Archive for the ‘DIY’ Category

DIY Personal Media Player or Netbook

A couple of years ago I thought that a DIY ebook reader would be and interesting idea. Ebooks seem like a one trick pony with all the hardware that would have been involved.

With PSP’s, iPod Touch’s and all sorts of other Peasonal Media Players (PMP) that there wouldn’t be a need for a DIY PMP, but I think there is.

One thing about the off the shelf PMP’s is that you are tied to their hardware and (mostly) to their software. With some hacking/modding and 3rd party software you can often get more functionality out of you’re new toy, but should you have to jump through hoops to get a product to do what you want. Or should you have to just settle for what you get.

DIY takes work. A lot more work that going to the store, slapping down your hard earned money, going home and enjoying your new gadget.

But, what you get is freedom. Freedom to do whatever you want, whatever you can afford, whatever you’re willing to work hard for.

A DIY PMP has a lot of potential uses:

  • Mp3 player
  • Movie player
  • Photo viewer
  • Ebook reader
  • Gaming
  • Web browsing
  • Wifi enabled
  • GPS
  • TV viewer/recorder
  • Bit torrent downloader
  • Back-up hard drive

At most an off the shelf media player/gaming handheld will get you 5 of these. Often at a less than ideal way of getting it done.

I believe that you can get all that and more with a mini-itx board, harddrive, battery, and screen. Of course you will need ram, power supply, case and maybe some hardware for the wifi, gps, and tv viewing/recording.

Would a Netbook be better.

They have about 10″ screen, some have 120gig hard drive, and probably cheaper than trying to DIY. You would get a complete computer/laptop, small form factor, and most likely put together very well.

But, does it satisfy all of the other things that a PMP should.

More to come.


Ubuntu Entertainment System

Yesterday’s post sent me to ebay looking for vga to tv converters. There are quiet a few that are fairly cheap (under $30). I’m not expecting any sort of excellent quality out of this project, but I would like something that doesn’t completely suck either. My freePC is an HP E-Vectra. That has been upgraded to a 40 gig HD, everything else is stuck at how it came. I may add ram if needed.

Here’s what I’m looking to get out of this system:

  1. RSS/TV/Torrent-To keep up with shows that I can’t watch right away
  2. Emulation Gaming-I have a good collection of ROMs that I want to take advantage of.
  3. Music-My mp3 collection, pandora and some streaming content.
  4. Videos-Apple trailers, youtube and anyother crap I may come across.

That’s really about it. We watch some TV, my kid and I like to play video games (we don’t have a current or next gen console yet), and I would like to built some speakers for music to listen to.

The one thing I haven’t figured out or put to much thought into is controlling it. I probably won’t be purchasing any wireless keyboard and mouse set so the wire versions will have to do. For gaming I would like to see if the old XBox controller usb hack will work.

That’s all for now.