Home Improvement

There’s a room directly above the garage that would be perfect for my office*–I’m safely away from the rest of the family unit back in a corner and I can rant on the phone or turn the music up loud without disturbing anyone–except that the only way to get to this room is to go through another bedroom. That’s not a problem now, but we can’t put anyone in the connecting bedroom without my potentially clomping through their room to get to the office while they’re asleep or otherwise engaged, and that just won’t work.

I want to do something to the house to enable me to directly access the prospective office. I talked to pop about this and we came up with what may or may not be a good idea: incorporate a dinky spiral staircase into the landing of the current staircase to allow me to cut past the bedroom and get straight to the office.


Here’s the layout (click the picture for a larger version). I want to get from the landing to the other side of the 87″ wall. At the top of the picture, you can just barely see the door that leads to the room above the garage I’d like to use for an office. The 34″ is the amount of wall above the floor on the other side of the wall, so that could just be cut out. According to my math, that leaves 53″ that I’ve got to climb in pretty compact fashion.

The 14″ at the bottom of the image refers to a modification pop suggested, which is raising the landing by a couple of steps in order to get some more depth to it so there’s more room for the spiral staircase–or whatever other solution we come up with–in the corner of the landing, and less vertical space to climb. These are standard interior steps with a 7″ rise so two of them would raise the landing 14″, leaving 39″ of vertical distance to the door. (If the 14″ is to scale in the image, that’s totally by accident.)

Here’s an example of a short spiral staircase I found on the internets:

Obviously I could ghetto this thing out and just hang a rope ladder over the wall, but I think putting an actual spiral staircase in here would have a pretty compact footprint, only require about four steps, and might look cool to boot.

Any ideas?

*well, the room also needs a window or two and some other stuff. But the location is perfect if I can get access worked out.

Tidbits from the Tech Corner

  • Let’s say you have a mysql install whose data you want to relocate somewhere else. I’ve done all that garbage with mysqldump-ing everything, but I seem to always have problems with column names being illegal or some such. Today I just copied the data directory with

    cd [old data dir]
    tar -zcf mysqldatabases.tar.gz data
    mkdir -p [new data dir]
    cd [new data dir]
    tar -zxvf [old data dir]/mysqldatabases.tar.gz

    (be careful with those permissions, but tar will preserve them on the data directory so you probably won’t have to do anything.) This worked, and only took a couple of minutes, and I didn’t have to dick with giant .sql files. (source)

  • I had to take a bunch of Postscript files and concatenate them yesterday. Of course, Unix makes this easy and profitable.

    cat *.ps > all.ps

    Took all Postscript files in the working directory and built a single file out of them. This might be useful with some video formats as well–this source recommends usage with .mpg files.

  • I’ve talked about the GIMP before, but I was about ready to bin it after using it at work over the last couple of months. The damn thing kept crashing. Luckily, I didn’t have a modern image editing tool on my computer at home and when I needed to do some graphics work there, I decided to give the GIMP one last try. The current version is very slick and feature-ful. I’ve done some fun things with it, and once I had such a good experience at home I upgraded to the latest version at work and have been happy there too.

    There are a ton of tips and tricks for the GIMP within easy reach of a Google search. A couple I’ve used recently are putting a nice coloured border around text and creating a neon sign effect with text. Here’s how the latter turned out:

    And as always, GIMP is free.