Monthly Archive for August, 2009

A complicated solution to a simple problem

So, I wanted to listen to TMS while I work in the charity shop. There’s nothing like a bit of slightly-mad banter to liven up a slow afternoon. Unfortunately, as any real Englishman will know, it’s only available on Radio 4 LW, or Five Live Sports Extra (which is digital/internet only); and I don’t have any portable kit capable of picking it up. I also don’t have an internet connection in the shop.

I do have an iPhone, but it’s an iPhone 2G and it’s running on Vodafone UK, who don’t have an EDGE network. (I’m with them despite this as they’re considerably less sucky than O2 in every other conceivable way.) That means GPRS, which tops out at a realistic 3-5kB/s. Not exactly speedy, and supporting a radio stream of only around 24kbps – considerably lower than the 48+ needed for apps like InternetRadioBox to get me delicious internet radio straight from Auntie.

The solution? NiceCast. It’s hooked up to grab audio from my widget on my Mac back home (running in Flash mode so I at least start off with good audio), which it encodes to 24kbps mono MP3 for streaming to my phone (password-protected; don’t sue me, personal use only!), and then plays in InternetRadioBox. Turns out it’s quite reliable, and the audio sounds surprisingly good (it’s only voice, after all). I’m sat here right now listening to the Ashes with my phone lying on the desk, feeling very smug. It’d be better if it didn’t look like England were going to be all out for under a hundred, of course…

Granted, it’s blocking the phone’s connection so I won’t get any calls or SMS messages while I listen. And the real problem will come if my connection drops at all back home and the widget screws up autoresume, because I’ve got no way of resetting it. But that’s not going to happen. (Can you hear me, MacBook? I said THAT’S NOT GOING TO HAPPEN.)