As I’ve mentioned occassionally in the past, I’m often frustrated with my work experience. I thought, though, that rather than just continue to gripe to myself about it, I should treat it like a project – identify the problems, and address each specifically.

Well, the 2nd area I identified is my drive. It’s about 26 miles each way, and typically I spend between an hour and a half and three hours each day driving too and from work. For the time being, there’s not too much I can do to reduce the amount of driving I do, but I can try to make the drivetime more pleasant. The most obvious solution is the best – listen to music, or books on tape, or just about anything but the radio with its incessant, brain-stealing advertising. The problem I have, though, is that my factory stereo has begun to seek early retirement – in the last two years, it’s gone from occassionally skipping on old CDs to skipping on every CD – new, old, or burned – and usually within the first 5 songs. When it starts skipping, it doesn’t stop – I have to eject the CD, turn off the stereo for about 5 minutes, and try again.

So…. New stereo! Even better, new stereo that plays directly from the iPod Kim bought for me last year! Woohoo!

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I was so excited when it arrived in the mail from Crutchfield.  I’ve shopped for stereos many times in the past, but I was always put off by the installation fees on one hand, or the idea of installing it myself and digging behind the dashboard of the car.  Cars dashboard innards are not the most accessible of places, and that seemed to me like it must be for good reason.  But, if I can rearrange the insides of a computer, I should be able to rearrange the insides of a car dashboard with enough documentation.  Crutchfield is great about documentation.

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Still, I was a little nervous once I got all the boxes opened and saw all the parts and wires.

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This is the old factory stereo.

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And this is the dashboard with no stereo.  That part was amazingly easy.  You might notice how dark it is in the car, even with the flash.  That’s because I very cleverly decided to put the stereo in my car inside my poorly-lit garage at night.  Of course, the car interior lights would help, if in fact they magically worked after you unplugged the car battery so you don’t kill yourself.  Much of the installation process consisted of shining a flashlight on the dashboard, then setting it down and trying to remember where things were with my hands.

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This is where the magic happens – the optional iPod control accessory.

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This is the adaptor that fits into the oddly-shaped stereo hole, so the normal-sized stereo fits beautifully.

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After that, it’s just a matter of plugging everything together, and snapping the new stereo into place.   There was a little wire-stripping and beaning to attach the Focus adaptors Crutchfield sent to the new stereo, but once I’d popped down to Home Depot for the stripper and beans, that only took 10 minutes or so.

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Huzzah!  A new stereo and car-integrated iPod player.  Now my commute will be much more pleasant!

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