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Thread: What I want in a front-end

  1. #1
    cheap custom title JC-S60's Avatar
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    Talking What I want in a front-end

    I'm looking for a front-end that has:

    -music + EQ
    -dvd + divx + EQ
    -status-screen (mem/hdd-usage/temp etc)
    -phone integration (bt AND serial)
    -radio (the USB-tuner project)
    -integrated navigation (preferably better than D3), for EUROPE
    -calendar, mail and contacts (sync with exchange/imap/pop3)
    -rearview-cam, switched on the serial port
    -integration of everything (for ex: select a contact and press navigate/call/sms/email as you wish)
    -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

    -all skinnable and menu-driven, so it is very touch-screen friendly

    -runs smooth (and I mean SMOOOOOOOTHHHH) on an epia mII 12k with 256mb of ram, preferably as nlighted as possible
    -still runs smooth when an audigy 2nx is added to the mix

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

    I'm willing to pay... really, and I don't mean one license!

    oh, and I want it all in 1 program or suite, for stability reasons

    I've seen a lot, but haven't found anything that does it all, pretty sure it doesn't exist really... if anyone thinks he/she/they are up to the job, let me know!

  2. #2
    Variable Bitrate AlienEclipse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JC-S60
    I'm looking for a front-end that has:

    -music + EQ
    -dvd + divx + EQ
    -status-screen (mem/hdd-usage/temp etc)
    -phone integration (bt AND serial)
    -radio (the USB-tuner project)
    -integrated navigation (preferably better than D3), for EUROPE
    -calendar, mail and contacts (sync with exchange/imap/pop3)
    -rearview-cam, switched on the serial port
    -integration of everything (for ex: select a contact and press navigate/call/sms/email as you wish)
    -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

    -all skinnable and menu-driven, so it is very touch-screen friendly

    -runs smooth (and I mean SMOOOOOOOTHHHH) on an epia mII 12k with 256mb of ram, preferably as nlighted as possible
    -still runs smooth when an audigy 2nx is added to the mix

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

    I'm willing to pay... really, and I don't mean one license!

    oh, and I want it all in 1 program or suite, for stability reasons

    I've seen a lot, but haven't found anything that does it all, pretty sure it doesn't exist really... if anyone thinks he/she/they are up to the job, let me know!
    I totally agree. What you have listed here is exactly what i want as well. I'm currently working on my own front end which will hopefully incorporate all of the above. Unfortunately, i'm a novice programmer compared to the likes of Frodo, but i'm getting there.
    We are, will have and forever will be...
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  3. #3
    Variable Bitrate 12Vsystems's Avatar
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    This post is a great way to start. We often debate internally about what we are going to work on next. Having a list like this and reading these forums gives us an idea of what people think is most important.

    I'm not making any claims that our software meets these requirements. Like everything it's a work in progress.

    Haven't had many request for an EQ how big a deal is that to people?

    Calander and mail requests are unusual most people are using 7" touchscreens which aren't really good for doing a lot of typing/reading on.

    If you have access to email I assume you have an internet connection, you could easily customize a webmail client and embedd it into your front end. Some of them come with integrated calander features. Check out www.hotscripts.com

    Radio - We have made a couple atempts at integrating radio into our system. It is something we really want to do. Our last failed integration attempt was with the Radio Shark. With no SDK available, sendkeys not working properly and no ablity to skin it this project did nothing but waste a lot of our time.

    I am asking for help. What is the best radio solution to embedd into a front end?

    I hope one day our front end will be able to do all this.
    Spent all my money on carputers now I have to work a real job.
    http://www.858graphics.com

  4. #4
    Maximum Bitrate Vchat20's Avatar
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    asking for a miracle here imho. many of the current frontends already include most of what you are asking for (and veetid has already stated he will be including a full production suite including contacts, calendar, etc. in a future version of Centrafuse). all the extra stuff you have listed really should only be added as an external program seperate from the frontend simply because not everybody's system is going to have the same setup.
    Your everyday carpc geek and tech guru at your service. *bow*

  5. #5
    cheap custom title JC-S60's Avatar
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    Maybe to clarify my post earlier:

    I'm looking at this solution, not only for my personal vehicles... I'm nearly finished creating a complete hardware product that I want to deliver with a software that I think of as having what people might want.

