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4x4 iPod

I recently traded in my fleet of vehicles (The Rabbit, The Fire Truck, and The Country Squire) on a new Ford truck. It came equipped with a Microsoft Sync system which has a owner's manual as thick as the one for the truck. I keep discovering new ways to use it and today I have figured out how to make my truck into an iPod.

I enjoy the NPR show Car Talk, but I can never seem to be in front of the radio when it is on. I have iTunes set to download the podcast every week, but then I have to actually play them somehow. For me, this works best on my daily commute. So the question becomes, how to play Car Talk podcasts in the truck while driving to work.

As it turns out, there seem to be no less than 7 or 8 ways to play them on the Sync equipped radio, but I think that I have worked out the best way. When iTunes downloads the podcasts, it saves them as mp3's. If you copy those to a USB stick and plug that into the USB slot on the dash, then the radio will index them, after warning that the USB stick doesn't support some digital rights, B.S. Then you use the touch screen  on the radio to go to Media, select USB, select artist, select NPR, and then select Car Talk Podcast, and finally a list of podcasts will come up on the screen. This is the power and the kludge of Sync. Yes, there are 7 or 8 different methods to do this, but each one takes far too many steps, and I suspect, would probably be seen as too much of a hassle by most people. Now that I have the podcast USB stick plugged in, however, it works great. It turns on when I start the truck, and remembers where we were when we stopped. I don't have to mess with power cords or anything - I just leave the USB stick plugged in.

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