Gadget Update

Now that I’ve landed a new job, I decided to splash out a bit on a few new gadgets: one for the car (Alpine CDE-113BT), one for living room (PlayStation Move), and one for the bedroom (Sony Bravia KDL-32EX403U). Here’s a little bit about each.

Alpine CDE-113BT

With the new job comes a one-hour commute each way. My Audi had the standard head unit that came with it (including a cassette player!) so I needed an upgrade to be able to listen to Spotify in the car. The Alpine CDE-113BT seemed to suit well, as it has the all-important AUX IN socket on the front to connect my HTC Desire to. The Bluetooth on this model works a treat for phone calls, but it doesn’t support audio streaming. This wasn’t an issue for me though, as a wired connection to my phone would always give the best possible audio quality and not suffer from dropouts. The USB slot at the front may also come in handy: I bought one of the tiny LaCie MosKeyto flash sticks for this (note LaCie charge £9 for postage on this and it’s not even next-day delivery!) – UPDATE: the MosKeyto doesn’t work in the Alpine 🙁

I got the Alpine and microphone professionally fitted by Ray Smith Audio — they did an excellent job, if you’re in the East Lothian area I’d highly recommend them.

I have a Tasker profile that pops up an audio app selection menu when I plug in the audio cable:

So with that and Android 2.2’s voice command feature on my HTC Desire, I can run Spotify pretty much hands-free.


PlayStation Move

A bit of an impulse buy this, but I don’t have a Wii and thought it might be fun to have a Move for when friends are over. I bought the starter pack (£50) along with a second Move controller and the Sports Champions game (£30 extra in the UK, although it’s bundled with the US starter pack). The beach volleyball and bowls games are pretty good, but it’s the included demo game Tumble that really shows off the fine-control capabilities of the Move.


Sony Bravia KDL-32EX403U

A sign of the times perhaps when a widescreen 32 inch 1080p TV is for merely a second telly for the bedroom. The Sony Bravia KDL-32EX403U ticks all the boxes for functionality, connectivity, and performance: the picture from the Freeview HD tuner is great (even though I won’t get any HD channels here until next summer), but what makes this television stand out for me is its Internet capabilities: BBC iPlayer, YouTube, and the ability to seamlessly stream all media content from my PC direct to the TV via in-built DNLA. It natively handles all sorts of formats, and although mkv isn’t one of them this isn’t really much of an issue as the freeware app mkv2vob works a treat to convert mkvs to “fake” mpg files that play fine. The picture quality is excellent on this TV, and the interface is modelled on the PlayStation’s XMB so it’s a no-brainer to use. The favourites overlay is pretty cool, although it won’t let me “favourite” a folder on my PC (only actual files). All in all a great television for the bedroom and if I didn’t have a 50″ Pioneer plasma in my living room I’d seriously consider the Sony series for there too.