Friday, October 13, 2006

How I punkked Blaupunkt (and Proton)

This is a story of how the little guy (ok, well, not so little) beat the big corporation. Sort of like David versus Goliath, only fast forward it to the 21st century and substitue the lowly slingshot with electronic gadgetry.

Two months ago, I got a new car for the family. A metallic black Proton Gen-2. It looked pretty good exteriorly and while most of the interior was quite plasticky, it came with a cool intregrated Blaupunkt stereo system that allows you to control the volume and skip CD tracks at the touch of buttons embedded in the steering wheel. The speakers weren't exactly top of the line, but as I did not wish to stuff the entire boot compartment with mammoth subwoofers and 10K amplifiers, and considering that they came free with the car, the sound was not bad. There was only one problem. There wasn't anywhere I could plug my iPod. As I really couldn't be bothered to bring along my entire CD collection everytime I drive, this left me in a quandary.

After perusing through the stereo system manual, I called up the Proton people to ask about the "optional AUX attachment" for the player. Now, Proton, if you are going to set up a caller hotline, I suggest that you at least walk your operators through the showroom just so they have an idea what is it you're trying to sell. This guy I spoke to didn't even know that the Gen-2 comes with a preinstalled front-loading single disc CD player cum radio receiver! Or maybe I spoke too fast for him to understand.

An enquiry at an authorised Blaupunkt dealer yielded better results, but only slightly. Yes, they did have the required cables and attachments I needed. Unfortunately, they don't fit my particular model of player. Come again? In any case, the AUX attachment kit would cost me RM150 while the more comprehensive RM550 "iPod-ready connection kit" would allow me to view and control the contents of my iPod straight from the stereo console. Ok. I suppose I should thank my lucky stars that they didn't fit my player anyway. When I asked them what I should do then, they suggested that I should just upgrade to their latest model which would then be compatible with the cables I was looking for. So that's how these companies make their money. Pretend to supply cars with obsolete players which would then compel the car owners to upgrade to a better (read: expensive) set all the while expecting the poor consumer to just roll over and let them suck his blood dry.

So after all that research and shopping around I was still at square one: NO iPOD CONNECTOR. Then, a chance observation in my friend's car finally provided me with the answer to all my prayers. Ok, not all of my prayers. He used a simple FM radio transmitting device that, when connected to his non-iPod MP3 player, would allow him to listen to his favourite Christian sing-alongs via a pre-set frequency on his car radio. It looked a little like one of those expensive Belkin FM radio thingies that's specially made for iPods but sounded like crap (according to KK). This made-in-china device looked even dodgier but man, did it sound good, even in my friend's really really ancient car speakers. So, after giving him a comprehensive sales pitch about the superiority of the Ipod over his sorry excuse for an MP3 player, I rushed off to get my very own FM transmitter.

And voila, here it is! You can't imagine the pure joy that sprang from the wells of my heart when I finally heard the sweet sweet music streaming out of the Gen-2's speakers. And the best part of it all is it only cost me RM35!! Oh, happy days are here again. "London... London... Lundy!"

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wah u really are happy with the FM transmitter thingy and hey the speakers are not ancient ok ..... haha :)

Lundy lundy lundy ....