The content of this blog is my personal opinion only. Although I am an employee - currently of Nvidia, in the past of other companies such as Iagination Technologies, MIPS, Intellectual Ventures, Intel, AMD, Motorola, and Gould - I reveal this only so that the reader may account for any possible bias I may have towards my employer's products. The statements I make here in no way represent my employer's position, nor am I authorized to speak on behalf of my employer. In fact, this posting may not even represent my personal opinion, since occasionally I play devil's advocate.

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Sunday, January 18, 2009

Swimming Radio and Podcasts

Swimming is my favorite form of exercise (after rock climbing).

But, I find swimming lengths in pools boring. Therefore, I decided to try to get some entertainment, som redeeming value: a swim-water-proof radio or MP3 / podcast player, so that I can listen to radio and, ideally, books or Teaching Company (http://www.teach12.com/) lecture series on tape. (I am not much of a listener to music.)

Googling narrowed it down to

Swimp3 from Finis (http://www.finisinc.com/products-swimp3.shtml) - 150$. Bone conduction, v2-256 MB.

Speedo Aquabeat MP3, 1GB, 116-150$ - earplugs

Swimman (http://swimman.com/) waterproofed iPod shuffle (2nd genration) - 250$ - earplugs

Plus various other waterproofed cases,

Since I am not yet rich enough that 150$ is mad money, I decided to try the Swimmer's Choice Radio (http://www.gearedtobefit.com/pd_swimmers_choice_fm_radio.cfm) - 40$

The Swimmer'sChoice Radio worked well enough, I suppose. However, it failed the second day of use. I cannot recommend it.

Fortuitously, I encountered a friend at the pool who had the Swimp3. He let me try his. He recommended it highly. The results were good enough that I purchased my own, and have used it fr the second day today.

I quickly learned that, as I normally swim, the Swimp3 was audible when my ears were underwater, but not when they were above water. E.g. I could hear it throughout crawl / freestle, but not when I lifted my head to breath for breast stroke. My friend Mike had never observed this, saying he always used custom fit earplugs. A cheap pair of wax earplugs, and this problem was "solved".

However (1) wearing earplugs has disadvatages, e.g. when my daughter is calling for me, and (b) it is not clear to me that the bone conduction is of much value - my brief experiece with the SwimmersChoice radio indicated that earphones work as well as bone conduction.

Possibly better:

(a) the earphones can be used outside the pool. The bone conduction headset works a bit, in quiet places, but not where it is noisy. Unless, again, I use earplugs.

(b) I find it hard to hear talk on the Swimp3. I may be forced to fall back to music. It doesn't matter so much if you miss a few notes in a song; it matters a lot if you miss a few words in an audio book.

Nevertheless, I am reasonably happy with the Swimp3. I had a nice long practice today, and never got bored.

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