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Thread: Can the Carputer be user (wife) friendly? Honestly....

  1. #1
    Low Bitrate jasonsjwou's Avatar
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    Can the Carputer be user (wife) friendly? Honestly....

    Hello guys. This is my first post in this GREAT Forum. Along with the AVSFORUM, FREDMIRANDA, ODYCLUB and RC UNIVERSE, this is one of the truely greatest forum on the Net.

    Before I ask the question, let me say a few words.

    I have been a long time Audiophile/Videophile. I have a dedicated acoustically tuned room in the basement of my house with 120 inch screen with a DIY-Modified, Color-Calibrated liquid coupled 8 inch CRT projector and fully calibrated 7.1 Ch Surround with Two Sub "Canons" all controlled from two HTPCs and a Media Server. To spice things up, one of the HTPC also serves as a DAW recording station, with 24ch Digital mixer and 8Ch Firewire Audio Interface. The entire setup was DIY, including the room.

    .... Whoa. Honey what did you say? did you just spoke french? Chinese? or was that a marsian? my wife would say.

    But I am sure guys reading this post would understand what I said here.

    In my Home Theatre, there are 4 programmable remote controls (down from 18). 3 LCD monitors (up from 1) and 3 sets of Keyboard/Mouse. The set up is pretty complicated.... Honestly, my wife WOULD NOT even know how to turn on the system. None of my kids (6 and 10) would not even dare to come near the "Control Desk".

    In short, If I am not in the house, No one gets to watch a movie in the Home Theater. It's a good thing that no one will mess with my "TOY" but I can also say that the installation is not very well done, since it's so fR*EKin' difficult to use them.

    I can't have another one of these "SYSTEM" in the car....

    I've spent last 4 evenings reading through various FAQ, Showoffs, worklogs and etc. Surely the CarPC looks very interesting and promising.

    Can a Car PC really be "User Friendly"?

    I could have paid $2500 more for a factory DVD system + Navigation for my 06 Honda Odyssey. It is really easy to use, and works really well.

    Say, if this OEM system is 10/10 in user friendlyness scale, What do you think your CarPC system is? Can a CarPC system be configured to be 7? 8? 10???

    Are you constantly debugging/changing the system?

    Is it always 95% complete?

    What was your Longest usage of one "Setting" before you hacked it up again?

    What is the WAF of your CarPC system? (If you know what WAF means, you are really good)

  2. #2
    MySQL Error MatrixPC's Avatar
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    Most of the time, my wife control the carPC.
    Well, she is a PC tech so that is a little different.
    If you give her a chance to peak over the planning/installation process, I am sure she can use it without any problem. Plus, carPC front end softwares are make to be easy and user friendly( ).
    2004 Matrix XR A7N8X-VM/400 AMD XP-M 2500+, DS-ATX
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  3. #3
    Variable Bitrate
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    the only thing I would consider is the frustration factor. while you may be into the toys, think of your wife when she jumps in the car, mabye she turns on the radio and mindlessly surfs, is this possible in a carputer? yes, but not as easily as a hu.
    is it your car, hers, or shared?
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  4. #4
    FLAC is for flaccid parksgm's Avatar
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    Use a good software frontend and I doubt you'll have problems. Try Roadrunner or Streetdeck...in fact, download a copy of each, and let your wife try each of them out on the home PC to see if she likes them...

  5. #5
    Maximum Bitrate DJiK's Avatar
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    I was surprised to find out that at least 3 of the girls who "visited" me in my car knew exactly which buttons to press to get what they wanted.

    First time around, I've created my own full screen skin for Winamp, but since then I've been using RoadRunner.

    P.S.
    That's a nice setup at your crib. Link us to some pics.
    For Sale: Carputer (CarPC) & RCA Y-Adapter
    Newsflash: Take a look at my unsold stuff above, thanks!
    Up Next: Make an OBD to Serial cable & Redo the "MMI buttons"

  6. #6
    Variable Bitrate jthiani's Avatar
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    Personally i use Road runner.......i think its the best front end out there with by far the most features.....that makes it complicated to install and configure but onces its running like you want it, its easy as pie to use. The best way to make it user friendly is to try the different skins it has as different skins have different features, then (by the sound of you first post i will assume your very tech savvy....) learn how to skin it and creat a skin that your wife will find easy to use and viola.....super powerfull front end with super user friendliness !!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. #7
    The Last Good Gremlin GizmoQ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jasonsjwou View Post
    Can a Car PC really be "User Friendly"?
    Yes, if you plan it that way. The reason many of us have "complicated" (beauty is in the eye of the beholder) systems is because there's just so much more you can do with a carPC, so why not. I started out with mp3s,,then got FM & TV, then XM, then internet radio, and now attempting to integrate Orb TV. And there are many more out there available now, but that doesn't mean you have to.

