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Toys

Sony Hard Drive Recorder for Cars 253

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the step-in-the-right-direction dept.
blues5150 writes "Sony has introduced the Sony MEX-1HD. This is an in-dash CD/Receiver with a 10 giagbyte hardrive built in to rip CD's at 8X speed. It also has an auxilliary input that allows connection of an MP3 player, tape, MD player, and/or an optional Sony plug-and-play XM Satellite Radio tuner. The price is a little steep at $1,499.99, but it's still nice to see a major car audio manufacturer delivering what the public wants."
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Sony Hard Drive Recorder for Cars

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  • That's pretty neat. Sounds like a bit of a fragile thing to be putting in a car though ..
    • Re:Neat (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Matthaeus (156071)
      Not at all. http://www.mp3car.com

      I run one of these systems myself. As long as you mount the hard drive properly (so that the heads swing on a vertical axis), there's not much problem.
      • by CaseyB (1105)
        so that the heads swing on a vertical axis

        I agree that the platters should be vertical, but wouldn't it be better to have the heads swing horizontally than vertically? (i.e. they "dangle" rather than move up and down against gravity and road vibration)

    • I've been wondering about how heat would affect something like this. Here in Arizona the inside of the car can easily reach 140 degrees Farenheit. I don't know of any HD that has an operating temperature that high. Also, what about the somewhat rapid cooling once one gets in and blasts the AC? Could the heat, or the hot/cold swing, warp the platters or something?
  • 10 gig ipod + car kit...a little of my time to make sure it has somewhere to sit...less than $600...
    • A little steep for you maybe, but for many people, the automation of ripping, the niceness of having it in your car radio slow, the convenience of having car radio style controls and the built in amplifier is worth the extra few hundred dollars.
  • How long (Score:2, Insightful)

    do you think it would be before it got stolen in an average American city? A few months tops? A friend of mine just got her ~$500 car stereo stolen, and she's buying another one right now. I never understood why people would spend so much money on something like this. Guess I'm not a stereo enthusiast. :)

    • This is why you park your car in a garage. Garage at home, garage at work, bright, open monitored parking lot wherever you go out to dinner or whatever.

      • Garage at home? You can't use that for storing a car. That's where people store their BBQs, bikes, hoses, workmates, saw horses, empties, garbage cans, non working appliances, non working cars, jacks, creeper, old shoes, pink flamingos, broken garden gnomes...

        Do you want to put the garage sale business out of business?

    • no, no your not.

      I used to have top notch car stereo equipment, never had it stolen.

      I did have my car doors stolen once, tho.
    • Well, a little it of healthy paranoia never hurt anyone. Personally, I just pop off my CD face and take it with me whenever I park my car in a public place (street, parking lot, my driveway -- anyplace the access isn't controlled).

      My stereo head is only about a quarter of the investment in my car audio system, but the rest would be more difficult to steal -- wires are obviously tough, the amps and sub are bolted to the frame and the speakers are just a pain to get at. If you stole the entire car, it obviously wouldn't be a problem, but your average stereo theif is looking to smash and grab.

      As to the why: Imagine driving down the freeway at 80 MPH with the top down and your stereo kicking hard enough for you to *feel* the music. Does it for me.

    • I use bulletproof window film. For a car it will run you roughly the same cost as one of those lame $300 car alarms. And you get the peice of mind of knowing that a thief [probably] won't be able to GET IN to your car. I use this on the linuxcar [dashpc.com] and I sleep safely at night. Having a garage at home and at work doesn't hurt either.

  • I always wonder... is Sony Music [nandotimes.com] tearing their hair out, while Sony Electronics develops a way to copy music CDs?

    -Berj
  • is some ass cruising down the road trying to eat, shave, apply makeup, talk on the phone, read a paper, AND rip MP3's.

    No thanks.
  • The public? (Score:5, Funny)

    by gmhowell (26755) <gmhowell@gmail.com> on Friday July 05, 2002 @01:33PM (#3828387) Homepage Journal
    Umm.. The public wants to rip CD's in their car?

    Yeah, right.

    And they thought it was bad for people to use cell phones...

    No, this is for kids who drive the base model Civic, because the insurance would kill them if they (err, their parents) bought the Si. Now that they've added the coffee can exhaust, 300 pound wing (someone explain why you put a wing on the back of a FWD car that isn't set up in a way to break the rear loose) $800 worth of stickers, and $2000 worth of wheels/tires, the only thing left is some stereo.

