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  • ALEXIS touch interface

    Still in very early development. Comments and suggestions most certainly welcome! If there's enough interest in it, I will begin coding to provide more flexibility, such as selectable modules (not everyone has GPS or engine sensors), and the ability to be skinned.

    It's designed to be simplistic and quick, yet visually attractive. One thing that got to me about MediaEngine was the load times associated with switching modes. This interface doesn't have that issue, but then again, it's not nearly as complex in dealing with mp3 management as ME is. Were I just dealing with multimedia in the car, MediaEngine would be my choice. It's full of eyecandy and features that make it perfect for music and videos and even GPS. BUT I wanted something a little better suited for doing some actual driving while using it. Hats off to Coyote. Here's my entry to the field:

    The Alexis Project

    Flame if you will, but in the end, this is MY baby, and I wanted to give y'all a chance to peek at a fellow geek's endeavor.
    The ALEXIS Project
    MP3---VIDEO---GPS---REARVIEW---OBD---SKINNING
    Color Coding :
    DONE / MOSTLY DONE / BASE FEATURES / WORKING CONCEPT / NO CODE COMPLETED

  • #2
    Looks pretty good!

    Keep up the great work!

    Looks like another program to make a skin for


    Garry
    Co-Developer of A.I.M.E.E
    www.aimee.cc

    Comment


    • #3
      It looks great I'd like to see more
      Lilliput 8", C134 EPIA-M 900 (Black), A1-ITX, 256 Mb RAM, 40 Gb HDD, DVD, 802.11g, mini keyboard

      Comment


      • #4
        Nice. Send me the specs so that I can put them up on the features list. It is going to be freeware right?
        - Lwin M. Maung
        If it's stuck, force it. If it breaks it needed replacing anyway

        Comment


        • #5
          looks nice and clean
          Car: 2000 Toyota Celica GT-S
          Mods: Yep
          Carputer: VIA M9000 | Opus 150 | 512MB PC2100 | 60GB Notebook HD | Slim/Slot DVD/CDRW | Audigy2NX | Xenarc 700TSV | (2) DSCustoms DS700HRS (in trunk) | SMC USB 802.11b | CoPilot | DLink FM tuner | Cliffnet

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Seraph
            Nice. Send me the specs so that I can put them up on the features list. It is going to be freeware right?
            How about this: mp3car.com has been instrumental in helping me get to the level I'm at today. I've been cruising this site and yapping here and there since about three years ago. In return for all of the generous tips and help over the years, whether I decide to charge for it or not, mp3car.com users get it free.

            That way, when I turn this thing into a cash cow to start my own multinational conglomerate mega-corp, you can all own a piece of history!

            *stares into space and dreams on*

            Seriously, yes, for all the good peeps here, it's free. This is, of course, when I can get this thing locked down and useable by everyone. Right now, it's pretty universal alright, but mainly because it's so naked.
            The ALEXIS Project
            MP3---VIDEO---GPS---REARVIEW---OBD---SKINNING
            Color Coding :
            DONE / MOSTLY DONE / BASE FEATURES / WORKING CONCEPT / NO CODE COMPLETED

            Comment


            • #7
              Man, I like that voice!
              Stop Buying New Music CD's.
              Hit The RIAA where it lives.

              Indash Motorized 7", Epia Nehimiah, 512 MB, 80 GB, DVD, Wireless G, XP Pro, XM PCR, Kenwwod 5 Channel 1200 Watt Amp.

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              • #8
                Looks pretty good to me. I like the way your thinking about flexibility. Maby even haveing blank buttons that you can enter your own text into to launch apps that some people might use more than others.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Animepix
                  Looks pretty good to me. I like the way your thinking about flexibility. Maby even haveing blank buttons that you can enter your own text into to launch apps that some people might use more than others.
                  That's what I have been preaching forever. I like the new stuff that people are making now. Now we are talking frontend and we have choices.
                  - Lwin M. Maung
                  If it's stuck, force it. If it breaks it needed replacing anyway

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Animepix
                    Looks pretty good to me. I like the way your thinking about flexibility. Maby even haveing blank buttons that you can enter your own text into to launch apps that some people might use more than others.
                    YES!!! Great idea!! I shall see about making that happen! Maybe an "applications" screen where all the shortcuts are kept? Oooh I sooo like that concept!

                    At the same time, I have to offer up a sarcastic "thanks alot buddy". You just gave me enough ideas to lock into development for the remainder of the night and most of tomorrow.... in one stretch.

