July 7th, 2004

kernel panic, geeky

Little computer!

Gateway E-1400 minidesktopOn the recommendation of Gordon Rowell at work, I swung by Refurb Computers today to pick up a little mini-desktop box to use as a mp3-playing stereo component. I left with the Gateway E1400 pictured to the right (click to enlarge), 3.5" tall by 11.5" wide by 14" deep. It's a pretty good deal: 633 MHz Celeron, 256MB/20GB, onboard i810 video, ac97 audio and ethernet, and two PCI slots for C$219, including keyboard and mouse and a free book from their discount section. I found a copy of the O'Reilly Sendmail book, which I will have use for at work, and which regulary retails for C$72.95.

It's going to replace the Thinkpad 570E which is currently sitting under the TV playing MP3s, which means that for practical purposes I've managed to free up a laptop for lap use for C$150. Not bad.

The MP3 player is going to run the Otto web mp3 jukebox, which I recommend for anyone needing such a thing — it reads in the id3 info from all of your mp3s and stores it in a database, and then lets you build playlists or select individual tracks or albums to play, and plays them with mpg123 or icecast. It's even got features to manage a bunch of users' distinct collections if you run it in an office. The best part is that it works like a jukebox -- one tune playing at a time that everyone hears, and your request gets queued up behind whoever requested things ahead of you, and if there aren't any requests coming up it just chooses 20 tracks at random to play. I rarely listen to a CD at home anymore; it's so much easier to just queue things up on otto.

(I hope to stick an LCD display on there somewhere as well. One problem with having a lot of CDs is that occasionally tracks get queued up randomly that I don't recognize, and having to go to a computer to find out what is playing when I'm in front of the player anyhow is annoying. It'll probably go where the floppy is — something like this display, maybe.)

If you're local, they've got dozens of E1400s left (and hundreds of E1600s, which are a bit larger, have a full-height CD-RW drive and a bit faster processor, but have annoying half-height PCI slots). I picked mine up at the Merivale Mall location, but the Gloucester one reportedly has lots too. They'd make good router/firewall/gateway-type boxes.

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