Get involved: build me your perfect tech-filled house

Get involved: build me your perfect tech-filled house

Summary: I am the luckiest sod alive. With a recession the deepest it has been since World War II, with swine flu slowly spreading to pandemic levels, and universities on the edge of closing down completely, we are in uncertain times.


I am the luckiest sod alive. With a recession the deepest it has been since World War II, with swine flu slowly spreading to pandemic levels, and universities on the edge of closing down completely, we are in uncertain times.

But, I have scraped together every penny of savings I have, and now have myself a beautiful house within the Roman city walls of Canterbury, England. It's gorgeous, I'll tell you now, but probably won't share exactly where it is; some of you guys are a little unhinged at the best of times. It'll be on Google Street View soon enough anyway.

I face a problem though. My technological skills are alright, otherwise I wouldn't have been able to land a gig here. What I do lack, however, is the necessary skill to avoid going, "ahh, that'll do", and just picking random things out of the catalogue.

What we can use

Available to me, the current stores within walking distance are Currys (I get discount) and PC World, and any technology shop in Canterbury. Other shops which I can use are online include Ebuyer,, and I will not be using online auction sites, so don't even bother.

How much can I spend

I have decided to spend absolutely no more than £1,500 (which is the equivalent of roughly $2,100) and I will not go a penny over this. If I do, I won't be able to eat for a month, so there's no point in having a brand new telly if I end up dying because I'm malnourished. Be careful though; don't spend $2,000 on a flatscreen television with no money left for any of the other items.

What I already have (and don't need)

There's no need for me to buy absolutely everything new, no matter how much I may want to. So consider these already taken, but anything else I will leave your imaginations:

  • Desktop computer (AMD 64x2 6000+ 4GB RAM, 360GB storage)
  • Laptop computer (crap government specification)
  • Mobile phone (BlackBerry Curve 8900)
  • Digital frame (from itWorks)
  • Multi-function device (Epson Stylus Photo RX685)
  • Wireless router (standard O2 wireless box)
  • Digital camera (an old Sony DSC-P32, but it works)
  • DAB Digital Radio (Pure One Classic DAB radio)

Suggestions of items I could do with

There are a few things in my house which I'm going to need. A flatscreen television is vital, and a DVD player isn't necessary, but might be nice if you have money left over. Having fancy items around the house such as an iPod docking station would be pretty useful when my friends come over, but pointless gadgets such as a colour phasing shower light would be brilliant, even though it isn't essential.

I'll need a phone in my office which works with Skype as well as an ordinary landline phone, and could do with a decent wireless keyboard and mouse. However, because of my medical condition, I'm likely to smash the shit out of my mouse; something that is durable, robust but cheap is important. I'll need a wireless landline phone, too, for downstairs.

Besides that, if you have any left over money to spend, throw in anything you think would be a) awesome and b) perfect for a student house.


I cannot stress this enough. If you don't choose it, I won't get it. What you choose is what I will get, or if there's a toss-up between the two, I'll use my judgement to the best of my ability. This is your chance to design the best student house possible, without spending a penny, and getting some other dork to do it.

If there's anything else I can think of, I'll let you know.

Let's go! Begin leaving your suggestions!

Topics: Mobility, CXO, Hardware, Networking, Wi-Fi

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Beer taps.
  • RE: Get involved: build me your perfect tech-filled house

    Every day should start with kitty:

  • RE: Get involved: build me your perfect tech-filled house


    PS3 - $399 plays Blu-ray
    Logitech Cordless mediaboard pro (for both PS3 and TV-connected PC) - $70
    32" Samsung LCD TV - $549
    Belkin wi-fi phone for Skype - $99


    Logitech Harmony One Remote: $180
    iHome iP27BR Alarm Clock/speakers/dock for iPod - $100
    Viewsonic 8" digital photo frame - $80
    Sennheiser PCX350 headphones - $199
    Worx WT920K 3-pc 18-volt Cordless Combo Tool Kit - $89


    total $1765 US

    1. Hook your desktop to your LCD TV, control from your couch with the Mediaboard.

    2. There's money left over for your landline phone.

    3. You have to have some kind of tools. Even if just for show.
    • Brilliant!

      This is EXACTLY what I'm looking for. Now, who can find these items better and/or cheaper? Muhahaha, this is fun! :)
      • It appears... are no longer the student Grasshopper. (said in a funny Chinese accent)
        • Bit racist...

          Don't be racist :)
          • Get a life

            Get a life. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. Stop looking for issues where none exist.
            toxic psychotic avenger
          • A reference from Kung Fu.

            Given it was a fake accent perpetuated by an actual Chinese person in that movie, I hardly feel they can say much about my comment. Plus, for reference, Chinese is not a race, it's a nationality. So the proper term would have been prejudice, rather then racist, however I didn't actually pre-judge them either, as the reference was for a fictional character, and not an actual Chinese. So technically, I was just being facetious.

