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A Gift For Geeks: Charge!

Cell phones, tablets & related accessories are very personal items. I am increasingly of a mind that items of technology are too personal to be a gift. However, there are a few some cases where that’s not true. For example,…

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The LG HBS-730 Bluetooth Headset Sucks Rocks

Nexus7-Headset-BT-xmitter verticalAs was mentioned a few weeks ago, I’ve been looking for a Bluetooth headset primarily for listening to music. This is a very different use case for me. For years I’ve reserved Bluetooth wireless devices exclusively for use with my mobile phone, making phone calls.

I bought one of the leading devices in this class, the LG HBS-730. It was recommended by several friends, so I thought it would surely be great. Except that it wasn’t. Compared to my reference, the Etymotic HF5, it sounded dull and lifeless when paired to anything I had on-hand.

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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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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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Daniel Berninger Samples AT&T’s Mobile HDVoice in Chicago

Samsung S4 Mini 300pxHere in the US the mobile carriers are finally getting something done with respect to rolling out HDVoice. T-Mobile has been offering HDVoice since January of 2013. As I’ve mentioned previously, I’ve been able to try this myself using a Nexus 5. They added a little sport to the game by launching VoLTE in Seattle earlier this month.

Sprint is trialing HDVoice in limited markets pending a national rollout in June.  AT&T has launched VoLTE/HDVoice in some mid-western markets. Verizon must be feeling laggard as they recently started some PR/social media hand-waving with respect to their VoLTE/HDVoice initiative.

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