                    Edit: When I think about it, there arises a potential problem with the button creation thing. What about the people without touch screens? I could probably code something up for people to be able to draw their own simple buttons on the screen and title them appropriately, but what about those with a simple display? As a compromise, how about a configuration setting that allows you to display a certain number of buttons on the screen, and the user could simply use onscreen keyboard shortcuts to choose a number and edit it with name and link appropriately? For that matter, how far should I be thinking about this? How many users surf the web from their cars or would like the ability to launch a game or something of that nature from the interface?

                    The problems really start coming to bear when I attempt to maintain flexibility, but at the same time attempt to keep it based on the concept that this is to be used for things that you would do while driving. In retrospect, it might be a better idea to provide quicklinks in a separate Applications screen that closes the interface and launches the appropriate program. You see, I want this to be a driving interface, not just all-around carputer Play My Games and Watch My Movies program. While I can't exactly look down my nose at those who want to do those things in a car (I've been stuck in the car while the girlfriend goes into the department store to "just pick up something"), I would like to keep the interface itself a little limited in what it can do, simply to ensure that it remains fast and light, and uncluttered with a lot of options that may not get used all that often.

                    What do y'all think? I'm all fired up to code like a motherf--ker, but I don't want to come to my senses in the morning and realize that this thing just became a bloated sow of a program....
                    The ALEXIS Project
                    MP3---VIDEO---GPS---REARVIEW---OBD---SKINNING
                    Color Coding :
                    DONE / MOSTLY DONE / BASE FEATURES / WORKING CONCEPT / NO CODE COMPLETED

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I would say that allowing the user to customize their interface is fine. You can still ship a default skin that is minimalistic and will perform as you desire. Perhaps someone else desires a skin that is much more complicated however.

                      I believe that intuitively, people will want to drill down to what they are interested in and perhaps you can simply provide them the means to ORGANIZE everything. What you would then need to do is allow the user to do two things:
                      1. Make their own shortcuts that launch their own programs.
                      2. Make their own folders that give organization and structure to these shortcuts.

                      I think a LOT could be learned by looking at the layout of the themes at mythtv.org that have been used for these linux PVR's. These guys allow any user to write a plugin (module) that can be integrated into the rest of the program seamlessly. It is really slick.

                      Best of luck man. I would be more than happy to help.

                      Thanks,
                      Jesse

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Thanks for the offer Jesse! I could probably use a bit of help in this field. See the problem is that I wasn't taking the ability to skin into account when I first developed this thing. I am far from an expert-level programmer in VB, but I know enough to be dangerous when pushed into a corner.

                        Thing is, I have absolutely no clue how to code in skinnability to this app other than giving a user the ability to change the button graphics and the backgrounds, but at that point, it becomes little more flexible than Winamp2.x. There is no ability to size buttons or move them about the screen such as the skinning ability of Winamp3. Of course, I can also give the user the ability to create their own buttons (within certain boundaries), but if it gets into the level of organizing folders for shortcuts or music in general, I find myself getting a little lost.

                        I keep all of my music in three main folders, and I don't organize by artist, album etc. This, in my opinion, would add a level of complexity to using it that would hinder it's useability as a quick and easy interface. Suddenly a lot of stuff dealing with organizing the music library comes into play. It's my theory that playlists should generally be created on a seperate machine and blown out to the mobile system. I of course have added the capability to edit playlists on a temporary basis, but I don't want to think about re-organizing my library while trying to dodge the road sheep.

                        With all of this, I'm a little torn as to what would make the best interface. Sure, flexibility is sweet and everything, but it comes at a price to the programmer. Too much flexibility means a buttload of code that makes the program as a whole a bit of a monster. Honestly, I don't know how Coyote maintains control of something as large as MediaEngine. Seems like with all the features he's adding, it could just about get up out of the drive and start biting his ankles at random!

                        In the end, it seems like a holy grail of frontend development: endless flexibility within the boundaries of simplicity. Ouch. I think my head just popped. I'm going to the bathroom to get a bandaid for it.
                        The ALEXIS Project
                        MP3---VIDEO---GPS---REARVIEW---OBD---SKINNING
                        Color Coding :
                        DONE / MOSTLY DONE / BASE FEATURES / WORKING CONCEPT / NO CODE COMPLETED

