Friday, October 06, 2006

All photos were taken by a crappy Sony-Ericsson T90 cellphone I had during the time of making the computer, which was like during the summer of 2004.

Reason: Cheap, and I can get experience. I have alot of the parts already. And the notion of resurrecting a capable machine out of old, outdated parts invoked the Mad Scientist in me.

Conditions: I don't have money to put a neat fiberglassed layout or get a good LCD. So, this is what I stuck with:

Computer gets power from car.
Computer outputs sound from headphone jack, which will go to tape deck, using the stuff.
MP3 Control is by a remote control from X10 Systems, which they gave away for free during my times of scourging for parts across the Mp3Car forum and the generic Internet.
The button input will be gotten by LIRC or WINLIRC(Windows version) or any other RF-Signal receiving device. I've made a receiver that would get input from normal Infrared remote controllers but Since the free X10 remote had its own RF USB receiver, I just used it.

.. However, it turned out I had to use UHC? I don't remember the exact name of the program.. but a time-frozen "freeware" of the commercial program to get the input into the computer.

The signal is then converted by the UHC program into a key press. Since Winamp will also be turned on, and the key press will be directed to Winamp, the key press will be hot keys that Winamp reacts on.

To add more functionability I have wrote a fairly simple plugin which adds more hotkeys to Winamp, which will, with another file, create the ULTIMATE ALBUM TURNER!!
The plugin is a dll file. It will read a file input, which will have lists of playable playlists(list of .pls files). This list will be put into an array, which, upon designated keypress, will traverse back and forth and load the relative playlist.
No screen and change of playlist (which I affectionately call 'albums' cuz songs have been categorized in such way).. how did I solve the problem of not knowing what is being played?

HAHA. This is a problem with most MP3 players. Yeah, you have your fancy nancy displays,
which display folders which is inside your mp3 player flash ram. But while selecting your next favorite song to play, you get detached from the listening mode to fiddle with little buttons and squint to see your little displays (I'd say Ipod or Nano is still too little). I mean c'mon. This is a world where you want your songs to be played endlessly with little or no intermission as possible.

This problem is significantly important when you're driving right?
So I came up with this BRILLIANT GHETTO approach:

Each playlist, which is a list of mp3 files to play, has one file that is played first:
My recording of my voice, made to sound cool and deep, that states the name of the album.

VOILA! I can drive, I don't need to veer away from the road to look at any screens (well I don't have one but I don't have to if I have one), and I'm super safe and super cool listening to songs and switching albums without increasing my car accident possibility.
Windows 98SE has been used, and it was stripped of any capabilities that I wouldn't need to increase its speed using 98Lite, a program offered.. search for it by Google.
They also have XPLite, and both can pretty much strip most of things out during the installation process of the operating system.

So Here's The Spec:
200MHz MultiCav Hyundai computer (yeah Hyundai used to make computers as well)
5 Gig Harddrive
Ethernet PCI card
Generic VGA card
X10 Remote Controller and receiver (It's OEM also sold as ATI Wonder remote)


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