my review of the Voyager (polycom) headset!

I have two cellular phones. One is the work provided and is an Android device. The other is my cellular phone. Recently for my work PC and my work phone, I’ve been using the Polycom Voyager. I am a huge fan of over the ears headphones. The Voyager fits that bill quite well. I also like headsets that offer noise canceling (what I hear) and noise-canceling (what people were calling me to hear).  Since I have a softphone (using Jabber), and I am frequently on either WebEx or Zoom meetings, I often use the headset to communicate with people. The Voyager allows for that easily. First off the included USB key allows you to connect Voyager to your PC.

The other part is pairing, via Bluetooth with your computer. That is accomplished by simply turning on the Voyager, and pressing the power on button to the very top of the slide. That puts the headset into pairing mode, You then capture it with your phone or Bluetooth enabled tablet, and away you go! You can listen to music, take calls, and participate in UC and other Voice over IP conversations like Skype. The important thing for me is easy over the ear abilities of the headsets. I prefer that the headset support over the ear. I know, I should like the in the ear headsets more, I do like the other in the ear headset I reviewed, but that is one ear only (the Polycom 5200 UC).

Voyager is nice as it covers both ears. It also has a comfortable covering over the headset earpieces. I like to walk when I am on calls with my cell phone. The thing about headsets is they get a sweat on them. Part A is are they easy to clean (the Voyagers are). The other part is done they at least breathe and allow some airflow so that your ears don’t get sweaty (the voyagers do). The issue of sweaty ears is probably my problem. I like to walk around outside when I am on my cell phone. I don’t like pressing my phone against my head. Having headsets like the Polycom Voyager makes all the difference.

My rating of the Voyager headset is a solid 10 out of 10!

.doc

I am a weather geek

July 2019 was one of the hottest July’s ever. Of the last recorded hottest July’s in recorded history ten have comes since 2005. 9 of 10 in 14 years is a little scary.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iMk9mz6wrkg is a link to my daily time-lapse weather feed.

https://www.mylot.com/post/3298607/yesterdays-snarky-weaeterh-forecast-provided-today is the link to my MyLot post from today.

I am a huge weather geek. Recently a friend of mine shared a new home weather station (I now, you only need one) with me and I thought I would share a review of the new Smart Weather Systems. I am always intrigued with weather systems that connect to my iPhone, android or another portal, electronic systems to use as both storages (of data) and display. The other things I am interested in is getting more and more weather data. The picture shared with today’s post came from my weather station. It has been only for a month give or take a few days. The data collected is presented in an easy to use screen, but you can also go to a more detailed screen to bet additional data.

• Current UV

• Last time lightning was detected near you.

• Rainfall and rainfall rate.

• Temperature and so on.

You can also share your station directly with others. The interesting thing for me with this station is the lightning strike near me information. That is not new for this particular weather station. It always let me know when there is a thunderstorm rolling in from the mountains.

Setup of the station was easy. The first thing you do is plug in the indoor module. Add the solar array to the outside exposed unit and then the batteries to the hidden outdoor unit. One of the things that I get frustrated with Bloomsky is that they don’t have a separate outdoor temperature gauge. So no matter what you get a high temperature on my videos that is an in the sun temperature.

In-the-sun is not air temperature; it is always 3-5 degrees more.

Local or personal weather is important for two factors. The first is that most NWS stations are located in the city. Where I live in Maryland is not a big city, but there is enough concrete that downtown is 2-3 degrees warmer than where I am.

My overall rating for the Smart Weather Station is 9 out of 10.

.doc

how smart is your speaker?

One of the things that make me snicker (yes, even at my age, I still snicker) is the reality of smart speakers. The Amazon Alexa speaker listens for voice commands based on the phrase Alexa and then an action. Google looks for the passphrase Hey Google, and Cortana looks for Hey Cortana. But, the reality of advertising is that many companies advertised smart speaker services on the radio. My speaker in my office has Alexa integrated. When the ad on the radio would say Alexa tune to ESPN, my smart speaker tuned to ESPN, it makes me snicker as I said. It does call to mind a comedy routine I listened to a few months ago, where the comic talked about looking for smart speakers when visiting people’s houses.

