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  1. The future of car computing

    by , 05-21-2009 at 11:23 AM

    Hi my name is Robert Wray from Mp3car. Throughout the summer we are going to dive deeper into the future of mobile computing, car computing and telematics with a series of video blogs exploring new technology and interviews with leaders in the space.

    Based on our activity in the community, our work with automakers, aftermarket, communications and telematics companies, we believe consumers will demand a bunch of new features all seamlessly integrated into a replicable, flexible UI and accessible from many devices of varying power, age, screen size, and interfaces.

    The feature list will include.
    • Connected navigation (Internet POI, Real time traffic, regular map updates)
    • Media & entertainment from the internet or internet connected devices
    • Interfacing with other technology (engines or batteries, GPS and other location indicators, other sensor hardware)
    • Extensible developer interfaces to allow rapid add ons and integrations with existing features
    • Demand for skinable and user customizable interfaces
    • Occasionally connected devices (wireless, USB, WIFI, sneaker net)
    • Demand for flexible audio and visual prioritization
    • Flexible Security & Personal privacy awareness & settings
    • Task aware user interface, for example - user taking a bus, driving, walking, sitting down
    • All of the above components, including the UI should be modular and replaceable at any time to make way for new innovations.

    Through our video blogging and interviews we plan to find out what it is going to take to make these features a reality and follow the activity of our community members as these bleeding edge features get implemented.

    Updated 09-17-2009 at 04:04 PM by optikalefx

    mp3Car News
  2. Intel D945GCLF2D motherboard

    by , 05-18-2009 at 12:28 PM

    Some forum members were already talking about this mobo but I thought I would shine some light on the subject. I had a chance to play a little bit with it and see if it's working etc.

    Form factor Mini-ITX /micro-ATX compatible
    Processor Integrated Intel® Atom™ processor 330 with a 533 MHz system bus
    * One 240-pin DDR2 SDRAM Dual Inline Memory Module (DIMM) sockets
    * Support for DDR2 533/667 MHz DIMMs
    * Support for up to 2 GBΣ of system memory

    Chipset Intel® 945GC Express Chipset and
    Intel® I/O Controller Hub 7 (ICH7)

    * Eight USB 2.0 ports
    * Two Serial SATA ports (3.0 GB/s)
    * One parallel ATA IDE interface with UDMA 33, ATA-66/100 support
    * One serial port
    * One parallel port
    * PS/2* keyboard and mouse ports

    I tested this board with the following config:
    - 80 gig seagate SATA hdd
    - 300 w power supply
    - 2g of DDR2 800MHz Buffalo ram (1 stick)
    - Dell mouse and keyboard (both usb)
    - memorex external DVD via usb

    The board was able to install XP Home flawlessly, and so far, is very quick. Startup time 46.8 seconds and shutdown time was 8.5 seconds.

    You can't look at this board without comparing it to the previous LF2 model.
    Unfortunately the only thing I was able to find, along with others here on the forum, the S-Video is the only difference. The previous model has it and is priced on newegg for 79.99 and this model doesn't have priced at 76.99 on newegg.

    So it seems for $3 less you can get a board without S-Video. Why not include DVI or display port on the next model?

    Talk about this, and see other pictures on our forums

    Updated 09-17-2009 at 04:13 PM by optikalefx

    Products and Technology
  3. Best of mp3Car May edition

    by , 05-14-2009 at 11:11 AM

    Best of community innovation and development

    Ride Runner

    New Skin

    The community is helping DocBreezy bring a sleek new skin, named '506' to Ride Runner. by DocBreezy.

    In addition to suggestions and beta testing, Treetop, Thunderstick, blk02si, Sonicxtacy02, GizmoQ, carputer1are lending a hand with advice and code support to bring it along.

    506 also builds on the flexible plug-in architecture of Ride Runner by using:
    - RRGas -Enforcer's gas price finder for US and UK
    - Movietimes - a plug-in that retrieves movie times for your zip code (US only)
    - Coverjuke - an implementation of Coverflow for Ride Runner.

    Control your phone in Ride Runner. MyMobiler is a Windows mobile phone control program that can be controlled from the skin.

    Skype for RR

    Member lambosprit is at it again. As if solving the bluetooth problem wasn't enough, lambosprit has a basic plug-in for Ride Runner that brings Skype functionality to the car PC. It makes and receives calls between both Skype users and external phone numbers. Check it out.


