Dream Machines, Part 2: The Fun Projects

So we covered new hardware yesterday, but what about the old stuff?

Yesterday, I talked about what I would do if, for some insane reason, I got rich tomorrow and could purchase any machines that I want to. Of course, this leaves a big question: what would I do with what I have now?

I was originally going to only add developer and production machines, and upgrade what I currently have, but after exploring a few other options, I think it’s safe to say a lot of those ideas would be out the door. I’m going to explore which ideas I would be buying new machines for, which ideas will work with a different machine, and which ones either get kicked to the curb or given away.

The Giveaways

The only giveaway I’d be certain about is the iMac I am typing on right now. As an internet machine it serves its purpose, allowing me to do what I need. It’s just too old, however, to follow me where I want to go.

The Kicked-to-the-Curb



Many of the machines I have now have gone so long without updates that to try and upgrade them now is impossible and not worth it. these I wouldn’t even wish upon my worst enemy any more.

  • PowerMac 7100 and 8100 – These were trash pulls that the company that yanked them really messed up on. (The cases were severely beaten, but the internals were intact.) they were going to other people, but those people never paid me to get parts for it.
  • Powerbook 3400 – this was going to be a large remote for the entertainment machine I was going to do, but then it died. Oh well.

The BoomBox Machine



The idea behind this was a portable music station, where I can strap it on, throw a few magazines into the cubbyhole, and when I wanted to jam, I could jam. The 3400 was the original machine I was going to use – until it died.

  • Powerbook G3 (Wallstreet) 13.1″ screen.
  • Needed: G4 Processor, maxed out Ram, bigger hard drive, speakers, amp, USB, FireWire Cards, Touch Screen, Battery.

The idea was to have it designed like a backpack with more secure strips than your standard schoolpack. The speakers would be located along the sides, with the bass running down the middle of the pack. The screen would work similar to a Tablet PC, and when off a back, would be able to stand upright or roll on wheels along the bottom. The side speakers were detachable, a remote would allow you to control it while on your back, and it would be designed for both comfort and usability.

The powerbook G3 Line is perfect for this, since it has 2 expansion ports. Obviously, one is for the CD-Rom. The other, normally reserved for a battery pack, is perfect for a second Hard Drive, since the battery source would be external.

Of all the projects I look forward to, this is the one that will be the most fun.

  • Alternatives if computer proves insufficient: iBook G3 (post toilet seat)

The Kitchen Machine

I’m not home often, but when I am, I enjoy being able to cook. If I had a better kitchen, and (of course) more food, it’d be tough dragging my butt to work everyday. It’s one of the few things I miss having free time for.

The main reason for a kitchen machine is to store a recipe database that I can call up when I want to cook something. Because of built-in capabilities, the entertainment stuff is also nice.

  • Performa 6200CD/75 Mhz w built-in TV Tuner, MPeg card.
  • Needed: Flat screen monitor, Hard Drive.

The slim factor of the machine makes it perfect for sneaking it in the kitchen without having it in the way, and the only modification necessary is a means to protect it from splattered food and oils. It has no other use now anyways, since it was the slowest machine of its time. (And to think I paid off a loan to get it!)

  • Alternatives if computer proves insufficient: PowerMac 8500/120

The Linux Box

Many of my ideas are for utlilitarean purposes where it’s cheaper and fast to go to the store and buy it – the Boom box idea, for example, could be covered with either an iPod with a boom box dock or just a standard boom box with MP3 capability. The two things it can’t replace, however, is the fun in building and creating something that you can call you, or the understanding and knowledge in doing these projects. This next project is a perfect example: the first half is spent putting together the puzzle that is a computer, figuring out which components work and which won’t, and learning how to assemble your own machine; the second half is exploring a new OS that you’ve never played with before, trying to figure out how to push it so that, as you become more skilled and improved, you can raise and set your own limits.

  • Soyo ultra Dragon motherboard.
  • Needed: P4 processor, sound and graphics cards, SATA card, Chasis, Power Supply, Hard Drives, Optical drives, usualy hookups for computer, Linux.

A biker friend of mine gave me a motherboard, hoping I’d convert to “the dark side of computing.” (He knew I was a computer geek not specific to one machine, so it was cool.) That’s how I got the mother board. now I just need the rest of my damn pieces.



Many other potential uses…



One of the things I hate about society today is that we’d rather throw something away and replace it, than to find a new or good use for it. Some of the machines I see thrown away have a good, long life yet ahead of them, and the owners don’t care. When you take a good, hard look at that old machine, you can see all of the potential uses for it: as an organizer and trainer in a tool shed or closet (Let’s see someone lie about borrowing that jig saw now!), as an elegant changeable picture frame, and many more. I hope I sparked a few ideas.

In the meant ime, I need sleep, so I won’t be posting on this topic again until Friday. See you soon. 🙂

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