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post #1 of 203 Old 10-08-2004, 10:15 AM - Thread Starter
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I'm in the process of putting together a jukebox PC. The software for the jukebox is designed for touchscreen control. You can use a keyboard or mouse but I'd prefer to stay with touch.

I initially thought about building in a 7-8" touchscreen into the case and building it into my rack as visible. This presented some issues for case size and appearance to get something that would fit a screen that big and still leave room for a DVD/CD drive. I did some research and found some that would work for around $700 for the screen, PCI card, software, etc. Also, to get a case that would work, I was looking at around $350+ and then doing some serious mods to it. More than I wanted to spend so I started thinking about a larger one (they are cheaper - presumably due to quantity mfg'd) that I could just mount into a wall as the interface.

After seeing some of the new portable PCs - more large handhelds than anything else, I've been thinking again. Is there anything out there, prefereably wireless, that I could use like a remote touchscreen that would simply act as the screen/input device for a standard PC? I guess something like a VGA over WiFi setup is really what I need but only want the adapters so I can use a screen of my choice. Obviously, since the communication needs to be 2 way (touchscreen controls for the app) a standard VGA wireless adapter won't work. Also, something small enough that I could fit into a decent sized enclosure and run from batteries would be a definite bonus. The idea is to have a 'tablet' type device that I can take with me anywhere in the house and have access to my jukebox.

I can't believe I'm the only one to try to do something like this. Unfortunately, the software I want to use is NOT browser friendly. It is strictly a desktop application. Can I just get something like the Viewsonic Tablet and use MS RDP?

Any pointers or thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

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post #2 of 203 Old 10-08-2004, 11:50 AM
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Using a tablet PC is exactly what I was thinking about. You can get a used 1GHz one for around $700 and load Windows XP on it (if it isn't already loaded) and then use the remote desktop to control your main computer.

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post #3 of 203 Old 10-08-2004, 03:45 PM
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The Viewsonic Airpanel would do the trick for you.
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post #4 of 203 Old 10-08-2004, 04:23 PM
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I have not looked into it.. So, this is just a thought. Maybe you can use a wifi pda.. that can remote into your PC. I know there are several flavors of VNC.. which is a remote desktop/PcAnywhere type application. Not sure if there are any that run on a PDA? But it's open source freeware. So, it might be a cheap solution? Plus you get a PDA for other things.

Hope that helps..
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post #5 of 203 Old 10-08-2004, 08:47 PM
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PDA.

NetRemote and Girder get a lot of posts on the HTPC forum. I have also been reading about Shoutcast as a streaming system and their are many programs to play audio and in various formats MP3/OGG/Ape...

I am about to buy a Dell X30 PDA through work and it has built in WiFi (802.11b) and Bluetooth. The Mid range X30 is going to cost less than $300 and have more power than you will need. Other brands will work as well.

You can play MP3 on the PDA (like an iPod - maybe not as good of quality), or use the PDA to remote an audio/video system via infrared remote, or control the audio on a server (Shoutcast) with WiFi, or client computers connected to stereo equipment via Bluetooth.
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post #6 of 203 Old 10-09-2004, 05:22 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the responses. Some good suggestions there.

My limitation has been that I already know what software I want to use (PC Jukebox when they add WMA) This is a desktop only application so some sort of remote desktop is going to be required.

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post #7 of 203 Old 10-10-2004, 04:17 AM
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Why not use Smart Display? Those silly Msoft-enabled wireless monitors that no one ever sold. Basically a dumb touchscreen monitor with remote desktop. They have no apparent use except for applications like the one you describe. Great deals all over the place.
They won't let me post URLs here, so go to the msoft website and add /windows/smartdisplay/

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post #8 of 203 Old 10-10-2004, 05:50 PM
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You can buy one of the Fujitsu Tablet PC's for about $300 on eBay. They have 400MHz or 500MHz processors in them and are complete PC's (therefore none of the hasels like you run into with the Airpanels).

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post #9 of 203 Old 10-11-2004, 05:25 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks Julie. I'll have to check those out.

ndabunka:

Not sure I really need a full PC. I want something that can act basically as an overblown remote control able to control a PC and able to show the windows applications it is controlling.

Specifically, what hassles are you talking about with the airpanels?

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post #10 of 203 Old 10-12-2004, 05:38 PM - Thread Starter
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Just one more thing. I'd like to also be able to use the PC/tablet as my remote if possible. I already have an IR repeater in the room to control everything. Most of the products I've seen have some significant drawbacks. Is this just a non-starter?

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post #11 of 203 Old 10-12-2004, 07:43 PM
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Quote:
My limitation has been that I already know what software I want to use (PC Jukebox when they add WMA) This is a desktop only application so some sort of remote desktop is going to be required.
Not necessarily, though it's still non-optimal. But a product like CQC can control applications running on other machines, since it is network distributed. But you'd still need to have logged onto that machine so that CQC could invoke the app on it for you. But you can then control it from other machines running CQC's client interfaces without any kind of remote desktop stuff.

