Saturday, May 14, 2011

Shower Pod!

Another rainy-day, another project!

This week I was explaining to a colleague that these days most of my best thinking happens in the shower.  It's fun to open a conversation with "So while I was in the shower this morning...."

The idea du jour was particularly "meta." Typically when I have an idea, I jot it down on the nearest gadget or piece of paper around for later.  I wouldn't want to forget all that gold!  Unfortunately, in the shower, none of my usual options are very practical.

What I needed was a water-resistant voice-recorder.  Maybe someone already makes a water-resistant voice-recorder for the rain or something.  Maybe there's a case doohickey to water-proof a voice recorder like they have for cameras.  It would be a pain to have to take that in and out of the shower though, so how cool would it be if it were wifi-enabled!

Sadly, I didn't build a water-proof-wifi-enabled-voice-recorder.  The train of thought did give me another idea though.  Enter the iPod Touch.

I love my iPod Touch (is it supposed to be capitalized like that?).  More specifically, I love podcasts on my ipod touch (that's better).  I thought it might be cool to be able to listen to podcasts in the shower.

OK MacGyver, what have you got to work with?
1 ipod touch
1 water-resistant radio
1 iPod FM transmitter
1 universal AC adapter.

A little background info if you'll bear with me.  The radio was a stocking stuffer my Mom got me one Christmas.  Unfortunately, I get no reception in the shower, so I've never really used it.  The transmitter is a Belkin model we got from my brother in law (also for Christmas) back in a time before ubiquitous ipod/aux jacks in car stereos.  Unfortunately, it is a piece of crap.  It's near-impossible to find an empty FM channel around here.  Even if you do, if you're on a trip, the stations change enough that what was once empty, is no longer.  Finally, just when you think you're good, the reception in the car was never that reliable anyhow.  In this case, I thought "since there's no reception in the shower, I should have my pick of empty channels!"

Since the transmitter is for a car, it uses a cigarette-lighter plug for power.  I figured I could just wire it directly up to as AC adapter.  That was the only real "work" to do.

Long story short - I created this monster:

From left to right:  AC Adapter wired to the lighter plug of the transmitter, plugged into the ipod, broadcasting to the radio above.

I plugged it in, tuned in a station, started up an Age of Persuasion, and... Success!  I even got to hear the cringe-worthy Sarah Palin quote they use in the intro: "We are not afraid to get mavericky in there..."

Now to go try it in the shower. Epic Fail.  It sorta worked, but the radio pretty much has to be right next to the transmitter to get a decent signal, and the whole point was to keep the water-phobic parts free and clear.  No wonder the Belkin sucked in the car, it barely works at all.

As always, there is a silver-lining - podcasts are my excuse to go for evening walks, which I rather enjoy.  More importantly, if podcasts were effective entertainment in the shower, where would I do my thinking?

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