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What would the ultimate front end be?

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  • What would the ultimate front end be?

    I've been writing a tool recently for connecting I/O devices to front ends, and that has got me thinking of features that belong in the front end more than the app. So I thought why not write a front end all together. I want to start by getting some targets of what people think the ultimate front end would be. I'm sure other front end coders can benefit from this thread too.

    Here are some features that I can think of:

    I/O Device support (eg steering wheels, 40x1 LCD displays)
    - Provide a common interface to adhoc input/output devices (will require a driver for each device, such as ibus/mbus etc)
    - Provide a macro recording features to map a sequence of events to a function
    - Ability to send single and macro commands to I/O devices
    - Contextual control. So for example when playing music, steering wheel buttons up/down would be previous/next, and when selecting music (using a macro to get there for instance) up/down would be up/down on the files list.
    - Ability to divide a text display (eg 40x1 lcd display) into multiple sections, each of which is an independent display device. This would be used for displaying name and time together for instance.
    - To scroll long text in various ways on each display


    Presentation & Skinablity
    - Everything is a component, supporting music/video/pictures
    - Components have sound files attached to their events (on click, on release, etc)
    - 3D layout of components (components scale and are ordered using z - perspective can be defined)
    - Components can be visible only on a specified colour, this allows components to be clipped
    - Component transformations are driven by gui/external events
    - Hue/saturation/intensity control of individual components and globally (to match skin colours to dash)


    Universal Media Playback (Video / Audio / Pictures)
    - Filters views (to separate videos/songs)
    - Playing / slide show
    - Search
    - Rating on the fly
    - Playback by rating/genre/least listened to etc.
    - On the fly deleting / sending to folder / playlist
    - On the fly renaming of files physically and by ID3/descriptor
    - Reports of access frequency for listening/cleaning
    - Automatically rip cd/dvd/memory card on-insert, and sort files based on content (can be disabled/manually triggered)
    - Thumbnails view
    - Colour, brightness, contrast and orientation control - settings are applied for individual visual media files for future viewings but not permanently to the file


    Radio
    - The usual radio features
    - RDS component
    - One-click elevator music button, which fades in and out of the radio. This is used for annoying advertisements and DJ's that love the sound of their voice (I can't be the only one that gets annoyed by that!)
    - One-click recording with a user-defined pre-buffer (so the beginning of a song is not missed when only 40 seconds through the user likes it)


    Phone Features
    - Bluetooth support
    - Dialling from phonebook
    - Synchronize address book with phone/web server
    - Text to speech for SMS
    - Word by word SMS reader in large text
    - Media pause and mute, resume on call end
    - Record conversation from both parties or from cabin only. Useful for taking numbers/notes while driving
    - Software push to talk
    - Software echo cancellation


    Internet
    - Text to speech for emails / website (selection based)
    - Word by word email in large text
    - RSS components (so info can be read on any screen - like traffic feeds in GPS mode)


    Camera
    - Camera views components and support for multiple cameras
    - One-click recording with a user-defined pre-buffer (so the beginning of an event is not missed)


    GPS
    - Directions component can be placed on any screen
    - Reducing volume of media when GPS is on (phone/gps precedence configurable)


    Other
    - Individual user preferences (can be triggered by memory seat buttons if you have them – ibus does )
    - Resume functionality
    - Software shutdown contoller to be triggered by an I/O device or user input. This will bring up a screen to offer a range of shut down delays/options, and performing a default option like off after 5 mins by default.


    Whacky Ideas
    - Noise monitor - constantly measure noise levels via mic (measured music - playing music = noise) and where noise is above a certain threshold, increase the volume)
    - Ambient light measurement to control skin gamma / night mode
    - Morse code SMS writing (I don’t even know Morse code but it has to be the best way of driving and writing a text using the steering wheel right?)


    Suggestions? I kindly ask that you keep the category headings or add new ones, and to keep point seperated. It would really help in collecting these later.
    Current:
    [BMW E46 ///M3 Convertible]

    Previous:
    [BMW E31 850CSi]|[BMW E39 535i]|[BMW HVAC Research]|[IBUS Scrolling Text]|[BMPuter]|[Velocity]|[TomTom]|[Vision]|[Space Navigator Driver]|[Super Fast Boot]

  • #2
    needs a database, maybe bsddb to handle the 1tb music collections
    PC Components:
    Lilliput; XPC/FLEX mobo; 1.7 ghz P4 Mobile;512 DDR; 160 gb HDD; opus 150; slot usb dvd-rw
    My work log

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    • #3
      file indexing may sufice, but very good point
      Current:
      [BMW E46 ///M3 Convertible]

      Previous:
      [BMW E31 850CSi]|[BMW E39 535i]|[BMW HVAC Research]|[IBUS Scrolling Text]|[BMPuter]|[Velocity]|[TomTom]|[Vision]|[Space Navigator Driver]|[Super Fast Boot]

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      • #4
        auto volume up is allready fitted to most new ish cars, they use the speed input to increase the volume
        2001 Passat 130TDi Sport - Via Epia 15000, 1gb, 100gb, 220w psu, 7" lilliput motorized touch (chopped and in dash as a fixed), bluetooth, bu-303 gps, 7 port usb hub, tiny keyboard, netgear 54mb wifi, optima yellow top, ryder rt1170x, freecom dvb

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        • #5
          sure, what I mean a noise based version. so if you have your windows open and there's lots of noise from the ouside, or the air heater/AC fan goes on too loud, then the volume would increase.
          Current:
          [BMW E46 ///M3 Convertible]

          Previous:
          [BMW E31 850CSi]|[BMW E39 535i]|[BMW HVAC Research]|[IBUS Scrolling Text]|[BMPuter]|[Velocity]|[TomTom]|[Vision]|[Space Navigator Driver]|[Super Fast Boot]

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          • #6
            My dream is a standalone carpc software which boots without an OS(so it makes front-end itself an OS). easy touchscreen access and specially some ibus features. Mute button for passengers!..
            ibus error
            GTA skin

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            • #7
              Do you have a programming language in mind?
              www.mobile-effects.com

              Free file hosting, picture gallery hosting for installs, PM me.

