What is it?
The XoByte miniSpark is a startup and shutdown controller that uses Wake-On-LAN capabilities to handle startup and shutdown of your laptop or PC.
The Verdict: If you use a laptop or netbook as your car PC you should own a miniSpark. The people at XoByte have seemingly created the perfect solution to handling the startup and shutdown of a computer and it's associated accessories in the car. The one thing that impresses me the most is the control it gives the user, all while using only your LAN port and saving a precious USB port.
What's in the box?
The XoByte miniSpark comes with the main controller box, a 6-wire connector, and a pair of automotive fuse adapters for 12v power.
The XoByte miniSpark is a powerful device which allows control of a netbook,laptop, or personal computer's startup and shutdown capabilities through Wake-On-LAN technology. The real power in the miniSpark comes from the user's ability to control its various functions all from within the miniSpark Configuration GUI. This tool is compatible with Windows computers running XP or higher, and allows even beginner users to control the miniSpark's functions with both ease and simplicity.
After a brief period in which the miniSpark checks to see if the device is connected, the GUI is presented. The top left box in the GUI is nothing more than a set of status indicators which give you the real-time view of each of the 2 inputs and 2 outputs of the miniSpark. If a WOL shutdown event occurs the miniSpark GUI will display the system status on the LED images and also via a pop-up which counts the time remaining to shutdown.
The bottom left gives users the ability to use either of the 2 inputs to run the appropriate user-configurable shutdown command with the shutdown and startup delays specified. As if the basic settings weren't powerful enough, XoByte allows configuration of both outputs independently. This allows one miniSpark unit to individually shutdown and power up 2 different devices with there own unique settings. For advanced users this capability is invaluable because you can control things like USB hubs, lighting, and other self-powered devices independently of the PC. Each output can be controlled with either included inputs or totally manually through the miniSpark configuration utility. The outputs can also be delayed at startup or shutdown after the PC has been started or shutdown. The ability to set your pulse-width for outputs and to set repeating triggers means the XoByte miniSpark is as flexible as you will ever find a shutdown controller to be. There is even an API available which allows the control of the miniSpark configuration utility to be harnessed in a user-selected front end.
Despite the flexibility of its software setup, the miniSpark is just as easy to install as any other automotive power supply. Because its not a fully-functional power supply, the miniSpark's red power wire can be powered through an 1-amp automotive fuse. XoByte was even kind enough to include a set of automotive fuse adapters so you can just plug into your vehicles fuse box to power the device. The black wire as in most cases is the ground. The white and green wires are input #1 and #2 respectively, and would in most cases be connected to the automobiles accessory or ignition lines. Should you only wish to use a single input the green wire can be ignored. Lastly, the brown and blue wires are #1 and #2 output wires. PCs that are not "magic frame" WOL capable will need to use one of the outputs to power on the PC through the ACPI lines.
Once wired, the XoByte miniSpark hardware is ready to go. The only other notable feature would be the single green LED which shows the status of the miniSpark through a series of blinks.
• Small hideaway box, but so much power and control capabilities
• Allows startup/shutdown control without opening up a laptop
• Uses WOL technology, saving a USB port• Efficiently runs on less than 1 amp
• A simple GUI which continues to be updated with more control features
• Ability to control multiple accessory outputs with multiple individually controlled inputs
• API available for front end integration
• Windows XP+ only
• Computer must be WOL "Magic Frame" capatible for WOL use
If you use a laptop or netbook as your car PC you should own a miniSpark. The people at XoByte have seemingly created the perfect solution to handling the startup and shutdown of a computer and its associated accessories in the car. The one thing that impresses me the most is the control it gives the user, all while using only your LAN port and saving a precious USB port.
Updated 05-17-2010 at 11:24 AM by Sonicxtacy02
If you haven't noticed, in the last few days it seems that fear of hacking the car's computer is all the rage. Here are a few of the articles published.
NYTime's Cars’ Computer Systems Called at Risk to Hackers
Popular Science's Proof-of-Concept CarShark Software Hacks Car Computers, Shutting Down Brakes, Engines, and More
And today, Engadget's Hackers can remotely disable your car's brakes, create sensationalist headlines
Updated 05-14-2010 at 11:35 AM by Heather
So I came across a scenario where I need to know the top developers of applications based on how many times their software has been downloaded.
There are 3 tables involved here.
The developers table
the orders_software table
the orders_software_downloads table
The whole goal is get this information with 1 Sql query.The basic relationships are as follows:
there are many developers in the developer table
there are many softwares to 1 order in the orders_software table
there are many downloads to 1 software to 1 order in the orders_software_downloads table.
So we select the developer name from the developer table, and the download count from the orders_software_downloads table. Left join to get all the tables together. Exclude counts that are null. Then group the results by the owner of each software. Which is a row of the software table.
This will be a great case to use SUM
we can modify the download count to sum(download_count) and as long as we have that group by, it will sum up the group.
So sql will look like this:
SELECT developer.name, SUM(orders_software_download.download_count) as sum
LEFT JOIN orders_software on software.id = orders_software.software_id
LEFT JOIN orders_products_download on orders_products.orders_software_id = orders_products_download.id
WHERE orders_software_download.download_count IS NOT NULLGROUP BY software.software_owner
ORDER BY sum DESC
And then from this the result will give you an array of the top developers where you can know who the developer is an how many times in total their software was downloaded
Updated 05-13-2010 at 10:01 AM by optikalefx
What is it?
The Habey BIS-6620 is a SFF PC powered by an Intel Atom Z510 processor.
