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Thread: I think I'm done with the CarPC Deal

  1. #61
    North of the land of Hey Huns
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    As I said in the post above, I've been driving for 10 years (well 9.5). I've been involved in the carpc hobby for very close to the entire time. I haven't had a carpc the entire time, either because of money restrictions, parental restrictions (in the early years), or time, but I've always been planning building and working on my design and software. It's never lost its fun for me, nor will it.
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  2. #62
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    Quote Originally Posted by malcom2073 View Post
    As I said in the post above, I've been driving for 10 years (well 9.5). I've been involved in the carpc hobby for very close to the entire time. I haven't had a carpc the entire time, either because of money restrictions, parental restrictions (in the early years), or time, but I've always been planning building and working on my design and software. It's never lost its fun for me, nor will it.
    This is what Im saying, carpc cant be a sole hobby. Call it a technology hobby because it is very unlikely you only concentrate on this carpc project.

    My hobby hovers around anything to do with technology, it keeps me busy. I design my own HW/SW when I feel I have the need for it. Otherwise I just buy and be done with it.

    I been into from satellite hobby, cars, pc, microcontroller you name it. I apply what I know when theres a need for it.

    I even built my own satellite receiver when I was a kid, this was from elektor magazine. As well as follow an instruction how to build a parabolic dish. But no Ill never do that now, satellite receiver can be had for free these days. Yes satellite hobby for me had died, I only install dish, flash firmware and just rewire it from time to time. Its hardly called a hobby now really.

  3. #63
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    Now you're just arguing semantics. If you want to go there, technically this website is about innovative mobile technology (Hey, it just fits). So therefore the hobby could be considered that, and calling it a carpc hobby is just a short way of saying that, since the main focus of the hobby at this time is on the carpc. Years ago it was on, as was mentioned above, character LCD's and simple mp3 players. Hardly considerable to be a carpc, but part of the hobby none the less.
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  4. #64
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    Quote Originally Posted by malcom2073 View Post
    Now you're just arguing semantics. If you want to go there, technically this website is about innovative mobile technology (Hey, it just fits). So therefore the hobby could be considered that, and calling it a carpc hobby is just a short way of saying that, since the main focus of the hobby at this time is on the carpc. Years ago it was on, as was mentioned above, character LCD's and simple mp3 players. Hardly considerable to be a carpc, but part of the hobby none the less.
    Wait? so the mp3car hobby died? Ill assume you started this as an old school mp3 car hobby? now you are on what? a carpc hobby? mp3car hobby died because you can get them on HU these days.

    So give 10 years time, what will you call your hobby what? back to "install HU and forget" hobby

    Anyway Im done for now so...

  5. #65
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    I've watched this thread and cringed often as you guys try to explain to JS8531 what this hobby is about. I tried to stay out of it, but evidently I've failed. I've been in this hobby since the days of the one line LCD MP3 players; and for me, its not and has never been about replacing a head unit (I have yet to remove a head unit) with a stable CarPC. Although I'm sure at this stage it can easily be done. I made a living at Technology Integration on the bleeding edge of technology. First for the military, then consumer products. As an inventor and developer, I was involved with this hobby before it had a name.

    Like BugByte and Malcom2073 have already said, it about the journey not the destination. JS8531 has shown that he doesn't get that, so he'll never understand our passion. My objectives of "my hobby" (whatever you want to call it) haven't really changed in the last 15 years - have fun integrating more capabilities into my vehicle. Stability is a concern, but I manage that by having two systems: one is a development/test bed and one is for "normal use" (and I use that term loosely). And yes I consider it a stable system.

    The key argument I keep hearing here is off-the-shelf vs self-made. I would never consider off-the-shelf personally because I like modifying/tweaking things myself - pushing the envelope just a little more. I like being able to add new features. I like experimenting with functions that no one else has thought up, and tying existing functions together. Consider this scenario: You buy a consumer Nav/MP3/DVD player and after a year you decide you want to change from NAVTEQ to Destinator routing engine. You have to remove and throw away a $1000 unit 1 year old and buy another $1000 unit, have it installed and setup and possibly have to do without the MP3 playback or another function not available on the new unit cause this manufacturer doesn't support it. I on the other hand buy $150 software package and can have both and still keep all the other functionality I also have. Your Nav unit has one input device, maybe two with a remote; but mine has five and I can easily add more if I want.

