A Scooter Q & A

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For nearly 2 years, I have been riding on a 49cc scooter as my primary means of travel. From the day I first bought my ride to today, there have been a barrage of questions on my chosen transportation method.

Some questions are either curious piques or judgmental attempts to make me regret my decision. Regardless, I felt compelled to provide a Q & A about scooters after watching some YouTube videos of fellow scooterists.

In the near future, I hope to post an article on commuting via scooter. For now, here is a series of questions that I get on a near daily basis.

20160823_151422How fast does your moped go?
Many scooters have a good range of different engines. Some are 49 cc while others have a larger 300 cc.

My Honda Metropolitan is a 49 cc scooter. Like others in its class, it is a slow vehicle.

On average, I can ride at 35 mph on a flat surface, but tops off at 40 mph if going downhill or slows down to 25 mph if going uphill.

I can hear the sighs right now, but it is fast enough for my current needs (although I want something faster). This thing isn’t meant for busy thoroughfares or the interstate, but handles smaller streets and back roads fairly well.

Of course, something like a 150 cc scooter or motorcycle would be ideal.

How often do you fill up on gas?
The cool thing about scooters is they are fuel-efficient. Riders can get a lot of mileage on their commutes with little gas.

My Metro has about a gallon sized gas tank and only needs to be filled up once or twice a week. To put things in perspective, I commute roughly 20 miles a day.

The scooter gets about 100 miles per gallon, so after about 4-5 days it needs to filled up. Since it holds a little over a gallon of gas, it costs me generally $2 to fill it up with premium fuel.

How much does your scooter cost?
Unlike automobiles, scooters and motorcycles are fairly inexpensive in comparison. Prices vary depending on make and model.

Thrifty shoppers tend to go for Chinese made scooters like Tao-Tao which fall in the sub $1000 range. However, the most premium scooters to be found are Vespas with the most expensive one being roughly $8000 (a typical “wasp” is around the $5000 range).

I am in a mid-tier of sorts when I comes to manufacturers. Mine is made from Honda, which makes quality parts without being too expensive.

My 2015 Honda Metropolitan’s sticker price was $1600. With theft protection, taxes, and other added crap, it ended up being shy of $3000.

Can you store stuff like groceries in your scooter?20160823_151443

You can absolutely store stuff in a scooter. It’s one of the main reasons why I chose it over a motorcycle.

Underneath the seat, you’ll find ample storage which can fit a couple of grocery bags, a six-pack, some books, small laptop, or even a full-face helmet.

Some scooters have a compartment under the handlebars that can store gloves or even a travel mug. There are also some with bag holders and space in the front or back to add a little “trunk” to store additional items.

With scooters, you don’t have to worry too much about strapping something down or saddlebags.

What do you do when weather gets bad?

This is my favorite question because it seems like one that people don’t give me credit for when planning accordingly.

As some people know, I don’t own a car which has a set of challenges but I can handle it.

In the past 2 years, I’ve dealt with some bad weather and have managed to make it work.

Basically, I will ride out in any weather situation, but the most severe cases prove most difficult.

If it is hot, I don’t wear a jacket but long-sleeved shirt. If it is too cold, I put on layers.

If it is rainy, I will wear a jacket that is rain resistant. If there’s a severe thunderstorm or heavy rainfall, I either wait it out, pull over to the side and find shelter, or (in worst cases) get a Lyft ride.

For the rare instance of icy or snow covered roads, I’ll take a Lyft or Uber. If travel conditions aren’t too dire, I’ll ride slow, take my time, and make sure not to break too hard.

Fortunately, I’ve only had to do this once. Thankfully ice storms and blizzards are not common during Memphis winters.

In short, I suck it up and ride out regardless of the weather.

Do you need a special license to ride a scooter?

The laws are different in many states, but most are firm that any motorized bike with an engine of more than 50cc needs a motorcycle license or endorsement. Some states like Florida, Mississippi, and New York actually require one for 49 cc scooters like its faster brethren.

