Wednesday, July 7, 2004

A Product Endorsement

Since I'm normally complaining about products that don't work like they ought to, I thought I'd turn it around a bit and talk about something that actually works.

First, a little bit about the product that didn't work which it replaced.

I got a new cell phone.  (Free with another two-year contract.  Lovely.)  It's a good Nokia phone with every bell or whistle I might want.

Except a hands-free headset that actually works.

It came with one of those hands-free units where there's an earpiece from which the microphone dangles.  (Kinda like everyone uses on 24.)  Like this microphone unit spinning in the breeze somewhere in the general vicinity of your shoulder can pick up any sound coming from your mouth.  Sheesh.  I mean, I understand why they use them on 24 -- it's great if you're filming television and if you want people to have cell phone conversations without having any little bits of technology blocking all those close-up shots of their faces -- but, of course, that's television and the people aren't actually communicating on these things.  If we actually had a Counter Terrorism Unit depending on dangly microphones....  it boggles the mind....  No wonder we had so many intelligence failures pre-9/11.  Someone was probably reporting the movements of the terrorists on a freakin' dangly mic.

Now, I actually tried to use this thing when I was driving.  Here's me trying to use the dangly mic.  I quickly learn it doesn't pick up anything when dangling beside my ear, so I end up sticking the earpiece in my right ear, and attaching the clip to the left-hand corner of my eyeglasses, such that the dangly microphone is sitting on my lower lip.  I look like an idiot, but at least I can be heard.

I can't imagine what it would be like if some cop sees me driving along with this contraption on my face.  I decide I need to buy a "boom" style microphone headset.  The problem here is that Nokia phones have their very own unique headset jack, so the standard headset you can pick up for $12 at Staples won't fit the damn thing.

I go to the Nokia website.  They sell a boom mic headset for a whopping $25.  And, of course, I don't know whether the quality of this thing is as bad as the Nokia dangly mic.

And here we finally get to the product I want to rave about.  I do some research online and discover that a company called Jabra makes headsets for all kinds of cellphones, including some with the bizarre Nokia jack.  They make a little job called the "Jabra Earboom headset" that I could buy in a Nokia version for $15.  Sits in your ear (comfortably) and has a little boom mic going a couple inches down your face.  It's adjustable, so you can point it in the direction of where your own personal mouth happens to be.  And the damn thing is really powerful, so it can hear you even though it is sitting near your cheek (and not really blocking your close-up).

It works!  It works great!  Not only is the sound better than the dangly mic, the sound is better than if I'm just holding the phone up to my head.  I want to carry the little Jabra thing with me all the time and use it whenever I make calls -- not just in the car.  It rocks!

All hail inexpensive technology that works!

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