View Poll Results: Are you interested?

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Thread: Gauging Interest: Windows 7 C#-Based Front End

  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by justchat_1 View Post
    Weren't you telling me what a useless idea muti-screen and multi-sound card support is just the other day? and how implementing a player based off of directshow would just cause problems?
    I bite my own words... You can smack me now.

  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by kapone View Post
    I bite my own words... You can smack me now.
    fair enough

  3. #13
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    WOW... I had no idea people were replying to this topic. I guess I must be using an old email address for mp3car, cuz I know I subscribed to this thread..

    Anyway, I just wanted to post that for now... I'm going to read through all the posts and reply to each one of them.

    Again, I'm sorry for the delay.
    2003 Mazda 6i Sedan - White
    CarPC in the making!

  4. #14
    Low Bitrate angel120's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by justchat_1 View Post
    Have you done a forum search for similar projects yet?
    Quote Originally Posted by ws6vert View Post
    No need to reinvent the wheel. Check out OpenMobile
    Quote Originally Posted by Borte View Post
    I think you more or less described something that's already existing...
    I'll reply to all these at once. I do know of the other projects in existence, but I never really looked into them. Do they have the exact same features that I'm looking for? And even if they do, I'm not necessarily reinventing the wheel, but making it a little more customized/efficient to my tastes.
    Currently, I'm using Ride Runner with the DigitalFX 4.0 skin, and I must say, tailoring/customizing it to fit my needs is no where near as intuitive as I'd like it to be. I still can't even get IGPause to work consistently (sometimes the carPC's volume spikes whenever any sound comes out of iGuidance). I also can't click on many of the options that I haven't implemented yet (e.g. camera, weather, and even the iGuidance menu shortcuts) because then RideRunner will crash or go into some sort of infinite loop.
    My idea is to write everything (excluding the navigation) from scratch, so I know exactly what's going in, what's coming out, and to achieve that as efficiently as possible.

    Quote Originally Posted by kapone View Post
    OP: I'll try and contribute what I can, although my schedule ends up being fairly hectic, between work and family. As a background, I'm a Microsoft technologist with about 18 years of overall experience, and my last "employee" position, was Director of software development, before I quit to strike out on my own. As far as development experience goes, been working on C# since it came out, been working on Windows Mobile, since the days of it being a piece of utter crap, lots of other related graphics, SDLC, architecting etc etc thrown in.

    btw, I'm kinda sorta dabbling with a front end as well.... Yes, it is C# as well... It leans very heavily towards Windows Media Center for inspiration.
    Very glad to have piqued your interest, Kapone. Just to share my own credentials:
    I'm currently a computer science student (graduating in May). I've learned C++ (including OpenGL), Java (including synchronization), and I've just started dabbling in C# and the Windows API.
    Your project looks very promising, by the way.

    Quote Originally Posted by tripzero View Post
    You're going to have to push a list of "gotchas" as well as a feature list to present your arguments on why Frontend X isn't good enough for you are thus creating your own.

    However, I do like compiz effects on my carpc a lot. So +1 for that (although, i believe openmobile also has transitions, but not compiz-awesome transitions).
    I find RideRunner to be a little too boring in that department. With my old CarPC (Celeron @ 1.3GHz w/ 256MB RAM), the only "transitions" I had was when the screens weren't loaded in RAM, so you'd see each button appear one by one...

    Quote Originally Posted by kapone View Post
    Hmm...forget Windows Media Player.... I whipped up a lil small media player of my own, that runs off of Media Foundation and Directshow, with multi instance, screen and multi sound card support.
    How small is the media player (size on disk and RAM)? What file types can it play?

    Quote Originally Posted by justchat_1 View Post
    Weren't you telling me what a useless idea muti-screen and multi-sound card support is just the other day? and how implementing a player based off of directshow would just cause problems?
    I know this wasn't directed at me, but the reason why I want to implement multi-screens to the front end is because my car has more than enough space to use 2 screens (one in the middle of the dashboard and the other in the center console (radio)). My friend, who has a Honda Pilot, wants to have 2 monitors for his future carPC - one replacing the radio, and the other replacing the rear dvd player. Indeed, to each his own, but I'd like to make it an easier task for the end-user.
    2003 Mazda 6i Sedan - White
    CarPC in the making!