    For me, the hobby has never been strictly about the CarPC, but what can be added/integrated given its presence. "My hobby" will continue to evolve as consumer technology and fellow hobbyist develop new and interesting functions. ODBII, TPMS and Fusion Brain are good examples. The CarPC just allows Me to integrate these sensors and relays into my automated system the way I want. Lately, it has actually moved away from the PC to other technologies being integrated in the vehicle (I can control the CarPC from anywhere in the world via internet; I can access car functions like starter, windows, locks, relays, etc. from anywhere in the world via phone to a Sat xcvr; I track all three of my cars via internet and collect basic telemetry), but I get ahead of myself.

    Bottom line: Sure I can wait till some manufacturer decides to put together a system that I might use, but it'll never have all the features/functions that I want nor the level of integration to which I'm now accustomed, and especially won't have the level of customizabilty or upgradeability I currently have access to. Sure its time consuming, it can be extremely frustrating, sometimes it takes years to achieve a certain function (because I'm so far ahead of the consumer technology, i.e., internet radio), but thats all part of the hobby. Thing is, 15 years ago, everyone was basically on there own; now with places like MP3Car.com, the level of collaboration keeps it exciting. Who knows what we'll be integrating in another 15 years, but I'll be here if not intimately involved at least as a spectator cheering on the developers for continuing to push the envelope!
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  6. #66
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    i always thought it would be cool for the china people to come out with a tiny little pc, that you just plug into the 12v lighter socket, and plug into a small lcd that can suction cup to your windshield. something that you can store in your glovebox, and bust it out when you want it. no installation really, just plug n play. kinda like a big ipod that runs windows.

  7. #67
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    Why install a carpc when theres a unit that just bolts on and it would do it all right.
    Probably for the same reason that Thomas Edison tried (and failed) hundreds of times to get the bloody light bulb to work. It's so much easier to light a friggen match and light a candle now isn't it?

    10 years ago gents here were messing with mp3's and single line LCDs. That's likely what you have in your car right now. Now we are messing with touchscreens and interfacing with phones and the car and the web. In a year or two, you will see head units that do that. We'll be doing something better at that time.
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  8. #68
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    Quote Originally Posted by kev000 View Post
    Probably for the same reason that Thomas Edison tried (and failed) hundreds of times to get the bloody light bulb to work. It's so much easier to light a friggen match and light a candle now isn't it?

    10 years ago gents here were messing with mp3's and single line LCDs. That's likely what you have in your car right now. Now we are messing with touchscreens and interfacing with phones and the car and the web. In a year or two, you will see head units that do that. We'll be doing something better at that time.
    are you saying that in due time us members here will be the first ones using their carpc's gps navigation to fully automate our cars to drive us where we want to go?

  9. #69
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bugbyte View Post
    This was the first time I've ever been to CES. I knew CES is the largest consumer oriented electronic show and despite a 10% reduction in attendance, this year did not disappoint in terms of size. Fibreoptic and I walked for 4 days straight and still didn't see all of the show, which takes up the entire Las Vegas convention center and spills over to several nearby hotels.

    So, what were my impressions? The overwhelming sense I got was that car computing is alive and well but is unlikely to include traditional computers in the next few years. The days of the car PC are numbered.

    Smaller and Smaller

    The trend on the mp3Car.com forums for the past several years has been more towards innovation on the software development side rather than the hardware side. Although the learning curve may be steep for newbies, car PC veterans know that it is trivial to install a PC in a car. Power supplies, screens, hard drives and motherboards that can survive and operate reliably in the car are readily available and easy to install. While performance differences command differing price points, car PC hardware is effectively a commodity.

    Combine this with the trend of shrinking hardware size whether form factor, power requirements or storage, along with continuing price reductions however you measure the cost (per megabyte, per CPU cycle, per watt) and the car PC is an endangered species. Why? Because small device like smartphones are getting both smarter and more powerful.

    These phones are destined to be more than just application-enabled handheld devices. They represent a product that is increasing in storage, computational capability, full time connectivity whether bluetooth, WiFi, or cellular. Right now, they represent a simply a communication component that can link your car PC to data or voice networks but as they become more powerful they will eventually displace the PC in the car.

