How to be a better headphone listener

When you’re listening to speakers the sound comes from “over there,” but with headphones where is the sound? A lot depends on the recording and the headphones. With mono recordings the sound is centered inside your head, with stereo the sound picture is more complicated. Vocals, or any sound mixed to appear centered between the left and right channels, will be inside your head, like a mono recording. The sounds over to the left and right might come from next to your ears.

Listening over one of the better open-back full-size headphones, the sound might feel like it’s surrounding you. You’re in the middle of the sound field, or it might come from slightly above your head. The headphones melt away and you are one with the music. Sometimes when I’m watching a movie I forget the headphones. The sound isn’t over there, it’s all around me; I’m in the middle of a sound “bubble.”

I’m not suggesting that headphones can ever mimic what we hear from speakers. Headphones can’t do that, but the downside to speakers is they can never be heard directly; the speakers’ sound is combined with the room’s reflections, reverberations, and other forms of acoustic interference. With headphones the sound “couples” directly to your ears, so you have a far more intimate connection to the music.

With full-size over-the-ear headphones, the contours of your outer ears direct the sound to your inner ears in the same way sound is heard from speakers. In-ear headphones “bypass” the outer ear and produce a more direct connection to the recording. With purely acoustic music, the sound over headphones takes on what I call a microphone perspective, you hear what the mics “heard.”

That’s not the case with electronic music since no microphones were used to make the recording. Even so, I find lots of electronica sounds amazing, and some of the best albums were mixed to produce out-of-head stereo imaging. Listen for depth, does the sound seem very close to your ears or further away? Recordings vary a lot in their stereo imaging, but the more closely you listen, the more aware you will be of spatial cues in headphone listening. Try some of Brian Eno’s ambient albums like “On Land” and “Apollo” to hear what I’m talking about.

To get started, relax and focus on the sound. Your surroundings should be fairly quiet, close your eyes, and sink into the music. After a few minutes the separate left, center, right stereo perspectives should fall away, and your head will feel like it’s in the center of an expansive sound field.

Share your thoughts on spatial headphone listening below.

We found this excellent article here and as you can see it give us valuable information on why headphones aren’t better than speakers, but if you don’t want your neighbors complaining or your family moaning, then you’ll have to wait for the technology to come up with perfect acoustic sound.

Business

How a Digital Walkie Talkie Works?

The Digital Walkie Talkie is the best way to communicate other than cellular phones on the world market. These devices are still widely used by the military personal, police officers, public event organizers, etc.

You might be quite interested how the digital Walkie Talkie Works? A walkie-talkie is a hand-held portable radio which communicates wirelessly using the radio wave signals on single and shared frequency bands.

Each of the battery-powered units of the device contains an antenna and transmitter/receiver for sending and receiving of the radio waves. It also contains a loudspeaker that doubles up as loud as a microphone when someone talks into it. There is also a “push-to-talk” or PTT button for this purpose.

The loudspeaker/microphone of the device works following the same mechanism as that of the intercom. The microphone and speaker contains almost the same components viz. a magnet, a wire coil, and a plastic or paper cone to pick up and generate the sounds.

You can also use any single device to do both jobs by switching electrical circuit and reversing the current flow. Walkie talkies manufactured by big companies include separate microphones and loudspeakers. Thus, it is based on a very simple mechanism.

How to use the Walkie talkie?

Groups of People who talk on the digital Walkie Talkie don’t need to tune into the same frequency band. Thus the Digital element of the Walkie Talkie. The radios of these walkie talkies are all receiving. Thus, the microphone/loudspeaker units work as a conventional radio.

If you want to talk with others via a walkie talkie, then you need to hold the push-to-talk button on the handset. After that, the radio becomes quiet as the loudspeaker switches over to the microphone.

As you talk into it, your words are converted into the radio waves and are then beamed out on a prearranged channel. Typical frequency of this channel is around 400 MHz. The radio waves are a part of the electromagnetic spectrum, they travel at the speed of sound.

The high-speed sound waves are very easily picked up by the other handsets. The radio waves are converted back into electric currents and are used by the loudspeakers to reproduce the sound of the voice of the person who is talking.

