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  1. There are a thousand reasons to go to AFKFest. I've picked ten. See you there, 9/24

    by , 08-31-2011 at 04:00 PM

    10. Speaker Series: Hear from an amazing (and growing!) lineup of speakers with great advice, ideas, and new trends in the world of mobile computing. Take advantage of their insight and get a bead on what’s around the corner for us all.

    9. Oktoberfest: if you get overwhelmed by cutting edge technology talk, dart down to Oktoberfest in Baltimore for a liter of Germany’s finest beer and a bite to eat. You’ll be yelling ausgezeichnet in no time. http://www.federalhillna.org/octoberfest

    8. Cars and their respective computers: Take a look at some of the more interesting Car-PC projects that we’ve run into, and speak their owners personally. Ask them what they like and what they don’t like, and learn from their mistakes in order to make your next project a breeze.

    7. Orioles/Red Sox: September baseball is the best—it combines gorgeous weather, the most beautiful ballpark in America, and the sheer desperation that has come to mark the Orioles organization in recent years. Extend your trip by one day and take in a game with Baltimore’s skyline as a dramatic backdrop to an inevitable blow-out. http://baltimore.orioles.mlb.com/index.jsp?c_id=bal

    6. Betascape: If you’ve never been, then there is no better opportunity. Stop by on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday for an action-packed weekend of art, technology, and creative-synergistic-intrigue. Conveniently located, and even more conveniently timed, to sync up with our own AFKFest. Not to be missed. http://betascape.org/

    5. Dining/Nightlife: Quite sneakily, Baltimore has emerged as an epicenter for food trends and vibrant nightlife, and at a whisper of prices in most cities. Sit down at one of dozens of award-winning and restaurants for fresh, seasonal, and quirky food, and follow it up with a crawl around one of several historic neighborhoods. You’ll be quaffing libations in one of the most accessible and historic cities on the East Coast. Heck, I’ll join you. http://www.fellspoint.us/

    4. What else are you going to do? Honestly, I’ve seen your calendar, and it’s not exactly busting at the seams with awesome events that you’ll have to cancel. Even if it is, you’ll have the greatest excuse ever: “I’m going to [the tech-version of] Disneyland [in scenic Baltimore, MD]!!”

    3. Culture: Ah yes, while you’re in town, you may as well sign up for a sophisticated and cultural activity. Take advantage of the dozen or so celebrated museums in Baltimore, ranging from priceless art at the Walters to George Washington’s teeth at the Dentistry. Many of them are free, all of them are interesting, and most of them have a coat check. http://www.avam.org/

    2. Hurricane Irene: Uhhhhh, we just got hit by one of the more expensive natural disasters of the past few decades. Aren’t you even a little bit curious about how a city that was built several hundred years ago climbs out of back-to-back weeks of earthquakes and hurricanes? See it first hand, and help me put my roof deck back together.

    1. I’m not allowed to tell you the number one reason. But I’ll give you a hint: Rob Wray hasn’t shaved in weeks.

    Updated 09-16-2011 at 11:17 AM by Fiberoptic

    Categories
    Technology Events
  2. Car Computer Install: Power Structure

    by , 08-24-2011 at 11:32 AM

    Embed this video


    Sean Clark, from mp3Car, shows us an overview of how each component will be powered in the vehicle. He outlines the importance of in-line fuses for each positive cable. Power distribution blocks will be used to give each individual component power and ground. Grounding all the components in one place is important to avoid noise being introduced into the system. If you are able to ground directly to the negative terminal on the battery, this will help alleviate noise as well. Monitor power is provided by the M2-ATX power supply in the computer. "Filtered" 12V power is required for most monitors as they aren't set up to the handle voltage fluctuations most automotive power systems supply. In this case, the Lilliput 669 needs filtered power. Accessory wires are run to each component and provide switched 12V power to tell each component to turn on with the ignition status of the vehicle.
  3. Car Computer Install: Building the Computer, Cable Management

    by , 08-22-2011 at 02:39 PM

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    Sean Clark, from mp3Car, illustrates the importance of proper cable management in any carputer build. Especially in smaller enclosures, making sure your computer has plenty of ventilation is essential. Zip ties keep the cables away from case vents and moving fans. They also make closing the case without pinching and damaging wires easy. It's important not to put pressure on delicate cables such as the motherboard power switch cable. It's also important not to put pressure on the memory when closing the case.
  4. Hardware Review: Lilliput 659GL-70NP/C/T Surface Acoustic Wave Touchscreen Monitor

    by , 08-19-2011 at 02:53 PM

    What is it?

