Last week I took a brief real vacation to Arizona. A real vacation, by my definition, is one where I don’t use a computer. Now that I have a Smartphone I also have to disable email connectivity on it so that there’s no temptation to peek. (Even then, the phone spent most of the time powered off in the room’s safe.)
While the bellman was giving us the initial tour of our casita, he pointed out the room’s A/V system with multiple sets of speakers and mentioned that its DVD player could also be used to play any CDs we’d brought along. On previous trips I would have been happy to hear that, but on this one I thought immediately of the Dell Pocket DJ sitting in my bag, which I had spent some time the night before filling with music. I didn’t say anything at the time but shortly thereafter I called the bell desk to ask if they had any cables on hand to connect a digital music player (actually, I translated that phrase to "iPod") to the room’s sound system. He said they didn’t, but that someone else had recently asked the same question.
Not being content to let matters lie and not wanted to waste the room’s nice sound system, I pulled out the mediocre FM transmitter I had brought along. It worked reasonably well, but after an hour or so I’d drained the batteries. So I dragged my wife to Circuit City on the way to a prearranged dinner to pick up a mini-headphone to stereo RCA cable. Later that night, with a bit of fiddling, I got it to work through the front input jacks on the DVD/VCR combination unit, and that was our music source for the rest of the trip.
My wife, who is not a techophile and up to that point had had no interest in the music player, started playing with it and found it pretty easy to use. Score one for their UI, at least for playback. She had also two prescient questions: 1) How do you hook it up to work in your car? and 2) Why isn’t it just a feature of your cellphone?
Still not remaining content, upon checking out I made a point of showing the bellman (not the same one as on check-in) the cable and how to use it to play music through the room’s sound system. He was polite if not entirely interested, but he conceded that this would be an increasingly common request in the future.