So far I've got several wireless ePods scattered around the house, doing all sorts of things. And the list is growing longer every day:
- Picture Frame
All ePods screen save after X minutes to a rolling picture gallery. A Linux box hosts the image files which are pulled via HTTP. The Linux box automates new incoming pictures by polling a public directory every 5 minutes, grabbing any valid images (can be virtually any format type (e.g. BMP, JPG, GIF, TIFF, etc)) and resizing them, converting them to JPGs, and moving them into the serving directory. I just dump my digital camera's CF card into the incoming directory and within a few minutes they start showing up all around the house.
- Communication Center
Most ePods in the house are continuously running Terminal Services into a local Win2K box, launched straight into Microsoft Outlook 2000. I've customized the 'Outlook Today' page heavily to summarize new mail, my calendar, to-do list, and a list of graphical icons that launch a variety of features (voicemail control, grocery list app, a full web browser, a Winamp interface, etc.) Because this is Outlook, all my to-dos, appointments and memo notes are identical on the epods as they are on my desktop machine, my work machine, my Palm, and my PCS Phone (which I have a sync cable and software for). I also have written a custom ePod one-field search page, where one text field drives search engines for a dozen different sites (IMDB, Google, Deja, RecipeSource, Mapquest, About.com, etc.) so looking up virtually any kind of information is as quick and easy as possible.
- Music Server/Player
I use Snowcrash, a web interface plugin for Winamp, on any ePod. I have an old laptop in my entertainment system cabinet that serves MP3s (which are hosted on the Linux box again) to various points in the house, controlled through any ePod or desktop machine. Also, each ePod is running MP3 player software (PocketPlayer or the XAudio demo app) so while rather mediocre sound quality, all ePods can serve up music themselves, too.
- Car-mounted GPS and Net access
I bought a nice rotating mount from RAM Mounts and mounted it to the dash of my car. The car ePod attaches with velcro, and is running Teletype GPS software connected to a Delorme Earthmate. One hard-button press on that device powers it on and launches Teletype. A few penstrokes and the local map is loaded and zoomed into my present location. Although it currently requires swapping the GPS serial cable out, I also have a cable that allows me to connect to the net via PCS phone. I can even remotely hit my Terminal Services machine back home over the net and get at all my home automation features it represents, but its pretty slow.
- Voicemail Interface
The most recent addition is a custom web interface to vgetty running on the Linux box. vgetty takes a voicemodem and turns your Linux box into a very flexible voicemail system. Additionally, it serves up Caller ID information. I have written a dynamically generated web page that lists new calls with caller ID info, allows me to attach notes to calls, and move them into different folders for saving or deleting. The web interface was designed specifically to look good and operate well on an ePods screen.
Those are all the things running on or through my ePods today. There are a host of other capabilities in the works too. Much of them are HTML-based, which allows ePods access, but also from any browser anywhere. This includes X10 control, home security camera control, full home entertainment system control, and more. The infrastructure for most of this already exists, it just needs a face put on it that the ePods can access. It won't be too much longer... :)