listening while driving as it has many facets to explore.

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listening while driving as it has many facets to explore.

Postby rdearman » Wed Apr 05, 2017 12:31 pm

coldrainwater wrote:I definitely would like to see a whole thread on listening while driving as it has many facets to explore.

I thought I would grant your wish!

Personally I do a huge amount of listening and driving. I put about 50k miles a year on my car. So I have gained some in sites into this. The best cars to have in descending order:
  • Car with Bluetooth
  • Car with Aux Cable
  • Car with Data CD Player (does mp3's)
  • Car with CD

If you don't have a car with bluetooth, I've found a speaker ball and some velcro works! :lol: I use a smartphone and a number of apps to help me out.
  • MyPOD - used to subscribe to rss feeds for both audio and video. Apple phones have a rudimentary version of podcast software called iTunes.
  • VLC for Android - used to watch films and listen to audio. There really isn't any substitute for this if you want to use a film while driving because it will let you play the audio while blanking the screen. Thus turning a film into an audiobook. Don't know if there is a VLC for Apple.

The key thing is under no circumstances should you be able to see anything on the screen while driving, to much risk of a distraction. Also loop-repeat everything. Listen to the same thing over and over again when your driving because you're not always going to be able to pay attention since driving is your primary concern. If you know you're going to hear this again four more times before the journey is out, you don't get so stressed about missing things.

I did try using Pimsleur while driving, but I found because the course is actually designed to require concentration and thought it isn't really all that great while driving, so I gave it a miss. I'd recommend Pimsluer while walking.

If you're going to use VLC to listen to a film you'll need to go into the settings and make sure that it is configured to continue to play even if it losses focus. This way you can start the film and flip over to google maps, or the home screen and the audio will continue to play.

The best things to listen to IMHO are podcasts in your TL. They are almost invariably talk and will not require any setting changes to the podcast software. You can also (at least on MyPOD) listen to a channel and it will just move on to the next podcast on the channel automatically. Audiobooks are also great although not so cheap and easy to get. For me the wide variety of podcasts wins over audiobooks and the price is much better!
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Re: listening while driving as it has many facets to explore.

Postby Stefan » Wed Apr 05, 2017 12:57 pm

One thing to consider is getting rewritable CDs (CD-RW). Worse than Bluetooth and AUX but it's nice to be able to replace the chapter at the end of the day instead of creating a bunch of CDs you'll never listen to again.
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Re: listening while driving as it has many facets to explore.

Postby iguanamon » Wed Apr 05, 2017 2:25 pm

Even though I live on an island where the farthest distance I can drive is 28 miles (45 km) from one end to the other- I live mid-island. I do have to drive as part of my job. I have a 15 year old, "island beater", vehicle and... bluetooth via a bluetooth FM transmitter. The little device plugs into the auxiliary power port (cigarette lighter). It sends a signal to your FM car radio on an unused frequency. I have had it for about three years now and I no longer listen to local radio because I hook up my phone to it with podcasts at the ready in four languages to set up before I pull out onto the road. The one I have is $14.00 US. It's the best $14 I ever spent. It helps me to take advantage of hidden moments throughout the day. I highly recommend buying one. They're available on ebay by searching "bluetooth FM transmitter" in several different models. Though I don't use the feature, it will even take a micro sd card as a source- no smartphone required.
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Re: listening while driving as it has many facets to explore.

Postby tommus » Wed Apr 05, 2017 5:50 pm

rdearman wrote:VLC for Android - used to watch films and listen to audio. There really isn't any substitute

I agree. VLC is great for many reasons.

Don't overlook the equalizer in VLC. I find a lot of podcasts and other audio have too much bass when played through speakers. You can adjust the equalizer (usually just once) and make your listening a lot easier.
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Re: listening while driving as it has many facets to explore.

Postby MorkTheFiddle » Thu Apr 06, 2017 6:09 pm

tommus wrote:
rdearman wrote:VLC for Android - used to watch films and listen to audio. There really isn't any substitute

I agree. VLC is great for many reasons.

