Note: Dishcloth knitting today on Toxophily.
I'm blogging to you tonight from a brand new wireless network at the Bowman-Murray household. The Archery, our venerable "snow" Airport base station, has stepped down to spend more time with its family. Filling its circular footprint: Archery Extreme, the network powered by our new (square) Airport Extreme, henceforth to be known as Station 12. (It's hard thinking up clever names for all this stuff. Gimme a break.)
Both the base station and its most important accessory, a LaCie 320 GB hard drive and USB hub, arrived today, and I spent a blissful hour alternating setting them up and trying to entertain a whiny Cady Gray. (Sample dialogue: "Mommy, stop working.") A few software installations later, we're sitting on our living room couches connected to a hard drive that's plugged directly into the wireless base station. You can also plug a USB printer into it (or, in our case, into the USB hub on the back of the hard drive). Share a hard drive and a printer over the entire network without having them directly attached to any of the network's computers.
The impetus for this upgrade was Noel's desire to access his huge iTunes library no matter where he's working in the house. Right now it's stored on a 120 GB Firewire drive that rests between the sections of our couch. For most people it might not be a big deal to have to plug in a drive to get at your music. But Noel's iTunes library is his livelihood. He rips dozens of discs to it every week, listening to them over time, queuing up some subset of them to be reviewed (entailing more listens) and another larger segment to be cherrypicked of their best tracks, discarding the dross. If there's only the one chair where he can work with his music, a chair where the wires sticking out left and right from the laptop essentially buckle him in for the duration, he can't be hopping up to help the kids, answer the phone, find the lost toy, and do all the million little things a stay-at-home dad has to do.
So with this new network, we're trying to unwire ourselves even more than we were before. I'm hoping to back up my data (especially my priceless digital photos) more often with a huge hard drive always sitting there on the network. And of course, I'm hoping that these elegant little boxes (stacked perfectly on top of each other, since the LaCie drive was made to the dimensions of a Mac Mini and so was the Airport Extreme) will lessen my frustration with their seamless integration into our technology, and give me joy with their user-centered sense of design.
Next up in our program of Self Improvement Through Electronic Boxes: TiVo HD. If I never have to watch Noel laboriously adding programs to our cable-company tuner-DVR because "season pass" doesn't work, or deleting all the million-and-one repeats of something on Bravo because the DVR doesn't have a "first-run only" option, or risk losing a program forever because of a quick trigger finger on the delete button and no "recently deleted" folder where shows can be archived for a few days -- that'd make a fine birthday present to myself.