If I want to listen to English language radio programmes in Germany, I either use a shortwave radio to pull in a signal from BBC Radio 4 LW, the BBC World Service or I listen to stations via the internet or download podcasts.
The World Service on 648 MW has its good days and bad days. At least a radio is portable and sometimes I can get a good signal on a Tivoli PAL.
Tuning in via wifi means setting up my laptop, establishing a place to listen in the flat and hooking the laptop to the aux input on the PAL to boost the audio. In short, it's not too portable.
I was looking into portable wifi radio receivers and adapators last week in a department store and thought that might be the way to go. I then saw the tiny Asus Eee PC. The screen icon just happened to say "Internet Radio".
Having a little play with it, the sound was OK for two small speakers - better than my 12" PowerBook, so I thought: why not? It's portable, light, no bigger than a novel and the sort of thing I can have on a bedside table. Its price was also on par with buying a wifi receiver.
Now, obviously if I want better sound that means hooking it up to the trusty PAL, but its small size makes that an easier proposition for the balcony and hammock.
The Eee PC is running on Linux - an OS I have no idea about, but I'd rather stick with it than install Windows.
So far I'm mostly using the BBC Player via the pre-installed Firefox browser to use the EeePC as a radio.
When you hit the "Internet Radio" icon on the Eee PC it launches MediaU- MediaU works fine (though the interface is a little awkward in my opinion - too busy). Once you login, you can type in any station and within 30 seconds it's playing.
However another cool "radio" application to run is of course LastFM.
All of which is making radio, in all its forms, a medium to adore. Long live radio!
Having said all that, it's quite obvious that I'm plotting other uses for the little Eee PC. Stay tuned as they say. I'd be keen to hear from anyone using the Eee PC for mobile journalism, blogging, broadcast or multimedia work on the run.