Geek Beat: Tunes at your fingertips

When Jeremy Kusnetz of Leesburg, Virginia, hit the road, an iPod full of tunes didn’t seem like quite enough. He wanted his entire iTunes collection—from Beethoven to Pink Floyd—at his fingertips. He also wanted an easy way for his four-year-old daughter to enjoy DVDs on long trips. His high-tech Toyota Prius had a built-in touch screen, so Kusnetz set out to find a way to make car and Mac work together.

The 33-year-old systems architect’s first challenge was to connect the video output from his Mac to the Prius’s display. (He used a PowerBook G4 initially, but soon realized he could fit an Intel Mac mini into a storage bay under the Prius screen.)

To do that, he needed to obtain a professional-grade scan converter, which could convert a VGA signal (the Mac’s video output) to an NTSC display (the Prius display). He found one on eBay for about $40. The next challenge was getting the touch screen to activate Front Row. For this task, he wrote a custom Perl script.

Now Kusnetz can lean over and tap the screen to access his music library or DVDs instead of trying to fiddle with a mouse on the dashboard. (The drivers of Virginia thank him for that!) Download the script, read more about his project, and see a video of the touch screen in action at his Web site.

[ Cyrus Farivar is an assistant editor at Macworld and the host of the Macworld Podcast. ]

Jeremy Kusnetz’s Mac mini-equipped Toyota Prius.
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