Hide a Hub in a Humidor?
Computers don't have to be ugly. One case-modder thinks outside the beige box to build an art deco wireless hub.
Illustration by MCKIBILLO
Dept.: You Built What?!
Investigator: Paul Wallich
Hardware: Wireless hub humidor
Time: 30?35 hours
Downside: Cigars fry
Jeffrey Stephenson’s polished wood and chrome humidor sits gracefully in his living room, holding four dozen cigars, all dried to a crisp. That’s because under the smokes lie a DSL modem; firewall and cache with 20GB of disk space; and a wireless hub streaming bits to and from every computer in his house.
While many case-modders cram PC components into toasters or motorcycle helmets, Stephenson goes for class. (His other projects include a humidor PC that fits in the palm of a linebacker’s hand.)
Mini-motherboard maker VIA provided its latest server design and the cigar vault came from eBay. Stephenson just had to make it all fit.
THE SECRET UNDER THE STOGIES
A Thompson Broadway art deco humidor.
B Clock to replace superfluous hygrometer.
C Chrome I/O panels, with dual 2.4GHz wireless data antennae (removed from wireless hub), multiple Ethernet ports, and a DSL jack. Video port connected to 8-inch Hall Research cable.
D DSL modem receiving 700-plus-Mbps Internet through incoming DSL line.
E 802.11b wireless access point, delivering 11 Mbps to all computers in range. AP and router cases removed, both chassis screwed to inside bottom of humidor.
F Toshiba 20GB notebook hard drive, screwed to bottom of humidor tray.
G VIA EPIA CL 1GHz motherboard with 256MB RAM, running firewall, router, cache, and anti-spam and antivirus software.
H 12-volt 60-watt power-supply board, serving the motherboard, hard disk, DSL modem and wireless hub, with 45 watts to spare.
I Crystalfontz preproduction LCD screen with four buttons to control power, reset and status of CPU, modem and access point.
J 48 Wal-Mart cigars, baked at 95