Little computer!

Gateway E-1400 minidesktopOn the recommendation of
Gordon Rowell at work, I swung by Refurb Computers today to pick
up a little mini-desktop box to use as a mp3-playing stereo component. I
left with the Gateway E1400 pictured to the right (click to enlarge),
3.5″ tall by 11.5″ wide by 14″ deep. It’s a pretty good deal: 633 MHz
Celeron, 256MB/20GB, onboard i810 video, ac97 audio and ethernet, and
two PCI slots for C$219, including keyboard and mouse and a free book
from their discount section. I found a copy of the O’Reilly
Sendmail book
, which I will have use for at work, and which regulary
retails for C$72.95.

It’s going to replace the Thinkpad 570E which is currently sitting under
the TV playing MP3s, which means that for practical purposes I’ve
managed to free up a laptop for lap use for C$150. Not bad.

The MP3 player is going to run the Otto web mp3 jukebox, which I
recommend for anyone needing such a thing — it reads in the id3
info from all of your mp3s and stores it in a database, and then lets
you build playlists or select individual tracks or albums to play, and
plays them with mpg123 or icecast. It’s even got features to manage a
bunch of users’ distinct collections if you run it in an office. The
best part is that it works like a jukebox — one tune playing at
a time that everyone hears, and your request gets queued up behind
whoever requested things ahead of you, and if there aren’t any requests
coming up it just chooses 20 tracks at random to play. I rarely listen
to a CD at home anymore; it’s so much easier to just queue things up on

(I hope to stick an LCD display on there somewhere as well. One problem
with having a lot of CDs is that occasionally tracks get queued up
randomly that I don’t recognize, and having to go to a computer to find
out what is playing when I’m in front of the player anyhow is annoying.
It’ll probably go where the floppy is — something like this display, maybe.)

If you’re local, they’ve got dozens of E1400s left (and hundreds of E1600s,
which are a bit larger, have a full-height CD-RW drive and a bit faster
processor, but have annoying half-height PCI slots). I picked mine up
at the Merivale Mall location, but the Gloucester one reportedly has
lots too. They’d make good router/firewall/gateway-type boxes.

4 responses to “Little computer!”

  1. You might want to open up that computer and take a look at the capacitors on the motherboard. I used to work for Gateway at their retail stores in the tech department, and a huge chunk of their motherboards in their older computers went bad due to the capacitors. This problem ranged across their product lines (I hear that the capacitor problem affected most motherboard manufacturers, actually). If any of them look like they are bulging, you probably will start having problems with the computer shortly.

  2. If they weren’t so far away, I could sell every single one and still have a line-up at the door….