Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Cutting Edge Ancient Technology

Perhaps some of you have seen a theme in some of my postings here, and that theme is I want a new car. The reason why I want a new car is because I drive an eight year old Toyota Tundra pickup. It's a fine truck, paid for, and runs great. But it is eight years old, and has some of the eight year old related minor issues, like this one: the tape player (for those of you over thirty, don't laugh. For those of you under thirty, a "tape player", pronounced TAY-PUH PLAY-ERR, was a neolithic device carved from stone using hand tooled devices. A piece of magnetized tape would run over a piece of smooth metal that read the magnetic impulses and turned these into electrical impulses that recreated sound. It was invented in 1492 AD by Leonardo DaVinci, when his previous invention, the 8-track, didn't take off, and he was struggling to complete the Mona Lisa while listening to Steely Dan albums) doesn't really work anymore. You put in a tape, and it sounds like Lindsay Lohan doing a mountain of crystal while arm wrestling a constipated baboon. In other words, it's noisy...oh, and no music comes out either, which is, of course, a problem as well, and kind of the whole purpose of the TAY-PUH PLAY-ERR. Oh, and as soon as you put a tape in the player, it immediately ejects it anyways (much like if you stuck a donut in Kate Moss' mouth)...making everything kinda moot. But John, doesn't your truck have a CD player? Yes, it does...but it has a few minor issues as well, and a CD player doesn't get me my tunes out of my iPod.

So, as you can see, my cassette tape adapter is a no-go for my iPod in order for me to enjoy all the wonderful tuneage in my car. But John! There's this wonderful device called an "FM transmitter" for your iPod that allows you to listen to your iPod over your vehicles FM radio. Really? Awesome. So I bought one.

First issues first. The instructions stated the following: "Just go ahead and tune your stereo to a frequency that is all static, and preferably an area on the radio that has three static frequencies in a row; then choose the middle frequency in order to avoid bleed over from another frequency." OK! Can do! Turn on car stereo aaaaand, one click at a time up we go up EVERY FREQUENCY on the dial, and trust me, that's a lot of fucking frequencies. Know how many static frequencies I find? Three. Know how many were in a row? None. Know what I did find? About 10 channels for classic rock hits, R and B/hip hop, and hard rock, and about 90 channels of the "good time gospel Christian your going to hell you filthy sinning whore hour' and Spanish language stations. In fact, the Spanish stations may have been preaching the same message because I thought I had heard the words "Diablo", "Christos", "puta" and "Dio" (and the "Dio" I think they were talking about wasn't Ronnie James Dio). Then again, I heard the word "cerveza", giggling women, and polka music too...so perhaps they were just telling off-color jokes at an over the air party. I dunno. Anyways, needless to say there was no "bleed over" safe zones due to California's need to either hear the Eagles YET AGAIN, be shunned and reminded we're going to hell, or get our drink on with Rodrigo and Raul (I think they were the dj's). There were, by the way, two perfectly dead and staticky frequencies at the very beginning of the dial right next to each other...I think it was 87.7 and 87.9 FM. Know what the lowest frequency the FM transmitter would go to? Yep. 88.1 FM. Sigh. Although this wasn't an Apple product, I still think Steve Jobs is somehow responsible.

So I find the best of the "non bleed over-ish" frequencies and give the old FM transmitter a go. And.......hmmmm....is it on? Yep. Ooooohhhhhkaaaaaay...read instructions: "Be sure iPod device is turned up to at LEAST 75% of total volume." Huh. Well, it's over 50%, but ok. Turn it up and I hear something tinny like a small child talking over a soup can tied to a string. Crank it up to 100% and there's good old Rob Dickinson, who normally has a powerhouse of a voice, sounding like....shit. I've had better reception in a tunnel, and better audio quality from a Speak and Spell (for those of you under 30...never mind). So what does the "FM" in the FM transmitter stand for? Faulty Merchandise? Feeble Machine? FUCKING MADDENING? Meh....needless to say, it's going back...and I'll just break the law and wear ear buds in the mean time.

So, there you go...another reason why I need a new luxury car...for the MP3 player connectivity. That alone would be worth the $600 a month car payment.


  1. Glad I've not bought one now :-)

    However my MP3 player is not an iPod (*ducks to avoid the items thrown at hime*) (*covers ears to drown out the 1000s of people telling him to get with the iDribble revolution*). It is however very good with decent sound quality, something lacking from my daugthers iPod and isn't that the flipping point?

    Anyway I tried to plug mine into the new DAB radio I bought as it has an aux jack. Like you it was one 100 and barely disernible unless you cranked up the vol on the radio - which when I subsequently went back to Planet Rock meant it was like I was back at Knebworth - or Robert Plant was sitting on me.

    Luckily my car has a multi changer CD (only option I ordered) and I still buy CDs as I'm a luddite and also a fondler - I like to hold what I've bought not ponder whether transient bits in various guises on a PC, MP3 player, memory stick etc. actually is something I've physically got.... BTW CD is a pretty good back up medium - so I find it funny to buy down loads then burn onto disk to ensure you don't lose them... eh?

    Is it just me?

  2. No, it's not just you. CD's are dead! Long live the streaming download!!!! Just be sure to back up your downloads to CD however lol Very funny.

    Oh, and not enough people use the word 'luddite'in my opinion...and as I get older and everything keeps accelerating to hypertechnicality, a movement I feel I may be joining shortly.

    Oh, and yes, the iPod sound quality is not its strongest point...but it can be greatly enhanced with the simple addition of aftermarket earbuds. The Apple ones suck...all midrange...no bass or treble.