My Media Center Configuration

I have been asked this a few times and till now I have been shying from posting this, but here it is now, the details of the MCE I build a few months ago (in Feb. 2005).

There you have it. I had done loads of research and found for my budget this was perfect. The idea being in a couple of years this box can move into the study and be a powerful desktop/server then.

Extensions to MCE

Now that my Media Center is up and running (yes, yes I know, I will be posting the specs and pictures soon, as I am travelling on work in Brussels will do it when I get back), I have been thinking of how to extend that to make it a fuller experience (if there is such a word). Here are some things that I was thinking of integrating/extending/playing with (and hopefully have more stuff up on the sandbox). What else can you think of? Also, if you have something already working on this then let me know. My intention is eventually to release the bits (including code) for everyone – and to set expectations – that will happen once I have had a chance to check out the MCE SDK.

Emails: One thing is to integrate emails to it. Now I have no intention of writing emails using a remote, but if I can just download and read them, then that in itself is a big deal!
Contacts: I would like to show up contacts from Outlook here including their mugshots. This way quite often when I need to call someone, I don’t need to boot up my laptop (on the rare occasions it is switched off)! Also this can be used to pick up numbers in the next one.
Phone: Since I already have Vonage, maybe I can write something where I can trigger the phone call using this, and do either PC-to-Phone or potentially integrate Click2Call
SMS: There are a few SMS gateways you can subscribe to, maybe I can use some of them.

There are a few products that do some of these already, some of which are paid like OneVoice, a few others are not. If I can get the code for the other plugins and extend them, then that would be the first choice – why reinvent the wheel. Do you have anything else you might want to see here?

[Listening to: 04-dzihan__and__kamien_-_ford_transit_160_lame_cbr – AsianLounge_Cd2 – AsianLounge_Cd2 (04:50)]

Rethinking the whole media center bit

Well, the idea of assembling a computer and making it dual boot and trying out both Media Center and Myth TV does have me tickled, and if you have been following my useless blabbering here you know I have done a fair amount of research and also swayed in the past, but after reading this excellent review by Brian, I am now not very sure. If something is wrong, sure I am quite comfortable mucking around and getting it working, but I am not sure if everyone else who comes visiting is as comfortable. Bottom line, if most people cannot use it (because you get dumped in Windows-la-la-land or some Linux shell), is it really worth it? As Brian says, “Media Center could be this stable if it started out using NT Embedded, but that would make it an appliance and not a PC“. Tells you I am still confused….

[Listening to: Track 01 – New Artist (38) – New Title (38) (05:09)]

Just when I had the Digital Media figured out

After a lot of research and more reading and talking to Karan and having thought I had a handle of this thing I come across this article on slashdot where the folks at Snapstream have configured a PC PVR with six tuners (yep you read it right, six)! *sigh* seems like we are back to square one.

[Listening to: 12 – Track – (04:38)]