In Tennessee, you don’t need an endorsement nor registration and insurance. However, you do need a M class license or endorsement for anything over 50cc and you’re require to get tags and insurance above that threshold.

To get one, you can either take a test at a local DMV or take a MSF course. The course awards a certificate upon completion. It can be used to bypass the road & written test at the DMV and get a M class license.

20160823_151410Is it easy to ride a scooter?

I don’t have experience with higher end mopeds, but I can say riding a 49cc one is fairly easy. If you have experience riding a bicycle or even a dirt bike, then you should be okay on riding a scooter.

All you have to do is twist the throttle slowly and go. It’s also a pretty smooth ride.

For prospective buyers, I would suggest testing a ride out or find a friend that will allow you some time to get familiar with one.

I imagine lighter scooters (like the Metro or a Vespa) will handle better than something like a Honda PCX 150 or Yamaha SMAX. Weight might have an impact on riding ability though.

Have you laid it down?

Sadly, I have and the worst part was it happened shortly after I bought my first scooter. After turning onto a street with trolley tracks, the front tire got stuck into a groove and flung me to the side of the road.

Fortunately, I just had a few scrapes and some cosmetic damage to the scooter. I wasn’t seriously hurt, but it sucked.

Lesson learned: slow down while turning and avoid hazards like trolley tracks.

Do you like motorcycles or scooters more?

I do not hate motorcycles, and some of them look really cool. However for my needs and being a sucker for a retro look, I prefer a scooter.

In addition, you don’t have to worry about clutches and gear shifting. Think of it like this: motorcycles are like trucks with stick shift and scooters are like cars with automatic shifting.

Like previously mentioned, scooters have storage space. This space appeals to me so I can have a place to store my belongings or make a small grocery run.

What can you do if your scooter gets stolen and how to prevent it?

Before taking a vacation to New York City around Memorial Day, my first scooter (2014 Met) was stolen from my driveway. Without the keys and handlebars and ignition port locked, I thought my scooter was secured. I was wrong.

As of this writing, the police haven’t recovered it and I am still dealing with getting a payout from a theft protection policy. It’s an awful feeling and hate it that I didn’t do more to secure it.

After that incident, I keep it out of sight and locked up. For you, either buy a chain and lock it to a secure post, store it in a back yard or in the home (either garage, shed, or back house).

Another recommendation is get some tracking solution like a “Tile” which sends a GPS signal to pinpoint it in case of theft. You can also have a security camera to identify would-be thieves.

Unfortunately, theft is not entirely preventable, but you can cut down a criminal’s chance by taking some extra precautions. Simply locking the handlebars will help but crooks can still walk off with your ride.

The PSP: An Oldie, But Goodie

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Handheld gaming has been one of my favorite pastimes, but has dropped off in recent years. You can blame it on mobile games, but there are a few good games on Nintendo 3DS & PlayStation Vita.

Recently, I’ve been on a bit of a nostalgia binge and replaying some classic games. While there have been some amazing games this current generation, I still like to go back and replay ones that I’m really fond off.

Two of my all-time favorite handheld consoles have been the GameBoy Advance and PSP. It’s really hard to pick a winner, but the PSP is up there.

Games

While the GBA and DS had a larger library of games, the PSP has plenty to keep you occupied. It is something I cannot say about the PlayStation Vita.

Some of my favorite games have appeared exclusively on the platform. Two that come to mind are Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep & Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker (also playable on PS3 in their respective HD collections).

Both of those titles were among the best in their franchises and included gameplay that would latter migrate to latter games like Kingdom Hearts 3 and MGS: The Phantom Pain. Some of the stories are also fleshed out as well.

Other notables were Dissidia Final Fantasy, Tactics Ogre, God of War, Grand Theft Auto Liberty City & Vice City Stories, and Final Fantasy Tactics. Also, the handheld was compatible with minis and PS1 Classics which allowed you to bring Final Fantasy VII and others on-the-go.

