Friday, May 16, 2008

Cell phone headsets

Executive summary: If you drive with a cell phone, you should use a headset. I bought the first generation Aliph Jawbone and like it.

Right, moving on.

Two months ago, my loyal readers may recall that I started using a Bluetooth headset with my cell phone. Of course I find out yesterday that the company is soon releasing a second version of their product that's sexier, sleeker, newer- hell, it's literally got leather upholstery. At least the price point hasn't changed. This doesn't bug me so much, but I do wish they had a loyalty program.

I don't constantly wear my headset like some folks. You see these people walking and talking, and at first you think they're either talking to you or outright crazy and conversing with their dog. I got problems enough without strangers thinking I'm talking to invisible people across the ether. I most commonly see people who spend a long time working alone wearing headsets- delivery personnel, usually. They may have a business case to wear one, too. Maybe taxi drivers will soon start wearing them for dispatch.

I very specifically wear mine in two cases: driving or if I plan to have a long phone conversation. I've even gotten into the habit of wearing it no matter how long the drive unless I have someone in the car with me. This may change in the future, but for now, it's a solo tool.

Let's compare driving without a headset versus driving with a headset. Without, you must hold your cell (and ergo the hand) up to your head. Regardless of squandered attention, my hand cuts of a bit of my peripheral vision, but also makes me less inclined to turn my head. This is the crucial argument for using a headset- not that you're more or less focused when you jibber-jabber, but that your sense of kinesthetics inhibits you from the maximum range of freedom if you've got your meathook by your mug.

Upshot? It took a few days to a week to get used to handsfree talking. Now it's second nature. Oh, and it works with my Mac. Bonus.

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