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Thread: What I want in a front-end

  1. #21
    I'm sorry, and you are....? frodobaggins's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 12Vsystems.com
    Thanks for the lnfo

    When I said universal plugin I meant something similar to FrodoComm

    Are there any other media players support FrodoComm plugins? I think to make this work we would need all of us to agree on some sort of standard. If you leave it upto one group they will produce standards for plugins that are best suited to them giving them an unfair advantage making other developers/companies less likely to join.

    I can't promote this idea I have a vested interests in our software. It would have to come from the community.

    Well frodocomm is more of a communications platform than a plugin
    architecture, although the services host certainly is a type of plugin
    manager. When I get more of my stuff done people will start to see
    how frodocomm plays into the "bigger" picture.

    Frodo
    [H]4 Life
    My next generation Front End is right on schedule.
    It will be done sometime in the next generation.
    I'm a lesbian too.
    I am for hire!

  2. #22
    cheap custom title JC-S60's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RPM_VR4
    For a professional install, I really think a lot of this should be done in hardware...
    Well, I know what you mean by putting everything in hw, as much as possible, but that's just not how I see it...

    We have a very powerfull platform (x86) already running, so why add microcontrollers everywhere?

    -music + EQ
    We definatly need a good music interface that allows people to get to anysong quickly WITHOUT looking at the screen. Using a remote control and text-to-speach voice feedback, I should be able to get to any Album/Artist/Genre and then Song within 20 clicks of the remote (worst case). As for EQ, that is the job of a good head-unit, not the CarPC.
    On the interface, I agree, not on the EQ.
    It's very well doable to have a nice EQ, so why add cost and take up space with something you can't even link to what happens on the pc (phone needs another eq-setting then music, and music something else then DVD...)?
    A head-unit should be useless in a complete solution, that's the base of my logic: a revolutionary replacement for several devices (laptop/pda/head-unit/dvd-player/phone+carkit/GPS-navigation/tv-tuner etc...). I know a lot of these combine some functions but I just want everything in one device, nothing more


    -dvd + divx + EQ
    Personally, I don't even have a CD-ROM drive in my CarPC, but I do understand why a lot of people still cling to removable media. DiVX/XVid support is definatly a must, but every front-end does that. Once again, no EQ.
    For us geeks, it's nice to have everything on disk, but I want to sell my solution to people that have cd's and rent dvd's.
    All front-ends do it, but EQ lacks, true.

    -phone integration (bt AND serial)
    Do any of the USB cables allow hands-free speaker phone, or is that only BlueTooth? I would really like this feature, but I am stuck with an incompatible SamSung USB cable because Sprint doesn't really have anything better. My cell bill is $60/mo for 2 phones with way more minuites than I use and unlimited internet access though, so I'm not switching carriers. Anyway, though you miss out on contact dialing, phone -to- head-unit hardware interfaces is an alternative (though definatly not as good if you are lucky enough to have a software compatible phone).
    Well, I don't know of any serial cables providing handsfree, but I know some modules that I could include into my solution as an option and they're serial. Just a question of linking the microphone and sound output to the pc's line-in.

    -radio (the USB-tuner project)
    Useless (even SAT radio)! A good sounding system has to have a head-unit. 99.9% of the time I am listining to MP3s and the other .1% is music-videos/movies. Why would I ever want the radio? ...and if for some strange reason I did, I can just source the head-unit to FM (or SAT) instead of CarPC (AUX/CD-Changer).
    I'm not convinced. This is what I meant for the radio, and a prototype is working fine, as they use modules built for HU's: HU Quality AM/FM RDS/RBDS Radio with Features
    Also, I don't believe I'll sell this alot as a replacement for a HU if it hasn't got radio. Marketing-wise AND just economically, as a company can leave out a radio-option when leasing/buying new cars.

    -integrated navigation (preferably better than D3), for EUROPE
    iG is awesome, but I'm in the US. Google-Maps / MSN Maps will be the future I believe (once they do a bit more dev and more poeple have constant internet in their cars)
    The constant internet still proves to be a problem, and will for some time. For extra funtionality it's nice though (phonebook thing for ex.)

    -rearview-cam, switched on the serial port
    This is a job for hardware. Attach the rear-view cam to the video input on the 7" LCD. Make a microcontroller program that sends IR to the LCD to switch to video source when in reverse, and to VGA source when not in reverse. The PC with an IR blaster (or talking to the microcontroller) could also control the LCD source (like maybe the LCD shows rear-view until the CarPC fully boots, and then the PC auto-sends IR to change to VGA).
    I disagree again This is hacking. Nice for my own car, but not when you want to be able to sell various screen options. Also, when a Xenarc switches sources it acts ugly (text appearing, resolution displayed, screen jumping left/right when auto-adjusting)...
    Although I like the idea of the rearview until booted...