Multimedia Features

Nowadays, we all use our cell phones to consume media and play games. However in 2005, the only device that was truly capable of doing all these things was the PSP.

It’s a bit archaic in 2016, but it was a very advanced piece of tech. Aside from playing games, the PSP connected to the internet.

To watch movies, you can buy UMD versions or get a digital copy through the PSN (which shut down the PSP store last year).

As for music, you could transfer files similar to an MP3 player and listen to your tunes. Although it didn’t have the portability of an iPod so I imagined most PSP owners didn’t use this feature often.

For podcast and internet radio lovers, the PSP was one of few devices to do it. It’s rough to try that today with services like TuneIn Radio and PocketCasts,but it was able to stream and download your favorite radio shows.

There were RSS Channels and an Internet radio app that randomly tuned to Shoutcast and Icecast streams. I used to listen to the BBC World Service and watch “Ask A Ninja” on it before the iPod Touch came to the scene.

Lastly, another neat feature the PSP had was making Skype calls. You could use the official headset or use the built in mic on 2000 & 3000 models.

Connect To TV

People are talking about the Nintendo NX being a hybrid console. Supposedly it will be a device that blurs the lines between handheld & home console.

While the PSP did not had the controls and graphical power to bridge this gap, it was the only handheld gaming device that could connect to a television. If you bought a component or composite cable, then you could display the PSP’s screen on a larger one.

There were certain caveats to this feature. Only the PSP 2000, 3000, and GO models were able to do it. The 1000 model lacked the external connections .

Also, the display would cover a small part of the screen while playing a PSP game. However, the XMB menus, videos, and PS1 games will fill the entire screen.

A way to fix that would to connect it to a HDTV and switch to a Zoom mode.

Overall Impressions

In my college years, I owned a PSP and loved it. It was something that I would carry with me everywhere.

I ultimately gave mine away years ago and over the past few years…kind of regretted it. When I went to my trip to New York City, I lamented about not having one to help past the time on my flights or layover at the airport.

Recently, I found a green PSP (similar to the one I used to own) that was originally bundled with MGS: Peace Walker on eBay.  Being a sucker for my favorite color, I bought one and I appreciate how well Sony made this thing.

Thankfully my library of PSP games and PS1 Classics are still accessible and don’t need to repurchase them. I also realize Sony did a much better job supporting the PSP than they have done with the Vita.

It was truly a product that came out at the right time and plenty of first-party & third-party support that made people want one.  It’s funny to suggest that I would recommend a PSP over a Vita.

Is the Mighty KBC Back on Shortwave?

Recently, The Mighty KBC ended shortwave transmissions and went with DAB and internet broadcasting. On their Facebook page this past Saturday, I saw announcement that the station would be on-the-air on 9925 kHz between 0000-0200 UTC.

I decided to take my Tecsun PL-680 on the porch and tune in. Seems like it has a strong signal.

There’s a longer version of this video but the audio is muted thanks to YouTube’s copyright restrictions (because who would ever copy music off of YouTube). However this minute clip on Instagram gives you an idea of The Mighty KBC’s reception.

Will Radio Will Be Internet-Only In 10 Years?

A fairly good article on Radio World has recently surfaced about the future of radio broadcasting. It’s an interesting perspective on what could happen if trends continue.

There is no doubt that traditional broadcasting is being transformed thanks to the internet and smartphones. More people have access to various amounts on content and all in the palm of their hands.

Perhaps the most affected medium in today’s world is radio. Before iPhones and Galaxy devices, people would hear their favorite programs and songs on the radio. Today, the smart device gives listeners access to stations worldwide, a massive library of songs, and programs.

What’s even more great about this trend is it is more curative and selective than what you’ll find on traditional media! People no longer have to time-shift or sit at one setting to catch their favorite content.

In 2016, podcast & streaming services like TuneIn, Spotify, and various others allow listeners more freedom in when and where to get radio content. The BBC, one of a few international broadcasters, has seen this coming and is aware of the new trends.

