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RE: Sonos or in-house wiring? (Follow-Up #6)

posted by: zagyzebra on 11.19.2012 at 12:00 pm in Electronics Forum

I have done considerable research on this subject, and gratefully have been provided with the most thorough answer from a professional one could hope to get. I am posting it as follows in the event other GardenWeb users have similar questions...

"Wireless is a great way to move signals around without having to open up the walls, it can save a lot of patching and painting. If the walls are going to be open anyway, though, you'd be a fool not to run a wire to every place you think you might possibly someday want one, and then run some spares just to be sure.

Sonos is an excellent system that sounds like it'd be perfect for your immediate needs, but you should still wire it. Sonos boxes can communicate wirelessly, but if you plug each one directly into the house network you'll have much less noise interfering with your wifi and won't have to worry about placing each box so that is within range of another. Sonos units also require wiring to the speakers, and you might want those to be installed in the walls or ceilings and wired to wall plates (in each room or all in a central location.) If you think you might want installed speakers at some point, it's really easy to wire for them while the walls are open, then just sheetrock over them and leave them there until it's time to cut the speaker in.

For maximum flexibility I would recommend the following:

Figure out where your router and modem are going to live (let's say the basement, maybe behind the stairs) and mount a network and cable/satellite distribution box there. This should ideally be someplace accessible for when you inevitably need to reboot these things. To this box you should run the incoming lines from the street: cable, telephone if you're doing that, and also satellite (run a few RG-6 coax up to the roof or attic now even if you're not getting a dish right away.) You'll also need power, typically the box will have a knockout where your electrician can install a receptacle that you'll use to power your modem, router, switch etc.

This box will be the hub for your wiring system, all the rooms will be wired directly back to it ("home run" in wiring-speak.)

To cover the house with good wifi signal, you should pick places for wireless access points and run a CAT6 to each of these locations. For a 2500 square foot single-level house I would start with 3 access points, with one in the middle and two more out toward the ends. They should be someplace where you can unobtrusively mount them high on a wall, and where you can get to them for rebooting as needed (hall or bedroom closets are good for this, as are high shelves in built-in bookcases) They will typically need an outlet for power, so plan for that too. I highly recommend getting the access points and setting them up before the walls are closed, so that you can test whether the coverage is adequate and change locations or add more access points as needed. At least bring one and try it in each spot in turn to get a ballpark idea of coverage.

For every large room in the house (bedroom, office, kitchen, etc.) you should have at least one CAT6 drop for a network jack. If you're feeling flush, make it two per location; CAT6 is primarily used for network, but it's cheap and can be used for landline telephone or repurposed to do almost anything else. These should go back to the main box where you will install a network switch, which could be big enough to make all the jacks in the house active at once, or you could get away with having a small switch and plugging in only those jacks that you're actively using. With this setup a housemate/tenant could conceivably have their own second modem in the box providing private internet service to their portion of the house.

For any location where you might want to put a TV, I would run a bundle or a structured cable ("structured cable" is just several standard cables wrapped in an outer sleeve that makes it easier to deal with) containing 2 CAT6 and 2 coax cables. This gives you a lot of flexibility as far as hooking up cable or sat boxes, internet-enabled set-top devices, etc. This bundle should go from the spot in the room where you want the equipment for the TV to the box in the basement. You should also add a conduit or "smurf tube" from the equipment location in the room to the place where a wall-mounted TV would actually hang. This will allow you to pull one or more HDMI (or network, or Kinect, or whatever crazy gizmo comes next) from the equipment up to the screen without draping cables down the wall. Also, of course, consider power requirements for the TV and have a recessed "clock receptacle" installed at each TV location. Just stapling a long HDMI cable inside the wall is a bad idea, since HDMI ends can't really be replaced in situ so you'd be out of luck if the cable were ever damaged, to say nothing of potential future standards that might use different cables or connectors.

For any room where you might want sound, you should pick speaker locations on the walls or ceiling (ideally with good separation but not too close to a corner, and not opposite one another such that they're faced directly at each other) and from those spots run speaker cable first to a spot in the room where you might want to put a stand-alone audio system or Sonos box (this spot should also have network and power) then from there back to the box in the basement. This will give you maximum flexibility when deciding whether you want a centralized audio distribution system or a bunch of little independent systems. I'd recommend 16 gauge wire or thicker, brand is honestly not so important. You can use a single 4-conductor cable so you just need to run one to each room and split it where you need it to reach both speakers, simplifying the wiring process and making it easier to organize the cabling at the main box.

