While in Australia, D and I got invited over to one of her coworkers's place for Christmas. In addition to being awesome, this was a much better option than the Hooters plan I had earlier declared. There was much good food, much Mario Kart and Rock Band on their Wii, and lots of good hanging out with other North Americans.
While there, I was re-acquainted with the open source Xbox Media Center, which, since I last was aware of it, is now just 'XBMC' because it now runs on Windows, Mac, Linux, and AppleTV. In the years since it left my awareness, it's also become FREAKIN' AWESOME. One of the really cool things it does now is fetch artwork and information about your television and movie files you watch with it from community-maintained sites, while looking really pretty:
Needless to say, the 5+ year-old MythTV setup we were using to play all the things we downloaded got replaced.
While watching programs, I've found that some of our more obscure programs are missing pretty artwork, so I've been dusting off my GIMP skills here and there making some. I've also been fulfilling requests from other less-artistic users, which is pretty good for the old sense of satisfaction of a job well done. It's no secret that I enjoy making things in GIMP, so I figured I'd make some stuff other people will find valuable instead of just silly fake movie posters to amuse myself. If you want to follow along at home, the stuff I've been making is viewable via the following links: banners , posters, backgrounds. The site is pretty klunky, but their API is pretty nice, allowing for anyone to use the artwork/descriptions in their tv-related applications.
The fun part is that theTVdb requires artwork to be of resolutions high enough to be problematic for those who just want to download some off google and upload them. In many cases, you have to 'make something out of nothing,' or, more accurately, out of many different nothings. Other than new serieses that provide lots of high-res wallpapers and stuff to work with, you end up crafting entire posters out of tiny little elements -- and, in many cases, filling in all the rest of it with nothing but your imagination.