Monday, October 22, 2007

Better Living through Technology

I am admittedly a tech guy. I don't go all googly-eyed over a new graphics card or game system, but I do love to find new ways to make my quality of life better.

I previously wrote about Old-Time Radio (OTR) here, and I love listening to the old shows through my cathedral-style radio, which has a cassette player in the side. The only problem is that cassettes of OTR shows are expensive and there is a lot of overlap. I don’t know how many copies of “War of the Worlds” I’ve received in OTR sets. Quite often, you can find bargains on these shows in .mp3 format on CD-ROM. You can buy literally hundreds of episodes for $10 or so. Where else are you going to find that kind of entertainment bargain?

The only problem with the .mp3 format is that it wouldn’t play over my cathedral radio. I looked online and couldn’t find an old-style radio with an .mp3 player in it. But a little thought brought something to mind. If they have iPod trasmitters for cars, why couldn’t I use one of those to transmit to the cathedral radio? I checked with the one my wife has for her iPod Shuffle, but its only power source was the power outlet in the car. A little deeper search revealed just the thing. The Belkin F8V3080 TuneCast II Mobile FM Transmitter runs on AAA batteries, and can plug not only into my iPod to play over my radio, but it can be plugged into a computer, a portable CD player, even my XM Radio docking station. I can now listen to virtually all sources of Old-Time Radio through my cathedral radio!

While it has a bit of noise in the transfer as most FM transmitters do, that’s usually not an issue with OTR recordings because they have noise in them anyway. It does nothing to break the illusion that you are listening like they did in the old days.

Now who is going to come up with a battery-powered AM transmitter so fans can listen to these old shows on their actual antique radios? Sounds like I might have to get to work!

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