Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The next cycle

Dereks' started a new cycle of chemotherapy, which was planned some time ago. So far he has few side effects. We're glad to hear this. Derek says that is feeling reasonably well, which is wonderful, considering what he's had to go through this year.

On a different note:

A few days ago, I bought a Samsung mp3 player and a little FM tunable transmitter. The idea is to be able to play mp3 music through the car radio/cd player in my van, which can't handle mp3 natively. This seems to work quite well. Both units can work on their internal batteries, or you can connect them to an external power supply (including the cigarette lighter) for external power. The mp3 player's battery can be recharged through a USB connection to a computer.

In use, the trick is to find some unused portion of the FM band, to minimize interference from FM radio stations.

I've found one quirk: if you connect both the player and the transmitter to the cigarette lighter, there is some kind of positive feedback which generates an inordinate amount of noise in the radio. If you connect one or the other only, everything's fine. So, I'm using the mp3 player on its internal battery, and the transmitter is powered through the cigarette lighter.

The sound quality in the car is quite good. The mp3 player has a standard headphone output connector, which allows it to be hooked up to external sound equipment, with excellent results. As I type this, I'm listening to it via the computer speaker system normally connected to my laptop.

Music selections are copied to the transmitter from a computer via USB, using software which comes with the player. This software also manages (delete, sort, etc.) what is stored on the player. Capacity is 2 Gbytes, enough for about 500 music selections. At an average of about 3.5 minutes each, that translates to about 30 hours worth of music.

You can also store photos, videos, text files, and games on the player, as well as listen to FM radio or use it like a voice recorder. Versatile enough for me.