    • by SquadBoy (167263)
      You mean like
      this [riceboypage.com]?
    • Personally, I'd rather see a detachable hard drive with Firewire connector so I can just take it inside and hook it up to my PC and load it with songs. I really don't want to have to burn or dig up a hundred+ CDs just to get them into my car.

      Besides, it's only 8x, that's still about 9 minutes per CD!
    • depends how they design the interface.
      If the use just presses a button, and it rips there CD onto the HD, the public will love it. 10 gigs worth of music, and no cd's cluttering up my car? cool.
    • no, the public does not

      A very small group of people who can afford the $1400 price tag do.

      And as far as those wings being 300 pounds... come on now, most of them are fibre glass or aluminum, or plastic... they're no where near 300 pounds... I doubt if any of them weigh over 100 pounds.
    • Now that they've added the coffee can exhaust, 300 pound wing (someone explain why you put a wing on the back of a FWD car that isn't set up in a way to break the rear loose) $800 worth of stickers, and $2000 worth of wheels/tires, the only thing left is some stereo.


      Don't forget neon lights under the car. And hydraulic lifts on the tires.. And 300 watt speakers in the bed of the pickup, also with hydraulic lifts.

      *shakes head*
    • by macdaddy357 (582412) <macdaddy357@hotmail.com> on Friday July 05, 2002 @02:06PM (#3828631)
      A rap for the stupid kids who buy $2000 car stereos, then advertise them with stickers.
      Yo Yo We be stealin' stereos! Yo Yo We be stealin' stereos! Dat alpine be so fine. I'll put a rock through yer winda and make it mine! I see yo stickas! You got Kickas! The is no other who can steal them quicka! Yo Yo We be stealin' stereos! Yo Yo We be stealin' stereos! You even got an Orion. No need for Buyin' Gonna take it now, and leave you cryin' You even got an alarm. It can do me no harm those mutherfukkas be too easy to disarm! and if it does go off, people just yell turn that off they won't do shit. Yo Yo We be stealin' stereos! Yo Yo We be stealin' stereos! You'll have this stuck in your head when all your stuff is gone, and on its way to a pawn shop.
    • b/c each of those devices adds at least 2 hp respectively! you put an Si sticker on a DX model and that's like speed in a can!!

      I have a wing on my 91 Topaz with the spread of a Piper Cub!

      And I stuck a Mustang Cobra badge on there for the xtra ponies (get it!? ponies! mustang!)

      aah nevermind
    • Umm.. The public wants to rip CD's in their car?

      The public wants to listen to their music in the car. If they're like me, they have a lot of CDs, and are trying to avoid a radio market blighted by Clear Channel and Infinity. I like the premise behind this. With it, I could avoid:

      • A pile of CD cases in the passenger seat.
      • Moving the aforementioned pile when I have passengers.
      • Forgetfully baking a crystal box with direct sunlight on a 90-degree day.
      • Having the wrong music available. The last thing I need when stuck behind a slow-moving Buick in the passing lane is my entire collection of Ministry and NIN.
      • The urge to grope around the back seat blindly while doing 70 down the Parkway West.
      • Three words: Trunk. Mounted. Changer.
      • Russell's Law of Car Audio: The light will turn green while you're changing discs.

      The only parts I don't like are the price and the management. Too much work for a couple of knobs/jog wheels. What I'd like to see is an iPod "docking station". The iPod's controls map easily to a typical car stereo, you still get the benefit of iTunes for management, and it wouldn't be attractive to thieves, since you'll be taking the guts of the system with you when you leave your car.

  • RIAA Chase? (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 05, 2002 @01:33PM (#3828390)
    Great, when the RIAA comes calling, I can engage in a high-speed-chase while continuing to commit crimes.
  • The trick to these sort of devices is how you pick the song you want to play. I know it's a pain to do this with my Apex DVD/MP3 player in my home theatre; the thought of trying to do this while driving a car and looking at a tiny LCD screen seems a little challenging.

    I wouldn't want my insurance agent to know I had one in my car.
  • Just what we need... more gadgets to distract the guy in the lane next to me.

