I've got a spare laptop, you've got project suggestions

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by rscott, Jun 18, 2008.

  1. rscott macrumors member

    Feb 17, 2008
    So I've got a spare laptop that I'm not using anymore. It's a Dell Inspiron 6000, 15.4" LCD, 2.0ghz Centrino Mobile M, 1.25GB RAM, 80GB hard drive. I've also got a webcam laying around to add to your bucket of possible parts.

    I'm looking for interesting project suggestions for what to do with it. Doesn't have to be a practical idea, but it does have to be feasible. I'm looking for something moderately nerdy / fun to do with it.

    Only decent idea I had was to use it as a media center and connect it to my 32" HDTV somehow? It only has S-video or VGA so I don't know if that's good enough to output video to the TV.
  2. furious macrumors 65816


    Aug 7, 2006
  3. SkyBell macrumors 604


    Sep 7, 2006
    Texas, unfortunately.
  4. cleanup macrumors 68030


    Jun 26, 2005
    Turn it into a wall-mounted kitchen computer. :)

    However, that project can be a bit expensive (it turns your laptop into a touchscreen for $40-$200). There is another PopSci How 2.0 entry from a while back that instructs you on how to turn your laptop into a countertop LCD-screen radio, complete with web-browsing... I'll try to dig that link up. How 2.0 has some great projects I think!

    [Edit] Looks like all the articles from their old How 2.0 section have been expunged from existence, unfortunately. I wish I could dig that up! You might still be able to find it. I think the issue was from 2005 or 2006 and involved taking the LCD screen off the main housing and folding it back against the bottom of the laptop without tearing the display cable, then mounting the whole thing in an old radio, complete with wifi, exposed USB ports, and holes for the laptop's tiny speakers!

    Here's a DIY article about turning your laptop into a digital photo frame though: http://www.popsci.com/diy/article/2006-04/diy-digital-photo-frame

    Enjoy! Let us know how it goes.
  5. Dagless macrumors Core


    Jan 18, 2005
    Fighting to stay in the EU
    VGA will be snazzy on the big TV, s-video not so much.

    I'd commision someone to build you a frontend launcher and turn it into a kind of games console. Wireless 360 controller+wireless adapter for laptop, disable the monitor, install games and play.

    You can also get a PC working with the Wii controller so you can play mouse games :)
  6. iMpathetic macrumors 68030


    Oct 7, 2007
    That's a hella nice laptop!

    No sense tearing it apart, why not sell it for $400 and buy...

    - external RAID array
    - Mac mini
    - 24" LCD
    - a vacation
    - RAM to upgrade all of your computers
    - an iPhone

    Any of these sound enticing? ;)
  7. tsice19 macrumors 6502a


    Feb 16, 2008
    I agree with him...
    While it's not a terrific computer, it could still turn up a decent dollar on eBay.
  8. operator207 macrumors 6502

    Jul 24, 2007
    Car computer? http://www.mp3car.com/

    Just build it so its removable. Get a broadband cell modem for it, and stream internet radio. Use google earth for your GPS. ;)
  9. idyll macrumors 6502

    Jun 5, 2007
    I'd sell it.

    That'd be a perfect laptop for my uncle, for example.. I wouldn't waste it
  10. benmrii macrumors 65816


    Nov 14, 2007
    Charity or sell it. Not worth converting it in my opinion.
  11. rscott thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 17, 2008
    I think I'm going to try making it a media center. I'm going to incorporate the shared folders my roomate and I have on our Macbook/MBP and try to stream our collection of TV shows/movies/video podcasts. I'm looking around for linux frontends for the media center. So far I have Ubuntu installed on it and outputting video to the HDTV. The end goal will be to use VNSea on my iPhone and remote desktop with the media center frontend to use the iPhone as a remote controller.

    I'll let you know how / if it goes. Thanks for the ideas, the picture frame one sounds novel and interesting! Oh, and I contemplated carputer but 15.4" is kind of big and I kind of decided that it isn't necessary with my iPhone / current audio system. Thanks!

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