To run the music system, one cheap and expandable way to go would to get a single Sonos Connect box and hook it up to an amplifier, then run the output of the amp through a speaker selector (I've never used this one but it would let you drive 5 sets of speakers from a single Sonos/amp combo. It won't get very loud but is the cheapest way to get started.) You can then set the relative volumes of your zones on the front of the selector and use the Sonos app on your phone or computer to adjust overall volume as you listen. You can easily expand this system as needed by adding additional Sonos units and amps and decoupling them from the selector, or add more zones by splitting the output of the Sonos and feeding it into a second amp/selector combo. Sonos does a good job of combining units to play in unison for when you want the same music everywhere, or you can use multiple units to listen to different things in different rooms. This approach allows you to keep all the amps and equipment in a single location, so you can have sound without devoting shelf space in the room to it. It'll also help you save costs on power conditioning, since you only need one big surge protector.

Here are some guidelines for making sure the work is being done competently and that the right materials are being used:

A good home network specialist will test each network jack and not consider the job done until they all test good. An electician will usually not have the tools to do this as they wire, but they'll be cheaper and it might be worth the savings to you if you can do some basic testing yourself: plug in a router at the main box and then walk around with a computer and making sure it can connect to the router through each jack, then call them back to fix any bad ports. Either way, you should make sure the jacks are tested before a tenant moves in.

All your network cabling should be punched down into a patch panel which should be clearly labeled with the location of each jack. You can then use short ethernet cables to connect each jack to your network switch.

Wireless access points should be set to use the same ssid (network name) and password scheme but different channels. This will allow your phones and laptops to seamlessly roam from one access point to the next as you move around the house.

Coax should be quad-shield RG-6, sometimes people try to cheap out and use RG-59 which is really not adequate for long runs

Low voltage cabling like speaker and network should not be bundled with electrical wiring or run parallel with it within a foot or so for long distances, this can cause noise and interference. Whenever possible low voltage cabling should cross electrical wiring at a right angle.

Standard landline telephone should never share a CAT6 cable with network. (It's actually possible to wire this in a way that will seem to work fine, but your network's speed will be severely degraded because your equipment will be forced to use the older, slower 100 megabit standard rather than the current gigabit standard.) This is different from VOIP that uses the network itself to digitize the telephone signal a la Skype or phone service through your cable or fiber ISP, I'm talking about physically wiring an old-fashioned phone jack to two conductors of the CAT6 that you're also using for network.

A switch is required to "split" the network connection, and an electrician who tries to split ethernet by just splicing (or "bussing") the wires together is bulshitting you and has probably never wired ethernet before, because it won't work at all. I shouldn't even have to mention this but I've seen it done more than once. It's not so bad if they home run it and just splice it all together in the box like it was telephone (you can just rip out their bussing block and replace it with the right stuff,) but if they try to daisy-chain more than one jack it's a nightmare.

On more note; any crawl spaces should be connected together by as much conduit as you can squeeze in, ideally 3 or 4 2 inch pipes, so that there is a path for future wiring to take from one end of the house to the other. They should be clearly labeled at each end so that future workers can find them and know where they go even if you've sold the house or forgotten about them."


clipped on: 01.24.2013 at 03:46 pm    last updated on: 01.24.2013 at 03:46 pm

RE: Christmas Eve Tourtiere - Ann T (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: ann_t on 12.04.2008 at 10:42 am in Cooking Forum

Amck, It wouldn't be Christmas Eve without this Tourtiere. Moe loves his with Chili sauce. But Matthew and I like ours with gravy.

Home Cookin Chapter: Recipes From Thibeault's Table


This filling is for one pie. I usually triple the ingredients and make three at a time. I bake all of the pies and when cold freeze.

pastry to two crust pie.