In an article to Radio World the UK-based broadcaster suggests that they “will be moving to an Internet-fit BBC, to be ready for an Internet-only world whenever it comes.” In many ways, it’s already happening.

For anyone who follows shortwave radio, it seems like in each passing day that a broadcaster is going off-the-air. In the past month, stations like The Mighty KBC, All India Radio, Radio Belarus, and Radio Marti have either left the HF bands or considered it. Interestingly, many broadcasters have an online presence and have used that as a way to defuse disappoint of leaving the airwaves.

As for local radio stations, we’re seeing declining audiences but nowhere near the severity of shortwave radio. You’ll also hear many local broadcasters actually push their internet feeds by either the station’s own app, TuneIn, or iHeartRadio. NPR program creators and personalities would like to push their podcasts and other web content, but the public broadcaster is unsure whether to push for web while keeping local member stations.

Radio has been changing over the years but perhaps 2016 is that “coming to Jesus” moment.

Personally, I’ve been listening to internet radio and podcasts for several years and have moved away from more traditional methods. I’ve sold my shortwave radio but instead use a Bluetooth radio and Chromecast.

I’ve also been more curative and selective in my content. There are roughly 21 podcasts subscribed to my Pocket Casts app and roughly 40 stations saved on my TuneIn Radio account (which is actually down from about 80). There’s a handful of local stations on the iHeartRadio app, but the ones I listen to the most are WREC 600 in Memphis & Q 104.3 in NYC.

In 10 years, there will be a significant amount of people listening on mobile devices. The fragmentation of media will be more apparent as more options become available for listeners.

As for content, more programs, whether on-air or not meant for broadcast, will certainly find better success online.

So will radio by completely on-line in 10 years…maybe but don’t expect most of your favorite stations to disappear.

Tecsun Builds A Premium Radio: A Review Of The Tecsun PL-880

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Introduction

The Tecsun PL-880 hit the radio market in 2013. Despite the decline in shortwave broadcasting, the Chinese radio manufacturer has been churning out receivers and they are meeting some success for this niche market.

The PL-880 is this first of its kind in this series. I have had it for about two weeks, so I put it through its paces and came up with some thoughts and impressions.

Appearance & Build Quality

This radio shares a similar button layout but has a unique design.

The appearance is angular like the PL-680 but has rounded edges.

For example, the numeric keypad buttons are a little larger than the PL-660’s, but is more responsive and clicky. This design choice is truly ergonomic and makes inputting frequencies and switching band easier to tune in.

Like the many of this company’s radios, the Tecsun PL-880 uses hard plastic. However, what sets this receiver apart is its superior build. There’s a hefty weight and everything is firmly placed.

The display and front is glossy but the rest of the set is matte. This is possibly the most well-built radio I’ve put into my hands.

The tuning and volume knobs are not wobbly and firmly in place. In fact, the knobs are metallic instead of the plastic attached to most Tecsun radios.

Features

pl8801The Tecsun PL-880 has a feature set that sets itself apart from the rest of their lineup.

Here’s what you can expect in this model.

The PL-880 has full continuous coverage of AM, FM, shortwave, and LW bands. There is also Single Sideband Band equipped with BFO (beat frequency oscillator) with a separate fine tuning knob.

You can also adjust bandwidths in AM, SW, SSB, and LW modes. There are about four different selections. For example, in AM & shortwave, users can select between 2.3 (the narrowest), 3.5, 5 (mid-range), 9 Khz (the widest). While listeners may adjust according to reception conditions, I found the 5 KHz bandwidth to be the best choice for causal listening.

While most features in this radio can be found in similar radios like the PL-660 and PL-680, there are many hidden features as well. However, there was one that I truly wanted to test out: sync.

Synchronous detection, also found in the PL-660, PL-680, and Sony ICF-SW7600GR, is a hidden feature in the PL-880. In short, it is a method of signal processing that extracts a weak signal and replaces it with a stronger channel.

This, in turn, reduces or eliminates fading and interference from adjacent stations. Sync detection only works on AM, LW, and SW bands.

