iPhone radio, wireless speakers, yard sale apps
Bob's Tech Talk
August 1, 2018
Q. I’m thinking I can rid my life of big, bulky speakers and use my iPhone to replace a skipping CD player. What would you recommend for listening to the radio in my house?
A. Chances are excellent that you can find the stations you prefer streaming online. That is where apps like TuneIn Radio Pro and iHeartRadio can help. But do not overlook Google. Often simply searching a station’s call sign in, Google will answer the “how to find this station online” part of the question.
But do not stop there. Beyond the stations you know, there is an entire universe of online audio. Podcasts, streaming services like Apple Music, Spotify and audiobooks, just to name a few. Any audio on your iPhone can be sent wirelessly to countless portable speakers. The only limits are your imagination and budget.
High end systems like Sonos can cost thousands of dollars to outfit every room in your home with a high-quality speaker. I have friends who use Sonos, but I think they are over-priced for most ears and hard to configure.
I just added an Apple HomePod to my living room. It is expensive ($350), but the sound quality is extraordinary. In addition to the exceptional sound, it is the easiest to configure and use. If you want the best experience possible, I would recommend one as a wireless companion to any iPhone. Sitting at a desk, I use either a portable Ultimate Ears BOOM speaker (see the next question for more) or a very inexpensive Anker SoundCore. Either of these models is a good starter option to fill a modest-sized room with audio from your phone.
Q. I enjoy camping and would like to take along some music, but the great outdoors is rough on electronics. Any suggestions?
A. Ultimate Ears makes waterproof speakers that are rugged enough to survive outdoors. These speakers sound so good they are often near the top of everyone’s Best Portable Speaker lists.
The model I use, the UE BOOM 2, can spend 30 minutes under a few feet of water and it can tolerate rough handling. The built-in rechargeable battery typically lasts several days. Bluetooth support allows it to receive music wirelessly while your phone remains safe in your pocket. If you already own a second generation Amazon Echo, this speaker can turn it into a voice-controlled jukebox using Alexa.
The UE BOOM 2 is available for about $130, depending on the color you select. There are more expensive models that can fill a larger space with audio, but the BOOM 2 packs a lot of musical punch into a small package. Perfect for campfires or picnic tables.
I love mine, although, like me, it rarely ventures outside.
Q. Has technology done anything to make yard sales any easier to find?
A. There are at least a dozen apps for Android and iPhone that can help. Most apps are able to locate nearby sales then use the device’s GPS to provide turn-by-turn guidance.
Because of differences in geographic coverage, I cannot suggest which app would work best for you. But fortunately most of these apps are free or inexpensive, which makes it easy to try one or three until you find one you like.
Here are a few titles to get you started: Yard Sale Treasure Map, Garage Sales by Map, Varage Sale (that is not a typo), and 5miles.
Each of these apps allows you to locate upcoming yard sales, usually with a search result or a “near-me” map. Some can even build a favorites list for a given day and map a route. Perfect for the hardcore shopper that tries to hit a dozen different sales in one day.
Another alternative is Craigslist listings. You can bookmark your local yard sale page directly, or use an app that converts the Craigslist website into an easy to read view.
Happy bargain hunting!
Wander the Web
National Gallery of Art
Located on the mall in Washington D.C., NGA is one of America’s most treasured museums. To get the most this site has to offer, select NGA Online Editions, which can be found under Research in the main menu.
Opened in 1793, the most popular museum in the world is almost as old as the United States and is home to well-known works like the Mona Lisa. Their website contains a catalog of online tours for some of its most popular collections.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s very popular site is the gateway to dozens of worlds beyond our own. From here, you can explore earth from orbit, visit our solar system, and view outer space, all with technology that is quite literally rocket science.
A tech enthusiast his entire life, Bob can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.