But, given the fact that it's an app, you may still be better off just using RDP to control it via some sort of tablet.

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post #12 of 203 Old 10-14-2004, 10:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by bpape
Thanks Julie. I'll have to check those out.

ndabunka:

Not sure I really need a full PC. I want something that can act basically as an overblown remote control able to control a PC and able to show the windows applications it is controlling.

Specifically, what hassles are you talking about with the airpanels?
The Remote Desktop application that MS developed is fully of bugs and incompatibilities with many of these applications. It can be done but is often slower and more cumbersome and more expensive than the Tablet PC's. The CQC stuff is good but does take a little more effort than one of it's direct competitor's, Main Lobby. The CQC software costs around $200 to get started. ML starts around $50. I believe both offer 30-day free trials.

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post #13 of 203 Old 10-15-2004, 12:01 AM
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CQC stuff is good but does take a little more effort than one of it's direct competitor's, Main Lobby. The CQC software costs around $200 to get started. ML starts around $50. I believe both offer 30-day free trials.
I don't believe that's true on either count. I think that ML (in a configuration you can do much with) costs about the same as CQC's base package, and they are both a bit complex to learn, just in different ways. And if you want to do serious full home automation, you may have to also purchase HomeSeer to use as a backend with ML, though for lighter stuff you wouldn't need to. CQC includes the hard core back end.

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post #14 of 203 Old 10-15-2004, 10:24 AM - Thread Starter
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OK. So what would you recommend if I want to:

Control a jukebox program - designed for touchscreen
and
Have the unit act as my universal remote. I already have a Xantech system with a single 'eye' in the front of the room. Connecting block is in my equip cabinet and controls all AV equipment and my Grafik Eye.

Another question, am I making this too tough? Can I maybe run the application on the panel itself and just point to a database and files on the PC?

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post #15 of 203 Old 10-17-2004, 09:52 PM
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Dean - I don't recall him stating anything about Home automation. I think he's looking for simple audio/video control rather than lighting, garage door, HVAC and sprinkler system control so all the stuff that controls all of that would not be needed in this application. As far as the individual components he would need for controlling a PC..... He could really do that with a simple Pronto remote. If he wants to get into using the PC'style touchscreens, he could do so with either vendors platform. The debate about full PC vs. Airpanel and using Remote Desktop can be debated forever but my recommendations is to use one of the $300 Toshiba Tablet PC's (A 10.4" touch screen "full" tablet that weighs about 2lbs and runs silently) and using it as a control device for his equipment. The additional equipment (i.e. a Master PC which has the Xantech stuff connected to it's serial port), software (either one), programming time, a wireless connection between the touchscreen and the devices (could be IR but 802.11 really works better), programming time). You may think this is "too tough", but this is what's needed in order to "use the touchscreen and simply 'Point' to a database on a PC".

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post #16 of 203 Old 10-18-2004, 03:00 AM - Thread Starter
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Several things...

My statement about pointing to a remote DB was more for the jukebox application. I was just thinking about running the desktop app on the airboard and telling it that the underlying database was on a different machine. I need to verify that this is even possible.

The universal remote was a secondary thought but something that sounds very feasible.

I WOULD like to run my Grafik Eye via this remote but think that's no biggie as it is already tied into my Xantech system.

One question. Several have said that the MS product is kind of flaky. Is the Citrix product 'ready for prime time?' I have used their product in a business networked envrionment and it seems to work pretty well. I'm sure what comes with the Viewsonic board is not the exact same product - just wondering about anyone's expereinces.

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post #17 of 203 Old 10-18-2004, 05:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by ndabunka
Dean - I don't recall him stating anything about Home automation. I think he's looking for simple audio/video control rather than lighting, garage door, HVAC and sprinkler system control so all the stuff that controls all of that would not be needed in this application.<Snip>
I once saw Dean recommend HIS CQC software to a guy who simply wanted to pass IR signals to his equipment inside a cabinet .

And he always mentions it as though it's an unbiased recommendation rather than his own software .
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post #18 of 203 Old 10-18-2004, 10:42 AM
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:rolleyes:

I assume people can read, and that the fact that my sig says I'm the chairman of the company, that it's my product.

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post #19 of 203 Old 10-18-2004, 11:03 AM - Thread Starter
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Yeah. I can read. Nothing wrong with with suggesting your own product if it will work.

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post #20 of 203 Old 10-18-2004, 11:10 AM
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Recommending is one thing, using the forum as a salesroom by constantly hawking is another .
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post #21 of 203 Old 10-18-2004, 11:49 AM
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I'm hardly constantly hawking.

