Hit & Run

iPod Mischief

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If you've ever wondered how to turn your iPod into a pirate radio station, fret no longer. Phillip Torrone of Engaget has the answer.

Granted, some of the uses he suggests might transgress the rules of propriety:

We usually keep a couple tracks of silence ready to go, ever get stuck at a stop light for like 10 minutes and the dude in the next car is blasting the radio? With the super easy iPod interface you can quickly get to the station he's on and send over whatever you want, a couple gentle ocean waves or birds usually works out great.

If you've ever gone to the Gym, or stared in to one from the outside?you'll notice the TVs are muted and set to broadcast on specific FM frequencies, folks then tune in their radio headsets to whatever station to listen to the audio as they exercise. Now we're not suggesting you go around and broadcast over CNN or anything, but we think broadcasting "Aliens have landed today, the President and UN will be making an announcement immediately" could be quite fun. We'll be trying this out with our gym pals who are usually up for a good gag.

There's a big body of libertarian literature that argues that slices of the electromagnetic spectrum should be treated as fee-simple private property. A few years ago, though, Tom Bell asked whether such a plan might step on another set of property rights:

Suppose, for example, that on your land you used, for private wireless communications, a frequency owned by a local radio station. If your use did not interfere with your neighbors' reception of that station, on what grounds could the supposed owner of the frequency object to your use? The example is not as farfetched as one might at first think. Similar facts have already given rise to a dispute under the current licensing system, under which the federal government claims title to the airwaves. Households of all sizes increasingly put wireless communications to personal use in garage door openers, cordless phones, baby monitors, and so forth.

If you buy that argument, then perhaps it isn't so unethical to use your iPod to jam a noisy car radio … if it's idling outside your home. Right?

OK, so maybe I'm just rationalizing.