    Some of you can wish for the day that Bluetooth lets you swap files with the guy in the lane next to you. I'd prefer we both concentrate on driving, so we won't have to be swapping insurance company information on the shoulder of the highway.
  • Platter crash? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Your_Mom (94238) <slashdot@@@innismir...net> on Friday July 05, 2002 @01:34PM (#3828405) Homepage
    While this thing sounds cool and all, what happens when I drive down a dirt road? My shocks don't absorb the bumps and such so well and I can just picture the ceramic head of the hard drive being ground into microscopic dust...

    Thanks, I'll pass for now.

  • I'm confused (Score:3, Interesting)

    by adam613 (449819) on Friday July 05, 2002 @01:35PM (#3828409)
    Doesn't Sony have a music division which is part of the RIAA? And doesn't the RIAA make a concerted effort to stop people from ripping CDs? So how can Sony make a device to do just that? Is one division going to sue the other or something?
    • It is called hedging your bets. RIAA wins, Sony makes money. RIAA loses, Sony makes money.
    • You have to agree to a EULA that says you can only listen to the CDs you ripped while you're alone in the car on a deserted road. you also have to keep the original CDs in the trunk to make sure they don't get listened to simultaneously.

      (I think i'm joking.)
  • As it was explained to me by a salesman (and please, someone correct me if I'm wrong...), the one thing you cannot do that would seem obvious is copy mp3s from a cd to the harddrive.

  • Kenwood Music Keg (Score:5, Informative)

    by Cryptnotic (154382) on Friday July 05, 2002 @01:36PM (#3828417) Homepage
    Kenwood has a similar product, the Music Keg [musickeg.com]. Their version works like a CD changer with a removable hard drive cartridge.
    • Re:Kenwood Music Keg (Score:4, Informative)

      by Josh Coalson (538042) on Friday July 05, 2002 @02:01PM (#3828596) Homepage
      Kenwood has a similar product, the Music Keg. Their version works like a CD changer with a removable hard drive cartridge.

      And it's half the price and plays [phatnoise.com] FLAC [sf.net] also (the MusicKeg is a re-branded PhatBox).

      Pioneer has an in-dash unit like Sony's for around ~$2K but you can't even rip MP3's from ISO-9660 discs on that. Besides, who wants to spend all that time trying to rerip and recatalog everything on another box?

      An iPod or a portable drive like the PhatBox is the way to go.

      Josh

  • Wow (Score:5, Funny)

    by oman_ (147713) on Friday July 05, 2002 @01:37PM (#3828428) Homepage

    Man.. at $1.5k I might as well PAY for my music!

  • "...but it's still nice to see a major car audio manufacturer delivering what the public wants."
    ...I think this comment is a bit misguided. IS this truly what the public wants or what a small handful of geeks wants? I'd hold judgement until the sales figures come in. I'd also suggest geeks drop this attitude or kick it down several notches. You only serve to make yourselves look like idiots and appear misinformed as to how the world works (let me give you a hint, you don't live in the United Federation of Planets and teh USS Enterprise is not a starship, it's an aircraft carrier).
    • actually, I think this is what the public wants. My dad has asked about something like this for years. If he could get 10G orth of music, and not have to keep track of his CD's. he would live it. a lot of people feel that way.
      The caveat is, it must have a good UI and be 'idiot proof'. so If I try to rip a cd, and I all ready ripped it, it would either noit rip it, or rip it over the previous one.
      Your sentiment is understood, but I think this has strong apeal to non-geeks as well.
      once we get past the introductory curve, competition will kick in, then the price will drop.
      • this is what the public wants

        No it isn't. And it isn't what geeks want either. What some of the public want and more geeks want is the capability to play MP3s in their car -- not the capability to rip MP3s in their car. One is about convenience and choice. The other is about enabling a gee-whiz function which has no bl**dy place in a car.

        Am I missing something? I followed the link, and couldn't see anything to indicate the hard drive could be removed so you could hook it up to your PC and rip tunes that way. On the contrary; there's a slot in the unit so you can use memory sticks and transfer files from your PC to your car stereo.

        You want to rip MP3s? Fine. Do it in the right context -- at home, in your office, where ever you have your burners. But the moment I see someone trying to do this in a car on the same road as me, I'm dialling the police and reporting dangerous driving.

