Macintosh Installed in a 2001 Nissan Pathfinder

Last Updated May 2002

My goal was to build a system that behaved like it belonged in a vehicle. That meant everything had to be fully automatic, and not require any on/off switches or wait for boot time. The PowerBook was well suited for this, since it already has it's own power source allowing the system to enter sleep mode. It takes only 5 to 10 seconds from the time the car is powered on until music resumes playing wherever it left off.

Fully automatic system - no switches or buttons necessary to get the music going
Average 5-10 seconds wait for music when powered on - no boot time.
Factory steering wheel audio controls rewired to run scripts
PowerBook easily removed and installed in docking station
"Simple Theft" lockable enclosure
In dash VGA LCD with touchscreen (where the Bose head unit used to be)
Airport used to transfer new music from in the house
60 Gig Bus Powered Firewire drive dedicated to the music
Runing Mac OS 9.0.4 / SoundJam with Custom Skin
(Limited to OS 9.0.4 due to touchscreen drivers)

The Distraction Potential:
This is a bad idea for many drivers out there. The distraction potential from the LCD is real, I have great respect for that fact. Many people can't even handle using a cell phone while driving, much less try to select a song from a playlist. This is why it was so important to have simple methods of controlling the system. With the addition of a full screen skin for the MP3 player, the LCD serves as a safe way to control the system while driving. The large buttons and simple interface make it as easy as using a standard stereo head unit. The screen can also be turned off for night time driving, since it can be quite bright and distracting. Buttons on the steering wheel serve as an even safer way to control everything, eliminating the need to look at the screen while driving.

If you plan to install something like this, please be responsible and use it properly.

I would like to thank Nolan Menne and all those involved at Prestige Customs and Autosound for their enthusiastic help with this project, and for doing the dirty work. Thanks also to all of those at the bulletin board for their invaluable help!