So I had this plan, right? I thought it was very good and I was eager to try it. The plan was this: In case I'm not able to get into my car and head home from work at exactly 6:30 p.m. here in the Bay Area, I'll be able to use my cool-ass smart phone as an on-demand radio, listening to that's day's Marketplace. It was a good plan, I was excited.
You see, Marketplace is always just ending when I get in the car, or is going to start in 1/2 hour or on Thursdays and Fridays, isn't even rebroadcast at all at 6:30, so I'm always missing it. This was much less of a problem when I lived with my brother in L.A. for 9 months or so in 1997 because I had an hour commute each way and always seemed to catch it. But luckily I have a "reverse" commute here in the Bay Area and it only takes me about 30 minutes to get home unless it's raining. (Rain in California - even a drizzle - is like a full-on Blizzard to New Englanders. That, however, is another post all together) so I always end up missing the program, or catching just part of it.
Sooo! I grabbed the link above this morning, created a small .html file which I sent to my 6600 and tested it out. It worked great, I thought. I only listened to a minute or so before turning it off, so it seemed to work a lot better than it did. I've listed to KQED this way for over 30 minutes one time just to test it and it was great, but the Marketplace stream is probably a lot heavier.
Anyways, at 7:30 or so this evening when I got into my car, I eagerly launched Opera and my bookmark to the local html file. I created the html file, in case you were wondering, because the Real Player on the 6600 won't allow you to make bookmarks in the "Gallery" app to anything but rtsp:// based URLs. By making a little html file with the link, it's the easiest way to launch a link, rather than sending it over as text and copying/pasting it into the browser as a bookmark. It's *really* too bad that the 6600 doesn't support .lnk extensions.
So I launch the browser, click the link and then take off merrily down the highway and listen to the first minute or so of the stream. First, it wasn't very loud. I was using the ear piece that is usually made for calls and even at full volume, it was just loud enough to hear on the highway. Normally when you use the Real player it uses the speaker at the back of the phone which blasts (if you're not in a car) so that sucked. Then the stream stopped.
So THEN I start fiddling with the phone. While driving. This is not good. Actually, this is *very, very, bad*. Bad Russell, bad. But I wanted to restart the app! I must have hit a spot where the GPRS cut out for a sec! If I could just start it again it'd be fine! So I hit the stop button and then went back to Opera which wouldn't allow me to highlight the link again until I hit back, but then I hit it too many times and I was at the home page and then then I had to open and find the html page again - watch out for that car - then select the link and relaunch the RealOne player again. But oh no! It's streaming all jarbled and Silon-sounding! So I hit stop again - pay the toll - and then try to back out, but now for some reason the app is locked up and it won't let me do anything, so I keep clicking the buttons trying to get it to respond...
The soft white glow shining on my face from the blazing 65,000 color LCD of the 6600 in an otherwise darkened car as I was careening across four lanes narrowly missing just about everyone near me will surely give someone nightmares tonight. If you're that person, I'm very, very sorry.
Okay, so. Streaming multimedia is *not* a good idea in cars until it's a bit more stable. Maybe something like Audible where you can download and sync up the sound file before you hit the road would be safer for now...
Later... Hey! Where the hell is David Brancaccio?? Check out the Marketplace.org home page. They've swapped Davids on us like Darrens in Bewitched. It says: "Marketplace Host/Senior Editor: David Brown" Huh? Who's that? Where'd the other Dave go? There's no mention of his departure, but Google still brings up his home page on the PRI site. Weird.
Man. A guy leaves the country for a few years and they think they can pull a fast one on ya...
Even Later... Yep, I actually looked back in the archives until I found this. Okay, so it wasn't a coup. They should explain that on the website. It was like 1984... What's that term called again? Anyways, This is the first Dave's last Marketplace broadcast.