        Major thumbs down to Sony for the sheer stupidity inherent in even conceiving of such a device.
  • by Radi-0-head (261712) on Friday July 05, 2002 @01:40PM (#3828456)
    I had considered the purchase of one of these units (several months ago, indcidentally -- this "news" is kind of old) and did a little homework on it... here's why it sucks, and why I won't buy one:

    - Proprietary compression
    The unit uses Sony's ATRAC compression which is proprietary and heavy on DRM. Even MP3's which you copy from a memory stick to the unit are converted to ATRAC, resulting in loss.

    - No direct PC connectivity
    You can't wire up, say, an ethernet jack to this unit as you could with the Empeg, etc... and copy files to it from your computer. No way. You must either sit in your car and rip (at a paltry 8x) every friggin CD you want into the unit, or use a Memory Stick back and forth from your PC to this unit. An utter waste of time, IMHO.

    Pioneer Electronics came out with a unit that is extraordinarly similar yet has a larger, easier to navigate menu system... it still, however, suffers from the same shortcomings as the Sony unit. I am not sure what type of compression Pioneer uses, though.

    Anyway, my two cents...

    • you hit the nail right on the head.

      can't use your mp3's with it. can't take the music you rip anywhere. nearly impossible to manage.

      why not try the phatnoise car audio system [phatnoise.com] (they're selling them again). pretty similar to an empeg, except that it emulates a CD changer, so it connects to your existing headunit. plays mp3, wma, and flac (lossless encoding). removeable hard drive connects to your pc via usb, and lets you use all the music that you already own.

      even with the price of a new headunit it's cheaper than this sony pos.
    • What would be really cool, is if the car had 802.11b on it, not for the car to be a host, but so that my car syncs with my PC whenever I'm parked in range.

      Have it work sorta like Palm's HotSync, just leave mp3s for the car in some directory, and the car sucks them up when in range.

      It could get email, maps, weather, etc. I could go on, and on...
    • I remember having an ATRAC player in my family's pickup back in the 70s. C'mon, Sony...innovate!
  • I will echo the other comment that says iPod is the answer. I use mine in the car all the time with a tape player adapter - not ideal, but it works fine. A better iPod adapter (say a cellphone style rack with built-in audio feed to the stereo) would be ideal, since iPod stays in your pocket and doesn't get stolen, unlike this thing which just about screams "Soon I will buy a No Radio sign."
    • I saw someone selling a little FM transmitter for iPods so you can just play it over your radio.

      I can't find the link - anyone? anyone? Beuller?

      Cheers,
      Jim in Tokyo
  • I think the important thing here is that appears that sony created a fine consumer device that has many capabilities, but they intentionally crippled it by not having USB/firewire/ethernet/bluetooth/802.11b or anything to get my already ripped music onto the system. Using a memory stick is ridiculous. My Empeg needs to be left overnight to sync 10-20G of music over 10Mbit ethernet.

    You can understand why they did it:

    1) They're Sony and they don't _really_ want to support PC-based sharing

    2) They'd have to come up with a PC-based app to manage the music. Emplode is getting there, but its a lot of work for a consumer electronics company to write software :-).

    but it's lame.

  • What I'd like to see is a low cost, low power, hard drive adapter which I can plug into my cigarette lighter to recharge and access from my iPaq whenever I'm within a few hundred feet of my car.
  • Anybody else think it's kinda ironic that Sony, one of the RIAA big-5, is going out of its way to facilitate supposed "unauthorized copying"? (Not to mention all the other Sony products like CD/MP3 portables and their DVD/CD/MP3-player home units that specifically advertise "CD-RW compatible") Is this just a failure to communicate between their Electronics and Music divisions or are they finally seeing the light that fair-use is actually profitable? If so, this is a good sign that consumers are realizing the value of their rights and perhaps it'll be easier than we expect to get folks to shun M$ Palladium.
  • This is just what the world needs....another distraction for drivers.

    They can:
    Read, write, eat, drink, compute, play games, watch movies, apply makeup, talk on the phone, and now, BURN FSCKING CDs

    All while they should be driving.

    Someone, please tell me where are the automatic cars? These people could be sitting in the back reading, writing, eating, drinking, computing, playing games, watching movies, applying makeup, talking on the phone, and burning CDs while the autopilot drives them to their destination
  • by An. (Coward) (258552) on Friday July 05, 2002 @01:53PM (#3828541)
    Keep in mind that Sony, the company that builds MP3 players, computers with CD-RW drives, CD players, DVD players, etc., is also the company that owns Columbia Records, which tries to prevent their music from working with those MP3 players, computers with CD-RW drives, CD players, and DVD players.

