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An Old Friend

An Old Friend
by Gary Woods

It's been a while since I thought about satellite radio. It was a hot ticket for a while with XM and Sirius battling it out for supremacy. Somewhere along the line everything became MP3s whether on your iPhone or Zune player and radio seemed to slide to the background. But there's definitely a place for radio with sports or talk or news or if you'd like to listen to something other than your stale old music collection.

The thing about radio, XM, AM or FM is that its immediate but it's also gone right after you heard so if you'd like to hear whatever you heard again you're out of luck. To address that issue Pioneer has come up with the XMp3 which integrates its satellite radio service into an MP3-player-size device that records.

It looks like a cell phone with a stubby, old school antenna, measures 3.6 by 2 by 0.6 and features a 2.2 inch screen that displays still graphics only. It comes with a dock with an attaching antenna and a line-out-to RCA cable, a remote control that's larger than the player itself and a USB cable for PC file transfers. There's only 2GB of onboard storage but there's a microSD slot on the top panel.

The controls and user interface are simple and intuitive, and the recording features are great. The player can record up to five channels simultaneously and has a built-in DVR like function to pause a live radio program for up to 30 minutes. If you like radio and want to keep it around this is a pretty cool device that retails for $279.99.

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Gary Woods is the Computer Trainer for the Santa Barbara Association of Realtors. You can hear Gary on the Radio at 1290 AM Monday 9-10 AM and he is a Broker/Associate at Home Realty & Investments, Inc