              Internet's first Front End Skin browser, featured installs, downloads, links, informative articles - all free to registered users.

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              • #8
                Yep .net, I will be using C# (closest to Java) for the low-level and back end stuff, and my brother will be using VB.net for the visuals
                Current:
                [BMW E46 ///M3 Convertible]

                Previous:
                [BMW E31 850CSi]|[BMW E39 535i]|[BMW HVAC Research]|[IBUS Scrolling Text]|[BMPuter]|[Velocity]|[TomTom]|[Vision]|[Space Navigator Driver]|[Super Fast Boot]

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by redbullah
                  My dream is a standalone carpc software which boots without an OS(so it makes front-end itself an OS)
                  I don't think that would be the best way of doing things. Back in the 386 days, some company made a game called Commanche, which loaded itself in that way. it was written purely in machine code and performed super fast. However any code you write there will be purely for that os. so if you want to play divx's, you'd have to write your own codec, same for mp3's, dvd's and the rest. It's much better to use something like a linux or windows base, as it already provides a common interface to other people's codecs. Code reuse as it's called.

                  Originally posted by redbullah
                  easy touchscreen access and specially some ibus features. Mute button for passengers!..
                  mute button for passengers could be an interesting idea
                  Current:
                  [BMW E46 ///M3 Convertible]

                  Previous:
                  [BMW E31 850CSi]|[BMW E39 535i]|[BMW HVAC Research]|[IBUS Scrolling Text]|[BMPuter]|[Velocity]|[TomTom]|[Vision]|[Space Navigator Driver]|[Super Fast Boot]

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                  • #10
                    Features:

                    MULTIPLATFORM!! or at leats that it can run in linux

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                    • #11
                      I've thought about that, I wanted to do it in Java for that reason, so it would run on linux/windows/mac

                      the problem with doing that is codec installers. Java's support for media files is at best poor! divx, realplayer, mp3's and all those need to be external players. So I guess a Java app could use external command lines that are configured, but I fear the multple OS testing.

                      The second issue is using a GPS app. Again, Java can do this for windows using some ActiveX interfaces etc. But this will be a different game all together for macs and for linux.

                      I'll give it some thought again, to see whether or not it is a viable option. I'll try a few proof of concepts first but I'm doubtful in all honesty.
                      Current:
                      [BMW E46 ///M3 Convertible]

                      Previous:
                      [BMW E31 850CSi]|[BMW E39 535i]|[BMW HVAC Research]|[IBUS Scrolling Text]|[BMPuter]|[Velocity]|[TomTom]|[Vision]|[Space Navigator Driver]|[Super Fast Boot]

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by sama
                        divx, realplayer, mp3's and all those need to be external players.

                        EHHH??? Javas media framework handle those AFAIK.

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                        • #13
                          ...I'll second the use of a database for speedy searches of huge music libraries... has to be easily searchable.... priority #1 to me...
                          MY NEWEST INSTALL:modded infiniti fx with big screen

                          first windows carpc install........my liquid cooled LVDS screen :D

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                          • #14
                            Actually my perfect frontend is browsing by either DB or folder list

                            I found it faster for me to use folders for bands then the albums under them but only a select few frontends offer this.

                            Id rather have that and a db but an option for either would be good
                            CarPC Status:
                            GPS: 99%
                            Hardware: 99%
                            Software: 92%
                            Case Install: 99.9%
                            Dash Install: 100%
                            Car Install: 72%

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                            • #15
                              @P3rv3rt B3ar - I looked at JMF recently, and focussed mainly on getting DVD to play through it. I was hoping for an out-of-the-box solution but faced many problems, and solutions out there use directshow wrappers, which would pretty much solve the video realm. Perhaps mp3's are implemented, I'm not too sure, but I'd bet a couple of dollars WMA and the likes are not as easy. I will investigate a bit more though. If you have any pointers for me, poke away

                              @turbocad / Nin - The biggest problem is not the indexing itself, that part is easy and can be done in a variety of ways. The key is updating the indices. I know that in my case I have a removable disk that I take home and update. It would be possible to have an update on demand, but that would have to be a brute force mechanism to check thoroughly. This is a seperate area of debate I think and will probably be started as a thread of it's own when the project gets on the way.
                              Current:
                              [BMW E46 ///M3 Convertible]

                              Previous:
                              [BMW E31 850CSi]|[BMW E39 535i]|[BMW HVAC Research]|[IBUS Scrolling Text]|[BMPuter]|[Velocity]|[TomTom]|[Vision]|[Space Navigator Driver]|[Super Fast Boot]

                              Comment

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