Sunday, March 25

playing with DICE

After mowing the grass yesterday morning ("there's no local storage on a lawnmower") I decided to push (!) the car out of the garage and install The iPod Connector. This will only be the second (probably last) modification I make to the car. Soon after I bought it in 2001, I installed a factory alarm system (mostly plugging into the existing wiring), although much disassembly/reassembly was required. This time would prove similar.

(rewind about 4 weeks)

Most of the iPod<->CarAudio devices use a weak FM transmitter, but I wanted one that integrated well with the steering-wheel controls, so this meant stringing cables. I looked around at the local retailers, but only found ├╝bercheap stuff - few of them stock anything of quality since Most Americans Only Want Cheap, Not Good.

After asking around (the local car club was useful, as always), I opted for the iPod Car Integration Kit from DICE Electronics. A few weeks ago I bought the stuff from Bavarian Soundwerks in Atlanta, and it's been sitting on my kitchen table waiting for an opportunity.

Their 15-step instructions were mostly helpful, and I had everything done in an hour or so .. although I had to cheat a bit since the last step involved testing my iPod (which has local storage) with the stereo.

Next, it was time to install the spec.dock (from a company called 2point5™); this mostly low-tech gadget allows me to dock my iPod into the ashtray space, rather than leave the iPod inside the glove compartment, or (worse) dangling from a cable. The instructions from 2point5 weren't as good as for the DICE module, and this resulted in the two Band-Aids adhesive bandages now on my fingers. Once I began interpreting the directions instead of following them, things became much easier.

This morning, I made the Annual Pilgrimmage to Carl's Jr. (a west-coast QSR chain that is replicated at the Love's Truck Stops here in Texas) and played with my new toy en route. It sounds great, absent a few odd clicking sounds that may be part of The Learning Curve. Since it ties into the CD changer/amplifier in the trunk, it requires pressing [CD] twice to activate it, then the radio buttons [1-6] to do things like "select next album" (button 3) or "select next playlist" (button 2).

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