ashi (ashi) wrote,
ashi
ashi

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Better living through search technologies.

I recently purchased a Palmone / Handspring Treo 600 "smart phone." In at least one way, it's too smart for its own good.

My digital camera stopped working in Australia recently. My old Kyocera 6035 Palm phone started freaking out and, thanks to a little damage on the bottom, would no longer work with a sync cradle. I have been wanting to purchase a portable music player (y'know, something that plays mp3s and oggs and whatnot). This seemed like a good solution for all three, in an easy-to-carry-around package. I even got a 1 gigabyte SD card for it.

It turns out that it does indeed play music if you purchase the right software (I couldn't find any free music players for Palm, not yet anyway) via the little internal speaker, which isn't bad for an internal speaker. If you purchase a headphone adaptor for it, you can listen to music via the headphones, and, I hoped, via the input cable for my car stereo.

I got the adaptor and plugged it into my car stereo, and I got music... through the little speaker. What?? I tried real headphones, and those worked fine. I could get the music to go through my car stereo in mono if I plugged the adaptor in just a little bit. I thought about taping it in place like that, but instead, I went inside and brought up Google.

After reading several results for searching: "treo 600" headphones "line in" , I found mention of a (now broken) link for: "audio line-out workaround" , and putting that into Google brought me to: http://discussion.treocentral.com/tcforum/showthread.php?t=43706 which pointed out the problem. The Treo, too smart for its own good, detects via impedence whether you've attached it to headphones or a handsfree unit. The handsfree unit has a speaker and a microphone, and the headphones have stereo speakers, so it's good for the Treo to know what it's talking to. Several solutions are listed, some involving soldering, but the one I chose is Radio Shack's Gold-Plated Volume Control Cable for Stereo Headphones. Connecting through this gives the Treo the right impedence so it thinks you have headphones plugged in. Bingo, my phone is now a music player that actually works through my car stereo.

I love that even though I don't understand all of the technology involved, I can benefit from the ingenuity of people I've never met, making a frustrating problem relatively painless to solve.

Now there's the fact that while I'm charging the phone via the cigarette lighter adaptor and listening to music via the phone, I get a feedback-ish whine through the car speakers. I got the same thing when I used to charge my laptop and listen to it through the car stereo. I managed to cut it way down by removing the three-way accessory adaptor (lets you use three cigarette lighter adaptors at once), but if I want to cut it out entirely, I may have to bring up Google again.
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