Having survived

Merry Baunchmas!*

Made it through another Christmas. This was a good year for the buying
of presents; I was pretty happy with what I got for all of the adults
I buy for. (The kids are old enough, and “cool” is fleeting enough, that
they get gift cards.) It was a lot of fun buying for Candice,
too — I’m sure she’ll post about it soon.

Christmas morning was just Candice and I at home, which
was great — this was our first Christmas together, and there was
a lot of giggling and snuggling and cooking together. We went over
to Mom’s for Christmas dinner, which was good — Mom even remembered
that Candice doesn’t eat poultry, and added butternut
squash ravioli to the spread. On Boxing Day we drove back to Belleville
to visit my father and stepmother and family. It was nice to see
everyone and complete the traditional Christmas, but everyone was
a bit overwhelmed, and it was nice to get home afterwards.

I came out of the exchange pretty well, and while I’m not going to
do a holiday inventory, there are a few that need mentioning, because
they’re neato or because they have questions attached.

Candice got me a French coffee press, which means I get to
have good coffee at work, and since the local Alessi dealer closed,
a Koziol toothpick holder to start off the collection of kitchen things
that look like little creatures which I’ve wanted to start for some
time. (Googling for Alessi or Koziol will give you an idea of what I

From my mother I got a Logitech Pocket Digital camera, which is
a VGA-quality, fixed-focus, optical-viewfinder, no-zoom digicam from
Logitech which is the size of a credit card and 6mm thick. I’ve got
a good digicam (Oly 3040), but it’s expensive enough that I don’t
keep it with me, so this one will be great for carrying around *all*
the time.

From my father and stepmother I got an iRiver SlimX 550 cd-based mp3
player. This thing rocks. There are lots of raving reviews
out there, so suffice to say that it’s the geek’s mp3 player. Really
well-engineered and all of the details thought of; with a firmware
upgrade it’s even an Ogg player.

This brings me to the stage where I solicit advice: I want to use
the SlimX in the car. My car stereo has no cassette and no auxiliary
input. I bought a Radio Shack FM transmitter to do the job, since
I had a Radio Shack gift card from my brother, but it’s typical
Radio Shack quality (analog tuning dial = frequency drift up the
wazoo) and is going back.

So I need to figure out what I *do* want to do. I’m considering
the iRock FM transmitters, either the first 300W or the new 400FM,
but in researching this I’ve found out about car audio FM
modulators, which don’t transmit at all but are more like the
FM equivalent of the switchbox that came with an NES. It goes between
the antenna lead and the stereo, and with a switch wired over to the
dash controls whether or not the antenna input of the stereo is fed
by the antenna, or by the device connected to its aux-in. They’re
getting more popular thanks to digital radio, but they’re more expensive
than transmitters. On the other thand they’re rumored to work pretty well.

Any thoughts on the quality of the iRock transmitters, or on transmitter
vs. modulator, or on other approaches I’ve left out?

* Baunchmas, the celebration of the holiday perineum.

3 responses to “Having survived”

  1. Firmware is software stored in read-only memory (ROM) or programmable ROM (PROM). It’s easier to change than hardware but harder than software stored on disk. (From FOLDOC.)

    Updating the firmware is roughly the equivalent of upgrading the mp3 player’s “operating system”.