Don't overlook the equalizer in VLC. I find a lot of podcasts and other audio have too much bass when played through speakers. You can adjust the equalizer (usually just once) and make your listening a lot easier.

And VLC is great on any OS.
Frequently I use it to convert MP4s to MP3s just for listening.
And thanks, Tommus, for the tip about the equalizer.
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Re: listening while driving as it has many facets to explore.

Postby Ani » Fri Apr 07, 2017 8:21 am

Although I don't drive much during the year, the last two years in a row I have driven a 12-14k mile (20-22k km-ish) cross continental trip. That's almost 200 driving hours in a bit over 20 days.

Fortunately my van has Bluetooth audio connection. I do get better sound though from my Ankr Soundcore Bluetooth speaker so some of the time I am content just to stick that in the cup holder if I am the only one listening.

I'll have to try the VCL app. I've used it on my computer forever. Never though about an app. In the past I have put cartoons on loop and just put the phone face down so I have the audio but no flashing lights. VCL would save a ton of screen time/battery.

My biggest problem is that my phone cuts the audio for a second whenever it goes in or out of a cell tower range. It's a 3-5 second pause, same as a text message or email coming in. Super annoying in certain areas where the coverage is bad -- basically unusable at times. Wish I knew how to fix that short of buying a new phone. I've thought about getting an ipod (but we are not apple people) but I mostly listen to audio books off Audible, with the occasional dl'd from archive.org and some librivox. Needing a computer or wifi to get new content seems like a pain.
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Re: listening while driving as it has many facets to explore.

Postby rdearman » Fri Apr 07, 2017 8:57 am

Ani wrote:My biggest problem is that my phone cuts the audio for a second whenever it goes in or out of a cell tower range.

I had that with text messages, whatsapp and other alerts, sometimes if I don't want to be bothered I use the Aux cable and airplane mode. This wouldn't work for bluetooth unfortunately.
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Re: listening while driving as it has many facets to explore.

Postby emk » Fri Apr 07, 2017 12:59 pm

I love to listen to French podcasts in the car, or to French music.

But I also wrote a handy little utility for extracting just the dialog from a movie, and converting it to MP3 tracks:

Code: Select all

substudy export tracks movie.mp4 movie_target_lang_subs.srt

This will output an MP3 playlist with MP3 files for each short section of conversation. All the dead space with no dialog will be cut out, and adjacent lines of dialog will be merged into a single MP3 file until it starts getting too large. There's some extra stuff to allow seamless transitions between adjacent MP3s, and so on. The idea is that each chunk of dialog is big enough that it doesn't totally pollute your MP3 player, but small enough that "skip track backwards" should replay anything you just missed.

This is a great way to review semi-familiar material on a loop while walking or driving.
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Re: listening while driving as it has many facets to explore.

Postby luke » Fri Apr 07, 2017 2:53 pm

My favorite in the car is a USB thumb drive sorted with the free program DriveSort. I delete mp3s as I finish them.
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Re: listening while driving as it has many facets to explore.

Postby leosmith » Fri Apr 07, 2017 6:58 pm

rdearman wrote:I did try using Pimsleur while driving, but I found because the course is actually designed to require concentration and thought it isn't really all that great while driving, so I gave it a miss.

I agree in general, but I pulled it off driving across the US in a 5-day road trip. I did 1 lesson a day, but needed 4 reps for it to sink in. Pimsleur Russian 2 I think it was.

The old Learn in Your Car CDs were great, and certainly some of the most effectively designed CDs, for me, for learning in my car. I've used the audio portions of many other programs too, with varying success.

Finally, these days I'm retired and I don't drive much, but I usually listen to a French radio station when I do. There's another (Canadian) station which is mostly Mandarin, but sometimes has Russian on it. I'll listen to that one sometimes, and from a bit further south there are a couple of Spanish stations which come in on a good day. The nice thing about radio, compared to video, is that it's dialog-intense, and designed to be somewhat easy to listen to.
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