In my last blog, I wrote about how the Carputer has thus far impacted my productivity. BTW, my carputer at the moment is not only based on the Mac mini since, every time I am in the car, I also hook-up to the LCD monitor the NOKIA N95. Instead of buying a GPS module to install in the mini, I decided to just use the N95's powerful built-in GPS. Just a single push in the AV Source button of the LCD screen and I have selected the N95 as the source.
The carputer for the past week or so has been running flawlessly and the CoreDuoTemp shows its temperature ranging only from 145-155 degrees Fahrenheit. The Carnetix power supply is working wonderfully as it puts the carputer into hibernation (not sleep) when I turn off the ignition: it brings it back to its previous state 15 seconds after I turn the ignition on.
If there is one problem I experienced with the carputer, it has to be the lack of input device. Of course I could always carry in the car the white Apple Wireless Keyboard. But that is simply too big and cumbersome for my taste. Besides, I seldom need to input text even when browsing since I have saved all my bookmarks both in Firefox and in iGoogle. But still, it is always nice to have some kind of an input device when you might need it. That is what that keyboard is for in the above images.
Again, I found in my pile of junk this old Think-Outside-Stowaway Bluetooth keyboard. It is fairly small at just about twice the size of the N95 when folded. Using the keyboard with the Mac mini is a no brainer since it is easily identified. Now, it would be nice if it will sync as well with the N95. Boy, that will make sending SMS simply awesome.
I went to the Think-Outside website and attempted to look for the driver. The site says that they are still working on the N95 but a driver is already available for the N92 which is the one I downloaded from here. I downloaded the sis file to the PC (XP under Parallels) and decided to give it a try. I then installed the driver using Nokia's PC Suite onto the N95 without a hitch. And now for the moment of truth, will the keyboard be recognized by the N95?
And whadaya know, it works. It even triggers some of the N95's applications like SMS, calendar, and notepad by using the Stowaway's default keystroke combinations as defined in the manual. But it shines even more for text input alone; typing urls in the browser, typing SMS, and even in Notepad. However, it will not work with the Mac mini and the N95 both at the same time. You will need to re-enable it in the mini after using in the N95, and vice versa. This is good enough for now.
Checking my Amazon records online, it shows that I bought the keyboard in January 2006 for $90.99. I was using it of-and-on with the LE1600 back then. The Stowaway has now gone down in price since and is now selling for just $85.99.
My friend Allan and I tried to install an HP All-in-one printer the other day- HP 2600. This will solve once and for all the last remaining requirement for this project which is to send/receive fax. We tried for a couple of hours but gave up after having problems with the printer-modem interface. We can print alright using Bluetooth, but we keep getting an error message when trying to send and receive fax. Allan promised to find a solution by this week.
With the addition of the Stowaway keyboard and printer, we now have a fully functional "mobile office."
I am quite confident that our client will be all smiles when we demo our "mobile office" to him. I can't wait till we finally install it in his Ford E150.