All the geeky stuff that gets me hot.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Indash iPod

I have a Pioneer CD/MP3 player in my car and I love the MP3 function, but I hate the player. I get about 7 cd's on one disc or I can dump a ton of random songs together and have a great mix for long drives. The problem is that no company has really come up with a decent interface for browsing all those songs on a CD, and it seems that Pioneer took a bunch of shortcuts when they were designing the interface because it's just clunky. So I'm selling my Pioneer in favor of the Alpine CDA-9855 pictured above. It's not quite an in dash iPod but it's darn close (and yes you can control your iPod from it if you have one).

I have always been a Winamp user and it's because they have a simple easy to use interface that works well. Random and repeat functions have dedicated buttons right out in the open and easy to get to. A playlist that actually makes sense and doesn't require me to import my files into any database just to listen to them.

I never liked Alpine very much mostly due to how they looked; now I'm starting to realize that they are really good players with a solid interface. They are easy enough to use that anyone can get in my car and know how to adjust the radio without me explaining it to them. This Alpine actually has a touch strip below the display that is used very similar to the click wheel on an iPod. Not quite as user friendly but very close. The best part is that I can get to the random and repeat functions without having to go through a bunch of menus, it's part of the touch strip.

Now I just need to decide on a sub and amp combo and I'll be getting close to my ideal car stereo.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Maybe a ReplayTV?

I am trying out my new Motorola Moxi DVR that I got from Charter and it works well enough but there are some nagging issues that while not big enough to make me switch yet they are really annoying. The biggest issue I have with it is that it does not have a 30 second skip function. It used to, but then Charter turned it into a 15 minute skip function which is pretty much usless. I'm sure they did this so you can't easily skip the commercials which is the whole point of the 30 skip. It does have dual tuners which is really nice and because I'm avoiding an extra encoding through the S-Video port like I would with my TiVo the picture really looks a lot sharper. Those two factors are keeping me from switching to a ReplayTV, which has digital audio but has the 30 second skip and they are really cheap, $50 for a 160 hour version after rebate. So I guess I'm going to stick with my Moxi for now but if they better be walking on eggshells 'cause it won't take much for me to dump them.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Farewell TiVo

I like my TiVo, I really do, but I think it is time for a trial seperation. I found my TiVo at a Goodwill second-hand store for the bargain price of $20. It was marked as busted but I bought it anyways because I was hoping that the HD would at least be salvagable. Turns out nothing was wrong with it all as far as I can tell. I can't test the modem cause I don't have a phone line, but that doesn't matter because it had the network adapter in it and I have broadband at home so I just get the updates over the network. I had to buy a remote for it but that was a good idea anyways because I was able to get rid of all our other remotes. Once I knew it was working properly I set about hacking it so I could extract shows from it among many other enhancements. I've been using it for a couple years now and it has become my friend.

I like my TiVo and I am sad to see it go. I ordered the cable company's generic DVR and they are coming to install it tomorrow. Why? The main reason was that it doesn't support digital audio. I get digital cable and have a surround sound system that I would like to use when I can. TiVo has been going downhill though, and unless they turn the ship around right quick they are going under. Instead of adding features they are removing them. I just heard today that they are not allowing you to save certain shows indefinitley. I have been shielded from most of these "features" because mine is a series 1 TiVo that they have stopped releasing updates for but I would be raving mad if I had a series 2.

We'll see how this new younger prettier DVR works out, and if it's even a smidgen better there will be one more TiVo on eBay for sale.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

The ROKR is finally here

I'm not sure exactly how long the iTunes phone rumors have been going around but it's been a really long time. Today we finally got to see this elusive phone ( called the ROKR ) and hear how it's going to work. Engadget has more info on the ROKR. Apple also announced the iPod Nano and killed the iPod Mini. The Nano is a mix of the Shuffle and Mini as it's flash based but has a color screen and a click wheel. It's smaller than a Mini but wider than a shuffle. I'm kind of disapointed in the ROKR, but I'm excited in what it will do for the mobile music business.

I think this is just the tip of the iceberg as far as music on your phone is concerned. I have 1Gb in my phone that I can use to store and play Mp3's but that is definitely the exception, most phones don't have much more than 128mb if you don't count Pocket PCs (I don't, they are way to big to be a practical phone). I think this phone will push the trend of having large storage on phones and get people to ditch their iPod in favor of a device that does everything. I almost bought a hard drive based MP3 player but in the end I knew it would stay at home because they don't fit well in my pocket and it's just another gadget to worry about.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Taste of Madison

Taste of Madison
Originally uploaded by TomTheGeek.
This was the first time I've been to the taste of madison. It was pretty cool except the beer was pretty expensive and there was only a couple types to pick from. If its called the taste of Madison you can't have just one type of beer, it has taste too.

This is one of the sound guys for the 93.1 "the lake" stage. I'm always interested in the sound equipment at concerts. I know a little bit about it since I've done some audio visual work before.