Two new toys for my commute! About a month ago I bought a Panasonic car stereo from Crutchfield. It supports MP3 CD-RWs, an auxiliary audio input, and an iPod connector. Installing it was fairly simple; they give you a wiring harness and bracket that fits your particular car model. I had to take the entire dashboard off though, which was a challenge. My other half had no faith that we'd ever again have a stereo in the car; it's probably good he didn't see it completely disassembled.
Unfortunately, the CD-RW support is limited to MP3 (and WMA, but who cares?) and my primary formats for my music library are MP4/AAC and FLAC. I wasn't sure when I bought it whether I would create CD-RWs with extended playlists, or whether I would get an iPod. Art already has an iPod mini, so that's good for our trips together. But I needed something for my commute too.
So this week I obtained the video iPod. It connects to the stereo through the data port at the bottom, so the car actually recharges the iPod while you're driving, and you control the entire thing through the stereo panel, so the iPod itself can stay hidden.
Music is great and all, but I think primarily during my commute I like to listen to talk radio or radio documentaries... in short, NPR. But I can't always count on shows and segments I want to listen to during the hours I commute (which vary greatly every day). So now I'm subscribed to lots of public-radio podcasts from NPR, BBC, and other such affiliates. There are a few independent podcasters thrown in, we'll see how they fare in comparison.
Essentially, this is like having a Tivo for public radio in the car. I can time-shift my favorite programs, pause them when I need to pay attention to traffic, etc. Pretty great. Here's the subscription list, for now:
So that's the line-up for now. I may try to add more independent podcasts – something on teaching and learning may be nice – but unfortunately I think the lower the ‘production value’ the more likely it is that my attention will drift away.