Even a Zombie Benefits From Wearing A Headset

Audio-Technica are a long-standing manufacturer of professional microphones, headphones & turntables. Earlier today they released a nice video documenting their difficulty in achieving good audio pickup from a zombie.

I think it’s great that they selected a head-worn microphone as their best option. The “earset” they selected is similar to a headset, but without the earpieces for the performer. It’s not unlike the Countryman E6 microphone that I’ve used for live presentations. It’s failure in this application can only be attributed to unusual and unexpected circumstances.

On the basis of this video I think that these guys should be offered a guest appearance on AMC’s Talking Dead.

UC Strategies: If Not You, Then Who Will Use HDVoice?

podcast microphoneIt’s Q4-2014 and HDVoice is now largely passé. On that basis one might think that it’s use should become evident, especially amongst the telecom cognoscenti. So I was surprised to hear the most recent UC Strategies podcast entitled, “Connecting the Circuit.” This podcast,  a discussion of a new UC service called “Circuit”, was derived from a conference call of leading telecom experts.

Sadly, with the exception of a little music at the beginning, the recording exemplifies the finest narrowband audio traditions of the last century. This is, to my mind, a disappointment. It boggles the mind to think that some of the leading thinkers about UC, are not themselves taking advantage of one of its core features…HDVoice.

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Deal Alert: Lenovo X1 Carbon Touch Ultrabook

Woot.com is today offering the Lenovo X1 Carbon Touch Ultrabook for $899 & $999. I own the prior model, which is not touch enabled. Even though it’s coming on two years old I still like it a lot. It was a LOT more expensive than this current deal.

The more costly model on offer is to my mind the better deal. It features 8 GB of memory, a high-resolution (QHD = 2560 x 1440 pixel) display  and a larger battery.

According to Woot they both have Displayport and HDMI outputs, where my earlier model had only DisplayPort. Both models include a 128 GB SSD.

In theory there remains an open mPCIe slot that would allow the addition a of a second SSD. This is what I planned to try if the 256 GB SSD I custom ordered in my X1C was too small for my needs

Some Guidance On Headsets

Passport_21_OTH_3_QTR_RightA couple of weeks ago, over at the Broadband Reports forum on VoIP Tech, there was a question posed about selecting the best low cost microphone for VoIP applications. This is a topic that I’ve considered at length. It has much in common with my background in recording and broadcasting. On that basis I weighed in with some opinion. As I my way, I probably provided a longer answer than anyone anticipated, or even wanted. After re-reading it a few times I thought it worth sharing here as well.

The original question:

I realize many problems people experience are due to a lousy mic that isn’t noise canceling or picks up sounds from a anywhere in the room. There are many ways to improve this. I like the idea of a pickup pattern that is very isolated in front of the mic and within a finite range so I don’t have to wear the mic but maybe this is asking too much. If the mic only picks up sounds very close to it, wearing it can sure avoid a lot of problems. Don’t know if firewire or USB3 is better than USB2 or if its better to run the mic directly into your mic input of your motherboard or audio card or something else. Latency is not our friend! VOIP is so sensitive to extraneous noise so this needs to be addressed and is dependent on the ambient noise of the user. Any recommendations? Few of us work in a soundproof office.

As a long-time and vocal proponent of headsets for office use this is right in my wheelhouse. For example…. https://www.mgraves.org/2011/07/can-you-hear-me-now-headset-vs-speakerphone-in-the-home-office/

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Webcams 7: VDO360 Serious Webcams For Business

It was around a year ago that went on the hunt for a USB 3.0 webcam, only to find that they were essentially nonexistent. In my quest what I discovered was a range of products beyond the familiar consumer webcams. These are serious webcams for business, offered by companies like VDO360.

That companies’ initial product, the VPTZH-01 HD USB PTZ Video Camera, was novel for its VISCA compatible pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ) capability. It was introduced at around $1399, a price that was heralded as a breakthrough at the time. Award-winning in fact. The current street price, as exemplified by Amazon, seems to be $999.

The VPTZH-01 HD USB PTZ Video Camera is a USB 2.0 connected device, with all that entails. The sensor is capable of delivering images up to 1920 x 1080 pixels (1080p.) Most applications will only manage to access a 1280 x 720 pixel (720p) stream since they are taking uncompressed frames from the camera.

Applications that are sophisticated enough to setup the camera to deliver a stream of MJPEG compressed images will be able to get full 1080p quality for the effort. The MJPEG compression overcomes the bandwidth constraint of the USB 2.0 connection to the host computer.

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Recommended Reading: Exploding the Phone By Phil Lapsley

exploding the phoneThe folks over at VoIP Supply have started what they hope will be a series of interviews of bloggers in the VoIP-o-sphere. It happens that I was featured in the first installment in the series, which was posted a couple of weeks ago.

The article was derived from a short list of questions that they passed to me in September. Their line of questioning noted that people who write also tend to read a lot. On that basis, they asked for some recommended reading. While I read a lot more online than traditional books these days, I answered with a short list of items, both online and offline.

I thought that it worth expanding a little about the books I mentioned, the first of which was Exploding the Phone: The Untold Story of the Teenagers and Outlaws who Hacked Ma Bell by Phil Lapsley. This book from 2013 is an informative and entertaining romp through The History Of Phone Phreaking. It’s an interesting mix of personalities, companies and events. Taken at the macro level is describes an odd sort of clash of cultures.

The web site in support of the book has some interesting stuff, too. In particular, the author’s recorded presentation to HOPE 2012 is quite interesting.

That is, it’s certainly of interest to phreaks. The question is, are you a phreak? I am.