All in the Box

17 Jan, 2005 | EntertainmentTdpComputers

I remember reading something where Bill Gates stated that he wanted (or expected) the PC to become the centre of entertainment in the home, where it would handle all of our media for us. Microsoft launched the Windows Media Centre in a bid to make it happen. The onward march of Windows Media Player has also meant that people no longer require third party software to play their music files and DVDs. They’ve even created their own media file formats and are trying to get Hollywood to adopt them as their standard for future releases.

I’m here to confirm that the PC does this job extremely well (not that a Mac wouldn’t), and I can say this for certain as I’m working overseas and this is the only thing I bring with me (except a couple of books obviously). My laptop is the one thing I couldn’t do without. I’ve ripped my DVDs to it so I can watch them without carting all the original discs about. Thereby eliminating the possibility of losing them (although a 60GB HDD makes it pretty tight, an external drive might be procured shortly). It carries a selection of my MP3s so I can listen to my music. I sync it with my main machine when I’m home so it’s got the latest copies of all my files. It runs apache so I can edit and play about with local copies of all my sites. I can write posts and novels and whatever else. I can load and edit any photos I take (must get to this at some point). And, when I’m somewhere I can get a net connection, it allows me to read and reply to my mail and check out the sites I like to keep up-to-date on.

I don’t have a TV card, so watching TV and recording programs on it is not possible (but with only 60GB at my disposal it would be pushing it anyway), and neither do I listen to the radio via it (except when I can get a net connection). All-in-all though, it does a great job and certainly makes my evenings a little more entertaining.