You would think that Tecsun would advertise this as a main feature of the PL-880, but there’s a good reason why it’s hidden.

Unlike the PL-660 & PL-680, sync doesn’t perform as well as those radios. Although it does hold a fading signal, the sound coming from a synced signal sounds muffled and garbled. It sounds better to have the feature disabled.

If you hoped sync detection was better in newer models like mine, then you may be disappointed. However, I still found this radio to perform quite well with the feature disabled. Since it is hidden anyway, I do not see it has a huge problem with this radio.

There is an external antenna jack along with a tone switch for bass and treble and antenna sensitivity controls for DX, Normal, and Local. There is a line-out jack for recording and rerouting audio to external speakers.

The radio also has 3050 memory presets with numerous pages to set them. For me, I would never use that many but there is certainly plenty to program favorite stations.

In the box, the Tecsun PL-880 comes with a brown pseudo-leather carrying case, a rechargeable battery (along with a spare), power adapter, a world map, owner’s manual, and a long wire antenna. Tecsun certainly gives you a lot of stuff with your purchase.

Display

The display is also the nearly the same as the PL-660’s. It gives you frequency readout, signal strength/noise radio (numeric instead of signal bars), time in 24-hour format, dual alarms, tuned band, bandwidth or in stereo (FM only), and sync hold. It’s not a huge display but is large enough to display these indications clearly.

The screen is also backlit when you turn the radio on, press a button, or tune the bands. The light stays on for roughly 30 seconds and turns off.

There’s a switch on the side that allows one to keep the backlight on or set it off automatically.

Sound Quality

The speaker is sounds much better than the Tecsun PL-660 & PL-680. This one tends to be more mid-range than other radios in the market.

The noise floor on the PL-880 seems to be considerably lower the PL-660. I’ve noticed this on AM and shortwave.

By far, it has the most pleasing audio out of any portable shortwave radio I’ve ever used.

AM Performance

Compared to the PL-660 & PL-680, reception on AM is much better.

Local AM stations here in Memphis were clearly received, and distant ones were received as if they were local.

I tested reception on some clear-channel distant stations as well as local ones. There was no trouble receiving them, even stations like KMOX in St. Louis, WGN in Chicago, and WLAC in Nashville were pleasant to hear.

The weaker stations were subject to more noise, but moving the radios directionally into a sweet spot improved reception greatly.

If you plan on listening to local AM stations or others like KMOX, I highly recommend this radio.

If you own an external loop antenna like the Tecsun AN-200, that might help improve reception as well.

FM Performance

FM performance is the same as the Tecsun PL-680. Local and distant signals came in very well. I don’t do much FM DXing but there is a distant NPR station in Mississippi, WMAV 90.3, that comes in loud and clear and is more than 50 miles from Memphis.

Weaker local stations are received just as well, both on the telescoping whip antenna and external wire antenna bundled with this radio.

Shortwave Performance

Like the PL-660, the Tecsun PL-880 really shines on shortwave. In terms of sensitivity, this one is marginally less sensitive than the PL-660 but still very sensitive compared to other radios. Both on the whip and external antenna’s sensitivity is top-notch.

Every station that I was able to pick up on the PL-660 was received on the PL-880. However, this radio has the edge in better audio, while the PL-660 is able to pick up those signals out of the static and hold them well with sync.

Also, the noise floor on shortwave is much better compared to the PL-660 & PL-680. Signals just sound more pleasant and can allow for some bedtime or armchair listening.

LW Performance

In the United States, there are not any broadcasters that use longwave transmissions. I did give it a test and didn’t pick up one station.

In Europe or other regions that still use LW, there may be better results. However, there is simply no way of knowing how it performs here in the U.S.

Therefore I don’t see that as a negative or positive on the PL-880.

Overall

To sum up my experience with the Tecsun PL-880, it is worthwhile radio. It performs well in most areas, except sync.pl-8802

I highly recommend this radio for AM and FM listening. If you can ignore the poor synchronous detection (again it is not an advertised feature), then you’ll enjoy using this radio.

