27 Aug 2001 rupert   » (Journeyer)

mikeszcz was kind enough to make some comments on my last diary entry, concerning my car computer software, which I'll attempt to address here. I think it'll be at least a week, if not two before I do the first release of the software. It's at the point where it's relatively stable, but has quite a few performance issues. I also want to clean up the code a bit before releasing it into the wild, as it were. The app has its share of unused functions, inscrutable comments, and blocks of commented out code which should die a quick and peaceful death so as to not cause the potential user to lose all confidence in the app or its author... I also want to write up some decent documentation and installation instructions, since getting everything loaded is a bit hairy.

A little background on the project, and in the process, myself. I think that I was born about 150 years too early. I spent quite a bit of time jealously watching the Star Trek crew seamlessly interact with their highly intelligent ship computer. I've also always dreamed of having a vehicle with even a fraction of the capabilities of those seen in movies and TV shows like Blade Runner, Knightrider, Batman, The Fifth Element, and so on. I think every geek has at some point. I also work as a military aircraft restorer for the March Field Air Museum, and have spent quite a bit of time working on the SR-71A Blackbird (#975) there. The desire to incorporate elements of this futuristic technology (yes, I know that the SR-71 was created in the 50's) into a working vehicle seemed like a fun project, so I started working on this voice controlled computer system. I'm happy to see that other folks are pursuing the hardware side of things. Mark's Custom Kits makes beautiful functional Knightrider instrumentation and dash panels.

Having said this, you'll find the first version of software released to be disappointingly sparse. The design is highly modular, however, so adding new functionality should be surprisingly simple to do, and I expect new releases regularly.

If the software is successful (and stable!) enough, I'd like to investigate the possibility of starting a small business, writing custom modules and adding additional AI and personalization functionality for people who want to use and enjoy the system without spending months having to dig through the codebase themselves. The core system would always stay free and open, however.

Comments? Questions? Let me know...

--- Rupert

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