After trying a couple different applications designed to effectively act as a replacement for Windows XP Media Center edtion (MCE), I'm going back to Microsoft's operating system. Basically, none of the applications could do everything MCE could. And even when they got remotely close, the interface was hideous in comparison to MCE.
I needed an OS that was based on XP Professional so I could use the development tools required for my classes, like Visual Studio .NET. Being based on Windows XP Pro also allows me to enable Remote Desktop Connection so I can access and control my desktop from anywhere with Internet Explorer 5 or newer... or the Remote Desktop application....
I personally prefer to use the Remote Desktop application because it allows me to connect my local drives/printers on the laptop while im "logged in" to the Remote Desktop. This ability was the solution to my loud computer in my bedroom being the computer I use to download files over night. The thing is so loud, I can't go to sleep with it on at night.
I needed a remote server in a different room so I could continue my downloads over night and cut-down the total overall time to download. My xbox is modded with XBMC, but there are no homebrew applications to download torrents. So I installed Linux on the xbox (X-DSL) and installed a BitTorrent client. That worked... kind of. If I wanted to use the Xbox Media Center functionality of my xbox, I would have to stop downloading.
So what next? How about one of those spare computer I have sitting in my closet? Perfect. Install Windows XP, set up the computer, set up remote desktop, set up file-shares... "wallah!" I now have a file/torrent-server to house all my media.
I'll get back with some photos and screen shots... for now, use your imagination. I'll try to write up some info on the processes later.