Tag Archives: Radio

Tune In

The most useful computer is the one in your pocket.

What really makes any computer useful is the software that you are able to run on it.

When I was a kid in the early 1960’s, one evening my Dad brought home a battery-operated AM transistor radio. I was immediately transfixed. That simple AM radio and I were inseparable. That was the start of my interest in technology and gadgets.

When podcasts came along, I stopped listening to conventional radio back in late 2004. Podcast listening is a much more efficient experience.

Can conventional radio listening be made into a more effective, efficient experience?

The answer? Yes it can. “Tune In” available for free from the Android Marketplace turns your phone into the most effective, amazing radio tuner/playback device you’ve never had.

Want to “Tune In” to local stations? Tune In knows where you are, thanks to your phone’s built-in GPS chip. You are instantly able to pick from all sorts of local radio station streams.

However, it doesn’t stop there. Want to listen to a particular song? Type a song or artist name into the search box, and Tune In will present you with a variety of stations currently playing that artist or song.

Select stations based on radio genre, music genre, or geographic location. In fact, find stations broadcasting from virtually anywhere in the world.

“Tune In” turns your Android phone into a powerful radio capable of searching and tuning in to thousands of conventional radio stations that are broadcasting from across the world.

“Tune In” certainly isn’t the first app to present streaming radio stations. However, “Tune In” does a great job of presenting streaming stations in a format that can capture one’s imagination on a truly portable pocket playback device that is connected to the world 24/7.

I can only imagine if I were a kid today and had access to a smartphone…

Microlink FR160

The Microlink FR160, from Eton, may be a niche product, but it’s indispensable in the right situations.  Which situations would that be?  There are two big ones that spring to mind.  One is if you live in an area where power outages are common.  Two is if you are heading out into the wilderness where there is no reliable cellular connection.

I have been eying it for the latter reason.  My son and I are avid hikers and frequently spend time in areas where cell towers are uncommon, to say the least.  With a hope of thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail in 2012, we will need a way of getting, at the least, weather updates wherever we are.  We need something small and light, since everything will be carried on our backs.  We need something that can be charged via solar, since batteries are weight and chargers don’t plug in when you’re in the wilderness.  And lastly, I need a way to charge my cell phone so I can let my wife know we’re alive on those occasions when we are in range of a connection.

So here’s what you get with the DR160:

  • Solar Charger
  • Hand Crank
  • AM/FM/NOAA Weather Band
  • USB Phone Charger
  • Flashlight
  • 2.5″ x 1.75″ x 5.25″ dimensions
  • 0.85 pounds weight

The keys here, for me, are the NOAA Weather band, Solar/hand crank chargers, USB phone charger, size and weight.  That’s everything you need on a trail or during a hurricane.  The flashlight is a bonus, and having an extra never hurts.

The best part is the price – $29.95 on Amazon.  Not bad, considering all of the options you get here.  And, for those who care about such things, it even comes in colors – green, blue, red, and black.

Soon we will be heading into Shenandoah National Park for a hiking and camping trip.  I know from experience that I have no cell connection there.  So, I am hoping to pick one of these up beforehand to test it out.  I have heard good things, but you never know for sure until you get your hands on the product personally.  If it fits in the pack and does what it claims then I will be a happy hiker.

Choosing Influences

So now that I’ve cut the cord with Dish Network, I’ve started digging deeper into the instant streaming material available on Netflix. It seems that most of the programs I would have watched on Discovery, TLC or History – the three channels I watched 99% of the time — are available as season DVD sets streaming via Netflix.

There are also plenty of season DVD’s of television programs available for streaming that I don’t have any interest in. Now that I’ve cut my Dish Network subscription, I realize that I was paying dearly for their presence even though I had no interest in watching them.

The bottom line is that I can only watch one show at a time. Having 200 plus channels available simultaneously seemed exciting, but the reality is that at least 97% of whatever was on at any given point didn’t appeal to me in any way. It’s crap looking to influence whoever it can reach out and grab.

With audio podcast listening, it allows me to choose my own influences. The IPTV revolution brings that powerful ability to choose my influences to television.

This revelation shouldn’t surprise me, because I’ve been here before. Back in late 2004 when I discovered podcasting, it was exactly what I’d been looking for. I was suddenly able to pick and choose audio content and consume it on my own terms. I could listen to exactly what I wanted, when I wanted to listen to it. Suddenly, instead of being at the mercy of having to listen to what was mostly crap programming on radio stations I happened to be driving by, I was able to turn that huge amount of listening time I had while driving into a tremendous benefit.

Broadcast television has been traditionally viewed as mindless entertainment. Like audio programming, television programming can easily be used in the same beneficial ways. Now that I’m forced to choose what to watch, I realize that what I choose to spend time watching will be much more personally beneficial.

Broadcast television is potentially detrimental and there’s no question in my mind that much of it is hypnotic. If a TV screen is present and turned on most people can’t help but periodically stare at it, even if the sound is turned down.

It has only been a bit over 24 hours since I cancelled my Dish Network subscription, and I’m already over the emotional separation. Who needs all of those less-than-useless channels?

Eton Emergency Radios CES 2010

Eton Corp well known for their outdoor radios and gear has introduced a line of Hand Powered Emergency Radios which are Red Cross approved at a variety of price points. Everyone needs a radio in a emergency situation sadly most of us do not always have batteries in the house. So this line of stylish radios covering a variety of reception bands dependent on unit purchased is the perfect thing to have on hand when the lights go out or you need to pack up and move for a incoming storm.

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