    Are you going to go out and spend $1500 on a piece of equipment from a schizophrenic company that's trying to sabotage their own products?
    • Re:Caveat emptor (Score:3, Insightful)

      by geekoid (135745)
      since corporation go where the money is, and the 1500 dollars will go to the side that makes creating mp3s easier, why not?

      It is my humble opinion that sony knows the genies out, and there just playing the fence until they dominate the mp3 market.
    • Keep in mind that Sony, the company that builds MP3 players, computers with CD-RW drives, CD players, DVD players, etc., is also the company that owns Columbia Records, which tries to prevent their music from working with those MP3 players, computers with CD-RW drives, CD players, and DVD players.

      Three years ago when I was still in college, I would have agreed with this assessment. Since then, however, I've come to realize that truly big corporations consist of a lot of little internal organizations with no real consistancy, which will usually step on the necks of other internal organizations if they think it'll get them more funding.

      I think Sony is like this -- the Columbia people have to hate stuff like this, but so long as the MP3 player people are bringing in money, Sony higher-ups will never risk their clout by stepping in and interfering.


  • I think the concept of the player is great - but why on EARTH is there a disc tray that ejects from the front?!?! This picture [crutchfield.com] shows the tray, I would have *much* preferred a front-loading [crutchfield.com] mechanism like on their bottom-of-the-line model.
    Bad Sony. No cookie.
  • kinda useless (Score:2, Informative)

    by joe_bruin (266648)
    i saw this (and the pioneer one) at CES. 10 gigs (unupgradeable) of music that rips from your cd player. unuseable (atrac3) format that you can't take out of the car. the only way to get music on it is by inserting a cd and waiting for it to rip or by magicgate (drm'd) memory sticks (which means my music collection is useless with it). and how do you manage, navigate, control all that music through the stupid headunit interface?

    these guys [phatnoise.com] had it right. create playlists on your desktop (mp3's), transfer them to a removeable hard drive via usb, plug that drive into a device that emulates a cd changer in your car. don't even have to change out your headunit. sounds like it does just the opposite of what the sony unit does, and is much more practical. they also make a model [kenwoodusa.com] specifically for kenwood, so it does look like they're gaining headway in the market.

  • Actually... (Score:3, Informative)

    by Polo (30659) on Friday July 05, 2002 @02:05PM (#3828622) Homepage
    These are becoming more mainstream.

    For instance, Pioneer [crutchfield.com] has one too.

    However, I think cd players that play MP3's off CD-R/CD-RW's are a much better deal [crutchfield.com]

    They cost LOTS less, they hold "enough" music, and if the media dies, it costs 20 cents to replace it.
  • Before I profess my undying love for my Empeg, allow me to point out why Sony will never produce the in-dash dream audio dream device: they are a music publisher.

    The MEX-1HD is a fixed single DIN unit that can rip music from a CD in situ and store it to an internal and, I believe, non-upgradable hard drive.

    The Sonic Blue RioCar/Empeg, one of which I was fortunate enough to obtain some two or so months ago, is a Linux-based pull-out single DIN device that supports up to 2 2.5" laptop hard drives with a maximum supported capacity of 128GB total.

    The MEX-1HD could never hope to compete with the Empeg... except that Sonic Blue decided that they couldn't break into the good ol' boys club that is the car audio market with such an expensive (at the time, $1200 on up) device.

    However, as Sonic Blue has ceased production of Empeg devices, you can now purchase them on E-bay. Many of the Empeg vendors on E-bay bought the last of the Empegs/RioCars (the name is virtually interchangeable in that Empeg Mk2 == RioCar) during a fire sale from Sonic Blue and are selling them in brand new, still in the packaging, condition.

    If you choose to get a RioCar/Empeg, be sure to check out the Rio Car Site [riocar.org]
  • Who wants this? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Hoi Polloi (522990) on Friday July 05, 2002 @02:11PM (#3828664) Journal
    "...but it's still nice to see a major car audio manufacturer delivering what the public wants."

    Since when did anyone have the burning need to write CDs in their car? You can't leave home for an hour without having to make a CD? Try leaving all the techno crap at home and try DRIVING for once.

    What's next, wood working while driving?
  • It also has an auxilliary input that allows connection of an MP3 player, tape, MD player, (...) it's still nice to see a major car audio manufacturer delivering what the public wants."