    If it was for my personal projects only, I'd settle with major hacking and writing stuff myself.

    On the fact that not everybody needs all functions I can add that the skinning could take care of that: function not needed? funtion not visible!

    Webmail and calendar are nice, but not at all what I have in mind. A lot of people use handhelds/laptops in their car, and synchronize at home or at work, but they have all mails("what did I agree upon with this client last week?"), contacts("i'll quickly call customer x that i'm in a traffic jam"-button is on the nav-screen!) and calendar("who's my next appointment, and at which time?") at their fingertips for reference, not to be typing loveletters over email or something.

    More like a palmtop, but more powerfull (it has a bigger screen also, so it should be possible).

    Synchronizing over wifi/bleutooth would be enough (any of these) to have basic funtionality, while gprs/gsm/sms would add a more up-to-date situation.

    What I forgot to add to the options list: a simple voice-recorder for ideas on the road (a dictaphone if you will), that also synchronizes.

    Also CD-ripping should be included, and a file-sync over wifi/lan/cd/usb-stick (ethernet). Forgot those in the requirements list

    I don't want to see anything of windows!

    Not that difficult, is it?

    P.S. Centrafuse is the closest right now, if only looking at functions, but speed is a major problem, as are the D3 limitations (but not as bad). NMC does well, but lacks nav (the skinning is very good though). Frodo is nice but is music oriented and I don't want to hack/patch all the time, I'll just use it in MY car. MMC is faster but lacks funtionality and stability (also skinning). And so on and so on...

    I hope David can help me, really (and maybe he should look at mappoint-integration, as that seems nice, but haven't tested it yet)...

  6. #6
    Mobile Impact Creator reddeath30's Avatar
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    Email

    Regarding your requirements for email;
    you showed (sync with exchange/imap/pop3)
    You obviously have some sort of specific setup in your vehicles or in mind.
    Because email tends to be specific for authentication, and it uses different authentication for exchange as it does for pop and smtp. If you could fill us in more on how you want it to syncronize, it would be helpfull.
    Questions to answer:
    Do you use a wireless lan to get to your exchange using the full outlook client?
    or
    Do you use the web client over an internet connection for exchange?
    or
    Do you use outlook express or other similar pop email client to access your email over the internet or wireless lan?
    or
    How would you like to sync or connect to exchange?
    or
    Would you just like a touch screen friendly version of Microsoft Outlook, one that is totally configurable for every situation?

    I find it extremely usable in a car to find contacts, then have the option to set the gps to set a route to the given address, or place a cell phone call to the given number, but to actually write an email to a given contact using either a keyboard or on screen keyboard isnt a very wise decision while your on the road. If you are parked using a keyboard and mouse or other pointing device, then its only logical that you could use the regular Microsoft Outlook client, not incorporated into the program, but launched as an external application.

    A Contact Manager and Calendar are very straight forward to code, however email clients are not. If you were to fill us in on how you want that part of your proposed front end to work, then it would be easier for all of us to consider it. I am very interested, as I will be including a contact list and calendar in my front end in future versions. Take a look at my new front end;
    http://mobileimpact.biz.tm
    or take a look at these posts:
    MOBILE IMPACT - All New Front End
    http://www.digital-car.co.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1162
    Mobile Impact
    Highly innovative car computer multimedia/entertainment system software.
    http://mobileimpact.biz.tm

  7. #7
    Variable Bitrate 12Vsystems's Avatar
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    JC-S60 the more I read the calander and mail requirement the more I think this should be done as a web page. If you use an IMAP mail server all your mail is stored centrally so it doesn't matter what computer your on the inbox always looks the same. This would remove the need to sync the inbox. I think some of these programs include a nice calander function and there are a ton of webclients out there that are freeware. Once a web page is made it is really easy to embedd into a front end.

    We have a simple file sync program but it is only used for Music and Movies right now. We normally map the music/movies server to z: so when the user is next to the base station they say sync drives z:\music with c:\music. All it does it compare both directories and add any files not found on either drive.