When the talking is finished, the talker says “over” and releases the “push-to-talk” button.

The radio now switches back into listening mode and someone else can talk. After this, the radio switches back into the listening mode.

The most distinct feature of the digital Walkie Talkie that makes it quite different from the normal radio is that it is a 2 way radio that is you can talk as well listen with the help of this device.

What are the benefits of using these devices?

The digital Walkie Talkie is a simple, robust and easy to use device for indoor as well outdoors. These devices are also very much suitable for the children as these are very light and easy to carry and handle.

The kids can keep in constant touch with their parents with the help of these devices. These are very much suitable for the business application purposes.

What are the major specifications?

A Digital Walkie Talkie is very convenient and weighs 100-200 grams and can work over a 5 to 10 square kilometer or 2-4 square miles. These electronic devices also have a very long battery-life of almost 20 hours.

The Walkie-talkies have multiple channels. So you can easily switch from one to the other easily. Some walkie talkies also have baby monitor intercoms.

What are the various parts of this device?

Variois parts of the digital Walkie Talkie include antenna, LCD displays, select buttons, monitor, menu buttons, loudspeaker, PTT button, volume control, on/off switch, microphone, LED indicators, etc.

The radio waves are sent and received by the antenna. The LCD display shows the channel number, battery life, etc., baby monitors are sometimes fitted within the device, the menu buttons are used to change the settings and functions of the device.

The LED indicate light glows showing that the channels are all busy.

The digital Walkie Talkie is offered at very reasonable and affordable prices by the best online shops. These are also very durable and flexible when in use. Therefore, it is a very useful telecommunication device for the people of all ages and backgrounds.

Business

220-Year-Old Time Capsule Finally Opened This Year

A home made time capsule thought to be over 220 years old was opened in Boston, Massachusetts, USA earlier this month.

The brass box was originally buried in 1795 in a cornerstone of Boston’s State Capitol Building. It is thought that Paul Revere, the famous American Patriot, silversmith and metalworker was responsible for placing it there, along with US Founding Father Samuel Adams.

Due to the age of the capsule, it took an hour for experts to access the contents of the box. Once the lid had been carefully removed, officials found a copy of the Boston Daily newspaper, two dozen gold and silver coins, various documents and a metal plate engraved by Revere (who was also a famous engraver).

The engraving is likely to be of special interest to some, as Revere’s work is very highly prized in the United States.

For those unfamiliar with the name, Paul Revere is considered to be a hero of the American Revolution. He is depicted in statues and even has several towns named after him. The company he founded, The Revere Copper Company, still produces copper products to this day.

Samuel Adams, for his part, was a leader in the movement that ultimately became the American Revolution, and also served as Governor of Massachusetts in the 1790’s. Many historians consider him to be the father of the American Revolution.

This time capsule is especially significant because it was originally buried by two such notable men, both of whom were obviously interested in leaving something for future Americans to experience and enjoy.

It is believed that the box was first discovered in 1855 and that its contents were disturbed then before being reburied. As a result of this earlier opening, some of the coins had suffered erosion. However, for the most part, the capsule’s contents appeared to have aged fairly well.

Marcel Comeau, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Archive and Commonwealth Museum, told local news affiliate wsiltv.com that, “We as custodians have an awesome responsibility, the protection and preservation of these materials. They’ve been entrusted to us by generations past, so generations in the future can see them as well,”

Officials at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston have said that the box, together with its contents, would be put on display for a limited time, before being resealed in the cornerstone for future generations to enjoy.

Business

Does The Old Two Cans on a String Thing Actually Work?

It does indeed. The old children’s favourite may have been supplanted somewhat by the relentless march of technology, especially now that almost every kid has a mobile phone and/or access to the Internet, but there is still a lot of fun to be had there.