    Why do more car stereos NOT have an Auxilliary Input?

    The only thing I really want in a car stereo is an Auxillary Input. I want to be able to take my portable CD player, iPod, whatever, and plug it into my car stereo with a minimum of sound quality loss.

    I have used one of those Tape Deck inputs
    (One end looks like a cassette tape, other end is a stereo jack. Plug the stereo jack into your device, insert the cassette into your tape deck, hit play), on & off for 15 years, but the sound for those things is horrible: all treble, no base. Sound is muffled (This is on 5 different stereos).

    Is there some conspiracy against manufacturers putting a simple stereo input jack on the front of my stereo?
    • I should mention; I've also tried two different those FM transmitter things (Send a radio signal from your portable CD Player to the radio), but they also have serious problems: I get a lound whine from the engine, if I pass by a building or under an underpass, I get wierd static noise, etc. It's like listening to a radio station which fades in an out (But the quality of the sound was pretty good).

      A wire that connects the portable CD Player directly to the stereo would be much less noisy then the FM Transmitter thing.
    • There likely is. What do car manufacturers want more than anything? For you to buy their hardware. That's why car hardware standards aren't what they should be. Go in and ask for a stereo with an auxiliary jack. What'll they say? "Buy our CD player instead." Tell them you want more music, and that your MP3 player suffices. "Buy our 10-CD changer." Buy this, buy that. If they included an auxiliary jack in the stereo when you buy their car, you would have no need of tacking on that extra $500 to get their CD player.

      Proprietary rules. We shouldn't have to live with it but we do. It's too bad you can't solder a headphone jack onto a CD and use that ;).
  • I wondered what a 10 giagbyte harddrive was, so I searched for it on google [google.com]. All the links are these "Giagbyte" motherboards. I guess this has ten of them. That makes me wonder, how do they fit ten motherboards in a car stereo? The more important question I have is, what's a Beowolf cluster doing in my car?
  • by NitsujTPU (19263)
    but it's still nice to see a major car audio manufacturer delivering what the public wants.

    Yes, just what I want to do on the way to work... Rip CD's. That's what I do AT work, not on the way ;-)
  • Personally, I've always wanted an audio version of the TiVO, so that I wouldn't miss my favorite radio shows, but rather could listen to them at my leisure (and skip past the ads). Something like this comes awfully close...
  • Ain't this the same Sony that is busy doing things to CD's to keep people from ripping them to a hard drive? And we should be glad that we are being allowed to pay the $1500 for a car device that will be unable to operate as intended because of the things they are doing to the CD's used in it?
  • very interesting (Score:2, Insightful)

    by bareminimum (456719)
    The price is a little steep at $1,499.99, but it's still nice to see a major car audio manufacturer delivering what the public wants.

    Especially when said car audio manufacturer is the biggest proponent of audio cd protection schemes.
  • Sony has figured out a way to give us our fair use. We've always complained that we wanted to be able to rip mp3s so we can listen using CDRs in the car. Now we can rip straigh to the hard drive. It makes no sense for them though. Just think, the next time you are at a friends house and they just got a new CD, you can say "Hey lets go out to my car so I can rip myself a copy". Sure, it's acopy that you can't bring inside with you or give to anyone else, but you can still make a copy of your friends cd. Very strange. I would just like to see these companies make more cd players that play MP3s off CD-Rs. Unfortunately that will probably cease since they don't want to promote MP3 and all.
  • When I first read that, I thought it was a data recorder for accidents and car problems, like a flight data recorder.
  • ... spend 10 bucks on a minijack tape adapter, insert the tape end of the adapter into your car's cassette player, plug the minijack end to your favorite MP3 player's headphone/line output and blam, you're set: you are playing MP3's in your car. A bit of a hack but it sure works nicely.

    I used to do that with my iPod in my '99 VW Golf Wolfsburgh whose eletricial system was all screwed-up.

    Of course i knowingly gave up that ability when i just bought my 2002 BMW 325i. But I play CDs. You've gotta think about user-interface though. The nice thing about an in-dash CD player is that you can easily interact with it without thinking. Which is good while you drive. I *do not* want to be thinking about ripping CD's while in the car:

    "do i really want to rip this CD? should i save HD space for other CDs? Which CD's should i rip first? I want to rip this CD but i don't wanna listen to it rite now and i can't do it at home because there is no computer interface".

    Because while in the car ... I tend to be driving. And thinking of those things as i'm driving can't be good.

