Audrey in the kitchen

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Folded up and out of the way
Deployed and ready
Rear view, showing some of the connections

Remember in the early 80's when people were saying that one of the main uses of home computers would be organizing recipes? (Or at least using it as an excuse to justify the purchase...) And then it just didn't happen much - too expensive, only one in the house, you need a monitor, floppies aren't very compatible with food preparation, etc. etc. Well I always wanted to do it anyway, and nowadays you can have the recipes safely stored on a web server somewhere in your home, and you just need a thin client to view them. The 3Com Ergo Audrey is perfect for it (although it's starting to look just a bit dated now... but these images are dated Sept. 23, 2001). It has a 640x480 touchscreen, runs QNX and comes with a web browser already installed. It has USB and you use a USB ethernet dongle with it to get it on the net. It's always on (and ready for action instantly when you press the "power" button) but doesn't take much power in suspend mode.

Besides recipes, we use it for checking the weather, movie showtimes, TV listings, and some home automation stuff. For a while I had a voicemail system running on one server, based on vgetty and some PHP scripts to serve up the voicemails via the web server, but nowadays I'm trying to switch to Asterisk and VOIP (very slowly... having some problems) so haven't had the vgetty stuff working for a while now.

When I bought the house, there was this cool flip-down shelf already installed. It was a knife rack, actually; where the Audrey is now, there was a block of wood with slots for storing knives. I have no idea where you buy one of these, but it sure is handy... folds right up and out of the way when you're not using it, to keep splatters off the Audrey.

There are two bulges on the back side of the Audrey which prevented totally flush mounting it to this shelf. So I cut a hole for the one bulge (which has the USB ports) and for the one at the top, simply cut away some of the plastic, and replaced the speaker panel at the top with a piece of wood cut to fit. So, then it didn't have speakers. So I installed RCA jacks and (later on) got a pair of small speakers on brackets to mount under the cabinet, on either side of the Audrey, and once again she has sound. I'd recommend finding a way to avoid all that hassle and deal with the built-in speakers if possible. Another problem is that the plastic (a year or so later) developed a crack, above the screen, because of the way it's mounted I guess. It doesn't really hurt anything though.

I have an Audrey in the bedroom too, and one in the computer room, and another still in the box which I planned to put somewhere else some day, but the software and web pages for it are just never totally done, alas...

I wrote a Caller ID application for this (a native QNX app which pops up a dialog when a call comes in, and that caller ID info is broadcast over your network).

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