    -supports 1 relay on the serial port to activate amp+screen(s) when booted/resumed to FULLY WORKING STATE and disactivate them BEFORE shutting down/hibernating
    Dude, you just need a good startup/shutdown controller. My Carnetix will wait for 2 seconds after crank, start the PC, wait one more second, start the monitor/head-unit/amps. When the key is out, it kills the monitor/head-unit/amps one second later and begins PC shutdown 10 seconds later. Works great. You could program a microcontroller to work it anyway you need.
    Carnetix is not good enough for what I require. The screen should only go on when the front-end is fully loaded, so you don't see POST/windows booting/windows loading, everytime with different resolutions and a jumping screen...so even if you hack post-logo and windows, you still see the screen auto-adjusting all the time.

    -all skinnable and menu-driven, so it is very touch-screen friendly
    Yep. And don't forget remote friendly too.
    True.

    -still runs smooth when an audigy 2nx is added to the mix
    Why? On-board sound plugged in to a head-units line-in sounds great. I wouldn't waste the money on a sound-card. With a good head-unit for tuning, you will never hear the differance. We really need the CarPC to appear to the head-unit as a CD-Changer so you can just use the head-unit controls/remote to navigate the frontend.
    Depends on what onboard soundcard you have, but I haven't seen one doing the job the audigy does. When you use a HU to tune, you're just covering up, but you'll never get the sound at 24bit/96khz. I hear the difference very well between my audigy and the onboard vinyl of the epia mII 12k!
    But this might be interesting for you and others keeping their HU (and that will be an OPTION in my commercial solution, but I don't like it to be necesarry t have a HU, that's all): Testers needed: VW, AUDI, BMW stock headunit USB adapter !

    OPTIONAL:
    -multi-screen
    -multi-zone (multi-sound+multi screen)
    -relay-card support
    -vehicle tracking
    -DAB
    -voice-recognition

    Relay's should be controled by a microcontroller that talks to the PC, not the PC directly. Someone should come up with a unified microcontroller board -to- frontend protocall. My SiLabs micro board will eventually emulate a Pioneer CD-Changer, send & recieve IR, and talk to my steering wheel controls, alarm, and On-Star mirror.
    Well, the relay-cards that I meant are microcontrolled, with USB or serial link to the pc. A unified protocol is important.

    Vehicle tracking is a must. Actually, full car activity logging is what I am looking for. If I give you a time/date, I want to know where I was, where I was coming from, where I was going to, what speed I was going, what direction, what song I was listening too, cabin temp, outside temp, M/B tempatures, M/B fan speeds, M/B voltages, car voltage, OBD info (RPMs, injector pulse-width, o2 levels, knock, throttle position, etc.), and be able to tell it to save audio/video to the log at will.
    In my vision the total logging is not a must, as that's hard to build universally compatible with vehicles hardware-wise. It would be a very nice option though.
    The tracking is nice, but won't replace the stand-alone units for security, as they're hidden and can stay on all the time, where a pc makes it impossible to trace your car when it's off. Still would be a nice add-on, as tracking doesn't add cost because there's already a GPS-receiver.

    Thanks for your input and making me think!

  3. #23
    cheap custom title JC-S60's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 12Vsystems.com
    As I was looking through the forums today I found this

    http://www.filetrial.com/MOBILedit-review721.html

    It sounds like the contact manager/calander app you guys were looking for.
    It seems very nice but I don't think it's skinnable and it doesn't support syncing to something else then a phone, as it seems... Thanks for searching and sharing , it could be of use in the future...

  4. #24
    Banned RPM_VR4's Avatar
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    Maybe I'm missing something about the Audigy-to-AMP setup. Now, you are saying it is better because of 24-bit vs. 16-bit? I'm not sure I buy that as 12-bit is supposed to cover the entire range of human hearing. I never really understood the 24-bit stuff at all. I agree that a good sound card will have better quality DACs and all, but I'm not sure you could tell the differance once looping through a head-unit.

    Why loop through a head-unit? Because unless I am totally out of the know, no sound card is going to let you adjust time-delay or cross-over frequancies. Besides that, I don't like the idea of software only volume control. I've seen apps that auto turn the volume to max on launch. Also, how loud is max through a sound card? I guess amps have gain to compensate, but using a head-unit as a pre-amp will definatly be able to go a lot louder. I actually hate that so much software has volume control all over it, and you never even know if it is controlling wav, master, or its own internal volume. My HTPC is connected to my Home Theater reciever. My CarPC is connected to my head-unit. I don't want any software volume control EVER (other than to normalize the line-out volume going to my recievers).

    Anyway, that's my take on it. If you decied it needs to be a head-unit replacment for you, then so be it. I just wanted to explain my reasoning, listen to yours, and see if one or both of us can't learn something from the other .

    As for the screen not turning on until boot-up, that's exactly why I think it would be great if the screen showed the back-up camera until boot up. Even if you don't like that idea, you could still power the screen without auto-on, and then have the PC turn it on via IR-blaster as soon as it boots (or even toggle a power relay through the parallel port on startup if you must do it that way). All I'm getting at is that that kinda stuff really has nothing to do with a front-end. Don't you think?

