TIre wall: why we have a $5000 firewall.

The story:

While I was away in Germany I thought I ring home to tell everyone I was ok. After navigating the complex and subtle Germany phone system (you ring 00, country code, phone number) I got through to dad. I chatted with him for a bit, then asked to talk to mum. Dad called over mum. Unbeknownst to me, dad had left his laptop on our cat-a-pillar, which the cat loves to climb on. Dad got back to his seat and the cat wandered over. The cat said “Hmm, there's something on my cat-a-pillar, I think I'll climb on it for a look.” He jumped up and grabbed the laptop (which was open) and pulled it onto the floor. Dad leapt over to grab it, and snapped the hinge in the process.

(on the phone I checked with mum to make sure that the cat was alright. I'll never be a true geek... :) The cat is still alive.

Strange thing: Apple's warranty doesn't cover cat related accidents. Dad had a choice, replace the hinge for $3500 for the new LCD + $1500 labour and incidentals, or buy a new one. As the old one worked perfectly, except for a broken hinge, he bought a new one. And the old one is used as a firewall (it's low power and slimline :). I'm working on making it output video to our TV for watching DVDs, but there are still issues with vlc (in particular, endian/bytes swapping problems)

Tech notes

The machine runs a version of Linux for the pmac and uses a cheap PCMCIA ethercard for the extra ethernet. In the picture you can see KDE with xplanet following the ISS. It also provides us with a software basestation for our house wide 802.11 network.

The audio output is fed to the stereo and the machine can play DVDs (albiet with the rgb channels reversed :-( We've now got an iMic USB audio input for recording LPs to CD for converting our 1000s of LPs to CD.

The display is configured to show heating status, rainwater tank level, input solar power, total energy and a radar map of the local rain.

Need newer picture showing other ether card, catapillar, wire etc.