Repurposing a machine...without a real purpose.
February 3, 2009 9:16 PM   Subscribe

Repurpose my old server...but for nothing useful!

I've got a "server" (a decent desktop-grade mobo in a 1U rackmount case) that I used temporarily for a project, but is now sitting dormant. I'd like to repurpose it in a interesting way.

Of course, there is always the normal file, web, email, media center, etc., options, but, I've got a rack full of perfectly good machines. I'd really like to do something off the wall (a purpose-built appliance of some sort might be fun...though, I've already done Asterisk), or niche.

Let me hear your ideas. Like I said, it's a decently powered machine with 2GB of RAM and enough drive space for most anything. No onboard audio, but there is a serial port, PS2 ports, VGA, and USB.
posted by chrisfromthelc to Technology (14 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Hang it horizontally on the wall behind a flat-screen television, so that it cannot be seen, and make it the noisiest, most powerful and most expensive digital photo frame ever?
posted by davejay at 9:19 PM on February 3, 2009

Put every emulator you can imagine on it.
posted by furtive at 9:22 PM on February 3, 2009

Why not run a few of these?
posted by turgid dahlia at 9:28 PM on February 3, 2009 [1 favorite]

I'm not sure if the hardware you have lends itself to the project, but if I had the free time, I'd totally build a carputer.
posted by knave at 9:32 PM on February 3, 2009

telnet bbs, with tradewars.
posted by pompomtom at 9:43 PM on February 3, 2009

If you want an idea for a purpose-built appliance, you can't go past the Turk.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 9:56 PM on February 3, 2009

You could host games (Counter-Strike or TF2). Run an IRC server. Throw bittorrent on there and serve Ubuntu. Become a Shoutcast station.
posted by spiderskull at 10:01 PM on February 3, 2009

Run Plan 9?

I think there is also a VAX emulator around, that you can run on Linux, and then run OpenVMS on top of. This would involve you finding and joining a VMS user's group, which might be a plus or a minus depending on what you want to do. (I think it'd be cool, although it's a bummer the licenses expire annually.)

You could see how ReactOS is doing these days...

Or you could even play with more fringe operating systems like LoseThos, Xinu, or Menuet (windowing OS written entirely in assembler!).
posted by Kadin2048 at 10:01 PM on February 3, 2009

Oh, I just thought of something. Are you good with robotics at all? If so, whip up a Mindstorms project, hook up a webcam, and allow people to remotely control the bot via a website.

Or... try to hook up a USB-controlled RC car. Couple that with the aforementioned webcam, webserver, and figure out a way to interface it with a web app and you're golden.
posted by spiderskull at 10:11 PM on February 3, 2009

Control a Roomba! (more here, along with a book)
posted by spiderskull at 10:21 PM on February 3, 2009

Create a fake accounting company running Windows NT in a VM network and use it as a honeypot.
posted by benzenedream at 10:58 PM on February 3, 2009

I was thinking today that it would be cool if I could hook up a PC with text to speech software and a motion sensor, then put it near your front door so it could remind you of things when you go out and play music when you come in.
posted by fearthehat at 12:08 AM on February 4, 2009

Load Windows XP, unpatched, expose it to the webbernet and voila: Malware Aquarium!
posted by DWRoelands at 6:24 AM on February 4, 2009

telnet bbs, with tradewars.

Id love to see this. Or emulate an old PC BBS and host all the door games you can find.
posted by damn dirty ape at 6:42 AM on February 4, 2009

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