Saturday, 28 February 2009

Internet radio ...

I've a new toy - an Asus AIR internet radio.

An Internet radio ? Exactly so, picks up audio streams from a list of around 10,000 stations out there on the internet and plays them like an old fashioned radio does, the point being thst if you want to listen to cool jazz from Boise State University (and they do have some cool stuff) you can, sat in my lounge room in Canberra, without having to have a pc or anything like that, just a box with a little wi-fi connection.

Setup was easy, plug it in, select wi-fi, enter the key, let it fiddle about with itself for a few seconds and suddenly we had a station list and a couple of clicks, Jazz FM from the UK.

The station list is an annoyance - the classification of stations is a little eccentric at times, but livable with. A lot of channel surfing is required to find out which stations you really like, especially as being on the dark side of the world, it's usually their night time or early morning shows you end up listening to.

And there's a bit of guessing going on, like there was tha cool classical jazz station I heard in Palo Alto, or a Dutch AM station I used to listen to sometimes when we lived in York, half remembered station names from a long time ago.

The other annoyance is that one only has a sprinkling of BBC stations, but no Radio 4, Radio 3, or Radio Scotland. Though you do get Radio 5 live and BBC radio 7 and 1xtra...

The loss of Radio 3 is a pain, but there's other classical music stations out there. Radio 4 and Radio Scotland are not such a loss due to the time difference, 11h in summer, 9h in (our) winter, it's more being able to catch up with news when something that might affect our friends happen.

[ has a listing of various feeds on the internet and it is possible to find and hand program the feed settings into the Asus but it's a pain - for example radio 3 is at]

The other pain is that streaming media seems to periodically overwhelm our Telstra broadband connection with numerous resets and rebuffers, but that's not the fault of the Asus AIR, more Telstra's problems providing a reliable adsl service with a non ridiculous over subscription/contention rate.

So I've a new toy. Like my ipod it provides me with access to a range of decent radio, thogh this time it's music radio rather than talk. It's like getting Sky TV on the UK - suddenly what was an adequate tv diet balloons out before setting down over a month or so to the subset of channels you really like.

I'll post more about this after we've had it for a month or so ...

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