Das Pairing Room

Das Room is an unreasonably awesome pair programming environment we built. This is Das Room:

Purple and green lasers

Das Room ist lächerlich.

Das concept

Das Keyboard is a ridiculous, noisy black keyboard. We thought, “Where is someone supposed to use Das Keyboard?” And then we thought, “In a room built specifically for Das Keyboard.”

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 typing.

Das Inspiration

It seems like in the movies, hackers are always operating out of a tiny european nightclub. A room where it’s just a little more OK to listen to Sandstorm.

Swordfish curtains

Das hardware

The walls are covered in mass loaded vinyl. This is an architectural material used for its ability to block sound.

Rarely do people ask what Y Combinator and Gatecrasher had in common.

Das club crash gates yah

YC acoustic pyramids

Apparently pyramid acoustic tiles.

Aeron with headrest, burgandy acoustic pyramids

The chairs are Aerons with Aeron headrests, because your code is going to blow your pairing partner’s head back.

On the main wall there are steampunk draft projections and patents.

Steampunk diagram art

You’ll want to stay forever, so clocks become very important to remind you that 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 timepiece of choice is a set of Russian Nixie tubes in 24-hour format. CTO Brad claims he can remote control them with his iWatch.

PollEv steampunk clock

On the wall is a custom mechanical horologe with our logo.

PollEv steampunk clock

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

Matrix code falling on vertical monitors

What kind of sound system should a tiny euro nightclub have?

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

We borrowed that silly theory. Das Room uses four 2.1 systems, so 12 cheap speakers hide their individual defects.

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, like preamp tubes.

Artisinal amplification

The quad tube preamp warms and colors the sound before it’s allowed to reach the 1996 coarse A/D of a Sabine PowerQ. The PowerQ automatically EQs the room using a hanging reference mic. 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 Orbital’s Halcyon and On and On while you write your tests in Elixir? Sure, that seems important.

80s spectrum analyzer



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

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

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 Animals pairing room and the Cold War Space Race room. Come visit, we’d love to show you!