The Big Blue Yeti, Soft Phones & Audio Sample Rate

dialpad-windows-desktop-yetiA short while ago friend and telecom luminary Dave Michels contacted me about a problem he was encountering with his Blue Yeti USB microphone. While he appreciates the benefits of a headset, he prefers to not use one when there’s video involved.

Dave uses the Yeti when recording videos and participating in various UC podcasts. He’s recently started to use it with the Dialpad soft phone. That’s the service that provides his home & office phones.

The Yeti is a fine microphone for many purposes. The combination of USB convenience, handy level controls and low-latency monitoring makes it an excellent choice for podcasters. I recently wrote a blog post for ZipDX that describes its use by a professional interpreter in the UK.

In Dave’s case, when using the Yeti with Dailpad others on the call would complain that his volume was very low. So much so that he was forced to switch to his Plantronics Savi headset. They also complained that “he sounded bad.”

To solve these problems the two of us set about a quick investigation. What we found is potentially useful, so I’m sharing it here with y’all.
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BBC Erroneously Reports "Webcams used to attack Reddit and Twitter recalled"

As you may be aware there have been a few rather high-profile DDOS attacks in recent weeks. They all have one thing in common…they leverage common network attached devices that have been compromised, or at least left unsecure.

Many of these devices have been found to be network attached cameras. Brian Krebs has a great post on the matter. The table of most common devices includes IP cameras from several manufacturers, some printers and consumer routers.

USB vs IP Camera

I take exception to the BBC headline that reads "Webcams used to attack Reddit and Twitter recalled." Their use of the term webcam is egregiously in error.

By definition, a "Webcam:"

  • Has not been a factor in these DDOS attacks.
  • Are not network attached devices.
  • Are usually USB connected to a computer.
  • Are not able to do anything without the host computer.

While you may think me pedantic about the headline, the BBC’s overly broad definition of a "webcam" does their audience a disservice. There’s simply no need to have every granny who video chats with her grandkids worried about the one-eyed Logitech menace atop her monitor.

Quite plainly, it’s the router, Dropcam, Nest thermostat or Skybell that she should be worried about. Not that those products have been cited as problematic, but by virtue of the fact that they are network connected, they at least might be compromised.

You wanna put stuff here? Well, to start with, who are you?

The Who - Who Are You AlbumOver the past few weeks I’ve received another few offers from PR folks. They periodically seek to place content for their clients on this site. The see what’s here, find some similarity to their clients product or service, and make some nondescript offer of collaboration.

While I remain open to offers of collaboration, even sponsorship, to date I’ve rejected every such advance. This is largely because the approaches have been poorly conceived.

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Twins: Two New Webcams

webcam twinsRemember the 1988 movie “Twins” with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DaVito? This is a bit like that.

The past few weeks have seen the introduction of a two new webcams. From a distance these two items seem in some ways very similar. Looking closer, there are also some significant differences.

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Review: Aver Information VC520 All-in-One USB Conference Camera System – Part 2

I presume you recall where left off in this little adventure. I had just finished my initial allocation of 1000 words in a general description of the AVER Information VC520. Let that be the foundation upon which you add the following observations of its use. And use it I did.

Unboxing & Installation

Once unboxed and setup I connected the VC520 to my desktop computer. As a generic UVC device there was no device specific driver to install, although I did install the PTZ remote application and update utility.

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New Gear: Grandstream’s HT812 Analog Terminal Adapter

In the earliest days of consumer VoIP services the venerable Cisco ATA-186 was the way to connect a traditional analog telephone to one of those new-fangled Vonage accounts and save some loot. It didn’t take too long before our strategy evolved from an analog terminal adapter (ATA) plus a an analog phone or a cordless phone, to SIP desk phones and SIP/DECT cordless phones.

As such, it’s been years since an ATA held any interest at all…until last week. Last week I received a couple of notices about a new pair of ATA’s from Grandstream, the HT802 and HT812.

Grandstream HT812

The first thing I saw was a promotional email from VoIP Supply for the HT812. It described the HT812 as a two-port FXS with a built-in router and Gigabit Ethernet.

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