Tuesday, May 12, 2009

A funny thing happened on the way to Cupertino...

Arrived in San Jose and got the standard rental car from Thrifty. This time an exciting Seabring... be still my heart! Anyway, as with the other rentals I have had this month, this one had a AUX jack, so it was "Internet radio ready." I plugged in my iPhone running Tuner2 and headed out.

Driving around the South Bay, I tested 101, 85, 280, Lawrence Expressway, and Montague Expressway. The experience was flawless, with two surprising exceptions. First, it dropped out briefly around 85 at El Camino, center of the commute path for folks heading to Google, MSFT, and the other companies in Mountain View.  

The second, however, was even more odd. Heading down 280 south at DeAnza, the radio dropped from 3G to Edge to nothing. Those in the know will recognize the location as being right outside Apple HQ in Cupertino! A friend suggested that the failure was due to heavy usage within Apple. That may be the case, but it is pretty odd. Area in La Jolla near Qualcomm HQ must have at least as much usage, but I haven't experienced failure around there yet. 

It appears that Apple and AT&T need a little more cooperation. 

Even with the dropouts, though, I must say that they were brief and definitely provided an experience as least as good as satellite radio.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Cruising to Palm Springs

A brief post for a brief trip. Went out to Palm Springs last weekend. Tuner2 App on iPhone worked great. As usual, signal died at the top of the 241 toll road. Also had brief signal trouble on California Hwy 60 going through the hills outside of Moreno Valley. Overall, though, it was smooth sailing. On a two hour trip, the interruptions accumulated to at most 5 minutes of silence. If only AT&T would get on the job and fix those holes!

For those who find these signal gaps a reason to dismiss the readiness of Internet radio in the car, I offer the following advice. Next time you listen to FM radio, listen carefully. You will soon hear dropouts in those same rural regions where your mobile signal fades. KPCC is the only reason I listen to broadcast radio in LA. As soon as I enter those same hilly areas where I lost signal on my iPhone, the FM signal gets fuzzy and sometimes even drops off. It would be interesting to have a sponsored study where someone drives around and records audio quality and reliability of an FM signal compared to the audio quality of that same station delivered over Internet. I am thinking that they won't be so different on the reliability front and the audio quality front will be heavily in favor of the Internet station.