Building A Coffee Table For The Office

When you talk about coffee tables, you normally think about the small bits of furniture people have in their living rooms to keep the newspapers and TV magazines on to hide the remote under. We’re thinking much bigger, as we’ve decided now that with five of us permanently working in the IO Magic office, it’s time we got something that can make a decent cup of coffee. Having taken the advice of the experts at, we’ve opted for their recommendation of the Delonghi ESAM4200, after giving some serious thought to the daddy of the bean to cup coffee machine world, the Dual Boiler from Heston Blumenthal’s range. He’s even tempted us with the machine of his that does so well in the Sage Barista Express reviews on the same site:

For once in our lives, we’ve managed to resist the temptation to just go for the most expensive option with the most gadgets and gizmos, unlike the times we’ve talked about before when we go out and spend a fortune on things after reading websites like those with chop saw reviews. It’s a difficult urge to ignore as a geek, and yes, we’re very much resigned to the fact that we fit into that category.

So, there’s more than a passing irony in the fact that the very mitre saw we spent a fortune on will be what we’re using to create the stand for our brand new coffee machine. Our ESAM4200 in silver will be placed in the corner of the office, so that’s the coffee table we’ll be building. We need to maker sure that it’s a good height, just over a metre off the ground, and can’t be a cabinet because we need to be able to easily access the rear of the machine regularly for refilling the water chamber and cleaning it (although we fully expect the enthusiasm for regular cleaning to fade fast). We also need it to be big enough to hold the mugs and coffee beans, so we’re thinking at least double the width of the dimensions shown for the ESAM4200 on their website. That should just about fit into the space in the corner that we have available, and our sparky Dave is wiring us in a socket as we write this!

We look forward to showing off what we’ve created, as it’s this week’s project that will inevitably keep our attention from what we really should be doing in the IO office this week. Oh, and don’t tell the boss!


More From The Tool Shed

Last time, we talked a bit about how much we love our power tools, including what we believe to be the best Bosch mitre saws. Of course, we’re probably biased because they’re the ones we chose, but at the same time, why would we have spent good money on them if we didn’t believe that to be true. After all, they’re by no means the cheapest, weighing in at around £300 each.

To get the best results, you’ll need to change the blades regularly, or at least after a sensible amount of use. The more you use your chop saw, the more often it will need replacing. Don’t think you’re being frugal by ‘getting the most out of it’ as the wood you’re chopping will likely cost a lot more to replace than the blade itself, and the quality of the cut and angle will quickly degrade once you’re past the point of needing to swap it out.

As with most things, you’ll be advised by the instruction book and probably the store you bought it from to only use the genuine parts, but many saws have compatible parts available, so have a good dig around on the web to see if you can find cheaper versions with good reviews. Naturally, not all 3rd party versions are created equal, so saving 20% on the cost of a blade is a false economy if you have to replace it twice as often!

You may even want to have a range of blades to use interchangeably with your mitre saw, because (believe it or not) they can be designed to achieve different results. For example, if you use one with a positive hook (meaning that each ‘tooth’ on the blade hooks into the wood as it spins) it will slice through the wood much faster than one with a negative hook, used for more high precision tasks. Obviously, you’ll choose the blade to used based on what you’re trying to achieve.

While we’re on cut quality, lets finish with a quick tip that far too many new wood workers seem to be unaware of. When you make a cut, it’s always best to let the blade come to a halt with the saw in the down position. So, when you place to wood to cut and pull down the blade to complete the slice, be sure to allow the spin to stop before letting it up again. This reduces the chance of ruining the care you’ve taken to ensure the maximum accuracy on the ‘way back up’ and also reduces wear on the blade, so you should need to replace it lass often.

That’s it for today – see you next time!

Cutting Edge Mitre Saws

One of the most popular pastimes in the IO Magic office is to turn to a bit of DIY when we’re relaxing at the weekend. It’s a great escape from talking microchips and data transfer speeds, and while improving our IO speeds and overall processing performance will always be our number one passion, getting down and dirty in the garage with a mitre saw and a dust sheet isn’t far behind.

For some of us, we’re married with kids and it’s more about hiding from everyone for a little ‘me time’ when we’re fed up with our offspring swinging from our arms in the house, and for others it’s genuinely about an enthusiasm for creating something unique, functional and stylish to improve the appearance of our homes.

For me, I’m quite happy with my middle of the road power tools, I’m not after anything particularly special. I just want to make the job easier when I’m cutting wood, hanging shelves or doing anything else that would require a good level of skill and a steady hand to do manually. A good example is my latest purchase after my trusty old drop saw went to the great toolbox in the sky. Having done a little research, I chose Bosch as they’re a well known and reliable brand. I read a few of their drop saw reviews from the experts on the web, and settled for the GCM8SJL mitre saw simply because it was a really popular choice.

Some of the more ambitious members of the team chose to buy much bigger and more powerful models, but that really isn’t a great idea for me for a number of reasons.

First and foremost, the bigger the power tool, the greater the risk of injury. I’m clumsy at the best of times, as my colleagues well know. If you hear the sound of a mug of coffee getting knocked over, anything you can imagine getting dropped, or even a nudge in the car park, there’s a very high chance I’m in the area. Call me a wimp if you like, but when there’s a huge, sharp fast spinning blade, I shouldn’t be going for any more power than necessary:

Secondly, I don’t get excited enough about DIY to spend any more than necessary. I’m very much a fair weather handyman. From time to time the motivation comes, but most things I buy turn out to be fads, so spending more than a couple of hundred pounds on a single power tool is excessive in our household.

If you’re getting the urge to head out to buy something from the huge range of power tools on offer, I can highly recommend giving the web the once over, particularly if you’re in the market for a mitre saw like I was. I particularly found the Mitre Saw Zone reviews helpful, as they went into a huge amount of detail about their favourite ones on the market. I’m sure you’ll find similar sites covering all manner of tools, not just power tools, and it’s really helpful to be able to read them at your own pace, especially to compare and contrast the features at your own pace, rather than with a commissioned salesman in the shops!

IO Magic: A Speedier Future

IO Magic is a revolutionary new way to manage the input/output processes between your computer’s motherboard and its storage devices.

As home computing has become faster and faster, the reading and writing to hard drives (and more recently solid state drives) and to media including CDs and DVDs has become the bottleneck. As our world has become more data hungry and will become more so, this is likely to become more of a problem as time goes on.

IO Magic aims to solve this dilemma with our unique interface which sits between the computer’s processor and storage devices, buffering activity on flash media that’s more similar to how the computer’s RAM (memory) works. It then continues to process and play ‘catch up’ to keep the permanent storage up to date while the computer’s CPU is free to focus on other things.

Real life applications of this process include time critical software including security systems, both on a large defence scale, and a smaller company level too, such as processing cctv footage and encoding it into much smaller file sizes for archiving, without risking the loss of the continuous capture of footage.