The Hang Fire Books Blog

The rantings of a bookdealer in Brooklyn, New York.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Gizmo that Changed My Life

Listening to radio in our kitchen used to require blasting the stereo in the living room--making it uninhabitable--and yet you'd still barely make out the sound in the kitchen (that's where I pack books and it's often filled with horrible squealing from the tape dispenser and the KER-CHUNK of the industrial stapler).

So for Xmas Alice asked for a small radio / boombox and I got "her" (it's kind of a Homer gift) one of these:


A Grace Wireless Internet Radio and it's one of the top 5 electronic purchases of my life.

Basically you can listen to any radio station with an internet stream, any podcast, your own music files, and Pandora (with the ability to rate and bookmark songs), all in a sleek and intuitive package with robust sound.

You need broadband and a wireless router but your computer doesn't need to be on for the Grace to work and there's no additional service fees.

It was very easy to setup. There are five buttons for presets on the front and you can add thousands of more stations either from the Grace itself or from a web page interface (Reciva). If you add a station through Reciva, next time you turn on the Grace it'll be added to your station lists.

I do a lot of repetitive work that requires my hands and eyes but not necessarily my brain, so radio is my friend. But even in NYC there's plenty of dead airtime with nothing on or shows I only grudgingly listen to. Now I can happily swap between Brian Lehrer, Irwin Chusid's Calypso podcasts on WFMU, Crime OTR from the 40s, the Goonshow, Soundcheck and a surprising number of Bollywood stations (already on the Grace if you search by "genre").

I couldn't recommend this more to booksellers, crafters, or radio enthusiasts. And it's less than $200.

My only (very slight) complaint is that when listening to podcasts if the Grace loses connectivity it starts over at the beginning of the podcast and there's no way to fast forward.

So I'll end this with a request: Are there any college/freeform/public radio stations that you can't live without? Podcasts? Please let me know. I need to feed this thing.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

wrek.org. ( WREK 91.1 Atlanta) the greatest radio station in the world

pats-animation said...

look up Dan Carlin's "hardcore history" podcast, infrequently updated but entertaining as hell. Also This American Life from NPR.

Any devices out there I could hook up for tunes on my bicycle? I bought a tiny korean pocket am/fm/shortwave w/battery speakers for that but sadly the reception in this part of town is too unpredictable to be worth using it.

pats-animation said...

look up Dan Carlin's "hardcore history" podcast, infrequently updated but entertaining as hell. Also This American Life from NPR.

Any devices out there I could hook up for tunes on my bicycle? I bought a tiny korean pocket am/fm/shortwave w/battery speakers for that but sadly the reception in this part of town is too unpredictable to be worth using it.

Anonymous said...

All college radio will be spotty, but the highlights of the West coast are KDVS and KFJC.

KDVS.org on Sunday nights at 10pm PST is obscure yet accessible
http://www.kdvs.org/shows/view/show_id/671
KFJC on Monday nights at 7pm is random but fun.
http://www.kfjc.org/programming/program_info.php?houroftheweek=19&info_id=5

jgodsey said...

sad thing is i have a decent radio in all the rooms i work in - and they are all tuned to NPR 90% of the time, kinda of a waste of money on some machines.

The Good Doctor said...

I use a Chumby and my stereo combined. I love it, as well.
WFMU and ect, beat the hell out of local stations.

Anonymous said...

http://tr.im/gLoe ... Colorado public radio classical music.

Anonymous said...

I second KDVS. It's excellent radio.

Anonymous said...

I got an Aluratek internet radio for xmas and I love it too.
If I am not streaming music from my PC I listen to WXPN.
WXPN is an alternative music station from the University of Pennsylvania.