Friday, January 30, 2009

Technical trauma

I attend the RWA National Conference every year, and every year I buy the mp3 CD set that contains all 250-odd hours of recorded program sessions.

This leaves me with a technical problem. My car is too old to have one of those little jack-holes you stick your iPod or your mp3 player jack into.

My car has a CD player, but again it’s too old to play mp3 discs. Just audio.

My car also has a tape deck, and for years I had one of those round mp3 players and a little plastic cassette tape that jacks between the car’s tape deck and the mp3 player. However, the mp3 players were nasty cheap things, and the interface even cheaper, so I had to keep replacing them. Then one day they stopped working at all, no matter how many new bits I bought.

So I bought an iPod, but then I had the same problem. How to get sound out of that little silver deely and into the car speakers? I became acquainted with the doohickey that plugs into your iPod, then magically broadcasts what’s on the iPod to your car radio via an FM frequency that nobody is using.

Well, I live in Chicago. We have almost no FM frequencies nobody is using. Plus, reception is wonky even when I find a “blank” station, so I have to keep moving the transmitter around on my dashboard, which should qualify as DUI of recalcitrant technology. Picture many bad words coming out of my mouth and floating in a balloon over my car.

So I’m asking for help here. Isn’t there something simple, a little boom-box or something, that I can plug my iPod into, that has its own speakers, and you plug it into the cigarette lighter? I’m getting gray hairs trying to interface this penguin.

6 comments:

Francis said...

may I suggest buying a newer car stereo. I did this a couple of years ago when I realized that I never listened to casettes any more and did want to listen to MP3s etc.

It was only €100 or so for one that does USB, SD card and CDs (both regular and MP3 loaded). I figure the price can only be less now

Rowena Cory Daniells said...

My husband tell me you can get speakers for iPods in Australia but they need a power supply.

Cheers, R.

Kate said...

I used to have an adaptor that connected to the car through the cigarette lighter. I would hook up my ipod and it played via a radio signal somehow...the device works by finding a relatively open radio signal in the area and transmitting it to the car radio somehow, so as long as my car radio was set on the same station as the device I could listen to my mp3's. It also worked with my musicmatch player, not just an ipod thing.

It was like this: http://www.amazon.com/Coby-CA-740-Wireless-Transmitter-Cigarette/dp/B000ORD83A/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&s=electronics&qid=1233410990&sr=1-3

The only catch is if you live in an urban area it's harder to use because so many radio frequencies are busy. I hope my explanation makes sense....good luck!!

Amanda said...

Posted by another reader over on the LJ mirror of this blog:

A quick search at Crutchfield.com shows adapter cables for older radios (which would let you plug your iPod straight in). http://www.crutchfield.com/S-qP8qlh2U5mW/g_770/iPod-MP3-Car-Adapters.html

I know you can get speakers as well, although they're not advertised as car speakers: http://www.cwol.com/ipod-accessories/

Seaboe Muffinchucker

Anonymous said...

I agree with Francis - get a new car stereo installed. I did this with my car and bought a cheap car stereo with a jack connection so I can directly plug my mp3 player and car stereo together (gets rid of the can't find a empty station issues). The jack lead even came with the stereo. The whole stereo and installation was finished by lunchtime on the day I bought the stereo and didn't cost me more than AU$200. Being able to listen to mp3 Podcasts and music in the car is worth the financial outlay in my opinion!

John Lambshead said...

You will find it much easier to get a new ICE fitted than bodge up an old one. It will also sound much better.

Or you could get a new car! Might be cheaper given the glut of new cars stored in fields

John