    Map point is currently integrated into our software we have it installed on two customer systems. Our draw back was not being able to communicate with the GPS receiver from inside our app making Map Point nothing more then a fancy google map.

    We are dumping Map point and MS Streets and Trips in favor of the Map Monkey solution with Destinator 3. I have been testing IGuidance and Mapmonkey over the last couple days and they seem to be much better packages.

    CD-Ripper is already integrated into our app. Our demo version allows full access to the CD-Ripper I am really suprised more people haven't downloaded it to use this function by itself.

    Next is DVD Ripping. Our Movie player supports VOB files so using DVD Shrink you can rips your own movies directly to the hard drive. (No plans to add this into our software, legal reasons)

    Voice Recorded is a very simple and cool idea. I think we will add that in the next release.

    Not seeing Windows is easy, that just requires tweaking of Windows XP.

    Frodoplayer and Centrafuse are great freeware players but when we looked at doing this professionally there was no way we could offer support for a 3rd party freeware app.
    Spent all my money on carputers now I have to work a real job.
    http://www.858graphics.com

  8. #8
    FLAC IntellaWorks's Avatar
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    .

    I think that this thread brings up a few points that should be addressed.

    For one thing as a standalone programmer, to incorperate all of these suggestions into my front end would be just an ungodly task. I'm programming the front end on average 3 hours daily.

    Because I'm doing this as a hobbiest I program things into my front end in order of importance and to be honest I will probably never get to add all of the features I really want just because there are so many things already that need to be finished.

    The problem lies in that these front ends, the programmers are doing this like me, as hobbiests and they are alone.

    We need to post some open source code for generic things such as: active x onscreen skinnable keyboard controls (the OSC on my front end took me 6 hours to complete, this includes a day and night skin) If this were available to say the Centrafuse guys, they would of had 6 hours to work on something else.

    Maybe post some other little generic controls that developers could just plop into thier front end adjust some coding and continue on thier way. I think that if this occurs you'll start to see some time freed up on the programmers behalf and that some more amazing things will come out of this forum.
    Progress [I will seriously never be done!]
    Via EPIA MII
    512MB RAM
    OEM GPS (embedded)
    nLite WinXP pro on
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    Carnetix 1260 startup/ DC-DC regulator
    Software: Still, re-Writing my existing front end in .Net

  9. #9
    FLAC J187's Avatar
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  10. #10
    cheap custom title JC-S60's Avatar
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    @Reddeath:

    Well actually I would like a client that enables you to consult your e-mails/calendar/contacts while, and this is important, not connected.

    Also, I want to be able to synchronize these 3 with as much as possible, where calendar and contacts are not available via pop3/smtp, but they are via exchange (x400) and imap (where you can store a local cache, like an OST in outlook).

    Look at it this way: a salesman or technician on the road would have the mail/calendar/contacts functions of a pda (I like my palm) in their car, and much more!
    Calendar and conatcts would be a nice start, but only when you can sync them as, indeed, a small TS is not comfortable enough to maintain all this data on, while an office PC/laptop is!

    I want it to have an OEM-look, so just embedding outlook is not good enough, it needs to a be 100% TS-friendly mail/contacts/calendar consulting thingy

    @12Vsystems:

    Well, as I want everything to be available, I need some syncing/caching with items on a server, and most mailservers are exchange or at least have an imap option/add-on.

    About hiding XP, I meant that I want everything in the front-end, so I don't need to use any windows tools like explorer of control panel... Hiding it is easy, but when you need to see how many hdd-space there's left, you'll need a front-end function for that.

    I know a lot of these functions exist as separate programs or as a part of an existing front-end, but no front-end meets my requirements... yet

    Frodo is freeware, but Centrafuse has a company behind it and promises to deliver commercial solutions, tweaked and supported for people like me, who want a professional solution...

    @noone in particular

    I'm not developing my commercial solution with one big customer in mind, but with several types of customers, ranging from service-companies over sales, tuners and car enthousiasts to limo renting, busses and taxi's...

    The first one to be able to deliver me what I'm looking for will be making big bucks, in a way still to negociate.

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