Thursday, February 22, 2007

Net Radio (Finally!)

It's been a promise and interest for a long time, and I am now figuring it out.

First, the hardware. I've got a C.C. Crane FM radio transmitter (which I swapped the antenna it came with out for one which is about 9" longer) connected to the audio out of my PowerBook G4.

I had to disconnect the built-in FM antennas on all my house stereos (which limits their local FM reception) to improve the reception in our tri-level, and the reception is still spotty at times (read: less than CD quality), but, it's cheap.

Internet radio: I can't stand "annoyware" and Live365 is the worst. I had tried RealNetworks in the past, and for some reason, didn't find it useable. The only station I had found that I liked was RadioIOworld, which is internet only. It has a great selection of world music and it's messages, while repetitive, are not so much as to be annoying. The main problem was iTunes, which has latency problems (and just like Apple, it appears to be from lazyness - the error message window that gets thrown has to be clicked manually - there's not even a default selection for 'OK' (so it's not possible to access it through AppleScript) which is almost clearly against the Appple UI!) So RadioIOWorld was really just useful to test the hardware and reception set-up.

This week, I remembered Real for some reason and gave it another try: Now I've got 9 solid Brazilian stations (including a talk station from my wife's hometown, Salvador), another 5 Spanish stations, and one from Portugal. I haven't tried Mexico or the Caribean yet. Fortunately, RadioIOWorld has a Real feed too, so if I want just solid "world" music, I can get that too.

My primary interest is getting veiws and music from other parts of the world. I don't care about hearing more music in English, I get enough of that from my daily environment. But, I also want talk and culture I can understand, so the Lusofono and Spanish speaking worlds are my focus.

But, I imagine I will eventually try to pick up Indian, Japanese, Korean and other countries, (just for fun.)

Other unrelated news, Wired magazine is reporting about underwater mining (which makes me that much more interested in underwater robotics) and implant treatment of Parkinson's.