Thursday, January 8, 2009

What's wrong with Satellite Radio

Last fall we installed a new deck in the car with a USB hub
(I want to call it a "tape deck", but the installer guy
said "what's a tape?"). Not only do the CD and USB readers
both do MP3, but they also let me easily skip over folders.
And with the $15 8GB stick I bought at a Boxing Day sale
(that price will look laughingly high next year, won't it),
I can put the equivalent of two DVDs worth of songs on it.

How long is that? As an experiment I put the Rolling Stone's
500 top songs on it, and it took up about 2GB. At an average
of 3.5 minutes/song, that's close to 30 hours. So let's say
that stick can hold 120 hours of audio -- and unlike a CD,
when I get bored of something, I can delete it. Which I did
with the RS tunes -- turn on a classic rock station, and
chances are you'll hear one of those songs. I think I can
get plenty of satisfaction without hearing that tune again,
as earthshaking as it was in... 1964.

The net provides a wide source of interesting, freely available
audio. Chances are pretty good I'm not even going to have a
chance to listen to everything I put on that stick, especially
considering I do most of my traveling on my bike. But when
I first heard satellite radio in a rented car in San Diego
in 2004, I thought it was pretty cool. Now the concept strikes
me as obsolete.

Net-enabled car radio.... that's something else.

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