RE: Digital Blazer.

From: Jeff Barr (
Date: Sun Feb 18 2001 - 18:31:02 PST

I've been meaning to put together a page on Fred, our treadmill computer,
for a while. Since we are leaving for Mexico in less than 10 hours, clearly
now is not the time. I do have some pictures:

These are of the "alpha" version. In the production model, the keyboard
and the trackball are mounted on a nice wooden surface, the cables are
nicely tied down, etc. I run three apps on it -- Headline Viewer,
IE5, and WinAmp. With deft use of the keyboard I can blast through news
headlines from 500 or so sites while taking a nice 5 mile walk at
3.5 or 4 MPH.

The real trick here is to always use the keyboard. Trackballs are hard
enough to use while standing still. Windows Alt-Tab is handy, as is
the lesser-known Windows-Tab (hold down the Windows key and press Tab
to cycle through the windows in the task bar). WinAmp can be controlled
from the keyboard, as can Headline Viewer.

My original plan was to build a little custom keypad, but lately
(thanks in part to Adam and Rohit :-) I've been too busy to use it, not
to mention improve it.


-----Original Message-----
From: Adam Rifkin []
Sent: Saturday, February 17, 2001 11:20 PM
Subject: Digital Blazer.

I thought Jeff Barr's HeadlineViewer-hooked-up-to-the-treadmill was nice.
But man, if I had the Internet-enabled Blazer, I would spend 24 hours
a day on the road...

This page has been made to show my ongoing project of creating the
ultimate multimedia system in a vehicle. It is now possible to have
wireless Internet, DVD, GPS Navigation, TV, Digital Music, etc. all in a
vehicle. Some cars will soon come with these gadgets, I just didnt want
to wait, or spend the overpriced charges for them.

While the blazer is not as fast as the Integra was, I like it a lot! It
is quieter, roomier, and all and all in better shape than the integra,
as it is 4 years newer. It is quite sporty too in its own SUV kinda
way. This is a very practical vehicle, and its great for crusin the
streets of Jacksonville in the evenings, or towing my Jet Skis during
the daytime.

As a lot of you may know, I used to have a 94 Integra GSR. I have sold
that car and now have a 98 2 door Chevy Blazer. Now for all of you rice
readers, this thing could still out accelerate a semi-stock civic =),
even if it would take a gallon of gas in the process.

Since I have had a computer in my ride for over a year and a half, I
couldn't do without. The Blazer is receiving all the money and time I
can afford to give to it, and boy is it turning out to be nice =) Keep
on surfin my page to see the results of my hard work.

The idea started out simple. I wanted to play MP3s in my vehicle.
In June of 1998, I had the idea that I wanted to be able to play MP3s in
my car. At the time, there were no portable devices on the public
market. The MpMan came out around this time, but it was not readily
available. I had an idea to put a laptop in my car, as simple of an idea
as it seems, it was still an original idea. The only other time I had
seen laptops in cars was in police cars.
The laptop idea lasted about a week. It was heavy, too big, and akward
to mess with while driving.

I wanted something easy to use while driving, versatile, good sound
quality, and reliable.

I had a plan. I would build a computer in my car. Actually integrated
into the car. I wanted a screen in the dash, a full keyboard, a mouse,
I set out to build it. I bought a 6" TFT screen, and used a bunch of old
Pentium I aged components and built myself a fully functional P166
running windows 95. Then I slowly added things, like TV tuner card, DVD
drive with decoder card, and so on. Well, throught the past year and a
half, the system has changed dramatically.

The computer in the Blazer consists of a 10.4" TFT screen with
Windows98, I have over 5000 mp3's, ASFs, and games. I have a Wireless
mouse and keyboard, along with a gamepad to control everything
with. Wireless internet adds a nice touch, especially for CDDB access.

Using most the parts from my previous install in the integra, I was able
to build a pretty decent system in the blazer. With MB Quart components
in the dash and, coaxial 2-ways in the doors, and another set of coaxial
2-ways in the back side walls, the mids and highs are incredibley clean
and loud. The signal to noise ratio of 97dB on the soundcard is very
I kept the 2 12" Infinity Kappa Subwoofers, as well as my two Alpine
5ch Amps. I did however, add a Rockford Fosgate amp for the back

PII-333 80Mb Ram
30Gb HDD space
8x4x32 TDK VeloCD CDR
4x Creative DVD-rom drive
10.4" TFT Flat panel
6" TFT Flat panel
RF Keyboard
RF Mouse
19,200baud Wireless Internet
10Mbaud ethernet port
TV Tuner card
N64 playable on both screens
Voodoo II 3d Accelerator card
300Watt Powersupply
300Watt DC/AC Power Inverter
Digital Gamepad

(4) 2-way Mb Quart Coaxials
(2) Mb Quart Component sets
(2) Alipine 5Ch, 35x4, 115x1 Amps
(1) Turtle Beach Montego II Soundcard with >97dB SNR
(1) Rockford Fosgate Punch 40 Amp
(2) Infinity Kappa 12" subwoofers
(1) 1 Farad Monster Cap
(1) EQL Equalizer

With my current setup; I can listen to over 5000 songs at the control of
my fingers, When I buy a new cd, I can rip it in less than 5 minutes, I
can record a full CD in less than 10 minutes, My passengers can watch
DVDs on road trips, I can check the news headlines and sports scores
while sitting in traffic, I also IM people while out crusin the streets.
I am really happy with my setup. I moved My AC controls to my center
console for easy access, all I do is open the console and there it
is. My system is easy to use, and it looks good. The screen is flush, so
it looks factory. The system has enough mids and highs to cause
pain. The bass is not up to DB drag racing standards, but it is more
than enough for me and my listening habits.
My current setup is the most reliable so far. I have very few problems
with it. The motherboard is a brand new VIA chipset, with FSB from 66 to
150, so it is very upgradeable as well. The RF keyboard and mouse are
much better choices than IR. No sensor to relocate, and nothing to "aim"
the devices at either.

Drool drool drool... iwantitiwantitiwantitiwantitiwantitiwantitiwantit...


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