    Member pcpete has developed a plug-in for Ride Runner called Covermess. It's a Flash app that displays your albums in a pile, as if they were real CD's. You can select and play music from them, similar to the Coverflow display on an iPod. Check out the video in the first post for what it looks like. A really nice bit of programming!

    Community Development

    Linux ICE and nGhost

    Just in case you don't hang out on forums 24X7, you may not be aware that there is a flourishing open source car PC environment for Linux called nGhost.

    Version 2.0.0 is details are available here and kev000 is one of the lead developers for a team of like minded community members including:


    among others. You can find the nGhost download here

    Shift by wire

    Automated P-R-N-D-L - Member turbocad6 is at it again with a plan to replace his automatic shifter. The community has been tossing around ideas about how to do this and ways to implement it. Right now, it looks like an Arduino board and a linear actuator will do the job for push button shifting. Got something to contribute? turbocad6 will need help programming and engineering. Check it out.

    Towards a more flexible front-end.

    The front end is the software that ties together all of the functions that the computer offers into an easy to navigate and control 'face' for using the computer while driving. There are numerous front ends (Ride Runner, Centrafuse, nGhost, Streetdeck as examples). This thread is a brainstorming discussion about how to create a more flexible front end that requires less configuration and tinkering yet runs across platforms. If you've got ideas or want to see the community at work on an idea, stop by and check it out!

    Lovely when a plan comes together. Check out member malcom2073's new front end, CarPal. The community is helping him to lay out a plug-in scheme for the front end, and Sonicxtacy02 is working on a skin for the new front end. A great example of the community helping to develop a software product.

    The Unexpected

    From spud cannons to automated pyrotechnics controllers the community continues to innovate and develop new and very unexpected uses for hardware. Find out how a plastic toolbox and a Fusion Brain = pyrotechnics controller.

    The Fusion Brain is one of the most popular hardware add-ons for community members. Developed by two of the community members, 2k1Toaster and greenman, the FB allows your computer to interface with the outside world in both analog and digital fashion. Using standalone software, the FB can be programmed to read temperatures, control relays, stepper motors, infrared sensors and so forth. Car PC'ers use them to operate windows, switch relays on and off, read temperatures and even control Christmas lights on their car

    Updated 09-17-2009 at 04:06 PM by optikalefx

    Tags: end, front, ride, road, runner, skin Add / Edit Tags
    mp3Car News
  4. New 7 inch DVI touchscreen by lilliput

    by , 05-13-2009 at 12:41 AM

    Lilliput is getting ready to release their new 7" touchscreen that has native DVI and component digital out. Previous models such as the 629 had only VGA, Composite and S-Video.

    What is great about this monitor is that it's now extra versatile. They left the pigtail plug on the monitor and just added the extra DVI and component cables. That means you have the option to output to 5 different video sources, DVI, VGA, composite, component and s-video.

    The connectors for DVI came out of the bottom of the unit, whereas the pigtail connector came out of the side. So this may affect some installations but just be aware that it *may* be changed.

    The digital output was, in our opinion, more defined in terms of the colors. More specifically the blacks were blacker and the whites were whiter.

    The only down side we noticed is that the DVI output seemed to have off colors. The ocean in the video seemed very green, even though on VGA it was blue.

    All the settings for the test were brightness 50% Green 50% blue 50% and red 50% with a resolution of 800x600. They ran from the same ATI graphics card playing BBC's blue ocean on VLC player.

    This product should be coming soon to the mp3Car store, so look out for it.

    Updated 09-17-2009 at 04:06 PM by optikalefx

    Products and Technology
  5. Hypermiling for cheap using iPhone

    by , 05-06-2009 at 08:33 PM

    You don't need an expensive hybrid vehicle or car computer to get the most miles per gallon out of your car. Hypermiling is a set of techniques that maximize your MPG.

    Some common techniques are:
    Don't drive aggressively
    Don't go over the speed limit
    Avoid traffic
    Avoid coming to a complete stop
    Try to accelerate as slowly as possible
    Using neutral when going down hills

    Some uncommon techniques are"
    Drafting behind trucks
    Using centripetal force to go around turns fast
    Over-inflating your tires to reduce friction

    We took a look at how what kind of MPG we got out of our Toyota Matrix when doing basic hypermiling around town. We averaged 61 MPG when hypermiling and 27 MPG when driving normal. At some points on the trip going down hill in neutral we got up to 247 MPG.

    If you have any of your own techniques or stories of your own hypermiling let's hear it.

    Updated 09-17-2009 at 04:08 PM by optikalefx

    How To Videos , mp3Car News