Just wanted to , introduce myself, and share some potential projects I'm considering this year for everyone's comment/feedback.
My name's Alan, and I live in Mountain View, Arkansas (yes, I know I'm just covered in creativity regarding screen names). I work as a programmer at the hospital that was wrecked by the EF4 "Super Tuesday" tornado on Feb 5th, 2008. Here's a link to some of the pics I took the morning after:
Since then I've become a little obsessive about weather, and while researching my options for tracking storms from my vehicle I ran across mp3car. As far as Google is concerned, All Roads Lead Here for anything automotive and electronic beyond engine management mods/systems.
I have 3 potential victims-er-volunteers for my first attempt: a 2004 Sebring Coupe (8 inch screen max, and a rework/replacement of the climate controls are the biggest issues I can see here. I'm unsure if I can find any servos that will have enough oomph (that I can afford!)to yank a couple of those knobs around), a 1995 F150 standard cab (major rework of the dash and structure to fit ANYTHING and little to no room for the pc housing that will have enough un-forced airflow. I've been considering an overhead drop-down display ala turbocad6 sitting in one of those JC Whitney-style ABS headliners for it) and a 2004 Navigator that my wife's just found and is hinting heavily about. (I can't think of ANY fab/install problems with this one-It has more room than our first house )
The last couple of years I've kept finding little gadgets that I'd like to add to my rigs, but as I kept finding more and more, it became obvious that the best (in the sense of coolest/most fun/most unorthodox) way to get everything I wanted was through installing a CarPC. Despite working with computers as a profession for the last 10 years, I was blown away by the market for portable/automotive hardware and apps. I can't believe how the price of touch screens has dropped and how much better the resolution, clarity, and brightness has become! The same with mainboard/cpu/power supplies.
I don't foresee it being very expensive to build something that will be able to handle most of my needs, which are mostly pretty standard; Navigation/Mapping, Audio/Video, Backup camera, engine management/notifications, Security Sytem, Remote start, windows, auto-headlights, wipers, yata, yata, yata.
What's going to cost me the $$ is the cpu/video horsepower to drive my 3d radar rendering package: http://www.grlevelx.com/gr2analyst/
Here in the boonies of the Ozarks, where the worst storms usually occur late afternoon through the middle of the night, and where we're surrounded by low mountains that make the horizon entirely too close, being without radar support and chasing storms frequently turns into the chasER becoming the chasEE, screaming like a little girl the entire time... (I'm being hypothetical, of course)
Some of the other ideas I'm considering:
An R2D2-style power/network hookup in it for my garage, solely for the "Holy CRAP, did it just plug itself into the wall?!?" remarks, rather than for anything really useful-Wireless G is plenty fast enough by itself;
Maybe additional webcam video inputs from various angles around the perimeter of the rig (which adds to the storage space requirements if I plan on keeping the data, which adds to the required power, better cooling...sigh);
Maybe even some homegrown night-vision stuff with IR extenders...
Crap, I might as well plan on a second alternator while I'm at it.
Given that I'm going to be incorporating several nonstandard/homegrown apps, I'm being wishy-washy about building my own front end or using a prebuilt one. I'll check out the various ones here some more before I commit any time to a new one.
This is going to have to be a Windows box, most likely 7x64, because of 7's stability and error-recovery ability and 64 bit so that I can cram more RAM into it-maybe enough to turn off the page file entirely, if I'm comfortable enough with my power supply.
Well, I've rambled enough for one day. When I'm able to get a vehicle picked and actually start work, I'll start a work log on it.
I've already learned tons from just lurking around here, and I'm expecting to learn a lot more. I'm looking forward to the point when I can kick something back useful.
Why, Thank you Mr _1.
Boston, huh? I got to spend almost 6 weeks there (total) in late 2008 for training on our new all-in-one software package that runs everything, and we stayed in Natick. Got to spend a few weekends too, and played the tourist thing to the hilt. Loved it! Took one of the whale-watching trips out of Gloucester,and I think that was probably the best $50 I ever spent. We even ran through a nice supercell on the way back in, so I got some weather footage to boot. Bonus! I'm ex-Navy, so coming back in through those big swells right then was just relaxing as hell, but half the people in the cabin were green
After I'm into the tear-down phase of the CarPC, I'll see if I can contribute towards openMobile. We use Visual Studio here, and I'm getting familiar w/ C# right now, but I do know my way around Photoshop, and I use an automation scripting app similar to http://www.autohotkey.com/ except that I can compile the scripts into standalone EXEs. When I have the chance, I'll throw you some samples relating to oM if you're interested.
Thanks for the welcome!
Back to The Cotton Mines...