Carrying the Lantern
Bill R.: Going on a trip soon, so been thinking about what to do with my iPod mini (can't be away from my favorite podcasts, you know.) While shopping at Target, I picked up a TransPod FM by DLO. It's compatible with most iPods (not the shuffle) and serves as a holder, charger, and FM transmitter - so I can use the mini while driving.
There are al lot of these kind of accessories out there. The biggest concern is sound quality, which is primarily a function of the stability of the 'radio station' (i.e., FM transmitter).
After a short test ride, I'm glad to say this device works great. So far, rock solid reception. Others (e.g., at Target.com) have given this device mixed reviews, but I thought the sound quality was very good. Even when the iPod is off, there is no sound coming out of the radio - no hiss, no static, dead silence. Tuning it is simple; has four preset frequencies and the ability to dial in any frequency. The 'station' is displayed, so tuning your car radio to the correct frequency is a snap. And it comes with several 12V DC arm-gadgets to bridge from the car's power receptacle to the TransPod FM holder; fitting different cars is all but ensured. They even include a long power cord and screw on base so you can mount the iPod nearly anywhere on the dash, or just let it set in the 'glove box' between the seats - assuming it has a power receptacle inside like many do now-a-days.
A bit expensive, but recommended.
UPDATE 7 July 2005: After spending hours over the last two weeks using this setup, I'm pleased. Only difficulty is it is hard to see the iPod display while driving. On a more ethereal note, it was amazing to listen to a series of radio programs for 8 hours driving from Washington D.C. to Cleveland - all of which offered tremendous variety and entertainment. Why? They were the latest podcasts from sites I've subscribed to over the last year - stuff I really enjoy.
But let me tell you, if you'd never heard of podscasting before and were riding with me, you'd say, "What the hell station is this?" The answer? "Mine!"