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Experiments With Vidyo

In recent weeks and months I’ve been giving some thought to making greater use of video within the scope of my work life. In part this is what what motivated my ill-fated attempt to get LifeSize to appear on a VUC call. It happens that others VUC contributors are considering such things as well.

Last week Paul Warmbowski was completing a trial of the Vidyo personal telepresence server. He offered several VUC regulars a chance to connect for a test call. The experience was both welcome and very interesting.

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Bluetooth Headsets: Style vs. Function

Nichelle Nichols as Lt. Uhura, the original wireless headset goddess Let me lay before you a simple premise; people who habitually wear a wireless headset in public are often viewed as Geeky, Nerdy or very possibly even Dorky. The trouble isn’t the technology, but rather the question of its use, and abuse in various circumstances. Whether wearing such a headset is socially acceptable depends largely upon situational context. I’ve mentioned this once before.

To wear a wireless headset is most often a matter of convenience, only occasionally a matter of necessity. I accept that there are states where such tools are mandated for use while driving. I applaud such laws, and further think that a driver should not be allowed to operate a cell phone in any manner while a car is in motion.

Actually, I suspect that such headset laws are the result of intense lobbying by a secret cartel formed by the world’s leading headset manufacturers. It seems fairly obvious to me that Plantronics, Jabra, Motorola and maybe Jawbone form a kind of headset-axis-of-something-or-other.

Seriously, someone should look into this.

As ever, I digress.

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CBC Radio’s Spark On Soundscapes: Cutting Through The Noise

I’ve recently discovered a CBC Radio program called Spark. The CBC is a bone fide national treasure, and Spark is their program on technology in society. They describe it as:

Spark is a weekly audio blog of smart and unexpected trendwatching. It’s not just technology for gearheads, it’s about the way technology affects our lives, and the world around us.

…sounds interesting, non?

I recently loaded my phone with some Spark podcasts in a effort to catch up on the program. I was especially taken by episode 128 from November 2010 which considers the impact of noise on people. From the calming influence of bird song to the stress induced by using a cell phone, it’s profoundly interesting stuff.

Our personal and collective productivity often hinges on the soundscape of the working environment. Your personal stress and anxiety level can also be impacted. To be blunt, noise matters…and yet it’s often completely overlooked.

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Notes From The Road: Kensington Replacement Power Supplies For Laptops

This past weekend, during a break from tending our new pup, Stella and I had occasion to see the movie Up In The Air. I’d not seen it before, at least not from start to finish. Now that I have seen it, I think I understand why some members of my family thought that the film reminded them of me.

It’s true that I am something of a corporate road warrior. That is to say, my job involves more than the occasional bit of travel. Since the beginning of the year I’ve been to Las Vegas, New Jersey (twice), South Bend IN (twice), Jackson MS, and Berkeley CA. As I write this I am in fact en route to Charlotte NC to give a three-day training course.

As The Beach Boys once harmonized, “I get around.” Further, I’ve been in this line of work for just over fifteen years.

All of that only serves to illustrate that I have at least some experience being on the road. In that time I’ve come to appreciate some relatively simple pieces of technology. Occasionally a modest little item, perhaps acquired by accident or mere happenstance, can actually improve your quality-of-working-life on-the-road.

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