The Passing Of A Legend & Related Fallout

For the past year and a half I’ve used a Plantronics Voyager Legend Bluetooth Headset. It was the evolution of the Voyager Pro UC that I reviewed in 2011. Not long ago I discovered just how many times such a device would survive a pass through the laundry…which is exactly once. A second pass through the laundry caused its’ demise.

The loss of the Voyager Legend left an obvious hole in my arsenal. Such matters I take as an opportunity to try something new, or at least re-evaluate my needs.

There was a time when I made a lot of use of a BT headset while travelling. In that application it’s role was in support of basic telecom use. More recently I have not been travelling at all. My primary use of a headset has been for listening to the local NPR stream while walking our dogs.

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Review: The Logitech CC3000e Conference Cam – Part 2

Logithec CC3000e Conference Cam KitIn part one of this little adventure I introduced you to Logitech’s new CC3000e Conference Cam, a webcam like no other in my experience.

Audio Performance

The audio playback performance of the CC3000e was decent. I have used the device to listen to streaming radio & some podcasts while it was USB attached to my desktop. It’s obviously much too large for my desk. Then again, that’s not the target role for the device.

Logitech has a long history as a manufacturer of PC speakers, with products ranging from cheesy to thunderous, so it’s no surprise that the CC3000e sounds quite good. Given my prior experience with the BCC950, I was more curious about the performance of the microphones.

I put the CC3000e along side a couple of reference devices for comparison. When compared to the Clear One Chat 160 I found that the CC3000e played louder, no doubt bit benefits from deriving more power than a single USB connection can provide.

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Polycom Tip: Easy Screen Captures

There are certainly a lot of SIP desk phones out there, with more coming every month, but I still like my Polycom VVX Series. I recently faced a task that involved creating some documentation of SIP device configurations. This gave me a chance to try a facility of the Polycom phones that I’d long known about, but never actually used…screen capture of the device menus.

The Polycom SoundPoint, VVX and SoundStation series devices running firmware v3.2 (circa 2011) or newer support easy screen capture using a web browser. That in turn makes creating pictorial documentation a lot nicer. Continue reading “Polycom Tip: Easy Screen Captures”

Obi Hai Ships OBi1032 IP Phone

OBi1032-SIP-PhoneObi Hai has been around a long while. Their niche has been ATA-like devices that were sufficiently sophisticated to provide hardware access to Google Voice. As was discussed when they appeared on VUC, the founders of the company were in involved in the earliest days of VoIP. More specifically, they were behind the development of Cisco ATA 186, the very first ATA.

In years past I’ve watched as others have expressed their enthusiasm for the OBi Hai ATAs, especially those who were trying to leverage Google Voice. GV has never been a significant factor in my working life.

Further, I’ve long held that ATA’s  fail to offer many of the advantages of a bone fide IP phone. I do admit that OBi Hai was quite aggressive about extending the capabilities of the humble ATA beyond the demands of the typical ITSP. Nonetheless, ATAs have held little interest for me in recent years.

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Chromecast Tricks

As a participant in the Android ecosystem and committed early-adopter I was quick to order a Chromecast when they were introduced in 2013. Sadly, our older Sharp Aquos HDTV lacked the input switching to make the little dongle convenient in my intended application. Since then I’ve struggled to find a use for the little guy.

This week I stumbled upon a new use case for the Chromecast…digital signage! This was inspired by a couple of apps for Chromecast I found in the Play store; Big Tweets and Countdown.

Both of these apps would have been tremendously useful in my past life. I surely would have used them in staging trade show presentations.

Big Tweets cycles through a tweet stream with a selection of nice graphic themes. It even allows custom themes for the graphically handy. Just plug it into a monitor or HDTV and set it up via an Android device. No keyboard or mouse. Low power. Reliable. Lovely.

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Wired Headsets: A Tutorial on Connectors, Cables & Pinouts

Headset DevicesPrior to smart phones life was much simpler…at least with respect to the wiring for headsets used with portable music players vs cell phones. A recent project has me dealing with some wired headsets. I thought it worth sharing some of the things that I’ve noted along the way, along with just a bit of the history.

What I’m describing relates to the various ways in which the common headset connector has been used over time and across a number of application contexts, including:

  • Music players
  • Desk phones
  • Smart phones
  • Computers

In the beginning there was the pocket transistor radio. When Sony got around to it some transistor radios featured a 3.5mm (1/8”) 2-conductor jack. This was intended to receive an earphone for private listening. It was also called a “mini-jack” since stereo headphones for listening to music used the full-sized, 1/4”  phone plug.

It’s unclear if the creation of the earphone feature was motivated by the desire to listen to the radio after bedtime, or avoid aggravating the Mrs with the play-by-play of the baseball game.

…time passes, until…
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