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Thread: Using an Old Tablet to control a new computer?

  1. #1
    Variable Bitrate fromplanetbob's Avatar
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    Using an Old Tablet to control a new computer?

    Okay, I don't need video or even that fancy display for sound. I do want navigation, mp3 and sat radio capabilities. So I was thinking of picking up a cheap 8 or 10 inch old Pentium 166 MMX Tablet PC with a touch screen and running VNC on it to connect to my Pentium 4 box in the trunk?

    I might even use remote desktop. The network would be wireless 802.11g although I could easily use an ethernet connection.

    Any thoughts on doing this? This would allow me to not only use the tablet at the dash, I could use it for parties, etc, outside the car. Not to mention it's a pretty cheap alternative to using a touch screen monitor (I can pick up a 8.4 inch LCD Tablet w/ indoor/outdoor screen for $170).

    What do you all think?

  2. #2
    Maximum Bitrate Vchat20's Avatar
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    if you dont want video/dvd capabilities, then it should work just fine. but even on a wired 100mbit connection, vnc/remote desktop wont give you smooth video playback and dvd programs such as powerdvd wont even let you use them on a remote connection.
    Your everyday carpc geek and tech guru at your service. *bow*

  3. #3
    Maximum Bitrate KyleYankan's Avatar
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    where does one get such cheap tablets?

  4. #4
    Newbie martymoe's Avatar
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    the tablet could do the mp3 stuff, the sat stuff and the xm radio. it could also do the internet access. then you dont need the pentium 4.
    i ran one for several months (a celeron 266 128m ram) i had it running delorme street atlas with gps (used a usb to seral adapter for the receiver) wma's and mp3's worked with winmedia but i used my own software for that, had a usb bluetooth dongle that talked to my phone for internet access.. it did just fine.. only problem was finding a hub with enough ports for all of the usb devices...
    dont think it would do dvd's but it would play mpeg files (not very well, but it would do it)
    i didnt try it with xm, but i'm sure it would work with the serial interface just fine

  5. #5
    Maximum Bitrate KyleYankan's Avatar
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    If someone could tell me where to get a tablet pc for $170, I would be your slave FO-EV-A. this sounds EXACTLY like what I've been looking for for my carpc.

    BTW - Me nad him have the same idea I think. Random tablet PC floating around the car. Charging adapter up front. Therefore integrating audio and all into the tablet could be a pain in the *** - plugging it in and setting it on a mount each time. Whereas if my music was still played through the box in the trunk - through my speakers - no problem. I could even have the tablet crash.

    So where can you get this tablet at?

  6. #6
    Newbie martymoe's Avatar
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  7. #7
    Maximum Bitrate KyleYankan's Avatar
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    Martymoe I wish I could buy one off ya, but I won't have that much cash for 2-3 weeks. I'll ebay one later though :-P

  8. #8
    The Last Good Gremlin GizmoQ's Avatar
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    Careful with the old tablet PCs, a lot of the front ends now require XP and the low processor tablets won't run XP well at all. Been there Done that. I currently run a 500MHz tablet swapping it across three cars, but its still tenpermental. I have mobile docks in all with the peripherals under dash for XM, TV, FM, GPS, and 5.1 Audio. I have several PCMCIA peripherals that are plug and play as needed, i.e., DVD/RW, CDRW, 802.11G, external hardrive, cellular card, etc. This is the current status of my setup that I've been tweaking for the last 8 years.

    I use VNC at home and agree with Vchat20 its no good for display replacement. Matter of fact, it wont even give you decent front enddisplay cause they're all graphics intensive, i.e., as soon as the playlist scrolls a 266 will bog down to a crawl.

    The newer GPS software will eat up your cpu significantly on a 266 tablet. I set one up for a friend a few years back and we had to use STP for his mp3 player cause WMP and the Nav (with audio directions turned on) maxed out the CPU and that was with nothing else running. Voice directions were choppy and unrecognizeable.

    Lastly, I take it you have not personally seen the screen in action. None of the older tablets had active matrix LCDs and the color TFTs weren't worth a damn in direct sunlight. The best you could do was a reflective B&W for direct sunlight. Even my 500Mhz syste washes out sometimes in my convertable.

    Buyer beware..........

  9. #9
    Variable Bitrate fromplanetbob's Avatar
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    Well, these actually look pretty good

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...MEWN%3AIT&rd=1

    We have tested some Fujitsu Tablets in the field and they are actually daylight readable. My Suzuki Aerio SX has tinted windows all the way around, so it's not as big of a problem, but the tablet gives me the ability to have one wire (power) connected to the tablet on my dash and be able to remove it and take it inside or walk around outside with it.

    I will definately have the spare PC in the back, but I do think that you could play MP3's on this thing (even if you hooked up an iPOD via a serial port and played the actual MP3's on the IPOD). Alas, for me though, just the lack of audio inputs makes a real computer required.

    BTW- I have no intention on running anything but remote desktop or VNC on the tablet. It simply doesn't have the power I want or need. I will however be running a Pentium 4 in the trunk.

  10. #10
    Newbie martymoe's Avatar
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    i put xp on one of them, it was ok (as ok as a 266 can be with xp) but i havent been able to find any touch drivers that work with xp and a pen-key.. so i put windows98 back on it..
    they do ok with delorme street atlas and gps.. didnt do the voice directions with it..
    the screen is a little hard to read in bright sunlight.. but it's better than nothing
    mine did ok with music.. i was using the windows media9 sdk in a vb.net application.

    man i'm not saying these things are the perfect solution.. but they are pretty cool to play with.. i used it as kind of a prototype to figure out what all i wanted the software to do and to kind of get used to it.. since then i put in a 1.2g with a lilliput built into the dash and a 250g hdd looks more like "factory"

    also planetbob mentioned the audio inputs: the intermec machines dont have audio inputs either (just an audio out jack) the first one i had i didnt have the right audio drivers and couldnt find them so i used a usb sound card.. that worked really well and it had the audio inputs..

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