Friday, March 14, 2008

In-Flight Internet Radio Hack

Just finished the short DC to Chicago leg of my adventure. On the plane, I wanted to do a bit of programming. As I started to unpack my computer I realized how disappointed I was that I didn't have some music to go along with my hacking session. I've gotten so used to Pandora, and Internet radio stations that I don't have a collection of music on my laptop that works offline.

But then I remembered a feature I had noticed with the latest version of the free Real Player. Right next to the Play button is a record button. One day I happened to hit it, and it did just what it claimed - it recorded the music stream and saved it my library. Now I have no idea what format it's in or if I could post it on my blog for ya'll to hear - but I figured, that had to be a useful feature. And then promptly forgot about it.

That is, until I was on the flight today, and remembered that test stream I head created. I gave it a listen, and it worked flawelessly.

So here's what I should have done last night, or the nights before - before going to bed, hit the record button on the Real Player and stop it in the morning. After a couple days, I'd have plenty of music that I could then replay, and of course, skip the commercials on.

As soon as I landed in Chicago and got WiFi access I started recording a station, so I'll at least get a few hours of content that I can listen to on the plane. Here's the player in action:

The record feature in Real Player really changed my opinion of their software - it went from another media player that's constantly trying to cram offers, extras and junk in front of me, to a program that was way more useful than I could have imagined.

What do you know, actually useful features are more preferred by users than loud messages? Who knew?

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