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Polycom Tip: Easy Screen Captures

There are certainly a lot of SIP desk phones out there, with more coming every month, but I still like my Polycom VVX Series. I recently faced a task that involved creating some documentation of SIP device configurations. This gave me a chance to try a facility of the Polycom phones that I’d long known about, but never actually used…screen capture of the device menus.

The Polycom SoundPoint, VVX and SoundStation series devices running firmware v3.2 (circa 2011) or newer support easy screen capture using a web browser. That in turn makes creating pictorial documentation a lot nicer.

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The Questionable Economics Of EHS Cables & Lifters

If you spend a lot of time on the phone then I believe that you need a proper headset. Many headsets require some form of interface hardware to connect to a desk phone. Many IP phones, like my Polycom Soundpoint IP series, require the use of an “Electronic Hook-Switch” (aka EHS) cable or a mechanical lifter.

A mechanical lifter is a Flintstone-like approach to hook switch control by purely mechanical means. It literally lifts the handset to take the phone off-hook, replacing it down again to hang up the call. To me this is essentially a kind of telephony steam punk.

Moving to 21st century methods, an EHS cable allows some aspect of the headset to control the hook state of the phone electrically. That is, it allows you to answer or hang up a call using switching that’s built into the headset. This may be true with both wired and wireless headsets.

To be blunt, lifters and EHS cables just aren’t cheap. The few times that I’ve had to buy an EHS cable it cost in the $50 – $80 range. That’s a considerable price when compared to the cost of the headset or the desk phone itself.

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A Few Ideas On Call Recording

Polycom-SoundPoint-IP-335-300px Earlier this week I had a little Twitter exchange with Jon Brodkin. It was inspired by his initial tweet:

“transcribing interview and can hear myself sipping coffee. That must come through loud and clear on speakerphone too.”

The inappropriate, or at least unfortunate use of speakerphones being a pet peeve of mine I could not help but respond, recommending the use of a good headset…as I’ve done many times previously.

Jon further went on to inquire about how he might easily record a call when using a headset with his using a Polycom Soundpoint IP335?

He further asserts that:

“…you would think it should be a lot easier with an Internet-based phone, but it’s not.”

That started me wondering how many people find call recording to be troublesome? People in companies with on-site PBX systems may have such capability presented by those systems. SOHO users may need other options.

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Experimenting With The Plantronics MDA200 & Various Cordless Headsets

A few people have commented offline about my recent review of the Sennheiser DW Pro2 DECT headset. The major thrust of opinion seems to be that the DW Pro2 is simply unreasonably expensive. As I said in the review, that’s your call to make dear reader. However, such commentary has driven me to consider an alternative.

For the past week I’ve had a Plantronics MDA200 in-house. I’ve had some time over the holiday break to try it with the various headsets that I have on-hand. It happens that I currently have a Plantronics Voyager PRO UC v1, Voyager Pro UC v2, Savi Go and Savi W430 hereabouts. This assortment seems a reasonable basis for experimenting with the MDA200.

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Can You Hear Me Now? Headset vs Speakerphone In The Home Office

Headset vs Speakerphone Every time you make or receive a phone call it’s for a reason; there’s a point to be made, something to be communicated. Communicating effectively is critically important in business.

Anything that helps to make your message more clearly gives an advantage. Inversely, anything that makes it more difficult to communicate is, in reality, a threat to your business. This principle should be your guide as you select equipment for your small office or home office.

When considering home office telephony the technologically inclined often get bogged down in debate about the use of traditional phone service vs various forms of IP telephony. This is a big issue, with many complexities to be considered. However, there is a simpler issue that can have a dramatic impact on the enhancing your ability to communicate clearly; do you have a good headset?

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