Das Pairing Room

Das room is an unreasonably awesome pair programming environment.

“The edge - there is no honest way to explain it because the only people who really know where it is are the ones who have gone over.” - Hunter S. Thompson

Das room ist lächerlich

Das concept

Book cover: Pairing - The Ultimate Intimacy

Pairing is an intimate act of peacocking. Two engineers become vulnerable and show each other their most sensual body parts: their minds.

Hackers who pair are pursuing escapism with another human. They hope to lose themselves in a flow state. They engage in a performance of rhythm, speed, and grace, all the while aware they are on display for others.

This is why pairing is should be done in an environment similar to a tiny european nightclub. A room where it’s OK to exclusively listen to Darude and Crystal Method.

Das hardware

The walls are covered in mass loaded vinyl. This is an architectural material used for its low sound transmission coefficient, but more importantly, even Hugh Jackman in Swordfish didn’t get black vinyl walls. He only got black curtains. Swordfish curtains

Advancing a pointless quest for acoustic perfection, there are black velvet sound absorbers and burgundy pyramid panels. The chairs are Aerons with Aeron headrests, because your code is going to blow your pairbear’s head back.

Aeron with headrest, burgandy acoustic pyramids

On the main wall are steampunk draft projections and a patent diagram.

Steampunk diagram art

You’ll want to stay forever, so clocks become very important to remind you that yes, time is still passing. They’re also critical when you only have 60 seconds to crack a password or to reroute the encryption through the mainframe. The chronograph is a set of Russian Nixie tubes in 24-hour format.

PollEv steampunk clock

Also on the wall is a mechanical horologe.

PollEv steampunk clock

Four vertical 29” 21:9 monitors bathe the engineers in falling code. Green code falls better in portrait orientation.

Matrix code falling on vertical monitors

The keyboard is Das Keyboard Model S Ultimate, with no markings on the keys. People using rooms like this would wear out the markings on any keyboard in a week because of the extreme fingertip friction.

Das Inspiration

The entire room was built in response to this glorious keyboard. Das Room is the answer when someone asks, “Where should I use Das Keyboard?” “Das Room” is German for “The world’s smallest German nightclub.”

I bet German nightclubs have awesome sound systems.

The 1968 Bose 901 design was unique. It used nine midrange speakers per enclosure, but 8 intentionally faced away from the listener. The commonly cited reasoning was that in natural listening environments, the majority of what reaches your ears is sound that was reflected off objects. Very little comes direct from the source. The more interesting subtlety is that by using many identical small speakers, you move as much air as an expensive woofer. You’re also averaging out the manufacturing defects of any individual driver.

Bose 901 Das Marketing

This was also our theory for Das Room. Das room uses four 2.1 systems, to combine the displacement of 12 cheap speakers.

All of this acoustic theory, from the brilliant Bose marketing about reflected sound to the averaging of the 12 cheap speakers in this setup, is bullshit. We bought these speakers because they’re named “BassPULSE” and they blink when you drive the speakers so hard that there’s no power left for the red LEDs. This is a “feature”.

Bass Pulse speakers

Given that we’re in San Francisco, we needed to add something artisanal. Thus the tube preamplification.

Artisinal amplification

Thus a quad tube preamp warms and colors the sound before it’s allowed to reach the A/D of a Sabine PowerQ. The PowerQ automatically EQs the room using a hanging reference mic you’ll see later. Nothing says “I care about how you hear me on Slack” like a dynamic feedback eliminator.

Is there an 80s spectrum analyzer so you can visualize Halcyon and On and On while you write your tests in Elixir? Yes.

80s spectrum analyzer



The blacklights make your diagrams on the dry erase blackboard look great.

Neon dry erase blackboad

The acrylic starts to glow.

Phosphoresce speakers

So does the dandruff on your black “There are 10 types of people in the world, those that understand binary and those that don't” shirt.

There’s a control panel for the environmental effects.

Effects control legend

Of course. Lasers. Fog.

Red laser grid

Purple and green lasers

The lasers are embedded in the desk itself so you can rock out like Jean Michel Jarre on a laser harp. They don’t move because that would be distracting. Instead the smoke moves, circulated by a floor fan that’s also keeping your garbage collector cool.

Something has to be sound activated, so we have an LED light bar.

You might find yourself in need of a beverage. There’s a bottle opener on a spring retracting tether.

PollEv bottle opener

And that’s where we pair. There’s also the Cardboard Taxonomy room and the Cold War Space Race room, but we’ll leave those for you to come visit in person.