My iTrip rocks my world

December 22, 2003

Iíve had my iTrip for about 2 months now and I canít believe how extremely happy I am with it.

The iTrip FM transmitter for the iPod is one of the coolest add-on that allows you to play your music through any FM radio in your car or any other radio. Unlike other FM transmitters that only allow you to use 4 hard-coded FM stations, the iTrip allows you to select from over 100 stations on which to broadcast. You can change the station that the iTrip broadcasts on by playing special station codes directly from the iPod itself. That means that you can find an open band, no matter how many radio stations are in your area.

As you can tell from the picture above, the iTrip sits on top of the iPod and is powered directly from the iPod. You turn on the device by simply connecting the iTrip to the iPod and pressing play. The iTrip detects audio within a few seconds and starts broadcasting on the pre-designated FM radio station. The iTrip will shut itself off if it does not detect audio for about 60 seconds.

The quality of the audio out depends on how clear the FM frequency you have chosen. I have found the quality to be good, but you have to be aware that this is not going to be CD quality sound. It may not be as good as a good FM station, but itís a hell of lot better than a cassette adapter. If you have an AUX input, that is the best option but if you donít have that, iTrip is probably one of the only ways to play your iPod in your car.

I absolutely love my iTrip and I havenít used the CD changer in my car since I first received my iTrip. If you want to use your iPod in your car or any other place with a FM radio, iTrip is probably your best bet. The other thing that my road trips a lot more fun is the Belkin Auto Kit for iPod w/ Dock Connector that charges your iPod from your car’s cigarette lighter. Another must-have accessory.

BEA making news!

December 21, 2003

BEA has been making a little bit of news in the last few weeks with product releases and specs.

  • The biggest news came last week when I attended a BEA webinar about the next release of WebLogic server, currently slated to get the 9.0 release number. Thatís before the marketing folks get their hands on it. We might end up with the next release of WebLogic 11.2. The major emphasis seems to be around management, XML improvements and support for the latest Web Services standards. I wonder if we will see the beta of the next release of WebLogic before or around the 2004 eWorld.
  • BEA announced the general availability of v1.4.2 of the JRockit VM that supports J2SE 1.4.2. If you read this blog, you know I am HUGE fan of JRockit and I encourage everyone to download the latest version of the VM and play with you. BEA is currently providing this VM for free for the Windows and Linux platform. I use JRockit with WebLogic, JBoss and other Java server side applications and the performance improvement is huge. I was a little disappointed to see that RedHat Enterprise Linux 3.0 was not supported with the 1.4.2 release.
  • Maybe this isn’t really news, but it was to me. BEA is going to include Liquid Data as part of the WebLogic platform product. Currently, Liquid Data is a separate add-on product. Liquid Data is a pretty slick one-way data access and aggregation product that provides real-time unified view of disparate enterprise data including Web services, databases, flat files, XML files, applications any JCA compliant services.
  • XMLBeans is another BEA product thatís moved from the Apache incubation period into the product category. The team is already working on XMLBeans 2.0. I tried to volunteer in the dev-list, but there were no takers. Oh well

Just read this on TSS Sun Drops Bid to Join Eclipse. I guess the thought that Sun and IBM could agree and work together was maybe too much to expect. Being an IDEA user, I’m not sure who loses here. Eclipse has a pretty fanatical following and NetBeans or Forte or whatever else Sun calls it is nowadays is probably losing out to Eclipse on the free IDE market space.

In the ZDNet article, Rich Green, the VP of the Development Platforms Group at Sun said, “We both decided we did not want to abandon our constituents. We decided community was more important than cost savings and things like that.” I guess the goal to unite the Java community to have 10 million Java developers to defeat Microsoft is now lower on the priority list.

The TSS article also mentions JSR 198 and if this Eclipse-NetBeans thing will even matter. JSR 198 is a proposal to create a standard interface for adding extensions to Java Integrated Development Environments. IDE’s like Eclipse and NetBeans rely on the plugins that people create to offer additional functionality. IDEA is similar in that as well with the IntelliJ Community Site hosting tons of plugins.

In reading JSR 198, I didn’t see any mention of SWT. I saw AWT and Swing mentioned in there. I wonder if this will create problems for Eclipse, as I’m sure Eclipse plugins have to be written in SWT unless everyone uses XUL. Yikes. I guess this will be one of those ‘watch it play out from the sideline’ types of deal.