    The Lilliput 659 is a 7" touchscreen monitor which uses Surface Acoustic Wave technology for accurate and precise touchscreen operation.

    The Verdict:

    As beautiful as the display is on the Lilliput 659, it may not be the best bet for every installation. The physical dimensions of the screens bezel and other components means you may very well need more than double din space for adequate installation. If you do have the space needed, the 659 may just be your best bet as its brightness and color saturation is head and shoulders above other factory Lilliput devices to this point.

    See the Lilliput 669HB on the mp3Car Store here.



    What’s in the box?

    As always with Lilliput monitors, everything is included with one minor omission. Connection options include an HDMI to HDMI/USB cable, DVI to HDMI/USB cable, and VGA/Composite cable with sub-connector. Included power options are a 12v cigarette lighter plug and brick-style home power connector. Also included are remote, driver CD, and desk stand. The one omission is the stylus that's typically built into the bezel of the monitor.


    Description:

    The Car PC market has been fed a steady diet of touchscreen options in the last several months. Not only have the major brands like Lilliput and Xenarc done more with their existing product line, the hobby has seen new companies start to promote new products. Though there are many slight differences on specifications between product lines, when it boils down to it, most devices use the same basic screen technology. In the 659GL, Lilliput has changed the game. The 659 uses a different type of touchscreen technology, creatively named "surface acoustic wave" (SAW). This technology isn't new by any means, but this is the first iteration we've seen in the 7-inch touchscreen genre. Surface acoustic wave touchscreens send ultrasonic waves constantly through the screen surface. When a user presses the screen, the wave is interrupted a touch event is sent to the controller for processing. Science aside, the surface wave technology in the Lilliput 659 allows for precise touchscreen presses, higher light transmission, and a sharper, more saturated image.


    Simply put, the image quality on the Lilliput 659 is fantastic. The colors are rich and images are sharp. Though the nit rating remains at 450, the light transmission the SAW touch panel allows makes the screen appear transflective. The glass is still glossy, but its mitigated by the amount of light it passes through. This benefit also allows for a extremely larger viewing radius when compared to resistive touchscreen devices.


    Equally as important to the display of the touchscreen is the response, and the Lilliput 659 comes through in this regard too. The SAW touchscreen is harder than the resistive variants, and this results in a surer button press. The Lilliput 659 eliminates the mushiness, giving users greater confidence in a press without needing the eyes fixated on the screen. I did note that it's harder to get a response on the outer 1/4 inch of the screen, but I'm not sure if this is a problem with my test unit or with all of the 659's.

    This small problem leads me to a larger gripe I have with the Lilliput 659. The bezel on this device when compared with any other 7" touchscreen available today is huge. Anyone looking to install this in a standard double din enclosure may encounter a problem getting it to fit. I'm not sure if the controller boards inside require the larger bezel, but its definitely something to take note of prior to hacking away at your dashboard. Check out my video comparing the bezel size with a Lilliput 669.



    The Positive:

    • Huge leap in image quality from the SAW touchscreen
    • HDMI, DVI, VGA, and Composite connections available
    • Accurate and satisfying touchscreen feedback
    • Auto-On still available (via factory menu)

    The Negative:

    • Bezel size may prohibit double din installation for some
    • Missing auto composite switch wire


    The Verdict:

    As beautiful as the display is on the Lilliput 659, it may not be the best bet for every installation. The physical dimensions of the screens bezel and other components means you may very well need more than double din space for adequate installation. If you do have the space needed, the 659 may just be your best bet as its brightness and color saturation is head and shoulders above other factory Lilliput devices to this point.

    For more specifications on the Lilliput 659 click here
    For more pictures of the Lilliput 659 click here

    Updated 08-19-2011 at 02:58 PM by Sonicxtacy02

    Categories
    Product Reviews
  5. New Products for Friday (@soundman98 #notspam)

    by , 08-05-2011 at 11:27 AM

    Updated 08-05-2011 at 11:30 AM by ChasPhillips

    Categories
    Products and Technology