1 large onion chopped
2 or 3 tablespoons oil or butter
1 clove garlic
1 1/2 pounds of pork
1 cup gravy or stock (saved from turkey or pork)
2 russett potatoes (par boiled)
2 Tablespoons chopped celery leaves
2 Tablespoons chopped parsley
1/2 teaspoon thyme,
1/2 teaspoon rosemary (or more)
salt and pepper to taste
1/8 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon allspice, more to taste

Saute the onion in oil until transparent, add the garlic and saute for
one minute and then add the ground pork. Cook until the meat is brown.
Add 1/2 cup stock or gravy and cover pan and simmer for about 15 or 20
minutes. Preheat oven to 425F

Uncover pan and reduce liquid to 2 or 3 tablespoons. Add the
seasonings and stir to blend.Adjust seasonings to taste. Add potatoes
and add enough additional gravy to moisten. Should not be to wet.

Spoon filling into pastry shell. Use egg glaze on along overhand.
Place crust on top and trim. Fold the top edge under the bottom and
crimp edge. Brush with egg glaze and decorate with extra pastry if
desired. Sprinkle with Coarse salt.

Bake in the lower third of oven for 15 minutes and then raise to the
middle shelf, lower heat to 350 and continue to bake until golden
brown. About 45 to 55 minutes.

Butter-Lard Pastry
2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup lard (or shortening- Crisco)
5 to 6 tablespoons of ice water

(note: if using for a sweet pie, add 1 or 2 teaspoons of sugar.)
. Mix flour with salt, and cut in butter and lard.

(Note: I use the cuisinart to cut in my fat and then move the mixture
to a bowl to add the water by hand).
I like to have to do this by feel which I find I can't do by machine)

Put flour mixture in bowl and add water mixing with a fork until pastry
comes together. Form in to a ball and cut in two pieces. Form each
into a round flat disc and refrigerate for 1 hour.


clipped on: 01.22.2013 at 09:14 pm    last updated on: 01.22.2013 at 09:14 pm

Shire House Cream Cheese Pear Tart

posted by: ann_t on 01.02.2013 at 12:05 pm in Cooking Forum

This was our New Year's Day dessert. An old favourite that I haven't made in years.

Shire House Cream Cheese Pear Tart
I have had this recipe for almost 33 years. It was given to my by the Owners of The Shire House Restaurant which was just outside of Grand Rapids, Michigan. The restaurant has been gone for Many years.

I used fresh pears, peeled, cored and poached in sugar syrup.

But you can cheat and use canned pear or peach halves.

I've also made it with fresh apricots, which also need to be poached

and with fresh strawberries ,raspberries and blackberries.

You could also use a combination of fresh berries.

(No need to poach berries).

1 8 oz cream cheese
1 cup whipping cream
1 French Pie Crust (Pate Sucree)
powdered Sugar
6 poached pear halves (substitute other fruit)
Orange liqueur
Apricot Preserves

Poach Pears or apricots in 1 cup sugar to 2 cups water with 1 tablespoon of lemon added. Cook until tender. Set aside to cool.

Prepare and bake pie crust. Cool.

Whip cream cheese with honey. Sweeten to taste (I use two to three tablespoons). Whip cream with powdered sugar (again to taste) Add vanilla. Fold cream into cheese and add to cold pie crust. Decorate with pears (Make sure the pears are dried well).

Melt Apricot or Apple Jelly. Add a little orange liqueur. Spoon or brush over pears.


clipped on: 01.03.2013 at 01:37 pm    last updated on: 01.03.2013 at 01:37 pm

RE: How about a "Post Your Christmas KIA " thread? (Follow-Up #19)

posted by: trailrunner on 12.25.2012 at 09:25 am in Kitchens Forum

gr8day...those are such pretty cookies. Has been years and years since we cut out and decorated cookies.

go figure and Autumn..ya'll are sweet !! DD's chcicken dish was wonderful . Had it with roasted potatoes and onions. is the fig cookie recipe. You will have dough leftover . I had an epiphany this AM. You can roll it out and fill with something...I am going to make the lemon curd and make a tart. I think it will be a perfect prebaked crust for that. We have no plans for a big dinner today.Will have soup most likely while we watch the weather. c


Filling weighs 20 oz- chop in food processor
1 cup dried figs
1 cup dried dates, pitted
3/4 cup raisins
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped or ground in food processor ( we use pecans )
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup orange marmalade

2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 tablespoons milk (approximately) must be quite thick
Colored sprinkles

dough: weighs 38 oz

4 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
8 ounces cold unsalted butter or 1/2 pound cold lard, cut into pieces- we use lard that we rendered.
4 large eggs
Put flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a food processor fitted with the metal blade; pulse just to mix. Add the butter pieces and pulse 20 times. Add eggs and pulse until dough forms a ball on the blade. Remove from processor and knead briefly on a lightly floured work surface until smooth. Shape dough into a log and wrap in plastic. chill

