So, I finally got around to making the computer in the living room work as something other than a glorified paperweight.
Now, IMNSHO, this is really cool (pardon the dust):
I know, for shame, this PC is running XP, but unfortunately, that was the only way I could get the s-video output on the video card to work right. In theory, this machine is only going to be used for accessing stuff off of the arvhive (music and possibly video) and ripping CDs... and... I might possibly... maybe... use it for the occasional video game, but I'm not sure about that yet.
The main obvious, and cool possible use (well aside from lan parties ;) is as a fairly nifty jukebox and video display. Right here, I'm using winamp3 with one of it's built in AVS modules, but, I could change that to something different or more interesting. Personally I think this would work rather nicely in a party situation. The stereo can definitely handle any practical music needs (probably up to the point of really pissing off my neighbors) and the display just looks cool. With the current size of the archive you could easily have several weeks of random (mostly cool) music to listen to without having repeats.
Now this is what makes this whole thing work rather nicely. A fully wireless keyboard with a built in mouse/pointer which I picked up five or six years ago. It's infrared (i.e. the same thing that powers most a/v remote controls), but it works rather well everywhere in the living room. The line of sight issue did come up once or twice in the past, but it seems to be happy with where I finally located the receiver. Despite the limitations of using I/R, I like the fact that this is a fairly small all in one unit. Most other wireless keyboard/mouse setups that I've seen require the use of 2 seperate things (a keyboard and mouse) and usually the mouse needs to be placed on a surface. This unit, otoh, is easy to use from your lap, or even while standing and it's small enough to be simple to carry around or store when not in use.
All things considered, I'm rather pleased with how this turned out.