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The "Osh-Kosh"
By Dustin Smith, Washington, DC - Posted on October 24, 2003

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Luckily, VIA makes a 2-1 PCI riser adapter that lets you use 2 PCI cards in the single slot. Unluckily, the riser is the most horribly designed and documented piece of hardware I've ever tried to install. For unimaginable reasons, the riser requires that the cards be installed facing AWAY from the motherboard, instead of OVER it. Overcoming this glaring design flaw (I used two custom PCI ribbon extensions to bend the cards back over the motherboard), and getting all the BIOS settings and video drivers to play nice with each other took several days of surfing the internet, brainstorming, and testing.

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The power supply and hard drive were Velcro'd on. Along the top upper left you can see the electroluminescent-wire sequencer (more on that below).

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The DVD player was suspended off the bottom of an acrylic shelf (Velcro again).

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The cover was cut from a tin Nehi softdrink ad. The power button (upper right) is a Missile Command arcade game volcano switch (with a built in LED). To the left of that is a green HDD activity light. On the upper left is the exhaust fan. On the lower left and center are the controls for some more blinky lights. The red safety switch turns on an 8-channel sound reactive EL-wire sequencer that controls 200 feet of colored glow wire. The dial controls the microphone sensitivity of the sequencer.

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The microphone and EL-wire plug into the back of the luggage through a phone and RS-232 jack, respectively. When the wire is installed in a room or outdoors its really quite mesmerizing - it looks like 8 different colored laser beams which vary their speed and sequence to the sound of the music.

Summary

Click to launch image viewer

And here's the completed piece of luggage. A roll-up keyboard, mouse, and power cord all fit nicely inside the lid. I finished the Osh-Kosh in the spring of 2003, and it has served me well through many parties and festivals since then. It has survived rain, dust storms, and hoards of drunken fools.

Traveling with the luggage has made going through airport security much more interesting, to say the least. My favorite security guard comment, made while giving the Osh-Kosh a plastic explosives "swab" test: "A computer? Why'd you do that?" then, before I could answer, he continued: "Because you could, right?". I smiled and nodded.

Specifications

• VIA EPIA M 9000
• Maxtor 120GB 7200 HDD
• 512MB DDR 2100
• Samsung SM332 DVD/CDRW
• Seasonic 180-SFD power supply (180W: 125mm x 100mm x 76mm)
• Unisys 10.5" LCD screen
• 8-channel electroluminescent-wire sequencer



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