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9:07pm on Wednesday, 14th March, 2007:

Travel News


On my return from Portsmouth today, I had the CD player on in the new car. It's very good — while it's playing the CD. Annoyingly, though, it has an FM radio scanning feature which interrupts whenever it comes across travel bulletins. I know this can be switched off, because it has a news interrupt too which never cuts in, but as to how I switch it off I've no idea. I've also no idea how many local radio stations there are within reach of the M25 south of London, but I was getting them telling me about subsidence in Brighton or a broken-down lorry in Dover every 5 minutes at one point. The worst case was when a bulletin cut in at just gone 5pm, I switched it off with the "damn it, I was listening to the CD!" button, and then half a second later another one cut in to tell me about tailbacks caused by misbehaving traffic lights in Maida Vale.

If it gets any worse, I'm going to have to read the manual.

Another feature the CD player has which the one in the old car didn't is an automatic volume increase the faster you go. This is so that you can hear the music over the road noise. Pleased though I am to have this, nevertheless what I really want is something which ensures that no matter how quiet the music, it's always audible. It can't be all that difficult to boost the volume across the board if the overall output is at a decibel level below that of a human heartbeat. Classical music (which is what's on my CDs) change volume a lot, so I don't want to crank it up for the quiet parts then shatter my teeth when it suddenly goes full blast. It would be very handy if the sound system did the volume-raising/lowering for me. As it is, the only music I can listen to which isn't affected is for the harpsichord, because all notes are the same volume anyway. This is OK, as I like the harpsichord, but sadly no-one else in my family does so I only get to listen to it when there's no-one else in the car.

Yes, I am aware that fictional psychopath Hannibal Lecter likes the harpsichord because all the notes are the same volume. I bet he'd do more than RTFM if his CDs were interrupted by traffic bulletins...

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Copyright © 2007 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).