Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Idea for iPod car chargers and FM transmitters.

Now to a much less serious matter than my previous post, Whilst coming home today, I had an idea for an ipod accessory; because world knows that's EXACTLY WHAT WE NEED!

I don't know about you, but with my music collection I like to use the "My Rating" function of iTunes and subsequently, my iPod. It's a great feature; it helps you cull your music collection to exactly what you like listening to and when you feel like it, listening to stuff you haven't in ages. It's great for playlists too.

The only way you can access this very useful function on an iPod is whilst listening to the song, click the middle button 3 times, and then twiddle in a circular fashion about with the inexact scrollwheel about how many stars your rating it and either waiting for it to timeout, or pressing the centre button again.

So, this is not something I would not recommend doing whilst driving as I have done previously (I know, bad nerd! No cookie!), it's not exactly the safest thing in the world to do.

As I don't want to be wrapped around a tree because of my iPod, I was thinking in traffic on the drive home:
There has to be an easy, safe way to do this.

Well, Ive thought of one. There's basically only one way to have hands free access anything. that's with your voice (feet are in use!).

I hear your groaning through the Internet "But, Angry Nerd, Voice activated anything sucks, it never gets anything right!". You're right! the majority of it does; however there would only ever be SIX combination for it to register.

There's only so many ways that you can say zero, one, two, three, four or five, in so many accents, in english (depending on technical limitations, you could make regional models), so I figure it could be done pretty easily, it's not like with a mobile phone, trying to understand the various pronunciations and subtleties of peoples names.

0-5, not asking for much.

How 'bout it Apple?

or Belkin/Griffin?

Another point I'd like to make is for FM Transmitters.

They're annoying, they get interference from airconditioners, the engine running just about anything. As far as I know this is for FCC compliance (I'm in Australia, but... yeah.) or they just plain out suck. I actually went to the trouble to get a reasonably powerful transmitter, and that worked fine, but it isn't exactly portable.

solution? if you're stuck, sure, use the fm transmitter.

but would it kill you to add a line out?

It's not right to use the headphone jack, can't you just add in a line out jack to these products, so if we so choose, it can be connected easily, without any interference to whatever device we like.

Use these ideas please! if you do, drop me a line telling me about it :).

Kava Importation Ban in Australia

This may come as a shock to you, but there's not a lot to do in Adelaide on a Saturday night. If you're not a clubber or you're tired of going to the same old pubs (gigs if you're lucky), there's not a lot of places you can go if you just want to wind down. Sit down and relax and not have to listen to pop hits from whatever era, or alternatively people screaming incoherently into a microphone, a place where you'll probably hear some Bob Marley.

Well, that place exists in Adelaide. About 4 years ago some friends of mine introduced me to The Kava Hut, it's a great chilled out place where you can go to do the above, have a nice relaxing drink of kava (Ironically Wikipedia has a suggestion to list it under "legal drugs").

However, due to the Australian Federal Government's crackdown on child sexual abuse and substance abuse in Indigenous communities, they've decided to revoke all kava importation licences across Australia.

This ruins hundreds of Adelaideians Saturday nights, not even to mention the rest of Australia.

It annoyed me enough to actually do an interview about it, here it is.

This ban on kava is ridiculous and reminiscent of a big brother state. It is a poorly thought out, kneejerk reaction to be seen to be "Tough On Drugs" because most people don't know what the heck kava is, and hey, if you didn't know about it, it must be bad right? Wrong.

Many other points are explained in the video. Spread the word, Internets.

I suggest heading down to 254 Hindley st Adelaide and going to sign the petition, while you still can or writing to your Australian Federal MP.

UPDATE: I've put a copy of the petition online Here for download and mailing. Send it in a stamped, self addressed envelope to:

Kava Hut
254 Hindley Street
Australia 5000

And for people outside Australia not prepared to snail mail anything, send an angry email too, exactly how stupid the government is being about this.

11th Jul. I also just found a press release from the Minister of finance from the Government of Tonga where he was worried about the ban. It says that it will be banned in 3 months, but from my understanding the licences have been revoked on the 25th of June 2007.

Thanks to Taryn for proofreading :)

Update 2014 - well, I think this petition went nowhere :(. I suggest you read my article on the politics of kava about 3 posts up :D.