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Thread: I've Got It! The Ultimate Maccar Solution!

  1. #1
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    I've Got It! The Ultimate Maccar Solution!

    OK,

    Here's basically my criteria for the fullest MacCar system.

    1. An OVERALL Clean operation, seamless, no Mac OS X Menu Bars Menus etc.
    2. Beautiful GPS Navigation with XM Navtraffic
    3. Video Playback of video and DVDs
    4. Audio playback of CDs, MP3 CDs, etc
    5. PIM information (addresses, phone numbers etc)
    6. Bluetooth Phone Capability
    7. Voice controlled as much as possible
    8. Surround Sound capability
    9. Touch Screen capability (or alternate fast input capability)
    10. Simple Visual Structure for operating advanced features
    11. Mobile iLife
    12. Efficient AM/FM/XM/Sirius playback.

    Those are the main criteria I had in coming up with a good MacCar solution. What i found out is you can't have the best solution by going with a xenarc (don't flame me guys, im being honest) or other screen becasue then you have to deal with a horrible GPS solution since there are no good mac ones.

    1. An OVERALL Clean operation, seamless, no Mac OS X Menu Bars Menus etc.

    Here's what I'm going to do. Start with a Pioneer AVIC-Z1 and a MacMini piped to an alternate video input on the Z1 via the DVI to Video Adapter available here:

    http://store.apple.com/1-800-MY-APPL...nMore=M9267G/A

    And the list of features for the AVIC-Z1

    In-dash DVD player/navigation system with built-in amplifier (22 watts RMS/50 peak x 4 channels)
    fits double-sized dash openings
    motorized 7" video screen with touch-panel controls
    turn-by-turn map and voice guidance
    built-in 30GB hard drive (20GB for navigation functions, 10GB for music-file storage)
    voice command capability; microphone included
    text-to-speech technology announces the names of most roads
    learning capability: remembers frequently traveled roads and suggests familiar routes
    smart routing algorithm takes data such as posted speed limits and number of turns into account to suggest the most efficient route possible
    plays DVDs, DVD-R/RWs, CDs, CD-R/RWs, and MP3 discs
    navigation antenna included
    nearly 11 million points of interest
    Roadside Assistance display
    one year of free Roadside Assistance Service
    3-band parametric EQ
    XM and SIRIUS Satellite Radio-ready (subscription also required)
    XM's NavTraffic premium service available with your XM subscription for an extra $3.99 per month, or for $9.99 per month on its own (NavTraffic not available with a SIRIUS subscription, or through a SIRIUS radio); check the NavTraffic radio for a list of covered cities
    compatible with Pioneer's iPod interface adapter, Bluetooth adapter, and DVD/CD changer
    audio/video input
    rear-view camera input
    front, rear, and subwoofer preamp outputs
    tri-zone capable
    Supertuner IIID AM/FM tuner
    18 FM/6 AM presets

    2. Beautiful GPS Navigation with XM Navtraffic

    The Pioneer headunit provides a nice GPS navigation system, accessable via touch screen and XM Navtraffic ontop. Easily the smoothest GPS option. Touchscreen with the navigation I think is more important than touchscreen on the Mac.

    3. Video Playback of video and DVDs

    The AVIC Z1 provides DVD playback (since the navigation maps reside on the internal 30GB HD). Bypasses exist to allow video playback while in drive and monitoring of alternative inputs for passengers.

    4. Audio playback of CDs, MP3 CDs, etc

    The Z1 plays CDs, DVDs, MP3 CDs etc and the Mac Mini would cover, well pretty much any formatted disk possible.

    5. PIM information (addresses, phone numbers etc)

    I think this one is a given as AMP has access to the Mac OS X Address book but might be cool to add in a notes section so when you're in your car parked somewhere, you could jot down some stickies. So you don't have to always have some paper in the car. Maybe even use the microphone and do voice notes...

