bluetooth & my basic truck

I have a base model Toyota Tacoma 2005 pickup (base means manual shift, windup windows and small but efficient engine) which came with a simple radio and CD player.  The challenge for me has always been playing podcasts (especially during the NPR fundraising season – 4 weeks a year).  I have downloaded my podcasts via my computer to MP3 players and then connected them to a  speaker which I have jammed between my shoulder and ear as I drove along.  Pretty basic, distracting and difficult to adjust while driving, plus the sound was poor.  My next stratagem was to download the podcasts onto CD’s and use the CD player – sound was fine but this took time and I now have a lot of one time use CD’s laying around.

Just returned from my son’s wedding in San Francisco where, in the tradition of exchanging gifts, he upgraded me to the 21st century by giving me a FlexSmart x2, which is a wireless bluetooth FM transmitter.   I have been catapulted into a new listening experience.

The setup steps are relatively simple.  I have an Apple iPhone, so I visited the App Store and downloaded the free podcast app.  I then visited  my favorite source of podcasts – and downloaded the 10 most recent Paul Wheaton permaculture podcasts.  I can simply play the podcasts on my iPhone, which is an improvement on the mp3 route since the downloads are easier to do, I can subscribe for automatic downloading of future podcasts, and the sound is louder than my previous convoluted configuration.  But, this is not as good as playing the podcasts through the car’s audio system.  To do this I use FlexSmart.

I inserted the FlexSmart DC adaptor into the cigarette socket as you can see below.

FlexSMART plugged into cigarette lighter
FlexSMART plugged into cigarette lighter

Then I pressed a button for the device to enter pairing mode and told the iPhone to search for a bluetooth connection.  The two devices quickly found each other.  The play, pause, advance and previous song controls on the FlexSmart operate those functions on the iPhone.  With the two devices in sync, I switched on the radio and instructed the FlexSmart to autoseek a free FM station.  It told me which FM frequency was available and I tuned the radio to that frequency.  And, crystal clear and as loud as I wished, I can listen to my podcasts and control them via the FlexSmart rather than groping for the iPhone and risk an irritable growl or snap from Trudy when the iPhone has settled under her.  I can also take calls via the FlexSmart.  I realize this is old hat for recent model car owners but is a big step forward for me.


I have an Apple iPhone

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