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Clocks and photos sliderfor a Mazda 6 - The making of MyDash

PostPosted: Sat Mar 28, 2020 6:27 pm
by maplorer
When I purchased my Mazda 6 in 2017, it was 6 year old and equipped with a Caska 8" CASKA Mazda 6 GPS Navigation DVD player CA3642. The navigation program was from Sygic. The software was rather slow and old, i.e. from 2011. I figured it could be updated, but new maps would have cost 60 euro, and I was convinced it would never improve the slowness. So I tried if I could improve this myself. The software was on a mini SD card which I could read in my computer. It was clearly a Windows environment and I noticed an ini file, which was readable. I changed some of the settings which indeed improved the speed a little, but in the end I decided to stick to Google Maps on my cellphone. The most important reason was the automatic updates in Google Maps, which made sure that the information is always up to date.

So, I was left with an unemployed button called NAV. But since I had figured out how to start-up the Sygic navigation software, I figured it should be possible to start other programs as well with the same button. And that is when my adventure started.

I googled around and found that the computer in my Caska unit was based on a Windows CE environment, so I searched for Windows CE programs on the internet. I was convinced that there was software out there that would work, simply because the Sygic navigation program also works. Apart from some very small simple games, nothing that I found seemed to work. However, at a certain moment I found a small menu program called MyBoot. It worked nice and smooth. You could adapt the buttons pretty easy as explained in the quick guide. The original version showed buttons for Maplorer and also a button for Explorer. And guess what! When I pushed the Explorer button it brought me to my desktop!!!! My first reaction was: Wowww, I’m in Windows!! I never had thought that I would be thrilled by seeing a clean desktop. I couldn’t take my eyes off it. I found out that Windows CE is a very tiny and stripped Windows environment, but to reach my desktop was truly an amazing milestone. I found out that the developer of MyBoot was Werner Keilholz, Germany. So, I contacted Werner and asked him how he had made the program. Werner explained to me what I needed: First of all I should get Visual Studio 2008 pro, since that was the last version that supports smart devices. Werner also advised me to use an object oriented language like c#.

I installed the software, bought several books for learning c# and tried to get my own programs to work. I will skip the part where my programs failed and by the time I almost gave up, I finally succeeded to run the famous Hello World program. The issue was that I built it every time for a Windows environment, since it was Windows CE, duh. But after a long time I found out it should be built for a Smart Device environment with Compact Framework 2.0. Was I proud!!! That was truly a Hello World experience. And by the time I had figured out how the font system works, I went uphill slowly, coming from a deep deep deep nasty valley full of pitfalls. I have stumbled upon all of them, but finally I made it. I also found an emulator program for Windows CE, which made it no longer necessary to get to my car every time to check a program. My neighbors must have been very curious about what I was doing all the time, hopping in and out of my car and sitting in it in the middle of the night. I don’t need much sleep, so the night was my friend. Anyhow, my goal was to write a photo slider program and some funny digital and “analog” clocks. Finally I succeeded. I wrote to Werner that I reached my goals and he offered me to show it on his website. I gladly accepted it of course. Please don’t hesitate to give it a try. Have fun.