For those reading this that don’t know, the two cans on a string game involves taking two empty (and preferably washed out) tin cans, the kind you might buy baked beans in, punching a small hole in the bottom of both cans and then threading a length of string in between each hole, tying it in a knot big enough to secure it in the can. Then, when the string is pulled tight, it is possible for one person to speak into the can and another to listen and reply. It also works with polystyrene cups, albeit to a slightly lesser extent. You’d be amazed also at the distance your voice can actually travel using this method.

It is not advisable to use stretchable string for the cans as it just makes life more difficult!

The science behind this game is actually very simple. The vibrations of your voice shake the bottom of the can and that, in turn, vibrates the string. Provided the string is pulled taut and isn’t touching anything, there should be no reason at all for your voice not to travel along the string to be received by your companion at the other end.

In fact, this game actually qualifies as a sort of rudimentary telephone; the theory behind it is very similar.

If you happen to be a parent, this game can keep the kids entertained on rainy afternoons, as well as providing a useful scientific lesson for them. I have many happy childhood memories of playing this game. However, it is very important to make sure that the cans have no sharp edges around the inner rim, for older kids, a simple ‘safety brief’ will probably do, but younger kids might be safer with a little electrical or duct tape stuck around the top of the can (in each child’s favourite colour, maybe? Just a thought). It shouldn’t affect the sound too much, if at all.

It’s amazing the fun you can have with a couple of old cans and a length of string. Hope that helps.

Business

UK SURGEON EXPERIMENTS WITH OCULUS RIFT TO MAKE ‘VIRTUAL SURGEON’

A British surgeon wants to make the operating room virtual with the Oculus Rift headset.

Dr. Shafi Ahmed, a laparoscopic and colorectal surgeon, has already worked to integrate Google Glass into his lessons as an associate dean at the Barthes of London Medical School.

As co-founder of the tech company Medical Realities, Ahmed now wants to use the virtual reality system Oculus Rift to create the “Virtual Surgeon,” a pilot program that would allow medical students to practice surgeries inspired by actual operations before setting foot into an operating room.

Ahmed and his team presented Virtual Surgeon at the wearable technology show this week.

“It’s very easy to train people in a correct operation,” Ahmed told ABC News on Friday. “It’s not so easy when things go wrong. … We’re all put in situations where things can go wrong.”

Last month, Ahmed took the first steps towards creating that program by making a 360-degree video of an operation.

Anyone wearing an Oculus Rift headset could then be able to get an immersive view of the laparoscopic procedure when the video is played back.

The virtual reality experience of Oculus Rift is a better simulation for students, Ahmed said, because it can more easily mimic a real operating room.

“It’s as close as you can get to replicating it,” he said, noting that education should always embrace the newest technology and a virtual reality operating room could be the next major tool for students.

The Oculus Rift headset has not been made available to consumers yet, but the company was acquired by Facebook for $2 billion last year. The headsets have already been utilized by a range of people, from real estate agents to driving instructors and fitness companies.

The oculus Rift has huge potential, this is a great one where it can save lives. Much like pilots, racing drivers and firefighters use simulators to improve training this is a good thing, the only issue will be the standard of the software used with the headset.

Original source - http://kticradio.com/abc_health/uk-surgeon-experiments-with-oculus-rift-to-make-virtual-surgeon-abcid35269105/

Business

MSA Sordin Supreme Pro-x Review

If you are wondering what kind of headphone you should choose to support your shooting practice, whether it is for training or for recreational purposes, then MSA Sordin Supreme Pro-x is a perfect ally for you. It is amazing even in the noisy condition and provides excellent ear protection while using it.

Let’s look at the most attractive features of this amazing device.

Most attractive features

What sets this device stand out is its amazing features and user-friendly application. If you look at the benefits you would receive out of it, you would immediately go and order.

