About a year ago, I found a great deal on a 19″ touch screen on eBay (which would be the only place I would ever go to if I wanted another touch screen – brand new screens are simply not a good deal, in my opinion). As a result, the 15″ that I had currently mounted in the living room was replaced. I mounted the screen in my family room, and it has been sitting there for months without use (a complete waste in my opinion). Last week, Buy.com was running a special one day sale offering a refurb’d Dell PC for $139 w/free shipping ($150+ w/tax). Rather than try and reanimate a PC laying around the house I decided to drop the $150. I figured it was worth at least that much for the time savings alone.
It was shipped last week and I turned it on for the first time this morning. The box is running XP Professional, with a 3gig processor, 1gig of RAM and a 160gig hard drive (not bad for $150). Since all it has to do is run Promixis NetRemote, that is plenty. Sh*t, I am using a similar PC to run the arcade setup.
I need to begin to think about modifying the menus on the touch panel. They are not as functional as I would like regarding the selection of songs. I think at the end of the day just a simple search function with pop-up keyboard would work nicely. I also tend to have problems syncing the different zones (which is needed when you are entertaining). I also need to improve the automation control as well – I really don’t like the fact that the NetRemote skin that I am using has to load a web page to operate Homeseer. I would rather have integrated buttons in the skin that can be pressed to run scripts (such as “Normal Lighting Mode” in the living room, which is a script that turns lights on in the living room to certain brightness levels).
Either way, at this point I have the touch screen in the family room. Since it is near the door to the back yard, I am able to easily begin playing music in the backyard, which is nice when I am grilling some steaks for dinner. I also have the ability to more easily control the music streaming to my home theater receiver in the family room.
Hmm… what to do next…