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Thread: Newbie: State of the Car Mac

  1. #1
    Newbie
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    4

    Newbie: State of the Car Mac

    So today I was stoked about the prospect of putting a mac mini in my car. I had high hopes, but it appears that these might be crashing down around me. I've been skimming and searching posts for the better part of 3 hours now, but I figured maybe you old hands could save me time and just level with me.

    It seems there are a number of areas that are "troubling"...

    • GPS. I hadn't looked into this too much. I knew that there are several options available to Windows users, I figured at least one solution would be lurking in OS X. I thought Route Buddy would be good, but according to all you guys, it's anything but. And there doesn't seem to be much else in the catalog...
    • Speech Recognition. Don't say it can't be done. All discussions of microphone/voice quality aside, Ford does this (using Microsoft technology! ), with surprisingly good results from what I hear.
      • MacSpeech's new product Dictate recently came out, and even won a 2008 Best In Show award at Macworld. However, when I emailed them, they basically told me it wouldn't work.
      • I'm not looking for complete control of the 'puter, but I would like some generic commands like "Play artist [artist]" to work. Using the generic Speakables/Speech Recognition, I would have to make a custom script for each playlist, artist, album, or whatever I wanted to filter by. Unacceptable. It should be able to recognize the command ("Play Artist"), and then take whatever follows as a search parameter.
      • Does anyone have any insight as to how Ford pulled it off, either software or hardware-wise?

    • Front End. This seems to be the worst of the bunch, and at first I didn't think I'd even need it. I figured I would just use FrontRow, but then I was like "well, it would be nice to have GPS and stuff all tied together". I can't even count the number of threads about front ends. What is out there that is actually usable? It seems to be fashionable to start programming a front-end, but then stop midway through development.
    • Apple-made carputer? I saw some stuff that suggested Apple might be working on their own in-car systems (in conjunction with Mercedes I think). Is this just a tantalizing rumour?


    I'm not really interested in running anything in Parallels or Fusion. Assuming that the following list is all of my requirements, should I just not even try? I'm assuming that this is more or less what everyone wants, but I don't want to start down this path unless I am fairly confident that I will end up 100% satisfied with the results.
    • In-Car GPS
    • iTunes/music - I could care less about DVD/movie playback
    • Speech controls for iTunes (a must) and GPS (preferably)
    • FM radio (AM would be a nice-to-have)
    • Stateful music memory - that is, resume whatever was happening when the ignition was turned off, whether that's a track in iTunes or a radio station. This is probably just a nice-to-have, but I can imagine myself getting very annoyed at having to reset the music every time I turn on the car, especially if I don't have voice controls and I am sifting through 30GB of music...
    • It would be nice if all the people working on different Front Ends could agree on a modular FE system, and collaborate on that.
      • That way, you don't have a highly-fragmented development community because Dev A needs GPS and Dev B only wants Audio. If you don't want/need a feature, then it won't be in your front end.
      • Designing your architecture against one static set of requirements is just bad form. I don't have satellite radio, buy maybe if Sirius/XM do merge, I'll get one later and pop it in.
      • Ideally then, you could divide up the tasking, having one person focus on the GPS module, one on music, etc. Starting with a modular framework also gives you the flexibility to add stuff later that you hadn't even considered at conception.
      • Yes, I am a software engineer, but no, I have no experience programming for OS X, unfortunately.

  2. #2
    Newbie
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    1
    Let me see if I understand your post. You want a system that meets all of your needs, 100%. You want all the developers of front ends to collaborate to ensure compatability. You want features that you have seen in Fords (speech recog), etc,etc.

    After reviewing the state of the art as presented on this and similar boards i would have to agree with you that this would be nice to have, but is not likely to be something that you will pick up in a free, open source environment. What would be the motivation of anyone to develop and maintain such a complex system, when most potential users would just as soon pay for them in a new car with Navigation and entertainment systems now coming to market?

    By adding Mac to the mix, you are further reducing the chance of a solution, as the market for Mac based apps is still very small compared to Windows.

    Surely, as a software engineer you can see this

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