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Thread: Why Mac?

  1. #1
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    Why Mac?

    Let me preface this by saying I love macs for general computing. But I'm trying to understand why a mac would be preferable as a car computer?

    Mac's have a great UI, but that doesn't seem relevent here because the front end hides that. And if you really do want mac-like UI elements you can get that with some skins for XP-based front-ends like RoadRunner.

    Is it the OS itself? Because that seems pretty hidden as well.

    It can't be application support, because there is a lot less of that on the Mac than on PC. And some of the key apps, like iTunes, are available on the PC as well.

    Is it hardware? The mini is a nice box, but you can get the equivalent PC easily with just a mini-itx mobo, proc, and a stick of memory, for significantly less money. Or you can get pre-built systems that are even more compact then the mini and specifically designed for car computing (built in automotive power supply).

    Or is it just that the thought of Windows makes you feel all icky inside?

  2. #2
    Low Bitrate crimsonaudio's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffw View Post
    Or is it just that the thought of Windows makes you feel all icky inside?
    Yes.

  3. #3
    QCar Creator Jirka Jirout's Avatar
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    Cocoa

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    Variable Bitrate NeonDev's Avatar
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    lol yes the ickyness is a part of it.

    the minis IR port is a huge deal to me as I will be using apples IR remote in conjunction with my own FE. My FE being the 2nd big reason as It won't run under windows.

    Also I dont buy the whole less money argument for building your own. once you factor In time and shipping and buying a windows license building your own turns pricy. Maybe I'm wrong.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jirka Jirout View Post
    Cocoa
    Can you explain this one more? What is it about Cocoa that is an advantage for car computers? How does it effect the car computer... is it just the development of it or does it affect the end result?

  6. #6
    CarFrontEnd Creator iamgnat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffw View Post
    But I'm trying to understand why a mac would be preferable as a car computer?
    First and foremost it has to be a love for the platform. Most of the things you point out are true and valid which, in my mind, would not make it a good platform unless you have a vested interest in it.

    Mac's have a great UI, but that doesn't seem relevent here because the front end hides that. And if you really do want mac-like UI elements you can get that with some skins for XP-based front-ends like RoadRunner.
    Well that is a bit of a contentious point around here. I personally believe that the FE should express the OS that it runs on rather than hide it.

    As far as skinning a Win FE to look like a Mac. Just cause it looks like a duck, doesn't mean it quacks like one. The Mac UI is much more than just a look. Instead it goes down into the basic architecture for how things are put together and oriented. Skinning can change the look, but it can rarely change how the app functions.

    Is it the OS itself? Because that seems pretty hidden as well.
    Again, I don't believe that the OS should be entirely hidden. But no you won't be using Finder, etc..

    I think the OS is still critical though. If for nothing else, I believe you should only use the OS that you are most comfortable with in your car. You will have problems with the computer in your car at some point, so you might as well make life easy on your self and pick the platform that YOU can best support. I haven't used Windows since 98 SP1 so it would be a poor choice for me to try to support at this point.

    It can't be application support, because there is a lot less of that on the Mac than on PC. And some of the key apps, like iTunes, are available on the PC as well.
    FrontRow isn't available for the PC, and there are more than a few people that are happy using it. While iTunes is on the PC, it is not as easy to script and control as it is on the Mac. But yes in general there is less support as we are a smaller group.

    Is it hardware? The mini is a nice box, but you can get the equivalent PC easily with just a mini-itx mobo, proc, and a stick of memory, for significantly less money. Or you can get pre-built systems that are even more compact then the mini and specifically designed for car computing (built in automotive power supply).
    This is where I think you fall down a bit. The pre-built Mini-like systems (the Pandora seems to be the most popular) actually comes out to be about the same price when you kit it out like the Mini (RAM, BT, Wireless, HDD) and they both use the same power supply (CarNetix).

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  7. #7
    QCar Creator Jirka Jirout's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffw View Post
    Can you explain this one more? What is it about Cocoa that is an advantage for car computers? How does it effect the car computer... is it just the development of it or does it affect the end result?
    Despite some of Apple's "improvements" Cocoa is in my opinion still by far the best OO framework out there (and I have seen and used quite a few). Although it lacks some functionality (i.e. db connectivity), this fortunately does not affect car use.

    It does affect the end result quite a lot. It is so much easier to work with than other frameworks/environments (with .NET coming rather close, but still not quite there), so you can really focus on what you are doing, instead of fighting hardware, OS etc.. Because of this, you can also develop many things yourself and do not have to try to glue together stuff made by others.

    As for the other advantages of the platform, the hardware has very good price/performance ratio and is extremely reliable. I do not have time and nerves to build my own hardware that I can buy. I have enough to do with the hardware we cannot buy and have to make.

    Quote Originally Posted by iamgnat
    First and foremost it has to be a love for the platform.
    Come on, it is just a computer. If any other platform offered me what Mac does, I would not have any problems switching... Currently however there is no such platform.

  8. #8
    CarFrontEnd Creator iamgnat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jirka Jirout View Post
    Come on, it is just a computer. If any other platform offered me what Mac does, I would not have any problems switching... Currently however there is no such platform.
    It is, I would too, and I agree. And that is why I love the platform so much.

    I'm in no way suggesting that Apple doesn't have it's own faults, just that it is the best of breed right now and I respect it as such.

    -dave
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffw View Post
    Is it hardware? The mini is a nice box, but you can get the equivalent PC easily with just a mini-itx mobo, proc, and a stick of memory, for significantly less money. Or you can get pre-built systems that are even more compact then the mini and specifically designed for car computing (built in automotive power supply).
    Not true. Take a Mini and spec out an identical Pandora system. The Mini offers more for less.

    That doesn't matter to most folks around here because they build their own system. If you decide to build your own and don't need the same form factor, you can build a PC system for a lot less.

    I think the Intel Mini is a great choice because you can experiment around with a Windows install if you want, try out Front Row if you want, whatever. If you want to experiment around with all aspects of the hobby, the Mini is a good choice. If you want a cheap Windows box, it's not for you.
    Quote Originally Posted by ghettocruzer View Post
    I was gung ho on building a PC [until] just recently. However, between my new phone having internet and GPS and all...and this kit...Im starting to have trouble justfiying it haha.
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  10. #10
    Fusion Brain Creator 2k1Toaster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bugbyte View Post
    Not true. Take a Mini and spec out an identical Pandora system. The Mini offers more for less.

    That doesn't matter to most folks around here because they build their own system. If you decide to build your own and don't need the same form factor, you can build a PC system for a lot less.

    I think the Intel Mini is a great choice because you can experiment around with a Windows install if you want, try out Front Row if you want, whatever. If you want to experiment around with all aspects of the hobby, the Mini is a good choice. If you want a cheap Windows box, it's not for you.
    I wont get into another mac vs. pc, but I think the PC is the obvious choice for the Car and I will leave it at that.

    Just want to say that for those who want to expirement with every frontend, you can install XP on a mac, or you can install OSX on a pc (I triple boot my desktop OSX/XP/Vista). So you dont have to buy a mac to try it out and see if you can stand it.
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