It does have better performance overall with excellent audio quality.

If you plan on buying this solely for shortwave listening, it will serve you well. However, keep in mind most international broadcasters are leaving shortwave for the internet or shutting down completely.

In that aspect, I kind of regret buying this radio. Nowadays, I do the majority of my radio online via TuneIn, iHeartRadio, or podcasts and stream them to my Sangean WR-22.

However, I wanted to get the PL-880 and I can now clearly see why radio enthusiasts like it. It’s a winner.

I don’t know if I’ll keep it as my listening habits change, but this Tecsun radio is on-point.

Score Breakdown

Build Quality: 5/5
Sound Quality: 5/5
Affordability: 3.5/5
Features: 5/5
Portability: 5/5
AM Performance: 5/5
FM Performance: 5/5
SW Performance: 4/5
Sync Detection: 2/5

Overall Score: 4.5/5

Radio Cameo On Metal Gear Solid V

Being a fan of video games and radio, I appreciate seeing this in Metal Gear Solid V. I don’t have my own screen capture, but I was surprised to see it when I played the game this fall. I have shared a picture from imgur and radio fans will like this neat little cameo.

If you look towards the middle, you’ll see a large radio. Upon a closer inspection, it looks like a Sony ICF-2001.

I caught this cameo in the opening scenes leading up to Big Boss’s (aka Venom Snake) awakening in the hospital in Cyprus. I know the radio looked familiar then closely looked at it in-game and saw that it appears to be similar to the ICF-2001.

I never had one, but the ICF-2001 was already released (1980) and this game’s story takes place in 1984. Shortwave was also still relevant in this point in history so it makes sense why it’s there.

The Cold War was still happening and many shortwave broadcasters like the BBC and Voice of America had a larger on-air presence too, so this radio definitely fits into MGS V very well. Snake also uses a Sony Walkman so it is no surprise to see another Sony product popular in the 80s featured in a game full of 80s nostalgia.

Retro Review: Sony Walkman D-NF430

Introduction

While throwing away and getting rid of some junk and unnecessary clutter, I found an electronic relic. As a famous archaeologist/adventurer would say, “it belongs in a museum.”

As I dug up some old stuff, I found a CD player that I aggressively used in my freshman and sophomore years in college. It actually might be one of the last ones of its kind.

It is a Sony Walkman D-NF430 CD Player. It was originally purchased in the summer of 2005 for about $60 at Circuit City.

Yeah, it was more than 10 years ago and still in pristine condition. Then again, it has been virtually unused for about 8 years.

It was pretty common piece of tech at the time, but this was a turning point when MP3 players and iPods were becoming more popular. Just by looking at the image, you can clearly see why this device was an attractive alternative and inspired by the times.

Appearance & Build Quality

Like most Sony products, this Walkman is well-built. It is a hard, white plastic enclosure with silver and chrome plating on the face buttons. Also, it was roughly the size of a CD, but not bulky for its size. Aside from a notch (where a single AA battery rests), it was thin enough to slip into a jacket pocket or awkwardly into a jeans front pocket.

Features

The Sony D-NF430 is a very unique CD Player. Not so unusual for the company, but it is not a normal thing you see on many media devices, especially today.

Aside from playing normal CDs, this Walkman reads MP3 files if stored on a disk. Like a MP3 player, you could just drop a bunch of songs on a data disk and the device would recognize them instead of tracks. Of course, the limitation of space relied on how much storage a CD-R would have (which generally would hold up to 700 MB).

In addition, Sony has a proprietary audio compression format called ATRAC. The process was similar to MP4 or AAC audio where a 128 kbps MP3 would be compressed into half the size while retaining the same audio quality.

This would allow you to fit more songs on a disk without sacrificing audio quality, but would only work on Sony devices such as this Walkman, PlayStation consoles, and MP3 players. In addition, you needed to used Sony’s own software (similar to iTunes) to export & import ATRAC files and burn them onto a CD.

