Dashpc Carputer

My carputer: The Dashboard PC
In 1999 (many years ago), I had the crazy idea of putting a personal computer into my car. After much though and some serious planning, I decided to do it. I started the project in 1999 and its been evolving ever since. A lot of people may wonder why I wanted to put a personal computer into my car. Well, back when I started the project, there were no iPods or portable music players. Navigation systems for cars only existed in specialty markets (military, super luxury, etc) and nothing provided useful information like traffic conditions. So, I set about installing the computer and customizing it for my needs / desires. The project became wildly popular on the internet and it catalyzed the carputer craze. I blogged about it as I built it and it developed quite a following on-line. It was featured on a popular technology website slashdot.org and later in two books:
Geek My Ride (forworded by Apple co-founder Steve Woz Wozniak) and Car PC Hacks. As I built the carputer, I had to develop my own electronic circuit to control power issues in the car. After an overwhelming number of requests to purchase this circuit, I began selling it (the DSSC startup and shutdown controller) via my company Dashwerks, Inc.

I created a website dedicated to the project, dubbed The DashPC where you can find more detailed information. DashPC is an amalgam for Dashboard Personal Computer.

Here are some pictures
Screenshot of my dashpc software
Red Hat Linux booting in the car
The screen and keyboard
The computer in the trunk
The wireless keyboard




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Dashboard Linux

In 1999 (many years ago), I had the crazy idea of putting a personal computer into my car. There were no frameworks or code bases available at the time because a project of this magnitude had never been done, so I set about writing my own frontend software: Dashboard Linux. The entire system was initially built around Linux From Scratch (LFS). I started the interface with Perl & TCL/TK, then later ported it over to C. On it’s final iteration I used C++ with Qt.

This post is mostly for posterity because the project has been abandoned and there are many newer projects that are much more capable.

Pictures / Screenshots

ScreenshotThe old Perl TCL/TK interface (circa 1998)
Bare GTK interfaceSame interface with a different theme applied
Another theme applied... and another theme
The FM Tuner card interfaceGPSDrive on Linux



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