    6. Bluetooth Phone Capability

    This one should be Easy. Bluetooth to the Mac to synchronize with your PDA, Smartphone, or Bluetooth enabled cell phone (like my RAZR). Bluetooth added via the WiFi/BT addition. For the Z1 add the Pioneer ND-BT1

    7. Voice controlled as much as possible

    The Z1 includes voice control ability built in. The Mac with the addition of iListen (www.macspeech.com) and a hidden microphone, then the Mac could be completely voice operated (menu navigation included)

    8. Surround Sound capability

    Using the built in DVD-ROM in the Z1 you won't be able to get surround sound from what I understand. However, using the Mac Mini an an outboard surround sound processor (I suggest firewire interfaces instead of USB 1.1/2 due to the USB ones generally having a delay of 1/4 of a second or more) It's possible to route surround sound to a new set of amps (split to accept input from both the Mac Mini, and the head unit so when you use the DVD player you get surround sound, when you use the head unit you get regular stereo with your sub picking up the low end. 5.1 Surround Sound... awesome

    Here's an interface, the Griffin FireWave:

    http://www.griffintechnology.com/pro...ewave/more.php

    9. Touch Screen capability (or alternate fast input capability)

    Here's the trouble spot. Touch screen capabilities exist only on the Z1 Navigation screen which is fine for me due to the fact that a majority of the features are on it anyway (Radio, CD, XM, Nav etc). Using a Griffin PowerMate it's possible to swing a BMW Styled iDrive.

    http://www.griffintechnology.com/products/powermate/

    Or the Logitech one:
    http://www.logitech.com/index.cfm/pr...ontentid=11541

    personally I like the powermate because it'll match my interior (BLACK) and has a cooler less bulky feel.

    Also for fast input in AMP, possibly one of those small bluetooth keyboards or bluetooth rubber keyboards:

    Foldable: http://www.palminfocenter.com/news/4...n-development/

    Stowaway: http://www.mobiletechreview.com/tips...h-keyboard.htm

    10. Simple Visual Structure for operating advanced features

    One word and we all know and love it so far, and it shows great promise: AMP. As it goes along it can only get better.

    11. Mobile iLife

    Question: How do I take my iLife with me?
    Answer: AMP

    12. Efficient AM/FM/XM/Sirius playback.

    Built into the Z1. Clean interface already no need to replace it, however it look slike AMP will add in nice secondary options for radio and XM if you don't need/want XMNavTraffic.

    Added Bonus:

    The Pioneer options of iPod via touch screen in the Z1, Bluetooth Phone capability, CD Changer option, and DVD Player.


    I think this is the most complete and clean system. What I'm curious about is building the audio layout (I'll start diagraming soon) of moving audio out of the Z1, MacMini, and Surround Sound into amps so that normal stereo audio goes through normally as it should, but Surround Sound breaks it apart.

    What do you guys think? Any ways to improve this?

  2. #2
    AMP Creator aychamo's Avatar
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    Would the TouchScreen work for AMP?
    -

  3. #3
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    unfortunatly, no it wouldn't work, but wiring up a PowerMate, using Voice Recognition (www.macspeech.com) and a wireless BlueTooth keyboard (in the list above) would allow fullcontrol of hte mac mini.

  4. #4
    Maximum Bitrate GoHybrid's Avatar
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    so how are you going to get rid of that OSX menu bar? i tried Menufela, which was a great program except it only hides it until the cursor goes to the top of the screen. 5 bucks for less than perfect? i don't think so.
    Et ipsa scientia potestas est.

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  5. #5
    Admin. Linux loser.
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    Putting the Mac Mini output to the AVIC screen will result in a disappointing video display. The AVIC uses video input and the Mini uses the much crisper DVI or VGA.

    As for sound, I guess the Mini will give you 5.1 over the Firewave, but isn't the AVIC your main player?

    I'm not sure I understand why you want to put the Mini in the car when the AVIC does nearly everything except 5 and 11?
    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.
    Want to:
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    -Find out about carPC's in just 5 minutes? View the Car PC 101 video

  6. #6
    Super Moderator. If my typing sucks it's probably because I'm driving.... turbocad6's Avatar
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    what your building is what I call a hybrid system, a full multimedia setup combined with a pc (mac in your case)... bugbyte is right though, your display will be blurry & text will be extemely difficult to read unless it's huge...

    your going to drop a nice chunk of change there, & it's better you realize this up front...

    I have a hybrid system too, but alpine & windows, the only real choice to me is multiple screens..... if you have the space & desire for that of course...

  7. #7
    Newbie macalanche's Avatar
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    Wow that's a big list. This is more or less the system I have now except I have both the Z1 and a touch screen. I'm not interested in adding a center channel so 5.1 isn't to important to me.

    #1 - I have already run the video cable from my Z1 out when I ran the audio cables to plug my mac in. I'll be trying it out this weekend to see how it looks. I'm afraid bugbyte might be right about how poor it will look.

