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I started writing this a while ago.  So don’t be surprised when Part 2 shows up real quick after Part 1 ;)

 

So for a long time I’ve wanted a PC in my car.  Countless others have done it.  In fact, one of my best friends put a modded Xbox in his Camry over a year ago.   He got an LCD display and mounted on the top of the dashboard (above the glove compartment), and put the Xbox in the trunk.  He loaded it up with music and movies and used Xbox Media Center to give it a friendly UI.

So back in January I finally decided to have a go.  I considered several options:

-          A laptop or mini-PC running Windows XP, powering a USB-touchscreen.

-          A modded Xbox like my friend’s setup

-          One of several old IBM “Pen-based PCs” that my father had lying around the office.  They were P3 800mhz or so systems with small, foldable screens and an attached paper notebook.  The pen was battery-powered and could send what you wrote on the notepad to the computer, or you could use the pen as a pointing device – much like a primitive Tablet PC.

-          A Windows Mobile PocketPC – either my old iPaq 2215 (long since replaced by the Treo 600 and more recently, the PPC-6601), or something new.

I chose the last option.

I began with a trial setup.  I took my iPaq 2215 and basically fixed it to one of my car’s center vents (above the radio) with double-sided mounting tape.  I loaded up some software to try out, and put some media on an SD card and popped it in.  I also bought the Bluetooth adapter for my Pharos GPS receiver (came with Streets & Trips 2005 – a steal for $40), and installed the trial versions of a couple of nav programs.

Preliminary trials went well.  MS Voice Command provided one of the coolest features from the beginning – I could press a button on the face of the device and say “Play Talking Heads,” and the device would instantly queue up all the Talking Heads tracks on the memory card.  Awesome.

But I had some problems.  For one, I wanted to mount it in a more… “finished” manner.  And I really wanted to mount it in landscape mode.  Unfortunately, the 2215 doesn’t support WM2003 SE – so that wasn’t really an option.

So I went back to the drawing board…

And then to the store.

 

Posted on Tuesday, March 15, 2005 2:18 AM My Car and Car PC | Back to top

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