Thursday, May 06, 2010

Everything Old Is Repurposed Again

My last post, I wrote about how happy I am with my cell phone switch to Sprint. So far, still am. YAY! I also mentioned I talked a friend into giving Sprint a try.  For the sake of expediency, I'll call that friend Brad.  Brad even went with the same phone, an HTC Hero.

A surprise payoff for all that happy enthusiasm: Brad returned the favor by sharing with me his accidental discovery, which I'm now going to pass along to you, you lucky fellow sojourners. This grand discovery will work no matter who your wireless carrier*.  Prepare yourself for brilliance.

But first, let me say that for his 30-day Sprint test period, like me, my friend also made use of a Sprit temporary cell number. He previously used Verizon Wireless (as did I), which he kept during the Sprint 30-day trial. I highly recommend this method because that way, you can doubly annoy your friends by tag teaming them with calls.

"Can you hear me now?"

Click.

Ring. Ring …

"But can you hear me better now?"

After Brad ported his old number to Sprint, one day he called and asked the usual Can you hear me okay now? question. Yes, I could. (Cheers around! Still works!) He explained he was testing something else new, thus the call. He'd loaded music into his Hero and for the first time decided to give it a try in his vehicle. And then …

Here's how the discovery came about.

--He grabbed the car gadget (right) he long ago purchased to use with his portable CD player. (Remember portable CD players? This is why we can never ever throw anything away, right?)



--He slipped the "tape" into the tape deck and plugged the "headset" end into his phone. He did nothing with the power supply that goes in the cigarette lighter.

--He pushed the play button on his Hero, set the phone in the ash tray and voila! Hero music through the car stereo!

But wait for it ... here comes the good part!

--Suddenly the music stopped. But … the PHONE RANG! He pushed "answer" on his phone, and just like that, he heard the caller's voice through his car stereo system too. The Hero has a good enough microphone that the caller (then I, during his test call) could hear him fine, even though he left the phone in the ash tray.

HANDS-FREE, NO-COST cell phone system!

I said, "Wait a minute! I think *I* still have one of those around somewhere!" And indeed I did. I'd stored it away with the old Discman, the one I used to put in a fanny pack to walk on the prairie path. Of course I now use a Sansa clip-on MP3 player [Sandisk pink thing on top of Discman, now old too] for those walks and to listen to books on tape. (We've come a long way baby, eh?) But it never occurred to me to use that same old portable CD car gadget on my MP3 player, which I've now learned works way better than the "tune to one of these station" pieces of static-y junk I bought and tossed!

Although I'm weaning myself from driving and talking on the phone (I promise you, I am), it's still good to know I can listen to my own music on my own car stereo system and still take a call—so that I can tell them I'll call them back when I pull over. (In case the law is reading this.) Or quickly tell my agent that yes, I have decided to accept that measly bazillion dollar book advance. (A girl can dream, can't she?) Or tell my husband, "No, honey, I wasn't in that multi-car pile-up on I-90 that NBC is talking about." Or my lunch date, "No, I haven't forgotten. I'm just running late." Or my editor, "Of course I'm home working on the book!" (Not necessarily in that order. No. Never.)

*The trick here is that you have to have a vehicle old enough to take a cassette tape. (You remember those, right?) And you have to be a pack rat. And a techno geek, and … easily entertained.

If you've found handy new travel uses for other old stuff, please comment here. In this economy, every little bit helps.

And by the way, if Brad and I are the last people to know about this "wonderful old portable CD multi-purpose cassette cord discovery," please keep it to yourself. In my mind, I am about to be a bazillion dollars richer from that new book contract I'm going to accept through my stereo speakers, and he is a genius.

1 comment:

Dana said...

See, Char, that's why we're not pack rats -- we're preservationists! I love the idea! Thanks!