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This is a question Cheap Tat

OneEyedMonster remindes us about the crap you can buy in pound shops: "Batteries that lasted about an hour and then died. A screwdriver with a loose handle so I couldn't turn the damn screw, and a tape measure which wasn't at all accurate."

Similarly, my neighbour bought a lawnmower from Argos that was so cheap the wheels didn't go round, it sort of skidded over the grass whilst gently back-combing it.

What's the cheapest, most useless crap you've bought?

(, Fri 4 Jan 2008, 7:26)
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A handy-dandy FM transmitter
I was buying diesel when I spotted it. There's something about paying hogwhimperingly huge sums of money for diesel that makes me think "I know - I've just been brutally shafted for fuel, what other random stuff can I spunk my remaining money on?"

And my eyes fell upon a suitable item. It was misleadingly advertised on the box as 'suitable for all uses, including MP3 player and iPod'. It had a power supply, which looked like a Dalek's butt plug, and wouldn't fit in the cigarette lighter plug in the car, and a slot for a battery. I put in a battery, and excitedly plugged in my iPod, never pausing to consider the wisdom of plugging my £200 iPod into a device that cost less than £7. It had a slider switch to choose the frequency. You had a choice of 7, all of which were quite random. So I slid the switch to the first, and pressed the power button. Not much happened, so I tried to tune the car radio into it. I got the sounds of "Pimpin Ma Ho FM". I don't remember that one from Radio Times, but ho hum ('scuse the pun). Eventually, preset 6 seemed to be free, so I tried that. I tuned the car radio in to it, and drove away. I had iPod sound in my car! I was overjoyed! The fact that it sounded truly awful didn't dim my enthusiasm. I collected Pink Goddess from work, and she once again demonstrated the piercing insight that she is justly famous throughout the world for.

She pointed one indignant finger, and fixed the device with the kind of stare that would intimidate tanks. Finally, she spoke: "What the ---- is *that* s---?"

I explained the wonders of FM transmitters, how it would work on any MP3 player, and how we could now listen to music as we drove. "It sounds s---!" she retorted. Bowed, but not broken, I continued to fiddle.

After a week or so, I'd discovered that if I used a whole FM band, I could drive from ours to Dudley and back with only two slides of the slider. We did a trip to London, which ended up with Pink Goddess handing it back to me with a Meaningful Look. This look meant, "You are a lucky cnut, for you are seated and wearing trousers. Were it not for those two facts, that device would currently be inserted where The Sun Does Not Shine"*. The rest of the journey was completed in what could only be called a stony silence, broken only by Demigod's snores from the back seat, the tinkle of music from Pink Goddess's headphones, and for me the gentle hum of tyres on the road.

I hid the thing before I stood up, just in case. After all, I would be removing my trousers later, and I had no wish to explain this one down the local Casualty department.

It's probably still in the car somewhere. I haven't seen it for ages, nor do I wish to. Instead, I learned from this mistake, and went straight to the One True Home of the bargain - the Computer Fair. See below for how *that* went...

* Pink Goddess has a face that is marvellously expressive as well as breathtakingly beautiful.
(, Tue 8 Jan 2008, 12:48, 6 replies)
I heard one of these things once
a proper iTrip, as it happens, and it sounded crap.

So, using some of the skills and knowledge I had gained after years of science training, I wired up my car with a proper iPod dock plug connected to the CD changer port of my stereo (the changer having been sold on ebay), with suitable buggering about with electronics to make it work. Cost me all of a fiver for the cable and connector (plus a couple of hours of swearing and £35 for the little holder thing to mount the iPod in) but my iPod now plays in pristine stereo and charges at the same time.

I was dead chuffed with this, but I see you can now buy car stereos with exactly this connection system ready made, thus cutting out the swearing part.
(, Tue 8 Jan 2008, 13:03, closed)
I'm such a girl
I'll click any story which the author uses as an opportunity to go on about how much they love their significant other.

I don't know if this means I'm on the wrong messageboard. Maybe I should decamp to www.lovelyfluffykittens.com.
(, Tue 8 Jan 2008, 13:47, closed)
Where the Sun Does Not Shine?
(, Tue 8 Jan 2008, 15:26, closed)
petrol station transmitter
I had one of these. I found the sound was crap when you plug it in because the charger is too weak to charge the battery and run it at the same time. When you take the battery out it sounds alright. The one i had could out power the stations on the occupied channels like that.
(, Tue 8 Jan 2008, 16:11, closed)
I have one as well - mines fine except the battery seems to hold almost no charge so I have to have it plugged in the whole time.
(, Tue 8 Jan 2008, 20:43, closed)
if you've got an old car stereo
get a cassette adapter, they sound alright most of the time. tis only the people with cd/radio-only ones that have to resort to shite transmitters.
(, Thu 10 Jan 2008, 2:24, closed)

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