Airplay enabled car

I solved a #firstworldproblem today – wireless audio in my car.

TL;DR – use an AirPort Express & replace its power supply with a 5V -> 3.3V step down module so it can be powered off USB/cigarette jack in the car.

Basically I was fed up with having so many cables floating around and getting tangled & I wasn’t happy with the compressed audio quality with Bluetooth, so I decided to come up with a wireless audio solution.

I did a bit of reading, and most people recommended an AirPort Express (APE) with an inverter running off the cigarette lighter jack. The idea is that you connect to the APE using wireless, then share music from your phone to the APE via AirPlay. The APE is then connected from its audio LineOut to your car via a headphone into the audio LineIn. I felt this solution was a bit wasteful, not to mention the the fact that it would be converting 12V DC to 110 AC, then down again when going into the APE. After waiting a few months, I did a bit more research and came across this post:

http://forums.nasioc.com/forums/showthread.php?p=39379974

In summary, the user enjoiful describes a way of opening up the APE, pulling out the PSU and replacing it with an alternative power supply – USB. The great thing about this is that USB provides 5V DC, and the APE requires 3.3V DC. The end result is that you just need to convert the 5V to 3.3V somehow so that you don’t overload the APE.

This was the perfect solution as I had a USB port in my car, as well as an audio lineIn.

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Settling in

I’ve been a bit slack updating this blog, so I’ll try to keep them short and sweet from now on.

In the last month a lot has happened:

  • Found an apartment in Upper Haight/Ashbury which is awesome!
  • Passed my theory test for my Californian drivers license.
  • Did a road trip up to Muir Woods to see then 1000 year old redwoods
  • Took a bunch of photos.

Hopefully now that Adrian and I have got a proper place to live; we will be able to settle in properly.

Work is going well; flat out with everything as usual so not much to report there.

Beautiful San Francisco

It was another stunning day in San Francisco today. The obligatory SF fog didn’t bother setting in; which worked out very well for me given I’d booked a bike to ride across the Golden Gate Bridge today. Nice easy ride from the Marina district to the northern side of the GGB. There was tonnes of other people with the same idea; so it became pretty congested over the bridge; but nevertheless it was well worth the bike hire!

Golden Gate Bridge

I planned on catching a traditional trolly tram from Market St & 5th up to the end of Hyde Street; but after seeing the line I decided I had better come up with an alternative! There was probably about 200 people waiting to jump on. Kinda lucky I decided to give it a skip as I found a great burger place for lunch!

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Arrived in SF

I have made it to San Francisco!

Got off the plane at 3pm local time (6am AEDST) at San Francisco International Airport in a very average state. Only managed a few hours sleep on the journey over but thats normally the case for me; I have trouble sleeping on planes.

SFO airport is really awesome though; looks brand new.. Although having said that; anything would look better than LAX :p

The apartment here is pretty awesome; wired with Sonos throughout, high speed broadband & cable tv just to list a few things. Its in the Dogpatch suburb (still find that name odd); so its about a 25 minute walk into SoMa/Downtown SF which is pretty convenient. I’m already scoping out buying a bike!

I ducked into SoMa today to buy a US sim card; which you would think would be easy (don’t get me started on how stupid the system is over here). Normally it is quite easy; but when you want it on an iPhone5.. think again. Ended up with a T-Mobile prepaid sim which seems to only run on 2G at the moment so I can’t imagine I’m going to last long with them.

Anyway; I’ve been up for about 40 hours now; with minimal sleep so I’m going to crash.

The Big Move

Just giving you all the heads up that I shall be relocating to San Francisco for an indefinite amount of time in a few weeks for work. Needless to say I’m super excited about it; but still have a lot to do back home before I can jet off. Trying to get the house finished ready to rent is my main priority at the moment.

Golden Gate Bridge - San Francisco

I have my visa organised and ready to go – so I will catch up with some of you over there; and farewell my friends back home… until I come home to visit that is!

Feel free to drop me any tips for things I should see/do over there!


EMusic & Hunted

We are currently working out of the EMusic offices which is really cool; it means that we are in Manhattan everyday. The EMusic guys are really awesome, and their offices are ace; table tennis, coffee machine etc. It has been great to catch up with Eliot Van Buskirk from The Echo Nest & evolver.fm; who we met at the Sydney Music Hack Day a few weeks ago.

To get to work each day we walk about 10 blocks to N 17th St & Bedford Ave and jump on the L-Train which takes us straight to 6th Ave & W 12th St (half a block to work from there).

Working flat out at the moment so nothing much to report on that front, but I am slowly growing to like Williamsburg; it took me a while to understand it. It reminds me a lot of West End in Brisbane; but kinda likes its great grandfather (the same way London is Melbourne’s great grandfather). Williamsburg is very grungy & (‘scuse the  phrase) ‘underground’.

No further progress on where we want to live though! It is going to be so tough!

Domain expired

So it turns out that my domain expired a few days ago even through I had paid for another 12 months 18 months ago. During the big domain hacking thing that happened in Australia last year, my domain was transfered to NetRegistry, but the fact that I had paid for another 12 months wasn’t. I had to subsequently renew the domain AGAIN to get it back up and running. Sigh.

Anyway – I am back. Will update more on my NY trip shortly.

Manhattan to Brooklyn

We went out to The Ginger Man to beers last night, which is basically a beer bar with over 70 beers on tap at any given time! Some great beers were had, along with some pretty terrible ones; but that is the luck of the draw I suppose. We then moved to the Penny Farthing in the East Village to catch up with one of Mitch’s mates.

Today we packed our stuff and jumped in a cab to go across the river to Brooklyn. We are currently staying in a suburb called Williamsburg, which as far as I can gather, is the biggest hipster paradise I’ve ever seen. So many stove pipe pants, fixies, scrillex combovers, beards and ironic glasses. Parts of Williamsburg look like they are still as they were 20 years ago when prostitution was at its worst, run down and full of abandoned warehouses. It all adds to the charm of a borough though; it has a real community feel about it.

We decided to catch the ferry from Williamsburg today over to Wall Street with the intention of seeing the Statue of Liberty; but that fell through when we saw the ticket line!

Instead we decided to visit the 9/11 Memorial site at ground zero; which was very ‘real’.

We then decided to head home, but struggled to get a cabbie who would drive us to Williamsburg. 20 minutes later; after hailing half a dozen cabs, we finally found one who would drive us out there! Crazy right? Classic moment of tiredness combined with ‘SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY’.

Now the pizza has just arrived, we have beer also; and we are just chilling. I think Mitch just passed out momentarily!

PS: The pizza is legend… you better not be lactose intolerant because here comes the next bit… dary!