Just did it again in this post. I'm loving XM satellite radio's Skydock for the iPhone. It makes me so happy to no longer have to listen to a handful of Portland stations in my car.
Aside from Oregon Public Broadcasting, they're all filled with commercials. And most feature right-wing talk radio at the times I'm usually driving around. Plus, they don't come in very well here in the south Salem hills, especially after nightfall.
My wife and I had been thinking we should get satellite radio. We frequently drive across the Cascades into central Oregon, where radio reception is even more iffy.
But choosing a receiver and figuring out how to install it seemed complicated. And since we have two cars, we'd need two of them, wouldn't we? I kept on listening to regular radio, and not liking it.
Then Skydock came into our lives.
I saw mention of it in a Best Buy ad and zipped to my MacBook to check out this iPhone device online. I was impressed with the almost 100% positive user reviews on the Amazon listing.
Count me in. I ordered two of the gadgets. Installation was a snap, pretty much.
First I downloaded the free Skydock app onto my iPhone. This is a sweet bit of programming. Attractive, simple, easy to use.
Then I followed the instructions to get a small magnetic antenna attached to the roof of my car, and to snake the thin wire under molding, down the side of the door frame, under a floor mat, and into the Skydock -- which plugs into the 12 volt ("cigarette lighter") receptacle.
This is the only semi-tricky part of the Skydock installation.
I had to do it twice, because the first time I ended up with not quite enough slack in the wire once it was plugged into the Skydock. So I shifted the magnetic antenna on the car's roof over a foot and redid the wire-hiding.
I used an old credit card, as advised in the instructions, to push the wire under the molding. After two tries, I got pretty good at it. I used some black electrical tape to affix the wire to the door frame.
Then it was just a matter of activating a XM subscription. Irritatingly, I couldn't do this online. The XM web site wouldn't recognize my Skydock's ID. When I phoned in, I was told this was a programming glitch. (It still isn't fixed, so I don't have online access to my account -- my only gripe with XM so far.)
I entered twelve favorite channels. Eight music ("Chill" is my favorite) and four talk (great to be able to listen to BBC for some international perspectives).
In our Highlander Hybrid, the Skydock'd iPhone is perfectly positioned near the steering wheel. I can change channels easily by touching an icon on the "favorites" screen of the iPhone app.
In our Prius, it's much more of a stretch. But my wife mainly drives the Prius, and she isn't into changing channels as much as I am (must be a guy thing).
Reception has been great. I've just found a few spots around town where the signal is spotty due to some steep hillsides.
Sound quality is also good. At first I used the FM radio transmitter, but decided to get the XM cassette adapter to avoid the need to shift FM frequencies on a long trip when a station starts to cause interference.
The best part of the Skydock is not feeling like I'm a slave to over-the-air radio programming. Now I choose what to listen to. Which doesn't include much political talk radio anymore.
My blood pressure must be lower as a result. My anger surely is.
Like I said, mostly I "Chill" to a relaxing but still energetic XM music channel. The $12 or so I pay for a monthly XM subscription is paying health dividends, along with giving me another reason to adore my iPhone.