Every time the host would leave the room, the comic would change the radio on the smart speaker (Alexa play Halloween music)! It made me laugh out loud. I know a few people. Let’s call them smart speaker warriors that would love the impact of something like that. Hey, why is your speaker playing Christmas music, its July? That got me thinking about my continued interest in voice control. The reality of voice control is ambient noise. Siri does ok inside the house. In my car, the voice control is not as effective. Alexa does find in the house, and I got the Alexa car kit, I am going to install it and see it in the car (with car noise) the Alexa car kit will do better than Siri.

I can now, fairly say that Voice Control devices are no longer a fad. They have moved into the mass market. TV’s, cars and speakers all offer voice control systems. I don’t recommend relying on the Toyota Voice control system, and it isn’t good. Siri is ok, but you often have to repeat yourself in the car. Recently I noticed that the ads that used to use the name Alexa, now say “tell your smart speaker to play X.” I wonder though if it is a smart speaker if, it is playing something that has it change its playback.

As more and more devices add voice control, I wonder what is next. Voice control toothbrushes? (brush faster, brush slower). Voice control razors? Who knows. Well, somebody knows, but it isn’t me.

.doc

the reality of connection…

The concept of connection is always interesting to me. There is a company (Kinsa) that has a connected thermometer. Basically what happens is you take your temperature in your ear, and then answer a question about what or if you are experiencing nay symtoms. IT then notifies you of any illnesses reported near you. A quick way to tell if you are in the early stages of illness going around. That, the concept, got me thinking about the connection. There are a growing number of devices in the connection space. But, space is still immature. What do I mean by Immature>? Well, the connected device doesn’t throw temper tantrums. They don’t scream, yell, and stomp their feet.

They do, however, allow their protocols to be detected. Bluetooth is a great wireless protocol, but it is leaky. It can be hijacked fairly quickly. It is called Bluejacking. If Bluetooth is on and functioning on your phone, your phone can be attacked. Wifi is a little easier to protect, but people don’t always use integrated security when setting up a Wifi network.  That is the immaturity of the connections today. One of the future states will be the one to one connection. Today there isn’t a lot of value in one to one Bluetooth. But in the future, you will be able to have one connection at a time for your Bluetooth device, and it will notify you on your phone or laptop if that connection is asked to change.

Basically, what would be created is two-factor authentication for Bluetooth devices. Today, Bluetooth connections are called “pairings” and have a unique ID between the two devices. That can be spoofed or blujacked. In the future, there will be the ability to add a secondary passcode or second verification of the device and the connection. You can do it today, but it isn’t very mature and causes delays. The problem with security is if the security takes twice as long, people start looking for ways around the security. This could be as simple as your iris scan or thumb print. Even as simple as prompting the facial ID function of your cell phone. It reduces the risk of using multiple Bluetooth devices!

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Headset terms

One of the gotcha’s in the headset world today is that of UC vs. other. UC headsets are designed to work with your computer, your phone or to work with both. The difference being that some UC headsets are locked or are paired with a USB key some are open and can pair with anything. UC represents the headsets designed for voice communication via your computer. If you don’t have a Voice Over IP account (this includes Skype and others), you don’t need a UC headset. But in the future, you may have a VOIP (Voice over IP) connection. Based on that I would recommend you consider if you are headset shopping getting one that is built to do both.

ANC is another interesting problem, it is the new automated noise-canceling system. The better the headset the addition of both an ANC microphone and ANC earbuds or headsets. Personally, I have one in the ear headset (The Polycom reviewed last week Polycom 5200 UC). I use it on my work computer to connect to my VOIP phone or sometimes called a soft phone. I have a couple of other headsets, and they come in a variety of types.

