AK Octane chair

Last week I purchased my latest cheap office chair. It’s an AK Designs Octane chair purchased from Best Buy. My experience is that any of the sub-$200 chairs purchased from retail stores will last about two years before the mechanism that allows the chair to rock and turn will wear out to the point that it loudly squeaks when you use it. At $150, I fully expect this chair to be no different.

The good

This chair is just really comfortable. The sides of the back wrap around you so it feels similar to a sports car seat designed to hold you in place while cornering. Also, the back has a bit of a lumbar bump built into it that feels great on the back.

The armrests adjust up and down, side to side, and pivot. I’m not sure if this is useful, or just fun to play with. Either way I like it.

The chair has big, roller blade style, wheels that roll smoothly on a variety of surfaces. They are even pretty good on carpet.

The blue and black color scheme is a perfect match for my blue walled and black furnished home office.

The bad

It’s still a cheap chair that will wear out in a couple years. The mechanism underneath the seat looks almost identical to the ones on all of my previous cheap chairs and nothing like the ones on the professional chairs we use at work.

The tall wheels have a couple side effects. First, the legs that attach the wheels are now a little higher than normal. Achilles tendon height. If you roll it into your heal while sitting it will break skin and hurt. Trust me. Secondly, the taller wheels mean the lowest setting for the seat height in taller than my previous chairs.

Scosche FM-MOD01 Modulator Review

Last weekend I installed a Scosche FM-MOD01 Modulator in my 2001 Chevy Blazer. Now that I have used it for a full week I can share my opinion of it. The Scosche FM-MOD01 Modulator is a wired FM Modulator that adds RCA jacks to a car stereo without them. Instead of using my old battery powered FM transmitter with my iPod, the new modulator allows me to tune my factory radio to a certain station and plug the iPod into a wired in headphone jack.

The purchase
I purchased the Scosche FM-MOD01 Modulator from Crutchfield.com and received it within a couple days. When you order speakers or a head unit from Crutchfield you will usually be asked if you would like free wiring adapters for your vehicle, so I was a little surprised to be told that I would need to purchase wiring adapters to connect the FM Modulator to the antenna and to the radio. This is specific to GM vehicles and would not be needed for most anything else, but I still expected them to be offered for free. The cost of these additional adapters took my cost from around $30 to around $50. The modulator packaging does include a cable that plugs into the modulators RCA jacks and provides the plug you need to connect an iPod or other MP3 player.

The install
Installation was fairly straight forward. Unplug the antenna wire from the factory radio and plug it into the modulator, plug the modulator into the radio’s antenna plug, and find power and ground wires to splice into. Crutchfield included very nice looking diagrams and instructions for disassembling the dash to get to the radio’s wiring, but they were not very accurate. There were more screws that needed to be removed for disassembly. The wires they said needed to be unplugged didn’t, while several they didn’t mention, such as the headlight switch, the foglight switch, the 4X4 control panel, and the rear wiper switch, all needed to be disconnected. These are problems with the Crutchfield instructions, and had nothing to do with the modulator. At some point in the future I will actually mount a switch and plug under the dash to turn it on and off with and to plug in a cable for the iPod, but for now I just ran the included switch and cable out through the bottom of the dash so I can access it.

Usage
The Scosche FM-MOD01 Modulator includes a power switch so it can be turned off when not in use. I’d expected to be able to just leave it on all of the time and hide the switch under the dash, but it didn’t work out that way, as when it is turned on it disconnects the antenna making radio reception on other stations pretty bad. The iPod sounds much better than with my old radio transmitter, so I’m happy about that. The only downside I’ve seen is that my AM reception is worse than before, even with the modulator turned off. I occasionally listen to talk radio, but I’m sure most people would never notice the AM reception problem.

Six months later… boy am I slow

Six months ago I wrote about how excited I was that I discovered it was possible to add a line in jack to my factory car stereo so I could play my Ipod without the little FM transmitter. Yesterday I finally broke down and ordered the Scosche FM-MOD01 Modulator from Crutchfield. Before I talked about how it was only $30. Well, its still $30 but required an additional $20 in adapters for it to work in my Chevy Blazer that uses some wierd, smaller than normal antenna plug. I swear it won’t take me another six months to install it.

Adding a line in jack to your factory car stereo

I use my Ipod mainly for listening to audiobooks on my trips to work and school, and have been frustrated with the wireless FM transmitters that I’ve been using. Back when I was a kid we had a car that just had an AM radio, and we had a little FM box that mounted under the dash and went in-line with the antenna, so you tuned your AM radio to a certain frequency and it played whatever the FM box was tuned to. I’ve been hoping something similar would come along for external mp3 players, but have only been able to find the ones that are made for head units that have cd-changer controls. These would require the installation of a theft prone aftermarket stereo, and I don’t really have any issues with my factory radio.

I finally found one. Go to Crutchfield.com and search for a “Scosche FM-MOD01 Modulator”. It’s only $30 and has really good reviews. I haven’t ordered one yet, but will as soon as I figure out if there is someplace I can hide the switch and jack without cutting up my dash.

if (google != evil) {microsoft = evil ;}

Bill Gates puts his foot in his mouth in this one. We all know Google’s philosophy is “Don’t be evil”, so I guess Microsoft is adopting “be evil”. It’s always fun to take people’s words out of context.

CNet: So that would be the philosophical difference between Microsoft and what Google is up to at this point?
Gates: Well, we don’t know everything they are up to, but we do know their slogan and we disagree with that.