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Technology or bust!

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Technology or bust!

How to survive those long road trips.

By Andy May

Being in a touring band allows me to travel across the nation with some of the best friends I’ve ever had. Thanks to this band I get to meet all kinds of good people from different places and even get to see things that I might have never seen in my entire lifetime. Now don’t get me wrong, tours have been some of the best times I’ve had thus far in my lifetime, but those long drives cramped up with five other guys in a van loaded with equipment, merch, and luggage can really get to a guy. So to keep us from killing each other and going completely insane, we turned to technology to make those drives much easier.

For our first tour we installed a TV and DVD player snug in between the two front seats, and brought along six guys’ worth of DVDs. Now if you can imagine a van full of six guys and all of our luggage and band equipment—we need all the room we can get. As you can probably guess, the DVDs laying around became a huge inconvenience; DVD’s getting stepped on, sliding all over the van’s floor, and skipping in the player every time we hit a huge bump. Naturally, we needed a new, more practical way to keep us busy for future road trips and tours.

To solve our problem we turned to the convenience of the iPod. By using one of the many available iPod video conversion programs, we were able to take everything from feature films to entire seasons of TV shows and rip it to our video iPods. These programs convert and compress the video files into a MP4 format, which is a much smaller file that hardly sacrifices quality, allowing us to put all kinds of video files onto our iPods without taking up all of its available memory. Now with an iPod full of visual entertainment, we changed the its video settings to “video out,” and then simply plugged it (from the headphones jack) into the TV’s audio/video jacks by using a RCA a/v cable. The video playing on the iPod then runs through and plays on the TV for everyone’s (in the right seats) viewing pleasure.

Problem solved. So now in the palm of our hand (not including the TV) we have hours upon hours of video to keep us entertained without taking up valuable space in both the van and the iPod. Now if we can just figure out how to get around those cramped 15 hour drives, we’ll be set!