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Lol, funny, yet sincere. I love it...the program that is. Looking good deadweasel! I wish I stayed on top of my programming to abe to provide wise insight, but what I've seen so far from your pics I can say this much; you are definetially on to something. I love the natural sounding voice and the integration with the car (which I think is a prime function of the carputer). Personally, I think going all touch screen or some kind of quick input ala numpad is the best bet and not a full fledge keyboard. Trust me...I have an ir and although it needs direct line of sight, it's still a pain to put in your lap while you drive. I think the optimal system should be touch screen and voice recognition. If you could implement some form of both, it would blow your idea of usability out of the water. Let me recommend Ultra Hal by Zabaware. G'luck!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by 1300mer
                            Lol, funny, yet sincere. I love it...the program that is. Looking good deadweasel! I wish I stayed on top of my programming to abe to provide wise insight, but what I've seen so far from your pics I can say this much; you are definetially on to something. I love the natural sounding voice and the integration with the car (which I think is a prime function of the carputer). Personally, I think going all touch screen or some kind of quick input ala numpad is the best bet and not a full fledge keyboard. Trust me...I have an ir and although it needs direct line of sight, it's still a pain to put in your lap while you drive. I think the optimal system should be touch screen and voice recognition. If you could implement some form of both, it would blow your idea of usability out of the water. Let me recommend Ultra Hal by Zabaware. G'luck!
                            Thanks for the input! Doing my best to make this into something that is so useable people can't do without it. Pfft. Right. I'm simply following my instincts as to what I think the system should actually do while moving about. If the system is agile enough, it could inspire me to just go living on the road or something.

                            I've been working with some basic AI for SASAMI, my primary development system. Trust me, even with that thing crammed with power, it still takes some time to generate her own unique responses to what I said in the first place. Another problem I'm having with voice recognition is the actual recognition itself. ALECCS (ALEXIS' little brother) couldn't seem to make heads or tails of my voice whenever the environmental conditions changed (IE window down, music up etc). I was basing the recognition on the Dragon Systems speech recognition engine. While very nice for working in the studio, it does very little for me on the road. I read in these posts somewhere about a program called Voice Flux that does some nice universal recognition. I went to find it, but apparently the company changed sites and dropped that thing like a newborn giraffe. You know of a place to pick that up?

                            As for input: why yes, the general aim is to elminate the keyboard, although I think I might just be mounting one of those Zippy keyboards on the passenger visor for the good ole "wow" factor. Besides, I don't think I want any commoner passenger just putting their grubby claws on my Precious. Oh great, now I've gone into some sort of friggin Smeagle mode with it...
                            The ALEXIS Project
                            MP3---VIDEO---GPS---REARVIEW---OBD---SKINNING
                            Color Coding :
                            DONE / MOSTLY DONE / BASE FEATURES / WORKING CONCEPT / NO CODE COMPLETED

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              ALEXIS interface progress update

                              I realized that I was missing some key components to the mp3 playback module, and thought that somebody would be a little miffed at not being able to select individual files for playback! As you read through the updates, it may seem to you that I'm afflicted with ADD, which is quite true actually. That is the reason for the complex home development system. Computers give me an excellent opportunity to exercise the impulse to move on to something else before I've completed the first task, and as it turns out, is therapeutic for reducing the effects without the use of stupid drugs. God I love multitasking environments!

                              - Added capability to add individual files to currently loaded playlist

                              - Added capability to create temporary playlists by selecting files individually from a directory

                              - Drink 20oz. Mountain Dew

                              - Corrected glitches in playlist tracking. Display was not keeping consistent when switching between mp3 function windows

                              - Ate a couple candybars leftover from Halloween (no I didnt go trick-or-treating, there just wasn't a whole lot of kids in the neighborhood!)

                              - Began developing code for direct access to webcam drivers. Turns out the drivers already offer the ability to mirror the video, which saves me a ton of code without doing it with an ActiveX control instead. This is an absolute necessity if the webcam is to be used for rearview.

                              - Downed half a pizza (mmmm pepperoni...)

                              - Began planning for new module to give user more control over appearance/available modules, including skinning, on-the-fly AppLinks buttons, and root system volume control access. Previously I had assumed the system should default to 50% Main Volume at the system level, but then it dawned on me that some may need it to be lower or higher depending on their audio connection and output hardware.

                              - Considered eating another candybar.

                              - Began coding for Divx/X-Vid player module

                              - Began planning to make arrangements to get around to stop putting off scheduling time to sleep, which should actually be happening right about...................
                              The ALEXIS Project
                              MP3---VIDEO---GPS---REARVIEW---OBD---SKINNING
                              Color Coding :
                              DONE / MOSTLY DONE / BASE FEATURES / WORKING CONCEPT / NO CODE COMPLETED

                              Comment

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