As part of the mplayer suite of media playing and format conversion tools mencoder enjoys a well deserved reputation. When you need to change a media file from format to another this is the tool to use. It does have a dizzying array of commands and switches that may be called into service so there is a high learning curve. Here is what i do to convert xvid to divx compatible videos and also to create new divx compatible files for my stand alone dvd player.
Slax is now installed and its booting into the Linux ext2 filesystem on my usb stick. It boots up into a root user account which I will change later. The first thing I see the need for is wireless networking.
The slax linux kernel provides the rt73 module thats required to wake up my wireless usb dongle with its Ralink chipset.
I decided to try a boot-able live linux install on on an 8Gb usb flash drive. I wanted something that would run on a native linux filesystem that is persistant (all changes are saved). I discovered that a journaling filesystem would greatly increase the number of writes to the stick thereby shortening its lifetime so I went with ext2, the well documented, non-journaling, workhorse of linux filesystems.
Several months ago I purchased a Netgear sph200d skype phone. It provides voip service via Skype that is suprisingly reliable with decent quality. Previously I had always thought of skype as nothing but a handy gadget to have on a computer for online keyboard chat and the occasional voice chat. Thats changed!
(One year later. I'm still using this skyphone. Works great!)
The skypephone comes with a handset, charger and base unit that connects via ethernet cable to my router. Its completely self-contained and doesnt require a computer to be on all the time.