I just did a search for 'CQC' for the last 6 months. Out of the 72 results, about 50'something I actually posted to (as apposed to someone else mentioning it), and of those probably another 20 or more were just general discussion of automation and CQC was mentioned only within the context of automation in general (an in which other products were also mentioned by their vendors), or software architecture and I used CQC's architecture as an example, or someone else mentioned it first and I corrected or added to the information given, or where just me asking questions about some piece of hardware and or protocol and indicating that I wanted to know so that I could support in it CQC, so it was only mentioned in the most tangential way.

So maybe 25 or so times over the last 6 months I've suggested CQC to someone who posted a question specifically looking for an automation solution of some sort. I don't think that is excessive.

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post #22 of 203 Old 10-18-2004, 11:59 AM
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That's only after being reprimanded . But you seem to be inching up again . I really just want to know why you never use the phrase "my CQC software " when you recommend it ?
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post #23 of 203 Old 10-18-2004, 12:07 PM
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Well, for one it's not my software anymore. It belongs to the corporation. But mostly I don't even think about it and just assume that everyone knows I'm part of that company. And, even more importantly, that they are not stupid enough to use it just because I recommend it and that they'll evaluate it for themselves, along with any other alternatives. This isn't an impulse buy type of product.

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post #24 of 203 Old 10-18-2004, 12:22 PM
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Getting back on topic, what software would you use to create a universal remote using a Tablet PC? Lets say I just wanted this for the living room to replace the 6 or 7 remotes lying around. No whole house audio or video involved.
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post #25 of 203 Old 10-18-2004, 01:25 PM
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I personally think Dean does a good (read as not overbearing) job of presentation. I have no problems with him being here or any of theese sites. You should just see what one Hot Tub dealer does online. Citrix is a full professional solution that works EXTREMELY well in many applications. That's one of the reason MS tried DESPARATELY to (1) Put them out of business and then when that failed they tried to (2) buy the technology at 1/4th the value. That is the reason most corporations use Citrix instead of MS's poor RDP products. In the past I deployed a 23-server Citrix infrastructure that supported over 4300 users and is still running PERFECTLY to this day. I have not yet tried Citrix with this solution as I do not need it with the full clients. IMHO it is a little pricey for this application.

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post #26 of 203 Old 10-18-2004, 01:33 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks. There is a version of Citrix that comes with the Viewsonic Airboard as part of the package. I didn't figure I needed the whole thing. Just wondered if anyone had used this 'thin' product.

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post #27 of 203 Old 10-19-2004, 07:52 PM
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Actually, you WILL need the server portion as well in order to use it. The Citrix "thin" client is free but the server is $$$$'s.

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post #28 of 203 Old 10-20-2004, 04:48 AM - Thread Starter
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The product is called Citrix-GoToMyPC. It is a free piece of software that as I understand it is used in place of MS RDP to allow access to a desktop from pretty much anywhere.

I'll do some mroe checking.

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post #29 of 203 Old 10-21-2004, 12:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by bpape
Thanks for all the responses. Some good suggestions there.

My limitation has been that I already know what software I want to use (PC Jukebox when they add WMA) This is a desktop only application so some sort of remote desktop is going to be required.
bpape,

I'm currently using "MY" software to do what you originally set out to, although, it doesn't require remote desktop.

I'm using a 15" Viewsonic Airpanel (ebay for 'round $400) which RDP's into another computer running MainLobby, MusicLobby & J River's Media Center. From the Airpanel I can control music just as you would from a real jukebox - people don't believe me when I tell them they actually need to press the coin in order to gain 3 credits :) :
http://www.cinemaronline.com/images/...siclobby01.jpg

It's great for parties. Although after 11pm, depending upon alcohol consumption, it's a good idea to point them to a fixed touchscreen so they don't accidentally drop it. :)

You can even enter VALET mode, which just provides a simple visual of what just played, what's playing and what's coming up. Just a quick way for onlookers to see what's happening. They can also click on the cover to move forwards, backwards through the playlist while in this mode. The good thing is there is a hidden button to prevent unnecessary access to your computer.

I also have another 15" wall mounted touch screen in the kitchen which provides the same functionality as far as selecting music although it does so much more than that.

BTW, J River already supports WMA format along with around 80 other audio formats.

I can also control the whole house music from my office computer. Essentially any networked computer becomes a client capable of music control...including pocketPCs.

Add in a Global Cache device and now you've got a universal remote control.
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post #30 of 203 Old 10-21-2004, 03:59 AM - Thread Starter
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OK. Thanks.

Just to be clear, RDP IS a remote desktop. I've heard some say it was slow and unresponsive. What is your experience with it?

I've looked at a lot of jukebox type software. There are a lot of nice tools out there. For me, ThePCJukebox is what I'm looking for. I have to wait for additional format support (next couple months supposedly.)

One question, why would I need a Global Cache? I already have an IR repeater system in place. Isn't there something out there that can make a pc emulate an IR transmitter? I have pronto codes for all of my stuff already. I just want a single device (and the wife wants the Pronto back upstairs!)

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