    Consider how close a device such as an iPhone comes to replacing a PC in the car right now. The big apps for car PC's such as music, video, web browsing, GPS and high speed internet are all available. Turn by turn navigation and voice control are not on the iPhone but doubtlessly they will be and they are available on other phones today.

    Of course, there are still compromises. Phones have a visually intensive interface, limited storage, proprietary protocols and OS capabilities, limited graphics capabilities and slower CPU's than full-blown PC's. Here's why I don't see that as a problem in the near future:

    The move of desktop applications to the net via web applications such as Google apps like gmail, mapping, calendars, chat and so forth offload the processing to systems on the net. That means the net computes your routings rather than your PC. It also offloads the storage requirement for data like maps while permitting access to live, updated information like traffic, weather, video and so forth. Connected computers have much more value in the car than non-connected ones.

    What Does the Future Look Like?

    So, what do I think this new future of car computing will look like? I think within the next five years we will see a shift from hardware in the car to a mobile device that you carry on your person. This device will help deliver what I call "Webiquity," the intersection of the right information to the right person at the right time, and on the right device. Webiquity exists in a limited way today for example, whenever Google asks you if you meant to inquire about movie times instead of moive times, but it doesn't span the majority of our human activity.

    When do I think a 'magic' device or phone will be delivered? First, I doubt if we will recognize it when it first appears. I certainly never connected the idea of putting a modern PC in my car when IBM delivered the PS/1. It will probably emerge through gradual experimentation and the ease of fitting crucial missing links in place.

    Always Connected

    The main link is advances in communications. It's pretty clear that if you are willing to pay for it, you can get net access most of the time. As the coverage becomes better and the cost for connectivity continues to drop, our attention will turn towards the possibility of actually depending on the net for things we can't store on our devices -such as weather, dynamic traffic, gas prices and so forth.

    In fact, current iPhones might make a pretty good car PC except for the screen and the interface. Even if there were an easy way to link the phone's display or drive a separate display (say, by bluetooth or WiFi, or even by a docking mechanism), we'd still have the problem of the interface and extending the functionality of the phone in the car.

    Hardware Agnostic

    Therefore it's not necessarily a lock to say that this device will be a phone. As hardware gets smaller and more powerful, non-handset makers will be innovating to offer connectivity on new and different types of devices. Who knows? It may not be a single device at all. It might be a series of devices and interfaces that you interact with as you move from home to car to office and back. All I know is that the results will be small, powerful, and connected.

    Given the ability of a web browser to access and run most any kind of web application running on nearly any type of OS, I expect the OS in the car device to become less and less of an issue except for specific hardware interface issues. The OS will still matter on the web server, but the end result -the application being run by the client, will be less and less important.

    So, while one piece of the puzzle is probably hardware -something like a monitor that is wireless or cellular and can interface with your handheld device, the other piece is software.

    The Software Will Be The Solution

    Once we can reliably depend on the mobile net, we'll start shifting our attention from front ends that are tied to an OS to front ends or voice interfaces that are built on the web, for our cars. We'll be able to mash up services, figure out routings, get directions, find phone numbers, view webcams and stream data in both directions.

    Of course, we can already do that in some of the most advanced car PC installations. The best part will be the applications we haven't thought of yet. Right now, nascent applications that are location aware are just now beginning to be developed. Consider how cool would it be if you could conjure up Zillow while driving through neighborhoods hunting for houses? School performance, tax data, things to do and see would be available to you on the move. How about dynamic GPS reroutes based on traffic density reports online? Or instant comparison and evaluation of codes thrown by your car's OBDII port to tell you whether you need to head to the nearest mechanic right away or whether that sound the car is making can wait a day or so?

    It may all sound a bit far out right now but what I saw at CES confirmed what I already thought. The days of the car PC are numbered. It may die a slow and lingering death, but evolution is going to catch up with it eventually. I think sooner than later.
    http://www.mp3car.com/vbulletin/mp3c...g-bugbyte.html

  10. #70
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    So? That's his personal opinion. If you read through the thread, you will see that there are several paths you can take to get mobile electronics in your car. One of which is to use small handheld devices, and one of which is to do a full-on computer. Personally I could never go with a tiny hand held device like the iphone. It's just not moddable enough, functional enough, or have a large enough screen for me.
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