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Well, it's official. I'm gonna have to bust out my home-hacking skills. My wife and I have finally ordered the cabinets for our kitchen remodel. We've been planning to do this for over a year, but a long series of life events kept pushing it back. But last Friday, we finally dropped off the kids with some friends, drove down to the San Diego Ikea, and spent about an hour building the order once we got there.

Of course, I have a few rants about this whole process. First, I've been using the Ikea HomePlanner software to design and layout our kitchen. This has to be one of the most frustrating pieces of software on the planet! First off, it puts several artificial limits on how you can place items in the design. For example, do you want to stack cabinets on top of each other? Sorry! Well, there are a few workarounds you can use to try and get close to the layout you want, but they aren't very intuitive and still don't always give you the results you are looking for. Next up is the fact that some items in the catalog can't be configured with all of the available colors, so the parts list has the wrong color called out for some items (along with the rendering not looking right). Add to that the fact that even on my quad-core machine, it would take a 10-15 second nap every minute or two (I assume it was making some kind of backup) forcing you to wait and wait and wait. And those backups were definitely needed, as about once each session, it would just completely crash! I know what you are thinking, just another noob with some bizarre hardware/software configuration blaming the software for weird behavior – but I ran this app on several different machines, all with the same behavior. And at IkeaFans, there are plenty of tales of woe about this program. Many have given up on it all together and use Google Sketchup instead.

So after wrestling with the software, I finally save off a file to my USB flash drive, remembering that they have several customer PC's in the kitchen section of the store running the planner software. We we arrive at the service desk, our Ikean asks if we have our plans from the designer and I say, “Sure, right here on this flash drive” to which he responds “We can't access flash drives from here.” WTF? Fortunately, my wife suggested printing out the plans just before we left, saying not everyone was as technically inclined as the Teknynja – I told her “Everyone uses flash drives.”, but printed out the plans just to be on the safe side. I should just know that she is always right, and not even argue with her. There is also the option to upload your plans directly to Ikea, but I was too lazy to create an account just for that! This is apparently the only way to get your plans to Ikea for ordering. It would be nice to know that before driving an hour to get to the store.

Anyway, the cabinets should get here in about a week, and then we have a couple of weekends of other obligations before I start tearing out the old kitchen, fixing up the walls, and start building and installing cabinets. I get to dust off my mechanical and woodworking skills for a little physical, real world hacking. I'll keep you posted if anything interesting happens during this project.


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