  5. #25
    cheap custom title JC-S60's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RPM_VR4
    Maybe I'm missing something about the Audigy-to-AMP setup. Now, you are saying it is better because of 24-bit vs. 16-bit? I'm not sure I buy that as 12-bit is supposed to cover the entire range of human hearing. I never really understood the 24-bit stuff at all. I agree that a good sound card will have better quality DACs and all, but I'm not sure you could tell the differance once looping through a head-unit.
    Don't know why, but my audigy sounds 'cleaner' then my vinyl, no EQ issue... same reason why sacd sounds better? Harmonics in higher frequencies influence the sound we hear too, maybe it might be that... Also the dac's are better, and the pre-amp too I guess...
    I think I might do the audigy as an option. You made me think and learn something!

    Why loop through a head-unit? Because unless I am totally out of the know, no sound card is going to let you adjust time-delay or cross-over frequancies. Besides that, I don't like the idea of software only volume control. I've seen apps that auto turn the volume to max on launch. Also, how loud is max through a sound card? I guess amps have gain to compensate, but using a head-unit as a pre-amp will definatly be able to go a lot louder.
    Also there's where the audigy makes a difference, as it puts out 2v (i think), which is not bad and I can push my speakers to the max with it.

    Seems I'm going to propose 2 solutions: with HU and onboard sound / without HU and audigy to amps (analog for now, but very short wires, as the audigy can be right next to them).

    I actually hate that so much software has volume control all over it, and you never even know if it is controlling wav, master, or its own internal volume. My HTPC is connected to my Home Theater reciever. My CarPC is connected to my head-unit. I don't want any software volume control EVER (other than to normalize the line-out volume going to my recievers).
    A good front-end would resolve all this, as you'd have no need for other software...

    Anyway, that's my take on it. If you decied it needs to be a head-unit
    replacment for you, then so be it. I just wanted to explain my reasoning, listen to yours, and see if one or both of us can't learn something from the other .
    And I already did see above...

    As for the screen not turning on until boot-up, that's exactly why I think it would be great if the screen showed the back-up camera until boot up. Even if you don't like that idea, you could still power the screen without auto-on, and then have the PC turn it on via IR-blaster as soon as it boots (or even toggle a power relay through the parallel port on startup if you must do it that way). All I'm getting at is that that kinda stuff really has nothing to do with a front-end. Don't you think?
    However you put it, the front-end still needs some way to show the monitor when it's ready. Being a parrallel relay, a serial relay or an ir-transmitter, they need to be activated when the front-end is ready, not only x seconds after bootup, because that may vary (after an update for example). Also when showing the rearview-cam (which I like as an idea, but I don't like to switch sources for how it looks).
    Btw, the xenarc doesn't have ir, and always does auto-on, so the only option left for me was power switching, controlled by the front-end, as that supports all newer monitors (lilliput with auto power on mod, but that's just a hidden setting I understood).

    It's nice to be able to exchange ideas here on mp3car, still a lot of intelligent people you can always learn from!

  6. #26
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    For business PIM functions the only right way to do it is to use "Microsoft Exchange Server RPC-HTTP tunnelling in cache mode" (this is availeble in Windows XP SP2 with Outlook 2003 installed) Check it out at Microsoft's Site.

  7. #27
    Constant Bitrate
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    i made a list of stuff i wanted in a front end a while a go.. sorry if repeating

    Audio Player ( Winamp and Windows Media Player or Other )
    Video Player ( Winamp and Windows Media Player or Other )
    GPS ( Intergrated selection between FreeDrive Mappoint IGuidance or MapMonkey )
    Radio ( Using radiator or other software )
    DVD Player ( Intergrated DVD Player, using Windows Media Player or WinDVD or PowerDVD )
    Remote Enabled ( Able to use remotes with the interface eg. Windows Media Centre Remote )
    Phone Intergration ( Intragrated use with PhoneControl.Net )
    Visualisations ( Winamp or Windows Media Player )
    Dual Monitor Support ( Show config/menu/etc on Display 1 and Video / Visualations on Display 2 )
    Intergrated WiFi Support ( Monitor status of wireless connections, and check if Internet Connnectivity )
    Voice Recognition ( For lazy ****ers )
    Skinable ( For others to create own skins )
    Rear view Cam ( Reverse Camera )
    Parking Sensors ( Monitor distance behind you etc )
    Air Conditioning Control ( Set settings via CarPC )
    Use with Steering Wheel Controls ( eg. Vauxhall )
    Email Intregration ( Automatically download email from Pop3 Account when Connected )
    Rip Cds ( Rip cd to music collection )
    OBDII ( Connected to your on board computer for Diagnotics )
    Automatically Load CD When Inserted
    Computer Stats ( Temp, Voltage, Speed etc )
    Weather Plugin ( Show/update weather for your area )
    Web Browser

  8. #28
    Variable Bitrate Hark's Avatar
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    How will you hear nav instructions if your fm radio comes from a head unit?

  9. #29
    Banned RPM_VR4's Avatar
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    Preferably, NAV instructions should come from a separate mono-speaker, but I admit I don't have that setup. It's not a problem for me anyway as all I ever listen to is MP3s and Music Videos. Why would I ever want to listen to the radio? I hate sports and news, and my MP3/Video collection plays way better music than any radio station, and without commercials!

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