  5. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by angel120 View Post
    How small is the media player (size on disk and RAM)? What file types can it play?
    It's fairly small, but right now it's barebones, so the size is not indicative of it's final incarnation. But, the DLL in it's current incarnation is only 18KB The player is based on Directshow/Media Foundation, so whatever you can play in Windows Media Player, it will play. Even if WMP doesn't play something, the player "may" be able to play it, as the code tries to (and can be told to) build manual filtergraphs and render them.

    The player needs to build custom graphs anyway, if you want multi screen and multi sound card support. By default Directshow will render to the default video and audio outs only.

    And it looks like the front end will most probably happen, I have officially drawn up a project plan for it. .NET, C#, WPF and XAML, with some custom skinning and management support.

  6. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by angel120 View Post
    How small is the media player (size on disk and RAM)? What file types can it play?
    I know this wasn't directed at me, but the reason why I want to implement multi-screens to the front end is because my car has more than enough space to use 2 screens (one in the middle of the dashboard and the other in the center console (radio)). My friend, who has a Honda Pilot, wants to have 2 monitors for his future carPC - one replacing the radio, and the other replacing the rear dvd player. Indeed, to each his own, but I'd like to make it an easier task for the end-user.
    I think you might have missed my point a little but thats ok....there were quite a few posts to read through. I was actually the one pushing for the technology not against it

    openMobile is a modular C# based front end, all GPLv3 (open source) and can be 100% customized. You could use as much or as little of whats included as you like or do everything from scratch and it still all works together. Its also the first front-end with multi-screen support (aka more then 2) and multi-soundcard support (again more then 2)...we actually support up to 99 of each.

    kapone was under the impression this was all a waste until a PM discussion apparently changed his mind, he gave the technology a try and now loves the idea (for his own front end). If your interested I could post a small demo video of the latest version of OM and you can see if your interested. We always welcome new skinners and developers and will try to help you create whatever your interested in.

  7. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by justchat_1 View Post
    kapone was under the impression this was all a waste until a PM discussion apparently changed his mind, he gave the technology a try and now loves the idea (for his own front end). If your interested I could post a small demo video of the latest version of OM and you can see if your interested. We always welcome new skinners and developers and will try to help you create whatever your interested in.
    Oh, c'mon Justin..not ALL of it.... However, I still think the audience for a multi screen, multi sound card support, front end, is fairly limited. The kind of cars where you actually have space to install multiple screens, are generally not driven by...well...us geeks.. and the cars we DO drive, are rather space challanged.

    As far as my "own" front end...we'll talk. I wanna pick your brains on that.

  8. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by kapone View Post
    Oh, c'mon Justin..not ALL of it.... However, I still think the audience for a multi screen, multi sound card support, front end, is fairly limited. The kind of cars where you actually have space to install multiple screens, are generally not driven by...well...us geeks.. and the cars we DO drive, are rather space challanged.

    As far as my "own" front end...we'll talk. I wanna pick your brains on that.
    One feature...all...close enough
    idk...I mean as of right now multi-screen is a very hobbyist-centric feature-no argument there....but think about the potential market. Just about every minivan or family SUV these days comes with a rear seat entertainment system. Is it really that big of a leap to take that (relatively) huge rear screen and link it to the front headunit? Now the kids have access to whatever movies or music are stored on the forward harddrive, web browsing, maybe even games.
    But yea....well talk.

  9. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by justchat_1 View Post
    One feature...all...close enough
    idk...I mean as of right now multi-screen is a very hobbyist-centric feature-no argument there....but think about the potential market. Just about every minivan or family SUV these days comes with a rear seat entertainment system. Is it really that big of a leap to take that (relatively) huge rear screen and link it to the front headunit? Now the kids have access to whatever movies or music are stored on the forward harddrive, web browsing, maybe even games.
    But yea....well talk.
    Agreed. But the only reason I'm not too fond of a "monolithic" system, controlling everything, is control. And yes, I AM looking at the potential market. Here's my reasoning. Sure, when you have kids in the back, you really don't wanna have em, playing with knobs or controls to select what's playing on "their" screen, but what if you have adults back there? Do you really wanna see the following scenario?

