First priority was getting the alarm going. Rather and a guardian system I installed my own (Visonic Abbra system) with monitoring via NextAlarm. I have a grandfathered in price plan at $10/month, so it doesn't take many months of saving $30 off the guardian rate to offset the equipment purchase -- plus I got exactly the system I wanted. Normal door sensors, 2 motion sensors, 2 smoke detectors tied to the alarm and 2 water sensors in the utility room tied to the alarm. Any drain or sump pit issues and I will know ASAP.
My secondary and ongoing project has been the tech nerve center in the basement. There are a few different things going on there that might not be evident from the photo. First, the board on the wall is where all lines coming in are terminated. Time Warner's modem is mounted there, All of the DirecTV cables and power injectors, etc, and the alarm system. Then the rack has 1) Network switches (ebay purchases 2) Firewall to protect home network from outside network 3) Network Storage hard drives, and 4) AV equipment for the media room.
My goal for the media room is to have almost no visible equipment. TV will be a rear projector on the wall, Speakers are small, and all will be wall mounted. Remote control will have a small relay into the equipment in the rack (DirecTV receiver, audio receiver, etc). The TV mounted on the wall in the equipment room is a mirror of what will be on the projector (testing purposes) and also serves as a monitor for the firewall.
Lastly, I think I have given up the idea of putting my office in the basement unfinished space. The 1st floor study/living room is the same size, already finished, and a much better use of space. We really need that 200 sq ft of storage in the basement if I ever want to have the garage 100% reclaimed. All the upstairs needs is a set of french doors (to keep kids out) and it will be good to go.