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PLT Labs: Plantronics New Skunk Works

plantronics-voyager-legend-bluetooth-headset-300Plantronics has recently opened PLT Labs, a skunk works intended to help developers access the functions of the new generation of wearable technology. They propose to offer access to the new APIs exposed by prototype devices.

One of the more magical feature of the Plantronics Voyager Legend is the way it knows when you’re wearing it. If the headset is paired to my cell phone and I’m wearing the headset it will answer an incoming call.

If I’m not wearing the headset and I answer the phone using the handset itself, the headset knows to not involve itself in the media handling. It remains paired but switches the phone out of headset mode.

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Living With Technology: Sennheiser DW Pro2

It’s been just over two years since the Sennheiser DW Pro 2 DECT headset arrived. It’s been a very reliable device, seeing almost daily use over that period. This past weekend I had to effect a small repair. The issue was very minor, but worth noting if you own a similar device.

The DW Pro2 headset returns to its desktop base for charging when not in use. Normally it connects to the base in a firm manner, the blue LED on the earpiece indicating a charging state.

I had noticed that a couple of times that it wasn’t quite so firm in how it was received by the desktop base. If I wasn’t careful the headset would appear to be on the base, but the blue LED would not light and it would not charge. The upshot being that the next day when I went to use the headset it would not be fully charged.

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An Interesting History Of Headphones

k240studioSome time ago I stumbled upon a nice article that proposed to be something of a history of headphones. It’s a fairly good effort on the part of the author. However, I would like to add my two-cents in reference to a couple of missing items that I think are significant.

When I was in school in the mid-1980’s I was studying music recording and broadcasting. I spent a lot of time in and around various recording studios around Toronto. The single most common headset that I saw at that time was the AKG K240 Studio monitors. These were the reference grade dynamic headphones used in many facilities at that time.

The K240s are genuinely, big-ole, cans. A circumaural headphone with a semi-open design they sound great, even today. They can be cleanly driven to excessive volumes if required. Fairly efficient, they can even be powered by a cell phone or iPod.

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Skype Offers Tips For Improved Audio and Video Quality

Skype-Jabra-Jims-book-300pxMatthew de Beer has penned a couple of recent blog posts over at Skype’s The Big Blog. The most recent one is called, “See no evil, hear no evil – Tips for audio and video quality” and offers some sounds advice on the use of the mute button. It also offers guidance on lighting considerations for video calls. These are both simple, but helpful tips.

I’m constantly amazed at how many people have video calls in a completely ad hoc manner, giving no thought at all to how they look, or the situation around them. A little thought about lighting can dramatically improve your experience with video calling.

Mr. de Beer also had an earlier post entitled, “Gearing For Success.” In this case he promotes the use of a headset over the built-in microphone & speakers common to a laptop.  I concur, but I would make the case more fervently.

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