Review: Plantronics .Audio 480 Headset

plantronics-audio480usb_cu-120-copyLast Christmas my wife got me one of Plantronics .Audio 480 headsets. I’d seen this model of headset offered for a while, and since I’ve used noise reducing headphones for listening to music for many years, the idea of a similar approach to a VoIP headset was intriguing. She knew that I was searching out a wideband capable SIP soft phone and thought that a suitably capable headset might enhance my traveling arsenal.

My earlier experience with noise reducing headsets started with the venerable Sony MDR-NC10…which I simply loved, and had several sets over the years.  I found them both comfortable to wear and very effective.  The concept of soft rubber-tipped ear buds that form a noise blocking seal into the ear canal was simply brilliant.

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Finally, We Have A 311 Solution

Figure 3: Portech MV-370 SIP-GSM gateway

In the spring of 2008 I installed a SIP-to-GSM cellular gateway as a means of backing up our wholly IP-based home and office phones. The installation of the cellular gateway allowed me to route calls to and from T-Mobile should our DSL circuit go down. In addition, it provided us access to 911 and 411 services that were not at the time provided by our ITSPs.

The one thing we wanted that it did not address was access to 311 service. In Houston a 311 call rings a non-emergency city call center that is intended to take notifications about city services. For example, we call 311 when we see a street light out, a broken fire hydrant, large fallen trees in the roadways or packs of wild dogs roaming dangerously.

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Headphones & Headsets In The Works

plantronics-t100I’ve been thinking a lot about headsets and headphones lately. This comes to be for a couple of reasons. Firstly, I left my favorite headset for listening to music in a coworkers car, and I don’t think I’m getting them back. Secondly, my favorite cell phone headset is very aged, and near death. Finally, I’ve been needing to upgrade the headset hardware that I use for telephony to better address my increasing use of wideband telephony. That has both desk-bound and portable aspects to be considered.

So I decided that I’d try a bunch of headsets of various sorts and see what I found the most appealing. This got started last December my wife bought me a Plantronics .Audio 480 headset as a gift. I’ve been using it quite a bit and I’m just about done with a written review of my experience using that device.

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Broadband Internet Access In Hotels

hp-compaq-8510pJust recently both Andy Abramson and Rich Tehrani had posts describing their experience with  broadband internet access at hotels. I can barely convey how this is a topic that strikes a nerve with me. At times during my working year I travel extensively. Anyone who has been following my Twitter stream will know that I’m been to and from SFO so often recently that I’m starting to feel like a migratory bird. The local taxi drivers are starting to recognize me!

Suffice it to say that I stay in a lot of hotels. In the past month of activity on the west coast that includes two Hiltons, Le Meridien, the MarQueen Seattle, a La Qunita and a Club Quarters. Next week I’ll be appearing nightly at a Hyatt. Talk about a diversity of establishments!

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Eating Our Own Dog Food Revisited

tn_old_telephoneOk, this is going to be a rant. Consider yourselves warned. And worse than that, it’s more or less a repeat of a rant from not long ago. The theme is essentially “Eating Our Own Dog Food” and it harkens back to thoughts of the Emperors New Clothes, or perhaps the state of the mechanics own car.

To what I am I referring? Well, in this case it’s the Squawk Box podcast from Feb 29. The topic was, netbooks vs smart phones and was extremely interesting. However the call, and resulting podcast, was also profoundly aggravating.

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Wideband Telephony Takes Center Stage At Jeff Pulver’s HD VoIP Summit

polycom_ip650_256It’s starting to appear as if wideband telephony is truly going to get some traction in 2009. Jeff Pulver is mounting an event called HD VoIP Summit on New York City on May 21st. There’s a call for speakers at present. The deadline for those who wish to apply to speak is April 3rd.

The call for speakers was prefaced by a Dan Berninger guest post on Jeff Pulver’s blog entitled, “The Promise Of High Definition Voice Beyond Skype.” Of course, Dan is CEO of FWD which is repositioning itself as a champion of wideband voice.

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