Donating Rob Ford’s $60 bribe

So I got my vehicle tax refund cheque yesterday. In a city that’s gridlocked, if anything is a blatant attempt to buy votes, this $60 “refund” is the worst possible way to reward voters. I think that the Toronto Coalition for Active Transportation could use the money better than me.

good, not quite great

I accidentally dropped and broke my car mp3 player, so had to come up with another music solution. I caved and bought an iTrip for my iPod Nano. It sounds pretty good.

What’s good about it is that it allows you to charge your iPod from a standard USB Mini-B. What’s not so good is that it doesn’t have full USB pass-through, so you can’t sync your iPod, and have to stick with that stupid dock cable.

(and don’t get me started on the really annoying connector on my work cell phone …)

canadian compact car

This was advertised in the Globe & Mail on the day I was born:
viva-globe-1969
My mum bought a second-hand Viva estate in 1975. We thought it was huge.

The image is via the archive at Toronto Public Library. More cool stuff there than ever. (via)

half-assed, but endearing


So I bought the Kross Bluetooth Hands Free Cell Phone Car Kit with FM Transmitter. It has its good points, but it has some quirks and serious shortcomings.

Here’s what’s good:

  • It’s cheap (< $40)
  • It provides in-car Bluetooth speakerphone
  • It plays MP3s from SD card, USB stick, or an line level source.

Here’s what’s not so good:

  • Playback quality is limited to finding an open FM frequency, which is hard in the GTA
  • The transmitter is not very powerful, so nearby vehicles can swamp your signal (or, if you want to call it a feature, it’s a “random positional mashup”)
  • The phone mic is a tiny port on the unit, so sometimes the caller can’t hear you too well
  • You need to have your radio on to answer your phone
  • The USB port doesn’t provide enough charging current for a phone or GPS
  • The remote isn’t very good
  • Voice dialling doesn’t seem to work with my Blackberry
  • The MP3 playback function usually remembers where you were when you start the car, but sometimes forgets, and needs the card ejected and reinserted
  • It doesn’t know about ID3 tags
  • Weirdest of all, it plays back files in the strict order they were written to the directory – not ordered by file name. It seems that, under Microsoft operating systems, files are copied in name order, but under Unix, they are (winging it here) copied by inode. Using tar on a Mac or Linux is the way to go, as it writes in name order.

The Kross S-150 Manual (scanned PDF) is pretty terse, and has been of limited use to me. For all its faults, it’s kind of useful, but if I had a USB-capable stereo, I wouldn’t need this.

Kross Bluetooth Hands Free Cell Phone Car Kit with FM Transmitter .

Kross Bluetooth Hands Free Cell Phone Car Kit with FM Transmitter – is this thing too cheap to be any use? I think its part number is BHK-204. I’ve found nothing about it on the web.

1kg of recycling

I wish the Toronto Star would stop giving me their Saturday edition. I already get the newspaper, so the Star is recycled unread every week. If it wasn’t 50% car section, I might take a glance.

Jeremy = teh smrt!

Jeremy Clarkson thought it would be a good idea to publish his bank details to show that the whole thing about identity theft was hooey. Not such a good idea.

Well, it happened today …

Feed Article | Business

U.S. crude fell 44 cents to $99.18 a barrel by 2:30 p.m. EST (1930 GMT) after hitting a peak of $100.09 earlier in the day.

wiggly

Can I just say that the road from Busch to Eureka Springs, Arkansas is the most gratuitously wiggly route I’ve ever driven?

Our route down from Kansas City was longer than I thought; place not blind trust in GPS routing, especially when you’re close to the edge of the maps you’ve uploaded. Due to one wrong turn on my part, we ended up in Overland Park, KS — rather than being on Hwy 71 all the way south. In future, I shall upload all the maps I need, plus all the states/provinces surrounding, so you don’t get that terra incognita/here be dragons feeling of falling off the edge of your wee scrolly map.