    (Let's assume, the driver is me, in a vehicle with a multi screen system, with adults in the back).

    Me: Let's hit the road folks!
    (zoom zoom...)
    Them: Hey Kap, how do we watch something on this nice screen here?
    Me: What do you wanna watch? I'll put it on.
    Them: What do you have?
    Me: Here, I'll bring up the Movies screen, and you tell me what you want.
    Them: Bbbbut...dude, that front screen is too far for me to read the movie titles!

    (me grumbling...reading out movie titles, and them finally settling on one)
    Me: Here ya go!

    (They start watching the movie...or something)

    (After a few minutes...)

    Them: Nah, this movie aint that great, what else you got?
    Me: Oh, for cryin out loud....

    <Go back to step 1>

    You see where I'm going with this. Now, compare this to having a distributed architecture, either with multiple PCs, or a single PC with extender type devices. With Windows 7 and homegroups, hell, a second PC is almost an extender anyway, and you can "Play to" the rear PC, from the main PC, OR they can just pick up a remote (from the rear armrest) and do their thing. With homegroups, all libraries are shared anyway, so there's no content sharing issue (other than protected HDTV content, but that's a whole different animal).

    My point is that, there may be advantages to NOT having a monolithic PC architecture, but having (potentially) smaller PCs in a distributed architecture.

  10. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by kapone View Post
    Agreed. But the only reason I'm not too fond of a "monolithic" system, controlling everything, is control. And yes, I AM looking at the potential market. Here's my reasoning. Sure, when you have kids in the back, you really don't wanna have em, playing with knobs or controls to select what's playing on "their" screen, but what if you have adults back there? Do you really wanna see the following scenario?

    (Let's assume, the driver is me, in a vehicle with a multi screen system, with adults in the back).

    Me: Let's hit the road folks!
    (zoom zoom...)
    Them: Hey Kap, how do we watch something on this nice screen here?
    Me: What do you wanna watch? I'll put it on.
    Them: What do you have?
    Me: Here, I'll bring up the Movies screen, and you tell me what you want.
    Them: Bbbbut...dude, that front screen is too far for me to read the movie titles!

    (me grumbling...reading out movie titles, and them finally settling on one)
    Me: Here ya go!

    (They start watching the movie...or something)

    (After a few minutes...)

    Them: Nah, this movie aint that great, what else you got?
    Me: Oh, for cryin out loud....

    <Go back to step 1>

    You see where I'm going with this. Now, compare this to having a distributed architecture, either with multiple PCs, or a single PC with extender type devices. With Windows 7 and homegroups, hell, a second PC is almost an extender anyway, and you can "Play to" the rear PC, from the main PC, OR they can just pick up a remote (from the rear armrest) and do their thing. With homegroups, all libraries are shared anyway, so there's no content sharing issue (other than protected HDTV content, but that's a whole different animal).

    My point is that, there may be advantages to NOT having a monolithic PC architecture, but having (potentially) smaller PCs in a distributed architecture.
    A year ago I would agree with you but things have changed since then and the above is no longer true. A single PC can deliver exactly the same results as multiple pcs or headunits for a fraction of the cost.
    It's a technique we call input routing in openMobile but theres dozens of names for it depending on which software is advertising it and the technique they use.
    For example, say you have two touch screen monitors. They can be setup so that its one monolithic frontend with a shared media database but each user is doing separate completely isolated tasks on their screen. You could be navigating or listening to the radio up front....and the rear user can be browsing movies in the back. Then when its the little kids in the car, you press the rear screen control button and you pick for them from the front...best of both worlds.
    We call it input routing because each screen can be controlled from a multitude of devices like a touch screen, keyboard, powermate, remote control, gamepad even a wireless xbox controller and the input is routed so that each user only controls their screen.

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