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Car PC Hacks - I So Want to Try This
Thursday, August 25 2005 @ 09:36 AM EDT

I'm plowing through the enormous pile of newly redacted SCO documents, as you no doubt can guess, and I've found a couple of interesting things to share, but in the middle of that heavy brain work, I got a press release in an email. I usually don't place press releases on Groklaw, but this one is so entrancing, I am going to. It's for an O'Reilly book, "Car PC Hacks", and my poor brain, never so strong when it comes to staying on only one subject, immediately went walkabout and is now dreaming of hacks for my car. OK, which of you guys volunteers to hack my car for me?

Joke. Joke. The fun would be to try to do it myself, I think. Nah. It'd be fun no matter who made it happen. And honestly, look at the list, and isn't it delightful to think about?

Here's the press release, so we can have fun daydreaming on the same wavelength a while. You know you want your car to be able to do every single thing on the list. Tell your boss it's my fault you can't think about the project at hand. How can you be expected to think about work when you are contemplating creating "a powerful mobile digital hub" for your car? Or imagining listening to email as you drive? I certainly can't think of anything else for a bit. I'm only human.

If you have any questions you want me to ask the author, just sing out and I will.


For Immediate Release
Geek Your Ride
O'Reilly Releases "Car PC Hacks"

Sebastopol, CA--It started with the addition of satellite radio and then an iPod. Now DVD and MP3 players, navigation systems, and touch screens are standard in many vehicles. But installing an actual computer in a car with TiVo-like functionality? Absolutely! "The time for in-car computing has arrived," says Damien Stolarz--and his groundbreaking new "Car PC Hacks" (Stolarz, O'Reilly, US $24.95) is the first book to show readers how to put a PC in their ride and create a powerful mobile digital hub.

Fully illustrated and written by innovative computer hardware hackers and automobile customizers, "Car PC Hacks" is a collection of tips, tutorials, and techniques for installing, displaying, and controlling a car PC. It shows readers how to use a keyboard touch screen, or voice-activated in-car computers for things like watching (and even pausing and rewinding) live TV on the road; videoconferencing on the go; and using GPS to create a constant travel record.

"Once we get used to features in one part of our lives, we want to be able to use them everywhere--including in our cars," says Stolarz. People have come to count on an array of features and choices. "Why shouldn't you be able to say, 'I like the navigation system in the Infiniti, I think I'll get that for my Civic'?" asks Stolarz. And people definitely like to simplify. "When you've got half a dozen different kinds of digital media sitting in the passenger seat of your car (mobile phone, camera, PDA, iPod, portable USB memory stick, CDs), you'd like them to be able to talk to each other. Putting a computer in your car will allow all your gadgets to work with your vehicle." A car PC can serve as a digital hub for everyone's favorite must-have devices--and even some they don't yet know they need.

Anyone, with a little know-how, can put a PC on board. "Traditionally, car guys don't know computers," says Stolarz, "and computer guys don't know cars." But by using language that both audiences will understand, "Car PC Hacks" bridges that gap. Computer gurus skilled in all things software and hardware will learn the wiring, power, and connector basics necessary to get around a car with ease. Mechanics and auto enthusiasts who can install speakers, amps, and stereos in their sleep but depend on their friends to fix their ailing computers will learn all the essentials of the computer/car interface.

Clever, detailed hacks include:

-Install a PC or Mac computer that will power on and off just like the car stereo--and won't drain the car battery

-Move an entire audio collection to the car and navigate playlists with a remote control or touch screen

-Install a PC-based in-car navigation system that is cheaper, faster, and more usable than the factory-supplied setup in new cars

-Plug into the car's built-in computer and find out what the "check engine light" is really saying

-Enjoy wireless networking and accessing the Internet from the car

-Listen to email, news, and RSS feeds while driving

-Run a TiVo-like radio broadcast recorder so favorite shows are always ready and waiting

-Use a game console as a small, quiet, and affordable in-car computer (and even offering one to every passenger!)

From hooking up and powering up an in-car computer to configuring it to do countless cool things drivers never thought possible, the ideas in this cutting-edge guide show readers the possibilities--and how to make them happen--with a car PC.

Additional Resources:

For more information about the book, including table of contents, index, author bios, and sample hacks, see: . . . .

About O'Reilly O'Reilly Media is the premier information source for leading-edge computer technologies. The company's books, conferences, and web sites bring to light the knowledge of technology innovators. O'Reilly books, known for the animals on their covers, occupy a treasured place on the shelves of the developers building the next generation of software. O'Reilly conferences and summits bring alpha geeks and forward-thinking business leaders together to shape the revolutionary ideas that spark new industries. From the Internet to XML, open source, .NET, Java, and web services, O'Reilly puts technologies on the map.

# # #

O'Reilly is a registered trademark of O'Reilly Media, Inc. All other trademarks are property of their respective owners.

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