Monday, May 03, 2010

Geek / Gadget Madness

An odd thing happened to this old geek over the weekend.  I upgraded the stereo in my Xterra because of my phone.

That's correct.  Well to be honest it has been a long time coming.  When I got the'06  X in '07 the only thing I was disappointed about was that the stereo had no aux input jack.  No problem.  $70 later I'd installed one.

Then a little more than a year later I rudely interrupted a girl texting by slamming into the side of her car (after she failed to stop or even slow down for a stop sign from a side street - at rush hour).  During the $12k worth of work to restore my beloved SUV - problems with the sound were discovered and the genius car stereo company hired by my insurance company decided it was the aftermarket aux jack.

I was never able to find the correct product to restore this function and so relied on the (horrible) FM transmitter in my GPS to deliver XM radio and directions.  After two trips across the country I wanted to throw the whole thing out the window.

Motorola DROID Multimedia Docking Station

Enter "THE DROID".  The biggest life changing / disruptive tech gadget in recent memory.  It does everything but make pancakes and rake the yard.  (I'm betting there will be apps for that soon too.)  Anyway it has slowly been taking over where other gadgets had once ruled.  My much admired Nokia N810 tablet hasn't been turned on since I got the droid.  My bedside table - once ruled by a clock radio is now just home to a dock for the droid.  I've purchased a bluetooth pendant that will let me use my custom ear molds on the motorcycle without wires.  And the final straw - at least as far as the car stereo is concerned.  The car dock.

Last week a package from my old friend Crutchfield arrived thanks to the wonders of the yearly tax return.  This weekend I dedicated Saturday to soldering together a wiring harness, pulling apart the dashboard and a good part of the trim inside the truck, and hauling out the old GPS and stereo.

Clarion CX609 2-DIN CD/MP3/WMA/AAC Receiver with USB Port

In it's place is a shiny new Clarion CX609 head unit.  It can control/be controlled by iPods , read USB storage for audio, run XM radios, and it even has a plain old aux jack.  The coolest thing however is that it's fully Bluetooth capable.  Now I just pop the droid in the car dock and enjoy my streaming Slacker or Pandora (bye bye XM) , hear directions as they were meant to be heard and take any phone calls via the microphone now built into the head liner above my noggin.

Almost makes me want to drive the X instead of riding the bike to work.  Almost.

My ever loving thanks to the engineers at Nissan for the wonder that is the Xterra.  Your vehicle saved my life and probably the idiot I ran into as well!
I still don't take calls on the motorcycle. The connection is only for music and nav prompts.
Music outside of 3g service is thanks to Slacker's channel cache feature.  Check it out!  Thanks to this I dropped my XM subscription and now pay less for a year than I did for a quarter with XM.
For droid cases and docs I actually use the Innocase and corresponding docs from Sedio 

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