Like many Walkmans, the D-NF430 has a built-in radio. Sony managed to fit several bands into this CD player.

It has the standard AM & FM bands, but also included TV audio channels and NOAA Weather radio. That’s not a typo.

Before the mandatory conversion to HDTV in 2008, the Walkman was able to tune the VHF portion of the electromagnetic spectrum and pick up audio from Channels 2-13. This band is pretty much useless, but it was a cool function to have to catch up on television programming like news and sports while away from home and would otherwise not be carried on local AM/FM stations.

Included with the CD player is a remote control that allows you to adjust volume, change songs and stations, pause tracks, and the like.

Display

The screen on this Walkman is pretty small, but contained plenty of details. While reading MP3s and ATRACs, it would display song, artist, and album information.

Users could also navigate between albums as separate tabs or shuffle all songs together.

Otherwise it would also show frequency if you’re using the radio and track number. The screen was also monochrome black and white and nothing to white home about.

Sound Quality

Audio coming from the headphones sounded very good. The player allows you to set bass/treble and several equalizers like pop, rock, jazz, or custom settings. On default, music sounds really nice on the radio or CD.

Radio Performance

Radio has been a staple on many Walkmans past and present. While not the greatest receivers, the radio built into them functioned very well. Since the antenna is essentially your headphones cord, reception will vary.

The AM/FM bands on this particular one can pick up local stations clearly with little or no static.

On the FM side, you can pick up some distant ones but you’ll be overpowered with noise especially if you move around a lot. As for AM, forget about picking up clear channels.

Again, Walkmans are meant to those walking or running about and aren’t meant to be used as a radio you can set down and lounge. For its purpose, it handles local stations well and locks onto the signal effectively. Also, no worries with NOAA weather stations as long as you’re inside its coverage area.

Overall

Before the popularity of media players like the iPod and Zune, Walkmans were the de facto media player. You always get a quality experience when using one.

Smartphones have pretty much taken over now as a primary source of audio content on-the-go, and I don’t use my Walkman CD Player anymore. It sets unused in a drawer inside a CD wallet.

Before my habits changed, I enjoyed using the D-NF430. It was an amazing device with lots of functionality. I would lug it between classes and have a bunch of my favorite albums on a single CD (which I still have).

During my time using it, podcasts were also loaded onto disks. I would use the Walkman to listen to shows from Radio Netherlands, the BBC, and NPR until I cave in and purchased an iPod Nano.

Overall, it was a fantastic player for its time. Today, I really can’t recommend anyone to buy and carry around a CD Player.

Why would you? I guess if you’re in a nostalgic mood and have a bunch of CDs.

It is no longer in production obviously, but you can still find it online. The cost is roughly $500 brand new! It’s funny considering I bought it for $60.

I didn’t realize how much it was really worth. I don’t think I’ll sell mine, but you can also fine them used for about $50 if you’re looking for a good portable CD player.

Meteorologists Got It Right…Sort Of. Now Enjoy Your “Snow Day”

Memphians today have been in a fuss on social media about our recent snowstorm. Or rather the blizzard that never happened.

Through the week, meteorologists on TV and National Weather Service were predicting snowfall for the Mid-South. Yesterday, it seemed things were going to be real serious with high winds (gusts upwards to 45 mph) and upwards to 7 inches of snow.

Since I work at a TV station and do not get days off for inclement weather, I took some precautions on getting to work on time today. Since riding a scooter is no bueno on icy roads, I rented a motel room for the night and would report to work the next day.

Now, the storm has pretty much past West Tennessee and moved towards the East Coast. Here is the wake of the “Great Blizzard of 2016.”

What was supposedly going to between 3-7 inches of snow didn’t amount to much in the city. Yeah, impressive right? In fact, I lament that I wasted about $54 on a motel room and could have easily rode into work.

It is easy to poke fun of this scenario. The bread and milk raids leading up to the weather event were for naught. Schools and most businesses were closed for nothing. Everything is a-okay in the city.

