Thursday, 12 April 2012

The 12 Gifts of Christmas

When I was a kid, one of my favourite performers was Allan Sherman, who did comic parodies of songs and the occasional original classic, like "Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah", for which he was most famous. One of my faves of his was his parody of the 12 Days of Christmas, called "The 12 Gifts of Christmas", where he sang about getting strange and useless Christmas presents. Some included:

  • A statue of a lady with a clock where her stomach ought to be
  • A simulated alligator wallet
  • A calendar book with the name of my insurance man on it
  • A pink satin pillow that says San Diego with fringe all around it.
But the best gift of all was a Japanese transistor radio (and I had one of these when I was a kid). Through the song, he described the radios features:
  • It's a Nakashuma
  • It's the Mark IV model.  That's the one that's discontinued.
  • And it comes in a leatherette case with holes in it, so you can listen right through the case.
It had one other feature which I will describe in a moment.

In prep for our South East US trip, we discovered we had an electronics problem: 2 things that needed to plug into the car's power port, but only one power port. One of the two things was our iPod's FM transmitter. Having made treks across vast expanse of the US before, I consider this essential, as there's loads of places where radio reception is poor. The other is the GPS, kinda handy when you're in the middle of nowhere.

Because of the location of the power port, we couldn't put in a power port splitter. Too big. So we started looking for USB powered solutions. We got a USB cable that would power the GPS. We got a 2 outlet USB port that would plug into the car. Now I thought it would be a simple matter to find a USB powered FM transmitter for an iPod (all the car systems use bulky car plugs). This was much harder than I thought, but after a LOT of searching and visiting various stores, I was able to find a unit on Amazon, and as a bonus, it was only $15.
The device
The FM transmitter attaches to the iPod. The power comes from a USB cord, plugged into the car plug. Magic.

So I ordered one. But it ships from Hong Kong, so took 3 weeks to arrive. It finally got here yesterday. The FM transmitter worked OK (a little weak, and not great sound quality, but it'll do). But...

The power plug would not plug into the transmitter. The plug's male end is bigger than the FM transmitter's female receptacle.
A close up
Looks like it might, but it won't
So back to Allan Sherman. One other feature of the Japanese transistor radio?

And it has a wire with a thing on one end that you can stick in your ear
and a thing on the other end that you can't stick anywhere because it's bent.

Ah, the memories of my childhood.
A postscript:

I posted a review on Amazon Marketplace that the product wouldn't work. After several back and forth e-mails, they agreed they sent the wrong USB power cable, and are sending me a whole new one.


Alan said...

Surely your car has a cassette deck and you can get an iPod to cassette connector as I have. Much better sound than fm.

RyderDA said...

Yes, but I need to provide power to the iPod to charge it. I can readily get a cassette adapter (and my car is old enough that it has a cassette). However, I would still need to plug the iPod in, and now I have 3 cables, not 2.