Friday Jul 18, 2008

Silence and Pavlov

Today I got my SunRay@Home. For those of you not working at Sun, that's a Sun Ray attached to your home network that directly VPNs (from the firmware) into SWAN, the corporate network. It allows for hot-desking from your cubicle to your study and vice versa. Pretty cool stuff.

Reason I wanted to have one at home was mainly eco driven. When I do things like software development I need a full blown desktop. But in the morning, between alarm clock and shower, I'm only drinking my first coffee and checking my email. Why should I fire-up the big desktop to only use a browser and an email client. And that was my background to sign up for the SunRay@Home program.

I got my unit today, installation was a jiffy. Everything fine, Sun Ray on my left display, PC on the right LCD. Around 10 PM I decided to shutdown the desktop PC. And then came the big surprise: For the first time in many, many years (probably twenty) I was using again a computer with zero background noise. No, not just the "nearly silent" that laptops give you, but simply absolute nothing!! It was lovely, but at the same time even weird, I guess a kind of reverse Pavlov effect (in this case I got the food but there was no bell). It appears that browsing the web and the noise of fans are by now in our minds tightly intertwined.

I do use a Sun Ray in the office, but of course modern offices can't be called noiseless. I have to go back 15 years, when I used my trusty VT220 and a modem into the office, for the last time I worked with a computer that didn't make noise. And then 20-25 years back when my desktop system consisted of a 6502 based BBC-micro computer. That one also without fans, but you still had the rattling sound of the floppy drives. :-) For the rest, it seems I've always had fans around me when I was doing my computer stuff.

So, this SunRay@Home is a keeper. I can hear the wall clock ticking again. The only thing I need to do is to replace the green power LED of my SR2 with a blue or a white one. That green is too ugly with the brushed aluminum.