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Thread: How About A Powermate Driven Front End?

  1. #1
    FLAC ukchris's Avatar
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    How About A Powermate Driven Front End?

    Just a thought, interested if any of you agree or if any of the front end developers would consider adding this.

    Personally I find the touchscreen a pain in the a$$, they are expensive, reduce brightness and always get dirty yet, it is fair to say, there is hardly any other workable interface for in car use as a mouse and keyboard is too much.

    My ideal, I think, would be something that was 100% controlled by something like a PowerMate. On a menu screen rotating would select (and highlight) each button in turn, like tabbing between buttons in Windows. A click would select.

    On an OSK rotating would similarly highlight the next letter, like entering your name on a video game, click to select. Even better could be something like Zorro's mousewheel input.

    With some thoughtful interface design and a simple input mechanism what couldn't we do in an interface? Maybe scrolling? Well a click on the scrollable field could lock it in "scroll mode" maybe? I'm sure it wouldn't be that hard to overcome a few obstacles.

    The benefits I see, other than having an interface the way I think it most workable is that we shouldn't need touch screens any more. Screens would be brighter, cleaner and cheaper.

    Comments? Shoot the idea down, build on it..?

  2. #2
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    I think that could be a viable solution, however, for the windows users out there, the powermate's current driver set leaves a lot to be desired. Until Griffin fixes some of their driver issues for the windows platform, I don't think this would be a SAFE and viable solution.

    You could possibly take advantage of Girder's functionality to write your own onscreen control interface for the powermate.

  3. #3
    Maximum Bitrate neon_eddy's Avatar
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    like a selector knob?.. I like that as an option. but I'm a touch junky ..

    I don't agree with your statement "Personally I find the touchscreen a pain in the a$$,". However your reasoning is sound.. I just found work arounds for those isues.. or don't care.
    Shawn



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  4. #4
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    my touchscreen broke, so i am currently using frodoplayer and controlling it with a shuttle express. for music it works very well, much easier than a touchscreen. launching external apps or using gps is still difficult though. i have to plug in a mouse for that. Touchscreens are nice and very cool, but i dont think they are the ideal input device for in a vehicle. i prefer real buttons and knobs. I may consider coding something like this if there is enough interest.
    System: AMD Duron 1200+ , 512 MB ram , usb sb mp3+ , Tview 7" touchscreen , M1-ATX PSU , Slot Load iMac DVD-Rom , 40 GB laptop HDD, netgear USB 802.11g

    Progress: Installation: 90% Dash fabrication: 80%

    Parts Needed: USB GPS

  5. #5
    FLAC ukchris's Avatar
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    I didn't realize there were such issues with the PowerMate but then again it is just an example. The same setup could be run with a few keys, NEXT, PREVIOUS, SELECT etc., or maybe even just a mouse wheel. With a keyboard simulator like those used in MAME cabs you could do the same with pretty much any momentary switches you chose I suppose, even car specific ones int he dash etc. How about a stalk on the steering column to control everything? Like a cruise control lever...!

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    I would like to see a front end that could be control by some sort of control knob and a few buttons. It would be a lot more percise than a touch screen(and potentially safer), allow for a brighter screen, and have more of an oem look. Im not exactly a programmer, but I couldn't imagine it would be difficult to add key mappings for all the functions, and I would be willing to contribute monetarily if necessary.

  7. #7
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    um, i'll post it again:

    "You could possibly take advantage of Girder's functionality to write your own onscreen control interface for the powermate."

  8. #8
    Variable Bitrate roadhog's Avatar
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    @ ukchris - Still got the DWW-700? I have one too and whole heartedly agree with you.
    Don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with the unit, but I find a touchscreen just doesn't cut it when your driving. So it started me thinking, what would be the ideal control arrangement to navigate through folders and playlists, select songs adjust volume etc without visual feedback. I like the idea of a multi purpose wheel, just need to work out other buttons etc. I'll try to post some sort of diagram. As for the skinning, I started a skin for roadrunner, but got sidetracked, but it shouldn't be too hard to thrash something out. I'm afraid what I really lack is ideas.
    Any more thoughts on this?

  9. #9
    ddn
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    So you mean you want to dupliace iDrive?

  10. #10
    FLAC ukchris's Avatar
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    I still have the DWW-700M and it works well, I really can't fault it. I can even see it on a sunny day with the roof down, or fairly well anyway. The screen seems to lose a little calibration but I really don't think it's bad, but buttons are just much smaller than my fingers, selecting is hard work.

    I've thought about a stylus, for a Nintendo DS you can get these rubber claw type things to stick on your finger but it really seems a pain to have to go that far. I just think we're still stuck a little in "PC Mode" rather than dedicating it to the car medium.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to be critical, there is so much penominal work being done by the developers here I just want to try and contribute to the overall process a little and see what we can improve.

    I haven't got Zorro's mouse wheel keyboard set up yet but it looks awesome, if I can reliably use it in place of an OSK that would be a huge benefit for me when entering addresses etc.

    I think the apps, RoadRunner, FrodoPlayer etc probably do a lot of this already in effect. There is usually a highlight state for a button, it would just need to manage the cycling through the buttons and the click event I guess.

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