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Considering Opus Implementations

Opus-over-skypeOpus promises to be a great tool for online audio. In technology, as in music, not all opus are implemented equally. Allow me to explain.

Earlier this week I happened into a Twitter exchange with Mike Phillips. Mike is a podcaster. VUC founder Randy Resnick has introduced us once before. Mike is seeking a replacement for the role that Skype plays in his online toolbox.

It came to light that Mike has tried to leverage various soft phones, even giving some focus to finding one that implements the Opus codec. Opus is after all, open source, the current state-of-the-art in audio codecs, and a new IETF standard. However, in Mike’s attempts to tap its potential he has to date come up short relative to Skype.

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Overview of Portable USB Speakerphones

For the past few years a little USB speakerphone has been a constant fixture on my desk. This fact was initially driven by my UK-based coworkers who have a habit of using Skype. Most of the Skype traffic was simply IM, but once in a while it would escalate to a voice call. In those cases I needed a suitable audio device, but it wasn’t routine enough to merit keeping a headset immediately available.

usp-speakerphones

Over time I started to see increasing value in using other soft phones as well. At first it was for the convenience of being able to effectively turn any PC I happened to be working on into a phone. The scope of this sometimes goes beyond telephony. For example, I’ve used a USB audio device to record screencast training movies. Since server class motherboards often don’t have built-in audio interfaces, using a USB attached device makes it possible to record the narrative of the training on the host system along with the screencast.

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Headphones & Headsets In The Works

plantronics-t100I’ve been thinking a lot about headsets and headphones lately. This comes to be for a couple of reasons. Firstly, I left my favorite headset for listening to music in a coworkers car, and I don’t think I’m getting them back. Secondly, my favorite cell phone headset is very aged, and near death. Finally, I’ve been needing to upgrade the headset hardware that I use for telephony to better address my increasing use of wideband telephony. That has both desk-bound and portable aspects to be considered.

So I decided that I’d try a bunch of headsets of various sorts and see what I found the most appealing. This got started last December my wife bought me a Plantronics .Audio 480 headset as a gift. I’ve been using it quite a bit and I’m just about done with a written review of my experience using that device.

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