A couple of years ago, I posted about my then-new pair of AirPods.
They’ve proven themselves as one of my favorite ever technology purchases. As a result, I was eager to check out the AirPods Pro that Apple brought out in the fall.
After using them for 3 months, I’m happy to say that they were worth the upgrade. The in-ear design, with multiple insert sizes, mean that they stay in my ear much more securely than the first-gen models. The noise cancellation works well, and the transparency mode is really remarkable for the times when I need to hear what’s happening around me without removing them. I daresay the new physical profile (the shorter stalk, poised at a “jaunty” angle in the ear) is an improvement as well.
They’re still not cheap (indeed these are even more expensive), but they’re worth every penny to me.
I grew up with my parents having a transistor radio in the kitchen. It was usually playing news or sports or my Dad’s favorite jazz station. I always liked the idea of having one in the kitchen, to accompany meal prep, cleanup, dishwashing, etc.
A few years ago, I decided what I really wanted in the kitchen, though, was a streaming radio / remote speaker. I realize I could have gone with a smart speaker or a simple Bluetooth speaker, but I really wanted something flexible, and I liked the idea of building a DIY radio with off-the-shelf parts.
It was pretty easy to build a Raspberry Pi system and get Volumio running on it. In addition to supporting playback of local media, Volumio also supports web radio and can work as an AirPlay remote speaker.
I added a USB laptop speaker with a built in DAC, similar to this one (it fits perfectly on the counter ledge, hidden behind a small plant) and I was ready to go.
Quite often, I’ll want to stream audio from my phone, when streaming an EPL match, for example. This is pretty straightforward — I just need to switch my audio output to my fancy kicthen radio.
Thankfully, IOS 13 adds some nice automation options that make this as simple as can be. I keep a credit card-sized NFC-enabled card in the little nook where the radio lives. Now, all I need to do is wave my phone past the card and the audio output is redirected to the kitchen radio. This triggers a Shortcuts automation so that I con’t even need to unlock my phone or go fiddling with audio settings.
I can now use my Apple Watch to approve sudo requests on my Mac and it’s freaking adorable…
The bits to do this are here. Some assembly required.
requires: macOS Catalina+, watchOS 6+
I really love Kraftwerk, so trust me when I tell you that this album of steel drum covers of Kraftwerk songs is more fun than a basket of puppies.
Alive without breath,
As cold as death;
Never thirsty, ever drinking,
All in mail ever clinking.