• Over the ear headset

o One ear

o Two ears

o Wired

o wireless

In the ear headset

o One ear

o Two ears

o Wired

o wireless

The reality of headsets, though is that you, the user, have to need headsets and want the type you get. In my house, there is one person that doesn’t use headsets at all. There are three people that, like in the ear headsets. The last person like over the ear headsets. I suspect you can also look directly at the number of hours spent talking on the phone because over a week I talk on the phone a lot more than anyone else in the family. Based on that, I like over the ears and ANC microphone and headset. For me, I like ANC headsets that allow me to use them while I am outside walking (noise-canceling Microphone) on an airplane (Noise-canceling ear headsets) and rechargeable.

More earpiece and headset reviews to come! I wanted to share a picture of the market today, so people understand why and what a headset did for them.

.doc

My review of the Polycom 5200 UC headset!

One of the things I struggle with is the reality of over the ear versus in the ear headsets. I have considered many times. I don’t always like the in-the-ear headsets. Although the Voyager 5200 UC fits snugly in my ear and because it wraps around the ear, I don’t feel like it is going to fall out of my ear. I have a VOIP phone (at work) and two cell phones. I have the Voyager connected to my work computer. I know, as someone that has many times talked to someone, that I thought was talking to me, because of hidden earbuds, I suspect that will happen. But the Voyagers fit nicely and free you from your desk.

A call come in, you can quickly switch to the call. Currently, I’ve used the device in the following:

1. Zoom meeting

2. WebEx

3. Jabber Call

It works exceptionally well in all four. Reasonable noise-canceling abilities also. The setup is straightforward, and you don’t have to install software on your computer. Just plug in the paired USB dongle and away you go.  One thing that I haven’t tried yet but is going to happen is talking on the phone when the other phone rings. I have been on my work phone, and when I got a second call, I was quickly able to put the first call on hold and answer the second.

Overall I am very impressed with the Polycom Voyager 5200 UC. It fits in my ear well, and the overall sound quality is very good. If you are in the market for a multipurpose small earbud based voice system, this one is a good addition to your arsenal.

It comes with a great small case for carrying.

Overall my rating for the Polycom Voyager 5200 UC is an 8 of 10.

.doc

In need of a light

When is the last time you checked your flashlight? Do you even have a flashlight anymore? I realized that yesterday, when I reached for two different flashlights, and neither had batteries. I had to get my cell phone to use that as a flashlight. I wanted to see under the refrigerator in the garage.

Part of that is my fault, and I normally check flashlights every quarter. Maybe this is my problem, but if you have flashlights, check them.

(The other thing was we didn’t have the battery type, but that is a prepping problem).

I did find the item that rolled under the refrigerator, but it took longer than I wanted it to! I changed the batteries in all the flashlights I had around the house. The problem with using my cell phone as my only flashlight is two-fold:

1, It doesn’t fit into smaller spaces

2. The light chews the battery, and if it is the only light I have during a power failure, I lose the phone!

There are several interesting technologies coming that I am excited about. Rocketbook shipped their product that converts a whiteboard (any whiteboard) into an interactive digital whiteboard. They are sitting on my desk for this weekend and installation at the house. I am going to put the corners on two whiteboards in the house and see how it works.

The other interesting technology (short term) is the world of Bluetooth headsets. I won’t spend any time on this right now. There are three types of headsets that people have and love. The first is the “in the ear,” the second is the over the ear, and the final type is the over the ear headset. All three connect to your phone or computer (softphone) to provide you with a connection for voice traffic. I am going to do reviews of a couple of headsets I’ve used and my choices.

Finally to end for today, the growing world of off-air TV, and cutting the cord. I was a Dish Network customer for 25 years. In that time we moved to three different cities. I cut that connection nearly a year ago. I do not miss Dish network! But I do wonder how much longer I will have a cable connection at home. I suspect that is a question many people are asking. How much longer will I watch traditional broadcast television?

.doc