Divide dough in to 4/ 8 oz pieces. Roll each out to 12" rope. Roll into a 12" x 3 " rectangle. Cut to even sides. Make 1/4 of filling into a snake and lay on the rectangle. Seal the dough around the filling. Roll gently into a 15" long rope. Bake the whole rope..till just barely golden. 350 degrees...approx 20 carefully. Use parchment on baking sheets.
Makes 5 3/4 dozen. use approx 8 oz dough and 5 oz filling for each roll. When baked and cooled cut into 1" long pieces. Frost by dipping in to the thick frosting and then in to the sprinkles. Let dry and store in fridge. ( will have 6-8 oz dough left over ) can make plain cookies or fill with jam etc.


clipped on: 12.29.2012 at 10:06 am    last updated on: 12.29.2012 at 10:06 am

RE: WANTED: Thank you Doucanoe (aka: Linda)! (Follow-Up #16)

posted by: doucanoe on 02.20.2006 at 11:15 am in Cooking Forum

Kathy, glad it all arrived safely and that you like what I chose for you. I am not good with themes, so I fall back on "regional" quite often! LOL

I meant to include this recipe for the wild rice, but forgot.

Linda's Minnesota Wild Rice Soup

2T butter
1/4c chopped onion
1/2c flour
4c chicken broth
1-1/2c cooked wild rice
1/2 tsp salt
1c diced chicken or ham
1/2c grated carrot
1c half and half
1T dry white wine
1/2c slivered almonds

Melt butter in saucepan, saute onion til tender. Whisk in flour then
gradually add broth. Cook, stirring constantly until thickened. Add rice,
salt, chicken, and carrots. Blend in cream and wine, heat to serving
temperature. Garnish with slivered almonds.



clipped on: 12.26.2012 at 06:30 pm    last updated on: 12.26.2012 at 06:30 pm

RE: Teresa's wild rice recipe? Please! For Christmas dinner. (Follow-Up #2)

posted by: teresa_mn on 12.24.2012 at 12:45 pm in Cooking Forum

I prefer baking rice instead of cooking on the stove top.
Heat oven to 350 degrees. You will need a covered casserole or pot (a 2 quart size is good). I use a glass casserole. Place in casserole:
1 cup raw rice ( rinse thoroughly first)
2.5 cups of boiling water or stock
Cover and bake for 30 minutes. Test rice for doneness. Cook another 15 minutes if you want it more tender. Use excess water in wild rice soup.

To this you might want to add minced garlic, chopped leeks, carrots or celery. Sliced portobello mushrooms are also a great addition.

Most often I saute the vegetables in a little butter and add after the rice is cooked with some toasted almond slivers.


clipped on: 12.26.2012 at 05:43 pm    last updated on: 12.26.2012 at 05:43 pm

RE: Grrrr. I thought I had copied Nancy's Vodka Pie crust recipe (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: wizardnm on 12.20.2009 at 01:23 pm in Cooking Forum

Here it is Sharon. I'm at work but since I store recipes online it was easy to grab..

Foolproof Pie Dough

Source of Recipe

Cook's Illustrated

The trick to this pie crust is the inclusion of vodka. Eighty-proof vodka, which is 60 percent water and 40 percent alcohol, adds moistness to the dough without aiding in gluten formation since gluten doesn't form in ethanol. Although the recipe includes 8 tablespoons of liquid, the alcohol vaporizes during baking, resulting in a tender crust that only contains 6 1/2 tablespoons of water. Because of the extra liquid, the dough will be moister than most standard pie doughs and will require up to 1/4 cup more flour.

- makes one 9-inch double-crust pie -

2 1/2 cups (12 1/2 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon table salt
2 tablespoons sugar
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch slices
1/2 cup cold vegetable shortening, cut into 4 pieces
1/4 cup cold vodka
1/4 cup cold water

1. Process 1 1/2 cups flour, salt, and sugar in food processor until combined, about 2 one-second pulses. Add butter and shortening and process until homogeneous dough just starts to collect in uneven clumps, about 15 seconds (dough will resemble cottage cheese curds and there should be no uncoated flour). Scrape bowl with rubber spatula and redistribute dough evenly around processor blade. Add remaining cup flour and pulse until mixture is evenly distributed around bowl and mass of dough has been broken up, 4 to 6 quick pulses. Empty mixture into medium bowl.

