Andrew Cowen moves his home into the 21st century.
Not too long ago, my front room was a rather daunting place. CDs were stacked from floor to ceiling, my TV took up a whole corner and my hi-fi was a rat's nest of leads, buttons and switches.
Finding anything was impossible and maintaining any semblance of order was impossible.
That post-pub session on a Friday night resulted in a Saturday morning trying to retrieve CDs from under sofas and find the right boxes for them. There must be more to life than this, I thought.
Then, I had my eureka moment while stopping at a friend's farm in Wales.
Like me, he was a voracious consumer of music but he was an early adopter of Apple's iPod. Consequently, his music library was stored as mp3s on a hard disc and accessed through iTunes.
He could find an obscure Violent Onsen Geisha bootleg in seconds whereas it would take me a week to find Fleetwood Mac's Rumours.
What I realised was that by hooking the computer up to the hi-fi, suddenly life became peachy.
So began a long period of transition, two years of digitising my CD collection until everything was in my iTunes library, a rather thankless task, but satisfying all the same.
Now I can find my favourite Fleetwood Mac album in seconds, as well as the excellent debut single, Christine Keeler, by Bristol's long-forgotten Glaxo Babies.
Having my music on tap, unfortunately brought out my inner geek and a move to a new flat got me dreaming about the perfect hi-tech house. This was probably exacerbated by living in an old people's home and having deaf neighbours.
Having got the grooviest music library in Birmingham, I naturally wanted to share it: between rooms, devices and speakers. In my ideal 21st century home, I wanted to be able to listen to different songs in different rooms and to be able to take songs out with me, not only on an iPod, but on a Sony PSP and a mobile phone.
The key to everything was a fast broadband wireless connection which would allow everything to talk to everything else. All my media would have to be kept on a central hard disk which is accessible from anywhere in the flat.
The broadband comes from the stout but dependable BT. It's not the fastest but I got a free internet phone which means a second virtual phone line in the flat. I don't use the second number much, but like to pretend it's a hot-line to the Batcave.
My little Mac is plugged into the TV, an HD-ready 32 inch thing which serves as the control centre of my little world. Having a TV as your internet monitor is great and really brings the web out of the bedroom and into your front room.
Also plugged in are an Xbox 360, a Wii and, since Christmas, a Playstation 3. These also access the wider world through wireless broadband, opening up a vast network and all sorts of possibilities.
With a camera plugged into the 360, for example, I can videochat for free with friends and relations all over the world. Well, I could if I had any friends or relations beyond a 50 mile radius of Brum, but you get the point.
With games like Call of Duty 4, probably the best game around right now, you can play alongside up to 17 others, shooting the living daylights out of each other. It's completely mad.
With a 5.1 surround system the noise comes at you from all directions from speakers front, back and centre.
The PS3 was bought mainly for the Blu-ray DVD drive inside. This is the best picture you can currently get, when hooked up to an HD-ready TV. The difference really is stunning, particularly in animations and natural history documentaries.
The discs are a bit pricey right now, although they'll come down in price as the format gets more established.
However, after fiddling around under the bonnet of the PS3, it reveals itself as a great multi-media hub, with video playback, music library, web-browser and a market place to buy the latest games.
A Wii is a Wii and quite unique these days, inasmuch as it only plays games. With its unique wireless controllers and brilliant software, it's the most fun you can have with a group of friends. For multi-player post-pub madness, it can't be touched.
Quite clearly, things aren't happy just being things any more. They want to be more. We have games consoles that act as the best DVD player on the market or Star Trek-type communication devices. And now we have phones that do all this and more.
Thanks to the wonders of free upgrades, I'm now packing a Nokia N95 mobile phone, although the term "mobile phone" doesn't really apply.
It's a call-making wifi web browser with email and a camera that's better than my standalone digital camera. It's a movie camera that
shoots at DVD quality and an mp3 player with easy to use controls. It has built in GPS positioning and works as a satnav. I can send and receive emails, sync calendars and contacts, watch movies and record conversations. Best of all, it has a barcode reader which I haven't quite worked out the purpose of but I'm sure it will revolutionise my life when I do.
And this week, thanks to a genius gadget, I can now access TV, films and music on my laptop or mobile phone from anywhere on the planet with broadband access.
Slingmedia's Slingbox is great. It plugs into your TV, cable receiver or DVD player and sends a signal across the airwaves to your laptop or phone. You can even change channels remotely.
It means that you're never without home comforts in that dingy motel bedroom.
On top of all that, my laptop serves as a recording studio and a video editing suite, another TV screen, complete with video recorder.
The march of our digital future is unstoppable, with the BBC's excellent iPlayer an example of things to come. You can watch any programme broadcasted in a week on your PC. We're no longer tied to TV schedules with on-demand services gaining in popularity.
It's hard to see how far we will have come in five years time, but the increases in broadband speed which are predicted will probably mean an end to DVDs and CDs with high definition audio and video delivered straight down a pipe into our living rooms.
For me, the future is here already.