Computer dead? Time to switch to platforms? What about my music?

Ugh. Our desktop PC running windows won’t turn on. I turned it off normally last night, and this morning, it just won’t come on. I suspect a blown fuse or something in the power supply. I really don’t want to have to deal with that loud Aldi-branded hunk. But I *do* really want to make further use of at least some of its components; not the least of which are its twin 250GB SATA hard disks. I found a nifty-looking housing for taking two SATA drives and making them into one big or two separate external USB drives.

Is this what Linus really looks like?  No of course not.  But it would be cute if he did.If it weren’t for our iTunes investments over the past few years, I would probably have finally been able to completely forgo licensed operating systems (except at work, where I don’t have that option). We’ve already got a Linux-based laptop and desktop here (the desktop box serves as a…uh, server). But iTunes, our dealer of habit-forming audio narcotics, doesn’t offer to hawk its wares to those would turn their noses up at paying for software (note well: I’m not advocating piracy!).

So, I’m thinking really hard about how to proceed here. The cheapest way to go (especially if that hunk is still under warranty) is to get the PC fixed. But it’s big and clunky and especially loud. Hate that. Also hate all the dust its multiple fans collect (uh, perhaps that had something to do with its untimely demise?). I can’t just build a new computer, cannibalizing the old one, and downloading an open source OS like Linux or one of the BSDs and expect it to play the music we bought through iTunes. So we’re still going to have to rely on Windows or Mac OS X (row row, row!)…at least until I slowly and painfully record each track purchased from iTunes into Audacity and re-code it back into plain-old-MP3 or some other non-DRM’d format. And that’s not going to happen any time soon.

Any opinions out there on the Mac Mini, particularly as a home desktop system in use mostly for multi-media applications (iTunes, Skype, general surfiness)? I’m looking at one for 700€. And then getting far away from iTunes.

Nacht der Lichter

inside the Dom 2
inside the Dom 1

That means “Night of the Lights” — notice the candles in the pictures at left. We had a nice evening out with some work peeps and spouses. We were expecting sort of a choir concert, but it actually turned out to be mass. Details (in German) here and here in English. It was interesting nonetheless, but not representative of a typical Bavarian Catholic mass. Then we went out for drinks. Seemed an appropriate ending to this work week — prayer and meditation, then self-medication.