Monday, July 09, 2007

Geexbox - A better Media Centre

This project is using the best Media Centre software I have ever used, within reason anyway... If you are looking for software which is quick to load, free and has a small footprint (12MB OS+Mediacentre software - Linux based with no knowledge of Linux, runs from LiveCD or from any form of storage)

GeexBox ( )

This project was to go in to my bedroom, so my partner didn't want anything too computery looking, as she has enough of that around the rest of the house! For the most part the components for this were lying around the house, apart from the Compact Flash card and adapter, This was to ensure that the whole system ran completely silent.

Modified / Customised Dell GX110
PIII 500, 256MB RAM
512MB Compact Flash (IDE to CF Adapter)
ATI Rage Pro with TV-out and memory upgrade to 8MB
Sound Blaster Live
ATI Remote Wonder
ME101 Wireless Ethernet Bridge (Connected to onboard 10/100 LAN)
Running GeeXboX 0.98.7 with Customised Theme.

Included is an image of an original GX110, mine I have smoothed over the floppy drive, logo, HD and Power graphics, and a few other bits that needed smoothing to make it look cleaner, smoothed using car filler and wet and dry paper, then applied 3 layers of "VW Canyon Red pearlescent paint" and 3 layers of clear lacquer, sanding between each spray. The buttons and the detail on the stealth drive have been finished with gold leaf.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

My First Mod... The Laptop Picture Frame

This was probably one of my first Mods from quite a few years back, besides computer fan controllers and re-sprays, hence not having any documentation on the building of this project. However this was quite a simple project....

I was given a laptop, which had an unfortunate incident with a glass of wine, thus rendering the built in keyboard and the battery power system useless. Now after seeing the film Antitrust and the morphing pictures on the walls, I knew exactly what this donor system could be used for.

Initially I started research on the software and operating system, I knew at this point I wanted a fast boot time and software that would run on the Pentium 233 processor, my initial thought was that Linux would probably be the way to go, after a little research I couldn't really find what I was looking for, inpart of this may have been because of my very limited Linux knowledge. So I decided to go for a DOS alternative, as I knew where I was with DOS and knew it could boot in a matter of seconds. After a little research I found a piece of free software call LWHIZ (for which I can't find an official website) which could use command line to play a slideshow of all items in a specified folder. So I created the command line and dropped it in a batch file, and then referenced it in autoexec.bat, so that it would load on system boot.

The picture frame itself is just a standard picture frame, with a white card surround, which happened to be exactly the size I required, this cost about £6! after that is was just a case of removing the casing from the screen half of the laptop , flipping it around 180 degrees, and sticking it to the card (while ensuring that there was enough slack in the cables leading to the screen). I then bolted the laptop to the piece of hardboard on the back of the frame, and that completed the main build.

Another issue I found was that the fan in this old laptop was a little noisy, so I removed the CPU cooling plate and replaced this with a larger passive heatsink, making the whole thing silent. I have also since seen other linux alternatives and my linux knowledge is now a little better, so I may come back to this project and upgrade.

If you have any comments please leave them below, feel free to link to your own similar projects or if you have any suggestions they are more than welcome!

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Welcome to my Blog....

This is currently in development but hopefully it'll be up and running soon.... Leave comments below if you wish to be informed when the site is live... and also if you have anything you may be interested in posting....

Here is a preview image of a WRT54GS mod that will be featured in this blog. Other mods will include a laptop picture frame, GeexBox Media Centre theme and case mod and a drive bay mounted 5 1/2" LCD Screen ... As well as reviews and software suggestions ...