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Hardware Hacking

Journal SanityInAnarchy's Journal: Cheap hardware for home/theater automation?

I've got a server in my house, which always stays on. I can use cron and WakeOnLAN to wake my desktop, and with a bit of hacking, I can probably feed KOrganizer reminders from my desktop into the server's cron, and set my desktop to do something once booted, such as play some loud music. The one missing component is speakers -- how can I turn them on programmatically? (Thinking programmable power strip here.) Even better, are there some cheap, decent-sounding speakers I could get which can be entirely software-controlled, including volume and forceably switching to speakers, even if I leave my headphones plugged in?
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Cheap hardware for home/theater automation?

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