    #7 - The voice control (VC) is pretty good on the z1, after a lot of tweaking, but I've not had much luck with VC on my mini. I honestly didn't spend a great deal of time trying to resolve the problem on it but I did plug in a sound canceling mic and it still didn't work well while driving. If I were starting from scratch, which I'm about to do again, I wouldn't count on that as a serious way control my mini.

    #8 You can have 5.1 on your Z1 http://www.pioneerelectronics.com/pn...768381,00.html

    #9 Switching applications without the touch screen might be tough. You might be able to make it happen with the powermate but it's going to take a great deal of creativity. I did just just come across this very small track pad that might help you.http://cgi.ebay.com/Mozilla-Firefox-...QQcmdZViewItem

    I have to admit that I'm disappointed you've given up on idea of the overlay for the Z1.

    Added Bonus - AVOID THE PIONEER IPOD CONTROLLER FOR THE Z1!!!! You will have iTunes already and I played with the Z1 iPod interface, it's so slow you will have lost interest in whatever song you're looking for by the time you get to it.

  8. #8
    AMP Creator aychamo's Avatar
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    Well, if you are using AMP for #5,#11, the menubar/dock isn't a problem, as AMP hide them.

    Does any manufacter make a (good) head unit that has a built in VGA display? That seems like it would be pretty ideal, since you could load the DVD right there and play it through the head unit, instead of sticking it under the seat or whatever, and you wouldn't have to deal with controlling Apple's DVD player on a tiny touch screen, etc.
    -

  9. #9
    Maximum Bitrate pepsibobby's Avatar
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    http://www.digitalww.com/DWW-6500.htm

    not sure if it works yet with Mac, i have contacted them with no reply. This is what I am buying once i have the money. It is a 6.5inch VGA / TS with built in USB DVD player and radio
    Cant code cause I dont know how, but give me the paint bucket and my eraser and have at you!

  10. #10
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    To answer/ask some questions:

    >>>Putting the Mac Mini output to the AVIC screen will result in a disappointing video display. The AVIC uses video input and the Mini uses the much crisper DVI or VGA.

    Would the video really be THAT bad runing RCA out of the Mac Mini into the Display? I couldn't see how it will be that bad, has anyone actually tried it with the Z1. It may be crappy on other screens but for sure would it be bad on the Z1?

    >>>As for sound, I guess the Mini will give you 5.1 over the Firewave, but isn't the AVIC your main player?

    Well apparently the AVIC has a 5.1 option so I wouldn't need that. I guess. Just a thought

    >>> I'm not sure I understand why you want to put the Mini in the car when the AVIC does nearly everything except 5 and 11?

    Why not have it in there? AMP has promise for things more custom things that I couldn't use the Z1 for like web browsing, iTunes (again i have over 18k songs, won't fit on the 10GB of available space on the internal hard drive (the other 20 is used up by the nav maps)

    >>>so how are you going to get rid of that OSX menu bar? i tried Menufela, which was a great program except it only hides it until the cursor goes to the top of the screen. 5 bucks for less than perfect? i don't think so.

    No menus thanks to AMP

    >>>#1 - I have already run the video cable from my Z1 out when I ran the audio cables to plug my mac in. I'll be trying it out this weekend to see how it looks. I'm afraid bugbyte might be right about how poor it will look.

    Think tweaking video output on the Mac Mini would fix that? What are the other alternatives (another pioneer external box?)

    >>>#7 - The voice control (VC) is pretty good on the z1, after a lot of tweaking, but I've not had much luck with VC on my mini. I honestly didn't spend a great deal of time trying to resolve the problem on it but I did plug in a sound canceling mic and it still didn't work well while driving. If I were starting from scratch, which I'm about to do again, I wouldn't count on that as a serious way control my mini.

    Speakable Items in the Speech control panel of Mac OS X, hasn't really change since system 8.5 so try www.macspeech.com's iListen or iListen MX, those may work better.

    >>>#9 Switching applications without the touch screen might be tough. You might be able to make it happen with the powermate but it's going to take a great deal of creativity. I did just just come across this very small track pad that might help you.http://cgi.ebay.com/Mozilla-Firefox-...QQcmdZViewItem

    I'd be using AMP only so don't have to worry about app switching much. So I'm hoping to control it via remote or powermate if it's possible to use it like the iPod scroll wheel/BMW iDrive

    >>>I have to admit that I'm disappointed you've given up on idea of the overlay for the Z1.

    I was told by trolltech that it's not supported and they can't help.... that and the connector that would come off of the screen overlay would be awkward to fit back towards the Mac, so it's pretty much impossible.

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