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Talking to my PC: calling and recording

I've always been uncomfortable sitting at my desk, talking to my PC via a headset; it just hasn't felt like making a phone call unless I have a phone clutched in my hand or tucked under my jaw. While I'm sitting in the comfy chair with my leg up to rest my knee and working on a laptop (or two - I miss the multiscreen thing), I've found it much easier to use a headset with a mobile phone or the DECT phone from Simon's desk. I'm set up to record from the phone on my desk onto a tablet PC or a digital recorder, which doesn't work from the mobile phone. How could I get the recording and the headset to make it easier to take notes and record the interview I had to do today? Mark Anderson of SNS is one of the smart people I get to enjoy talking to and I didn't want to miss anything I couldn't type fast enough. And how could I keep the cost of a transatlantic call down? Simon suggested Skype, and the Skype voucher we'd picked up at a recent conference and the handy Skylook software he found which records to MP3 and saves the recordings as an Outlook message (and adds all the Skype dialling options to Outlook). At first I thought that was a bit gimicky and wished it recorded into OneNote. I'd still like to record it into OneNote but having it in Outlook and therefore on any PC I use will actually be pretty handy. And I'm very impressed with the sound quality - using the standard microphone socket on a Toshiba Portege R100, it's very clear and there were maybe two three-second sections of the conversation where I heard any distortion. I shall do this again. But I may not hand out my Skype numebr widely; I'd rather have a handset to pick up to see who's calling than a pop-up cluttering my screen.


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
26th Jun, 2006 20:23 (UTC)
You're wierd. I've been using headsets for 15 years. I *hate* having to hold the phone, it's darn difficult to type and talk for one thing. I also hate being tied down, so a DECT phone with headset has been my preferred solution.

Finally decided to sign up to Skype coz the "real" VOIP chaps are taking WAY TOO LONG to turn their "standards" into something useable in the real world. But though I've seen several skype "phones" (trad handsets, who knows that they plug into your USB port instead of the wall) but I've plumped for a headset - a bluetooth one.

Now if only the buggers would *deliver* it...

27th Jun, 2006 17:28 (UTC)
it's a cognitive dissonance; it didn't feel like a phone call if I wasn't holding the phone so I couldn't concentrate on the call. Typing notes deals with that - it may be that the laptop is 'close enough' that I feel involved in a way I don't on the desktop with the mouse in my hand and more windows crowding in on me. I often find headsets uncomfortable, but the last couple I've picked up have been less like sticking a rock in my ear.
28th Jun, 2006 09:50 (UTC)
Ah, don't get me started on in-ear stuff. Hate. Applies to personal-stereo kit too - I've tried cheap and I've tried very darned expensive supposedly "ear-shaped" and I can't stand any of them for more than ten minutes.

I've used Plantronics "starset" headsets for about 15 years. Proper head-band, with one or two earpieces (two is wierd - it's a mono signal of course so it sounds like the person you're speaking to is in the middle of your head). Also single-sided headset means you can keep it on all day (it's ver comfortable, it isn't IN your ear) and still talk to "local" people.

The only comfy Bluetooth unit I had was also Plantronics. Sadly it suffered from poor design and it's a right bugger to get the damn thing to charge its battery. I bought a Jabra one - wasn't *too* bad, it's in-ear but it's suspended in the middle of the hole, rather than "Hanging" in your ear. But it takes about half an hour to get it on right. I just bought a Motorola hang-on-ear one (the one Skype sell/recommend) and whoever designed the ear-loop doesn't use the same shape ears as I do.

But from choice I'm a walky-talker. If I'm not typing, I'm inclined to wonder about as I chat - often leads to a mad dash back to the desk when the caller starts asking about stuff I need a screen to find out or key in. :-)
26th Jun, 2006 21:20 (UTC)
I use Skype a lot (I've spent just short of £20 on SkypeOut so far this month, and have SkypeIn numbers on both sides of the pond), and find the IPEVO to be the dog's danglies.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )


full steam ahead
Mary Branscombe
Simon & Mary

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