So we’ll blame the weathermen, right? “They got it wrong” or “they’re never right” got thrown around a lot on social media today. Many of these comments coming from people who praised the coming winter end times and got their wish for school and/or work to be shut down.

Well, it turns out the meteorologists were right…for the most part. If you look outside right now Memphis, you’ll see snow on the grass. They nailed it on that detail. It’s not 5 inches but it is snow.

Other areas outside of Memphis (especially Jackson and Dyersburg) got a bit more snow than Memphis. This was accurately predicted and is typically the case when dealing with urban vs. rural climates. It wasn’t as impressive as they were hoping either, but the streets are less clear there than in Memphis.

High winds are also present. Instead of 40-45 mph gusts, the winds are roughly 15-20 mph with 25 mph gusts. Not as windy as predicted, but still pretty breezy and that’s still going to be a big factor in the wind chill.

Also, the timing of the storm came as they said it would. It arrived sometime overnight (about 2-3 a.m.) and pretty much left the area by noon.

For all intents and purposes, they got it right. I don’t get the fear-mongering behind the weather forecasts, but it was mostly on-point. We just didn’t see the big snowfall.

But hey, mostly everyone got their wish for having the day-off or having a clear roadways (for the few that are fortunate to grace their presence in the workplace today). We can stop blaming the weather people for “messing up” because they were mostly correct in their forecast.

If there’s anyone to blame…blame Nashville. They stole it from us.

My 2015 Game Of The Year

Hello folks!

It has been a good while since my last blog post. My life has been crazy these past few months, but I managed to squeeze some light gaming.

This year has been jammed packed with lots of great video games, but there can only be one “Game of the Year.” For me, it was definitely a hard decision and one that could be in constant flux since there’s literally a stack of them I haven’t started yet.

However, there are a few I did finish. One of those games just happens to be my personal “Game of the Year.”

Winner: Metal Gear Solid 5

metal-gear2

I’ve always been a MGS fan, and this newest entry had plenty of hype. For the most part, “The Phantom Pain” lived up to its expectations.

The world is massive! There are so many things you can do in this game and you’re not limited to a predetermined path. Players can approach their missions by stealth, going all out, or a combination of the two.

Your base, weapons, even Big Boss himself are highly customizable.

The story, perhaps its weakest link, is still a very good plot and way more engaging than MGS 4.

I thoroughly enjoyed Snake Eater and Peace Walker. As a sequel, Metal Gear Solid V did not disappoint and is the perfect way to the MGS saga.

Kudos to Hideo Kojima!

Runner-Up: Fallout 4

I am still nowhere near finished with it, but Fallout 4 is pretty fun. It’s as fun as Fallout 3 and maybe more massive. I am also a fan of the Boston metro setting and pseudo-future from a 1950’s sci-fi perspective.

My gameplay has already exceeded 48 hours and I still haven’t touched the main story yet. Honestly, I’ll probably get finished with it and the first round of DLC will probably launch.

On The Airwaves Cancelled Indefinitely

On-The-AirwavesHello everyone! Some of you may have guess this but I will just go ahead and confirm it. Over the past few months, my schedule has been quite busy and it has been difficult updating the podcast on a weekly basis.

With my schedule and possible life changing plans in motion, I can no longer produce any more episodes of “On The Airwaves” at this moment.

So for now, the podcast is effectively terminated. In addition, I will be taking a prolonged hiatus from podcasting.

Sorry to disappoint everyone with this news. Since 2013, podcast production has been fun and I have enjoyed it when there was time for it. Since working at my current employer last year, my time has been well spent there, but my past projects have been a great way for me to hone in on-air and production skills.

In the future, I will like to revisit podcasting but for now it is not possible. However, I still regularly update my blog at https://chrisfreitas.wordpress.com and I manage to find something worthwhile to post every month. So if you like to read more about radio, electronic media, and other related subjects, please check it out.

Thanks for supporting me and the podcast!  I will keep up past episodes on-line on my Sample Works page along with CFOR for anyone interesting in listening to the shows.