    Technology in your car should be highly convenient, yet *remain out of your face*. It should be there, ready to assist you, but not invade you.

    BMW gets this. The cockpit controls were carefuly designed and positioned with those goals in mind.

    A friend of mine has a really cool AUDI with a slot-loading/6-cd changer/tape deck combo system. It has dual climate-control settings for the left side of the car and the right side. and a slew of buttons all over the place. Perfect for a geek, but man, at night, when all controls are lit-up, the whole thing *looks* just as complex as a plane's cockpit.

    plus his brand new audi has had some weird power-steering fluid issues. and they've been giving him sub-par service. which is consistent with my whole VW experience and one of the reasons why i switched to BMW. that and bmwfilms.com 'cuz i wanted to be all dark and mysterious like clive owen.

    but i'm digressing.

    What I really want now is Apple and BMW to get together and find an incredibly slick way for my iPod to just *plug* into my car's stereo system, check this:

    iTunes could have a "special car play list" which users could populate with songs they might wanna listen to in the car. Within that list, an ability to group songs into virtual "CDs" might also be nice.

    The in-dash sound system already has 6 buttons to switch radio stations. When in "CD MODE", versus "RADIO MODE", pressing any of those buttons would trigger the corresponding iPod "special car playlist" --> "cd number matching the number you just pressed" --> "first song". Then toggle thru songs via normal controls on steering wheel and in-dash stereo system.

    1) without an iPod, the whole system behaves like it always has, which is a simple slot-loading CD system.
    2) plug your iPod in, and the whole thing turns into a 6-CD changer system.

  • by NewtonsLaw (409638) on Friday July 05, 2002 @07:07PM (#3830202)
    You might find this hard to believe but using this machine in New Zealand would be considered a breach of our copyright laws.

    That's because under NZ law, the purchasers of copyrighted music have *no* right whatsoever to copy that music.

    That's right -- you can't tape your CDs or vinyl, you can't tape music from the radio and you certainly can't rip CDs to MP3.

    The head of Sony Music NZ is also at the front of a local campaign titled "Burn and get Burnt" which is trying to convince consumers not to burn CDs.

    So on the one hand we have Sony selling its MD players/recorders that claim to be able to rip CDs to MD, and on the other hand you've got the head of Sony standing firm behind a law that says consumers are not allowed to rip CDs to MD or any other format.

    Talk about two-faced!
  • The most useful audio gadget in the car to me would be a radio version of the TiVo. So often I listen to a piece of music, or an NPR story, but have to leave the car for half an hour or so, and miss out on the rest of the program. When I get back in the car I would love to be able to continue where I left off before. This sort of thing would be so easy and cheap to do nowadays, with a 5G HD or less, and fairly little power consumption to run off the car battery for an hour or so. Since all the hardware is in the anyway, it might as well play MP3, but thinking of (and marketing) more than one feature seems beyond the capabilities of most companies, so I'll just take the radio TiVo.
  • Toshiba libretto 110: $390 on Ebay
    20 GB Drive for it: $130 at computer show
    Memory Upgrade from Ebay: $8
    Software: Free, and some of it written by yours truly
    PCMCIA Network Card: Free (actually traded a toner cartrige for it with a friend)
    PCMCIA Flash Card reader (hey, this little tosh makes an EXCELLENT companion to the digital camera while on the road using gqview and ROX with thumbnails enabled!): $8 at computer show Power inverter for car (cheaper than buying the cig adapter for the toshiba): $45

    Result: A car jukebox that has the exact interface I want, but that can be used for so much more (even mozilla). Much better than $1500 for something that is pretty inflexible.

  • All 99.999% of the public gives a shit about is if their car stereo plays CDs and sounds "fine". Most people will look at the price tag on the Sony deck and laugh, as anyone who isn't a damn moron should.

    In any case, for $600 I can get a good MP3/CD player with a front input AND either an Ipod (5GB) or a Creative Nomad 3 Jukebox to plug into it. With this configuration I get the open MP3 format instead of Sony ATRACs AND the ability to take my MP3 player anywhere & sync betwen it and my computer, all for less than half the price of the Sony deck.

    What a wasteful piece of shit. Not even enthusiasts should like this thing. Only people who should are those who like to blow hard-earned money on crap.

"Stupidity, like virtue, is its own reward" -- William E. Davidsen

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