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I Give Up

November 27, 2006

I was at Kohl’s a few weeks back and saw a display of iPod accessories, including an FM transmitter for the nano. It was on sale, and I had a coupon, and the CD player in the Mustang has decided it doesn’t want to work anymore, so I thought buying this little device was a good idea. It was not. Turns out it doesn’t fit the nano I have. It didn’t say that on the box anywhere, no it did not. The box said “for iPod nano”. Not “for 1st generation nanos only”, which would have been more helpful.

So I took that device back (it was like this one). Because I still wanted to play my iPod in the car, I got a different device. This one, the Belkin TuneBase FM for iPod, clearly said it was compatible with 2nd generation nanos along with many other iPod models. Okay, then.

I packed it up and we took it on the road with us to Illinois for Thanksgiving. While Mr. Karen was driving, I took out the directions. They instructed me to find the adapter that fit my iPod from among the eight provided. Only one of the eight had a nano-sized opening, so I chose that one. No go. The slot at the bottom wasn’t in the right place to allow my nano to fit into the base, no matter how I tried. Well, that sucked. I spent a fair bit of time inspecting all the adapters and taking them out and putting them in and trying them with my nano. I eventually found one that let me connect my nano to the base, though it wasn’t supported along the sides or the back so it didn’t seem like a great solution.

But since I had gotten it connected in some way, I moved on to the “tune to an unused FM frequency” step. No auto scan for this? Nope. Talk about tedious. I never did find one that was unused enough to work, so decided to give up for the moment and try later when we were farther from big cities. In putting it away, I came across a piece of rubber in a little plastic bag. Guess what that was—go on, guess. If you said “an adapter for the 2nd generation nano”, you’d be right. Why the heck couldn’t the instructions have mentioned that? Why? If they’d said “nine adapters”, I would have kept looking, but no, they said “eight” and I had eight so I didn’t keep looking. Bastards.

So I put this rubber adapter in and my nano slid right in and that was fine. Except I still couldn’t find a good frequency to use, so I gave up again. Hours later, when we’d escaped Chicagoland, I tried once more, and this time I did find a frequency that worked. The sound quality was not that great, but at least I had iPod music coming out of my car speakers. Maybe this would work after all.

Except this morning I tried it in the Mustang here in Detroitland (nobody calls it that, except me, just now) and it sounded like crap. Every frequency I tried had so much static and so many dropouts that it was more annoying than the annoying morning radio shows. I did some searching online to see if I could find lists of recommended frequencies to use for this area, but no luck, and in the process I’ve come across lots of reviews from unhappy people who have this and similar devices, so I think I’m going to take this back and not get anything new. My next vehicle will probably have a place for me to plug my MP3 player directly into the dash, so I can wait for that. What’s a few more years–I didn’t even have an MP3 player until a few weeks ago. My only concern now is getting the store to take it back–it was in a blister pack that I pretty well destroyed getting the parts out even though I was trying not to.

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