lift like TARDIS that only goes to the 70s

We’re moving offices at the moment as we’ve completely outgrown our small serviced offices and have signed a lease on an entire floor in the building literally across the road (so no wacky races with vans and things will be required). The building across the road is perfectly fine, but the landlord hasn’t quite finished refurbishing it yet and has a few things still to do, including the refurbishment of one of the two lifts. One lift is all modern with digital controls and voice floor announcements and all that jazz, but the other, although functional, is still as it was installed when the building was built in the 70s.

It’s totally retro, with big clunky buttons, wood paneling, an old fashioned floor indicator panel above the door (which doesn’t work) and inside the emergency phone cabinet is this fully functional dial telephone (pictured). It actually works too! It’s like going back in time 20 years.

I’ve also added a third monitor to my Mac Pro at work, because I’m greedy and I can. It was a spare monitor I had at my Dad’s house, liberated from the Rhydio office in 2006, and so I thought I’d put it to good use. Very soon I’ll wonder how I worked without it and be wanting a fourth one, which will be entirely possible since my Mac Pro has 4 monitor ports.


Because I am greedy