Idea for new computer

So we're having this BIG thing at church where a group of probably seven to ten guys are going down to Argentina in about a month or so. They're trying to set it up so that the Tuesday when we're meeting and they are gone, they'll Skype us during service and we'll be able to put it up and talk with them live. I think this is pretty cool. However, we were running into a few security bugs last week when we tested (security locked me out of being able to open Skype up). We'll be testing it again tomorrow night, and I think the IT guy at church fixed it. Anyway, he said he'd look into it this last week.

This all got me to thinking: what would be the ultimate media computer? I thought, everybody goes for Mac as a media computer, but what if I were to just completely create my own? I thought I'd probably use Windows as an operating system, since I know that one best. However, the very basic distribution has SO many background processes to keep everything running it's almost annoying. But I think I'd go for Windows in spight of everything.

Actually, my idea was this: what kind of computer could I build that would be the ultimate in speed, capacity and technology while being affordable? And what kind of cool peripherals could I put on it to make it completely media and Internet-based? I thought, maybe I'd create a whitebox (custom desktop) computer with all the latest video/audio hardware. I'd have a nice big GEForce or NVidia video card plus maybe a 6-channel audio card. Of course, I'd also have the option to mix everything down into 2-channel stereo, but 6 channel would be nice to have just in case. On top of that, I might try to set it up with three monitors. Yes, two is cool but three is cooler!

Then I thought maybe I'd get a permanent webcam and possibly attach it with a Third Hand sort of mechanical device. Maybe ball joints or something. I also thought that maybe I could manage a good quality scan converter so I could pipe one of the monitor outputs to a composite video feed.

Of course, I also considered making it portable. Maybe a nicely carved wooden box or a steel crate with air vents would be sufficient to cart it around. Or I could go for one of those official media boxes with the twist-clamps. Also, a box would mean casters, because with all this stuff I'd add to it, it would become quite heavy.

Let me go back to audio. I'd also want a fairly decent audio mixer so that I could control volume of the output audio. And probably I'd want another for inputs.

I'm probably going crazy here and have racked up around $3000 worth of stuff...but I'll keep brainstorming.

Of course, I'd have a high-quality (everything is high-quality) network module or two..wireless and wired. And maybe a dialup modem, since we're still on a phone line at home.

Actually I should put this all in perspective. This was an attempt at making the ultimate Skype experience. Webcam, audio input and output and a video output for the overhead projector setup we have at church.

I seem to be rambling. But of course, I'm into it! This is what I'd do if I could. Of course, at the moment I can't but if I COULD...yeah.

Then I have to think about weight. So far, I've really really enjoyed having a laptop to cart around everywhere. It's VERY portable. I couldn't imagine taking this giant box to the library every day for school..of course, who says this is a school computer? I don't want to store EVERYTHING I ever have had on this thing. That would clog it up and it's primary purpose would be bogged down. No. It's only for media broadcasting and stuff.

I just had another brainstorm: video inputs? Maybe. Maybe not. That's a tossup. All of the video stuff I've seen so far is HUGE and that'd detract from the good speed I'd be getting. This is going to take some thought, but I definitely want to look into it.

Okay. I am probably done rambling. Have fun reading!!

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