The Verdict: The Habey USA BIS-6620 is an absolute marvel of a design. The manufacturer has created fully functioning PC cable of running the latest software in a form factor which can fit in the palm of your hand. Quite frankly, the BIS-6620 could be used at home, in the car, or as an embedded platform. Unfortunately it’s small size and power-sipping capabilities mean this PC would probably be a lot more comfortable with Windows Embedded than with Windows 7.
The BIS-6620 is available now at the MP3Car store
What's in the box:
The BIS-6620 comes with the PC, a PS/2 Keyboard/Mouse splitter cable, 12v power brick, and driver and utilities installation disc. Also included are four long screws for VESA mount support.
Right out of the box the Habey USA BIS-6620 has a certain “wow” factor. Measuring at only 4.5 x 4.5 x 1.5”, it immediately has the potential to be everyone’s dream car PC. The BIS-6620 is also built with a completely fan-less design, making it silent in operation. It’s powered by a single-core Intel Z510 processor clocked at 1 GHz and is built to use up to 2 GHz of SODIMM (laptop) ram. Despite its size, the BIS-6620 is surprisingly flexible when it comes to drive storage. Internally, the 6620 accepts a 1.8” SATA hard drive. However, thanks to a bios setting which allows removable drives to be emulated as physical disks, you have the option to install and run your primary operating system from a compact flash card. There is also an SD card slot on the front of the PC just adjacent to the CF slot.
The BIS-6620 is powered by a simple 12v power brick, further enhancing its potential to be used as a car PC. The computer is a true power-sipper, and can be run with less than 10w and 2amps. It’s hard to imagine that a PC that’s fully capable of running windows 7 can do so with less power than your average car speaker requires to play sound.
Upon installing the components required to make the BIS-6620 power up, I connected a USB DVD-Rom and installed a fresh copy of windows 7 32-bit. Once installation was complete I was brought into the OS. I quickly noticed that the BIS-6620 doesn’t support Aero, or the transparent glass effects on a standard non-Aero windows 7 installation. Moving through windows dialogs seemed to occur with ample speed, but waiting for basic programs like Wndows Media Payer and Centrafuse 3 became quite the chore even at their most basic program settings. It’s clear that while there are many pros to the BIS-6620, the obvious setback is the 1 GHz processor. That said; the BIS-6620 handled MP3 playback with ease. It will even play 1080p videos with little to no skipping and video sync issues thanks to hardware decoding.
Video is provided only via VGA or S-Video connections. There is no support for DVI or HDMI and based on the form factor of the BIS-6620 (Habey has different models that do have DVI & HDMI output in the same form factor), you probably won’t be adding a video card capable of such. There is a single audio output jack on the front, and a microphone input just next to that. The lack of a line-in jack means your radio and other input devices better have “audio over USB” support. There is a single LAN port, a total of 4 USB ports, and a single PS/2 which can provide both keyboard and mouse support with the enclosed splitter cable.
The case of the BIS-6620 is a marvel in itself. The finned design on the top serves as a fully functioning heat-sink for the Intel processor. Because of this design the casing does run hotter than your average computer case, but never to the point where the case was simply too hot to touch. On the edges of the case are four holes which allow the BIS-6620 to be mounted on a VESA mount. All this allows for the BIS-6620 to truly be an ultra-compact, silent, and unseen fully functioning PC.
• Small design but capable fully functioning PC
• Flexible storage options
• Performance and reliability of the Intel Atom product
• Energy efficient design (
Updated 05-26-2010 at 11:33 AM by Jensen2000
What is it?
Destinator 9 is Intrinsync's entry into the rather crowded iPhone GPS space. The app comes with real-time traffic, integrated maps, POIs, Weather, and Google search integrated.
Destinator has made it's way onto the first page of my iPhone. The feature rich GPS app has replaced the multiple GPS apps if for no other reason than the superior graphical interface. Having tested the TomTom, Navigon, and Waze, Destinator seems to have the most updated maps, most features and the ability to route to contacts or google results is a huge plus. The ability to download a trial before purchase will explain why to spend the extra money on this app versus the others. The app is very large(updates are normally 1.6 GB+) and must be downloaded over wifi and tends to be slow to open. Once running it does not drain the battery horribly like the TomTom and if you close it the destination is retained so youc an conserve some battery on long drives.Navigator 9 is available now at ITunes StoreScreenshots
Destinator 9 uses voice guided turn-by-turn directions with Navteq Maps with a graphical display in either 2D or 3D. Traffic conditions, points-of-interest information, and weather information are included when available. Multi-Stop trips can be imported or destinations can be set by tapping on a location on a map, selecting addresses from contacts, or using the traditional address import methods. To augment the address imports you can select by town, street, intersection, or Latitude/Longitude. The app is available as a free trial download with a splash screen that can be toggled off to try the app initially. Once you purchase the app, you get additional features including speed limit notification and warnings. Upon starting the app, you are able to control your ipod collection from within the program. You can also check the real-time traffic and weather from the bottom menu. During navigation the display will change throughout your trip to show the overhead signs on the highway, as well as lane directions to guide you both visually and vocally. You can view the directions either vertically or horizontally and the display changes automatically with orientation of the iphone. The app start up is very slow as I think it loads all the maps, however once it starts the gps finds your location very quickly. Much better than on the competing apps. The maps have been up to date and the app seems to be getting updated about once every couple weeks. The app is also available for Windows Mobile and Android
Graphical Interface is easy to use3D view shows upcoming street signsBackground shows current weatherGoogle Search integrationReal-Time TrafficMaintains DestinationUp-to-Date MapsIpod Controls IntegratedSpeed Limit Warnings
Slow to openVery Large DownloadDoes not have the standard "Take me Home" option$69.99 Price
Updated 05-03-2010 at 09:12 AM by Heather