Geek Home Tip #01: Turn Old Laptop Into Kitchen PC

Apr 6, 2009 |  by  |  Craftsman Archives  |  Share

kitchen pc Geek Home Tip #01: Turn Old Laptop Into Kitchen PCBeing the geeky, tech guy that I am, I’m always looking for cool ways to integrate technology into my home. What I choose to integrate depends on five key factors: whether or not it increases productivity in some way, cuts costs, adds convenience, makes everyday life more fun, and finally, whether or not it looks good. If done right, the Kitchen PC has enough promise to meet all of my requirements and make me feel very Total Recall-ish while working in the kitchen. The idea behind this contraption is to break down an old laptop and install it upside down beneath one of your kitchen cabinets. What you decide to install or run on the device is up to you and that’s the beauty of it.

So this evening I dismantled my Dell laptop that’s about 4 years old and has been unable to hold a charge (even with a new battery). I’ve never taken apart a laptop before and was curious about how it was organized inside. Turns out it’s all pretty straighforward to a somewhat well-versed computer geek like myself. And after taking it apart I realized I could easily break it down, take it into an autobody shop and have it professionally painted with some high gloss magic – something that would coordinate well with the kitchen. I like that idea and it’s something that hasn’t been done in any of the demos I found online. Don’t forget – one of my technology integration criteria is that it has to look good and if you’re at all familiar with Dell business laptops you know they don’t look pretty. In fact, they lack any design style whatsoever. And I refuse to install some piece of equipment under my counter that looks like it came from the flight deck of the Starship Enterprise. No, just ain’t gonna happen.

So this Dell of mine runs painfully slow despite all the system cleanup activities I’ve done and I just can’t take it anymore. So as I type this I’m wiping my hard drive and running a clean install of the Ubuntu operating system to see if that makes a difference. If not then I may be facing some hardware issues that will delay this entire project, but I have a sense it will help.

After loading Ubuntu I’ll need to set it up to be a kitchen dream computer. Easy access to recipes, weather, news, calendar, etc. is the key. We’ll see how this thing turns out. I’ll fill you in along the way so hang in there all you geeky home improvement fanatics…hang in there.

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