            Now here is where I get prejudice, and say, "come on now... it's YOUR language."
            (just being facetious again though) I have family across the pond as well, and of diferent races.

            On a serious note, you want to know what real racism is? It's when someone sees that I have white skin, and living in the Southeast US, and assumes my family had something to do with slavery, and must be racist. That is actually both racist, and prejudice, and actually quite misguided. Few realize how many white people here who's family fought for the North, or in my case, in the British navy in aid of the North. At the time of the civil war, my ancestors had not yet moved to the US.

            Now tell me about not being racist?

            Anyway, enough ranting. How's that dream house coming along?
          • South East Racists

            In Florida, there are more people from New York than there are people from Florida.
            Hans Schmidt
          • Don't forget...

            people from new jersey. I have been all over the southeast and northeast, so I'm quite familiar with a wide range of people, and interesting enough, people from New Jersey tend to be the most racist.

            I also worked for a global corporation, and have met people from all over the country. I find that people in other countries tend to have a better sense of humor about facetious comments about their culture then those that live in the US. I find it odd that moving to the US instantly makes people more sensitive to a joke. People need to lighten up and enjoy life, you only get one chance at it, and it doesn't last long enough to spend it all pissed off.

            On that note though... I'm from Georgia, and I have to deal with all those halfback New Jersey loons that decided FL was too hot, and feel the need to flatten a beautiful mountain in northern Georgia. It makes no sense to me. People are strange animals.
          • I think it's better now

            In the fall of 1964 I left Louisville, KY to attend Cornell University. It was a long way from home but I wanted a good engineering degree and to be able to drink at age 18. 8+)

            It was also the time of racial troubles across the American South and one of the three men kidnapped, murdered, and buried in an earthen dam in Mississippi was from Cornell. I encountered a lot of prejudice from the brilliant Yankees who knew before I even spoke that I came from a family of slaveholders who used chains and whips for profit, not fun.

            The most prejudice was from the New Yawker children who had never neen further west than Ithaca nor further south than Battery Park but knew plenty was wrong with me and my background.

            BTW my ancestors didn't arrive in the US until 1906: we never owned slaves or benefited from Jim Crow. But my whole career I've experienced the joys of not being on any Federally protected person list, anyway. The sins of someone else's fathers are visited on every White son of even unto the fourth generation in this country. <SIGH>
    • Blu-ray

      If you're going to hook the desktop to the TV, skip the PS3. Only thing they're good for is Blu-ray, and a rom for your PC is $300 cheaper.

      Instead, snag a Hauppauge WinTV-HVR 1800 for $100 at newegg so that you can DVR. Mind you that the Harmony remote will be compatible with this tuner, so you get slickness points.

      Still have $200 left over from that PS3 which is nearly enough for a Wii-- a much more social console.
      • Computer to TV

        Is there any way I can set up a shared folder on my computer, essentially my "Videos" folder, and be able to stream it wirelessly and watch it on my computer downstairs? Now, that'd be absolutely awesome, because then I don't have to burn everything to a DVD :)
        • yup

          VLC should do the trick. There's an old, but good article on Lifehacker:

          there's also a couple good wiki pages for

          what can it do & how-to :

        • mythtv or xbmc

          Either would be ideal. If you look at mythtv I suggest you probably use Mythbuntu on your PC as opposed to trying to get the windows versions to work (I don't think there is a windows backend anyway)..
  • Compact fluorescent bulbs?

    Compact fluorescent bulbs? They save electricity and last forever.

    Okay, maybe not a literal forever, but they'll last far, far longer than regular bulbs. Well worth the price.
    • Check out LED bulbs...

      Even more efficient than compact flourescent, a bit pricier, still may need a bit of work, but their coolness (literal and figurative) can't be beat, if you can find the right ones.
      • Not sure about the US but...

        We have two major types of bulb "connector" - screw (where you screw in the bulb) and bayonet (where you plug in then twist). I'm not sure if LED bulbs (which are a good idea, especially OLED ones) would be available with the type of bulb connectors we have. Do you have a link to decent bulbs? (never thought I'd hear myself say that!)
        • Not sure how much this helps...

          It at least gives you a reference as to that they are available in screw in type, and are around $30 to $40 US. I bit high for a light bulb, but given LED's longer lifespan, and eficiency, I'm sure they'd more the pay for themselves down the road.

          Maybe someone can find a better site for you. I'll look around, that was just the first page I come up on.
  • you need a picture frame

    You've got the flat now a sweetheart is gonna come along (if one isn't there already).

    How better to make that person feel special than to let them email pictures directly to your picture frame.

    I don't know the best product but check out things along the lines of eStarling Connected Wireless Digital Photo Frames.

    Just make sure you can change the email address of the device before getting one in case love goes bad and ... (unfortunately such is live sometimes!).