Wednesday, July 26, 2006

The Best Device Ideas Around

I've been toying with the notion of this post for some time. I can't deny the reality of my personality that has resulted in being called "Gadget Girl" by friends and colleagues. Its true. At the age of 6 I was the only person in my household who my father felt sufficiently confident could operate his stereo equipment. Its been a long, fun trip with electronics, especially audio devices ever since.

For favorite device that I don't want to be without, its nearly a tie:

In first place, actually a pairing of devices:
Of course, the ubiquitous iPod Video. I love it (incidentally, that's the cover art for the Gorillaz cd I talked about in the last post...). I listen to my iPod in the car, in my bedroom, in my office and in waiting rooms. Life is too short to listen to crappy music. Coupled with some travel speakers, however, the iPod becomes a critical part of any family's emergency preparedness planning. When the power goes out, like it did last night, simply connect the speakers to your iPod and you're good for Daddy Dance Parties, for audiobooks, for 10 consecutive episodes of Jon Stewart. When I'm on the road I take it with me using an a/c adapter but you can also run these things with AAA batteries. I never want to be without these two gadgets. Obviously any .mp3 player will do so long as you like it. There are lots of mini-speaker systems around, too, but this particular unit has great sound and power; it can easily handle volumes for a moderate sized room. If I were going to replace this unit I might look to add the capability to dock and charge my iPod when I'm on the road but for now, its not a huge deal to haul the iPod travel charger.

SlimDevices Squeezebox
I feel almost disloyal not talking about this one first because its definitely the coolest device around. Its just not ever made the difference between an insufferable evening and one we enjoy. I love love love my squeezebox and I don't need to hear all the jokes about the name of the product; I didn't name it. Quite simply this device streams all of the digital media stored on my pc wirelessly. It also streams media coming over the internet without your pc in the loop---running just against your router. All in this one small, sexy looking package. All it needs is some form of amplification and some speakers. I use it these days in my living room with a Bose wave radio. I wanted to be able to have access to all of my music there without having a wall of stereo equipment or schlepping cds around the house (my cds are stored elsewhere). All of the software for the device is open-source so there's tons of user-developed hacks to run RSS feeds, etc. I'd like to have more of these and at $249 a shot that seems reasonable. If you have a functioning wireless network in your home, setup is super easy---it took my like 5 minutes on Christmas morning. Sweet! Like the Creative travel speakers, there are other similar products on the market but I researched pretty exhaustively and this seemed the right choice. A good buddy of mine looked over all of my research and went with the RokU soundbridge---she returned it within a week for a Squeezebox. I'm just sayin....

In short, I think this is great device for people who live in houses where they might feel the need for multiple stereos for one reason or another or for internet radio junkies who want to expand the universe of their listening stations...

I'm off today to stand in for the nanny. I'm going to knit and try to keep cool; its hot as fire here. I have laundry to do. I was up until 3:00 am last night (I can NOT sleep in house that isn't cool---very cool) so maybe we'll all nap, too. Wrap up a slide presentation and its all play from there.


Anonymous said...

You're so electric ladyland. The only thing I understood was the Bose wave radio which I have been coveting since my cd player gave up. I'd like the one that has the cd player in it. That's about as technical as I need to get with my old lady music. I can't believe that Nanny would want to have her own life away from you and your girlies, it just doesn't seem right. It does give you another day away from the office however. Good luck on staying cool.

LYFE Donna

Kathy said...

Hey---a bose wave radio with built in cd is a marvelous thing. What are you waiting for? You could also go the cheaper route and buy one without the cd player and hook a discman in through the aux line. Ethan could handle that in like 20 seconds!