2. Sprinkle vodka and water over mixture. With rubber spatula, use folding motion to mix, pressing down on dough until dough is slightly tacky and sticks together. Divide dough into two even balls and flatten each into 4-inch disk. Wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 45 minutes or up to 2 days.



clipped on: 11.29.2012 at 10:19 am    last updated on: 11.29.2012 at 10:19 am

RE: Pumpkin - not pie recipes (Follow-Up #19)

posted by: murphy_zone7 on 11.03.2012 at 04:33 am in Cooking Forum

This chili is very good

Red's Famous Pumpkin Chili
Serves 6

1 lb lean ground beef
1 can (16 oz) pumpkin or 2 cups fresh cooked, mashed
1/2 cup chopped sweet white onion
1 tbsp chili power
1 tbsp cumin
Garlic to taste
Oregano to taste
Salt & pepper to taste
2 cans(16 oz each) diced stewed tomatoes (undrained)
1 can (16 oz) dark red kidney beans (undrained)

Cook beef until no longer pink; drain. Stir in pumpkin, onion and spices. Simmer 5 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil; reduce heat, cover and cook for 20 more minutes.

**Note - you may need to add a little water if too thick. This tastes even better the next day.

Don't remember where I found this recipe, but I substituted black beans for the kidney and home canned tomatoes for the canned stewed.


clipped on: 11.03.2012 at 10:51 pm    last updated on: 11.03.2012 at 10:51 pm

RE: Lindac's Apple Cake with Cake Gravy (Follow-Up #4)

posted by: Lindac on 10.28.2012 at 04:32 pm in Cooking Forum

here ya go....those formatting problems with the fractions are really beyond annoying!
Apple Cake

4 cups chopped apples
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup raisins ( I use chopped other fruit like dried peaches or apricots)
Mix and let sit for about an hour ( less is OK)
2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsps baking soda ( I like 3/4 tsps soda and 3/4 tsps BP)
3/4 tsps salt
1T cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
Mix dry ingredients
2 eggs
3/4 cups veggie oil
1 tsp vanilla
beat together
1 cup chopped pecans if desired.
Add the oil and eggs to the apples and sugar and dried fruit. Stir in the dry mixture and add nuts if desires.
Pour into greased 9 by 13 pan and bake 350 until done�..40 to 50 minutes.
Serve with cake gravy!

Cake Gravy
Mix 1 cup sugar ..half brown half white
1 stick butter
1/2 cup light cream
1 tsp vanilla�.
Mix all and cook all in a sauce pan for about 5 or 6 minutes until caramel colored.
Serve warm over the cake.


clipped on: 10.28.2012 at 05:24 pm    last updated on: 10.28.2012 at 05:24 pm

RE: Desperately Seeking Pear Recipes for Canning (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: malna on 07.16.2012 at 07:39 am in Harvest Forum

This one's delicious.

Caramel Spice Pear Butter

Makes 9 half pints

15 Barlett or other large, firm, ripe pears
2 cups water
6 cups sugar
1 teaspoon ground cloves
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 tablespoons lemon juice

Wash and core, but do not peel pears. Slice and place in a 5 qt pot. Add water, cover and cook over low heat for 30 minutes or until tender.

Let cool slightly, then force through a mill, sieve or whirl in a food processor until finely chopped; return to kettle.

In a wide frying pan over medium heat, melt 1 1/2 cups of the sugar, stirring often, until it caramelizes to a medium brown syrup. Pour immediately into pear pulp (syrup will sizzle and harden, but dissolves again as the preserves cook). Stir in remaining 4 1/2 cups sugar and spices until well blended.

Bring mixture to a boil, reduce heat and cook, uncovered for about 45 minutes or until thickened. To prevent sticking, stir frequently as mixture begins to thicken. Stir in lemon juice just before removing from heat. (This step can be done in a crock pot; low setting for 5-7 hours.)
Ladle into hot, sterilized jars leaving 1/4" headspace.

Seal and process in a BWB for 10 minutes.


clipped on: 10.20.2012 at 05:01 pm    last updated on: 10.20.2012 at 05:01 pm