Re: OT: suggestions for rugged
There are rugged laptops aimed primarily at the military but also commonly used in industry. Occasionally you can pick them up at ex-govt auctions for next-to-nothing and in great condition.
Failing that, how fast a beast do you want? You can get something like a LBC-GX500 from WinSystems (400MHz Geode) and other vendors sell boards with the newer 533MHz Geode which actually consumes less power. You can also go for the industry standard EPX form and get yourself a full-featured Pentium M board (for example, see the Advantech website for a few models like PCM9386). Just keep in mind that building from scratch like this gets you a system that costs a hell of a lot more than an off-shelf laptop. Why not just buy that Pelican case and stuff your laptop into it? You've got to be looking at serious ruggedness issues to do differently, and solving those problems just isn't cheap for a 1-off.