Friday, May 11, 2007


When it was first explained to me that we were going to be carrying a brand new accessory item, I was surprised, as we normally don’t carry a wide variety of accessories here at YourMacStore. However, I was more surprised when shown the Radio Shark 2 package. We all listened to radio at one time or another…heck, growing up in the 1980s and before, everyone listened to radio. Nowadays, the airwaves in major cities are filled with talk shows, sports shows, shock jocks , and every type of music from A-Z….and radio is unfortunately being left behind a little bit with the advancing computer age. With all the internet radio stations out there, it’s got to be hard to keep up…but the Radio Shark 2 helps to bring broadcast radio right into the digital age, cheaply and efficiently. This item is a great piece of work from top to bottom, so let me go over what it can do for you.

First, for Mac OS X 10.4.9 users (like me) you’ll need to download the software update from the Griffin website, as there are some compatibility issues with Tiger….but it takes seconds and is necessary for the software to fully function. (Otherwise you’ll have to change stations by closing the program and reopening it.) The unit itself is small and the weight is negligible…and since it’s designed to look like a shark fin, it looks pretty cool sitting on top of your computer/monitor/desk/windowsill/catbox/whatever. It plugs into any USB port and is powered by that connection. The package comes with a USB extender cord as well, and a radio antenna extender too. After the software is installed, the interface is easily used. You can type in station numbers (1-0-0-.-3 for example), use your scroll wheel to scan up and down the stations, or even set & select favorites. After playing with just listening to the radio broadcasts from my favorite local stations here in Los Angeles (95.5, 93.1, 98.7, and 106.7 to name a few), I then discovered the “Time-Shift” feature. For you TIVO fans out there, you’ll like this. It allows you to pause a live radio transmission for up to 10 minutes, and it will record the broadcast while you step away. Alternatively, you can just drag the slider back and listen to that same song again! That 10 minute auto-record is always on for your convenience of use…no more will you say “what was that word in that song?” You can just “Time-Shift” back and hear it again…and again…and again til you get it right!

Now the “Time-Shift” recordings can be saved right to your hard drive for later listening, or you can actually schedule the Radio Shark 2 to record radio shows during a specific time slot and for a set time…for months in advance! Missing a talk show because of a meeting or special event? Not a problem for the Radio Shark 2…it’ll record it for you later. Now these recordings are automatically saved to your Mac as an AAC or AIFF file, which leads into one of the other cool things about this device, its interaction with iTunes. The setup can be placed to where it automatically creates a playlist in your iTunes with everything that it saves, and those playlists can…you guessed it…be exported right to your iPod. So, are you missing Jim Ladd’s show on KLOS every night because you have to be up early? No problem. Schedule it to be recorded, and then downloaded to your iPod and you can listen while on your way to work in the morning. It’s as simple as that. Lastly, the software update from Griffin comes with a widget for you to use with the OS X dashboard…just in case you wanted to listen to the radio without having the Radio Shark software open.

All in all, I'm personally jazzed with this product, and look forward to taking it home this weekend and seeing what I can do with it. Oh yes, and stay tuned for our next review…the iKareoke. ;)

-Mike Leader

No comments: