Top This! The Connected Cybershed

Most people use sheds to store lawn mowers and garden tools, but I turned my shed into a well-connected home office and home theater. My 8' by 10' cybershed has 60-amp, 220-volt electric power; two phone lines; an enhanced DSL connection; an intercom to the house; a satellite connection; an antenna; video feeds from three outdoor cameras; video feeds from several audio visual (A/V) sources in the house; a weather station connection; and city water and sewer lines.

A keypad by the shed's door and an electric door-strike provide keyless entry. An intercom and video camera let me screen visitors. Lighting scene controllers instantly call up any desired lighting configuration. To save space, I built everything possible into the walls, including 8 in-wall speakers, 7 low-voltage cables (2 Category 5 and 2 coaxial), and 14 duplex outlets.

An ergonomic built-in desk dominates the room and has two flanking 19" racks for gear. One rack houses multiple computers, hubs, a UPS, and a patch panel. I mounted the DSL modem and additional networking, security, and automation equipment underneath. The other rack holds components for a home theater and audio system plus another patch panel.

As a child, I built forts. My cybershed proves the old adage that the only difference between men and boys is the price of their toys.

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