A little matter of Ego

Quite recently Dave Michels penned a review of the Konftel Ego for the UCStrategies blog. I like Dave. I especially appreciate his no-nonsense approach to things. If he says something is good, it’s probably worth a look.

Konftel’s Ego is a portable, personal speakerphone device with both USB and Bluetooth connectivity. I see that the Ego is listed under $100 on Amazon. Given Dave’s recommendation, and an attractive price, I may need to give it a try. My past experience with the larger Konftel 300 was quite good.konftel-ego-1-vl

That said, I’d also like to take this opportunity to remind you of a very firmly held belief. If you truly care about how you sound to the people at the far-end…if their experience truly matters…you’ll choose a headset over any kind of speakerphone or conference phone. When the quality of experience delivered to the other party is paramount, a good headset trumps all else.

A good headset, preferably one with a boom-mounted microphone, takes the acoustics of the room completely out-of-play. It eliminates any possibility of noise, echo, or reverberance, delivering your message as clear as possible to your audience.

No amount of engineering wizardry can make up for sub-optimal microphone placement. Period.

Conference phones and speaker phones simply cannot deliver a comparable experience. You always trade quality of audience experience for your own convenience.

Yes, a headset…When you care enough to sound your very best.

The Big Blue Yeti, Soft Phones & Audio Sample Rate

dialpad-windows-desktop-yetiA short while ago friend and telecom luminary Dave Michels contacted me about a problem he was encountering with his Blue Yeti USB microphone. While he appreciates the benefits of a headset, he prefers to not use one when there’s video involved.

Dave uses the Yeti when recording videos and participating in various UC podcasts. He’s recently started to use it with the Dialpad soft phone. That’s the service that provides his home & office phones.

The Yeti is a fine microphone for many purposes. The combination of USB convenience, handy level controls and low-latency monitoring makes it an excellent choice for podcasters. I recently wrote a blog post for ZipDX that describes its use by a professional interpreter in the UK.

In Dave’s case, when using the Yeti with Dailpad others on the call would complain that his volume was very low. So much so that he was forced to switch to his Plantronics Savi headset. They also complained that “he sounded bad.”

To solve these problems the two of us set about a quick investigation. What we found is potentially useful, so I’m sharing it here with y’all.
Continue reading “The Big Blue Yeti, Soft Phones & Audio Sample Rate”

Proving An Unregistered IP Desk Phone Can Still be Useful

Granstream GXP-2160Here’s an admission of sorts. I quite admire Dave Michels’ friend Colin Berkshire. He’s a consistent source of both wit and wisdom. For example, today he describes his somewhat unusual use of a Grandstream GXP2160 IP Telephone in My Line-less Desk Phone.

Not to spoil the punch line, but the phone can be paired to a mobile phone via Bluetooth, making it effectively a great handset for his iPhone. So it’s genuinely useful even without having a SIP line registered.

Other companies like Mocet & Invoxia (review) offer similar capability in dedicated function devices, but these cost considerably more than the GXP-2160, which is currently listed on Amazon for just $99.

I wish I could do the same with my Polycom VVX-600!

Dave Michels on Headsets

Sennheiser-DW-Pro-2-HeadsetDave Michels is a tea drinker. I’m not sure that fact is widely known, but I swear it’s true. Moreover, I suspect that someone has slipped something into his tea. Today he issued a curious assertion in an otherwise good article about headsets.

Sez he:

Headset/Headphones: I prefer the term headphones. I think headset implies a voice microphone and headphone implies audio or speakers only. Those distinctions are obsolete. Modern microphones are small, cheap, and sensitive. They no longer need to be in front of the mouth, so can be placed invisibly on headphones. Since most devices now support speech or voice, it’s just silly to get headphones without a microphone. Now that we’ve cleared this up, I am only using “headphone” below.

I take issue with his simplistic view of microphones, and especially the significance of microphone placement. If you truly care about how you are conveying your voice then a boom mounted microphone is a must! Accept no substitutes.

If, on the other hand, you are more concerned about not looking geeky…go whatever path tickles your fancy. Enjoy those Beats By Dr Dre Hey, he’s a Doctor right? They must be great.

Continue reading “Dave Michels on Headsets”

To Sit, Stand, or Walk At Work?

Rebel-Desk-Teak-300pxI’ve been toying with standing while working in my home office. I say “toying” with it because I really haven’t made a substantial commitment to the idea. At least not until recently.

Back in December 2013 I purchased an adjustable laptop stand that’s capable of putting my laptop at the correct height for working while standing. It’s not great. It’s just not rigid enough to accommodate my typing. It’s adequate for reading but not good for writing. It renders my laptop about the same level of utility as my Nexus 7 tablet.

I also found that my laptop stand, purchased years ago from Frontgate, can just make it up to the right height for standing. In fact, I started writing this post in that manner. However, it too is less than ideal. I find that I don’t like looking down at the laptop display a long time. I also missed the dual-monitor setup that I have on my desk.

Continue reading “To Sit, Stand, or Walk At Work?”

Video Calling 4: Can You Identify These lights?

DVE-TelepresenceIt’s been a while since the matter of lighting for video calling has been an issue around here. In general I’ve been pretty happy with the Brightlines LED Conference lamp that I had described previously. I do wish that I had a second light to use at my desk. Thus far I’ve been moving the Brightlines lamp from place to place as needed.

Just a couple of days ago Dave Michels mentioned that he had acquired some of the Videssence ViewMe Lights. The lucky devil, his were acquired on-the-cheap via Ebay. It’s curious that the web site at www.ViewMeLight.com seems to be D.O.A. even though the product page is up at the Videssence website.
Continue reading “Video Calling 4: Can You Identify These lights?”