    Quote Originally Posted by jasonsjwou View Post
    I could have paid $2500 more for a factory DVD system + Navigation for my 06 Honda Odyssey. It is really easy to use, and works really well.

    Say, if this OEM system is 10/10 in user friendlyness scale, What do you think your CarPC system is? Can a CarPC system be configured to be 7? 8? 10???
    Again, this depends on you. There are several options for both and you and the wife need to play/test them out to see which you prefer. Personally, I rarely watch DVDs in-car so that's not a major influence for me. Nav, on the other hand, is a big deal, especially its integration into the rest of the front-end as well as web-based vehicle tracking - stuff OEM can't begin to emulate. So in my opinion, my carPC is a 12 even though there are some quirks about the nav software I don't like. (The best OEM I've seen is the M-B S500 only costs $5200 and updates are $400.)

    Quote Originally Posted by jasonsjwou View Post
    Are you constantly debugging/changing the system?
    Of course, but that's because I'm always adding additional capabilities.

    Quote Originally Posted by jasonsjwou View Post
    Is it always 95% complete?
    No, sometimes you go back to 0% after beta testing a new feature. But seriously, this hobby can be addictive. Many I'm sure have built minimalist systems and once everything is working well, never change it. I'm just not one of those people.

    Quote Originally Posted by jasonsjwou View Post
    What was your Longest usage of one "Setting" before you hacked it up again?
    Since I beta test many new and exciting changes in this hobby, I have a "base setup" that I revert to in case of major problems. That base has not changed significantly in three years. Again this is a hobby for me to stretch the limits of what can be achieved in a vehicle with an integrated PC. I'm always moving forward and you're asking me how long can I stand still.
    HARDWARE: Fujitsu Stylistic ST5111w/WiFi and dock, internal Hitachi 500G HD, external 1TB HD, Sierra Wireless Aircard 550, DVD-RW, BoomzBox HD radio, XM Commander, Delorme GPS, Saitek X-52 Pro joystick, BluSoleil Bluetooth, TPMS, FB, Elm327

  8. #8
    Low Bitrate RickS's Avatar
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    I started my project solely for installation in the minivan that my wife drives but decided to install in my car first to work the bugs out because she won't tolerate something finicky. I'm still working on getting those bugs out a year later but that's my fault for coding my own front end. I'm pretty sure I could have spent 1/10th the time configuring RR and been done with it. That said, the version of software that is in the van hasn't been touched since I did the install four months ago and it works great for her. While I spend an hour or two every day working on the setup in my car.

  9. #9
    Low Bitrate jasonsjwou's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jthiani View Post
    Personally i use Road runner.......i think its the best front end out there with by far the most features.....that makes it complicated to install and configure but onces its running like you want it, its easy as pie to use. The best way to make it user friendly is to try the different skins it has as different skins have different features, then (by the sound of you first post i will assume your very tech savvy....) learn how to skin it and creat a skin that your wife will find easy to use and viola.....super powerfull front end with super user friendliness !!!!!!!!!!!!
    That's exactly what I was thinking. Something like "Log In" or "Driver" Selection as it boots up. Then "taylored" front end shows up - ha ha ha gives me goosebumps just thinking about it.

    We have 06 Accord and 06 Odyssey. My wife and I drive both cars depends on where we are going and who we are taking.

    I am not too terrible with VB and Electronics.. but my wife has ZERO technology tolerance. I'm happy fiddling with settings whole day long, but my wife wouldn't take it.

    My first task would be to learn fiberglassing. That sounds sooooo much fun...

  10. #10
    Variable Bitrate kamikaze2112's Avatar
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    I set my carpc up so it's really easy to use. My gf loves it, and her sister's can use it as well. I tried to model it after your basic cd player, and most people can run one of those


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