  • Two separate and waterproof microphones: What are most important in this device are its two separate microphones. They are very useful in directional hearing while shooting and the sound quality is excellent. If you wear this while shooting practice or for playing or for theatrical purpose, nothing can pass through without you hearing it first. They are also waterproof which means you can use it anywhere you choose even amid the worst weather condition.
  • 300 hours of battery life: The people who have used it have reported that this device has more than 300 hours of battery life which is beyond anyone’s expectation from this range of headphones. MSA Sordin Supreme Pro-x has 2 x AAA batteries which support the hearing without any need to connect it for recharging the batteries.
  • Excellent design: What most people look at especially shooters are slick designed head phones because all the time they need to wear it. They also want both of the cups to be slim so that it would be easier for them to carry it. In this device both cups are slim which is perfect for both right hand and left hand shooters.
  • Black fabric headband cover: This device comes up with black fabric headband cover which increases the attractiveness of this device. The band protects the headphone from scratches and dust and it is also a perfect fashion statement for the people who use it.
  • Provide high amplification: The ear head would be such that nothing can pass through without creating a penetration in the ears of the users. This device provides high amplification which means that every minute sound also reaches the ears of the users. In this range of headphones, it is magnificent.
  • AUX Input: This device is provided with AUX input meaning 3.5mm through which one can connect the other device. For example, if you are going for tracking a dog, you can connect the dog tracking device with the AUX input of this device. If you are on hunting, you can connect your hunting radio with it. Or else if you simply want to listen to music you can do that too, just attach the CD player with the AUX input. The advantage is that with this device the mono cable is also included.
  • Waterproof battery compartment: Not only the microphones, the batter compartment of this device is also water proof that means you don’t need to worry about the battery as well. If you need to go out in a situation where the weather is not good enough, you don’t need to think about your battery compartment. They are already secured.
  • Long duration wearing time: Due to its high ear protection, the people who love to play recreational games or love shooting can wear it for more than 6 hours a day without having any issues. And if you are shooting a rifle it also doesn’t act as a hindrance while shouldering the rifle.
  • Noise cancelling is excellent: Most people who have used it have reported that the noise cancelling of this device is excellent. When they wear it they can hear everything clear and as it is. Noisy environment cannot affect their hearing while wearing this device.
  • Warranty: The electronic parts of the device are warranted for 5 years meaning you can use it as much as you want for 5 years.
  • NRR: The Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) for this device is 18 dB which is very quiet level. As already mentioned having 18 dB as rating means excellent noise reduction mechanism.
  • While only rare devices have no weaknesses, MSA Sordin Supreme Pro-x is one of them. According to users there are no demerits whatsoever in using this device. It is easy, reasonably priced, provides excellent sound quality and perfect partner for people who love shooting and recreational games. Now they can experience the benefits of this amazing, smart device.

Business

When Bob Woolmer and Hansie Cronje fell foul of the ICC in their attempt to use technology to help their communication

While technology has come to play an increasing part in the modern game, when the captain is in the middle he remains very much on his own, able only to draw on advice from his team-mates and the occasional message from the dressing room surreptitiously brought out by a water carrier or physio. But at the 1999 World Cup, South Africa tried – and failed – to find a way around the problem.

For more than a year before the tournament, Bob Woolmer (at the time South Africa’s coach and always someone looking for new approaches to old problems), had been toying with an idea he had seen work in US sport where it was common practice for players to wear small earpieces to allow them to hear instructions from coaches.

Woolmer tried the equipment in a couple of benefit matches during the year; it worked well and, just as importantly, went almost unnoticed. After checking it did not breach either the tournament regulations or the laws of cricket, he suggested to Cronje they use it in the tournament itself. He agreed and when the proposal was mentioned to Allan Donald, he too said he was willing to give it a try.

South Africa tried the earpieces out in one of their warm-up matches and again it attracted no comment, so they decided to use them when South Africa played India in the two sides’ opening game in Hove on May 15. Mohammad Azharuddin won the toss and batted and when Cronje led his side on to the field he and Donald had their earpieces in place.

It did not take long for the television commentators to spot them, and Sourav Ganguly, who opened for India with Sachin Tendulkar, also noticed, bringing it to the attention of the umpires, Steve Bucknor and David Shepherd, shortly before the drinks break.

The umpires spoke to Cronje, who was quite open about what was going on. Unable to decide if what he was doing was legal, they asked Talat Ali, the match referee, for a ruling. He too was unsure and contacted the ICC, which said that while the earpieces were technically not breaching any rules, they were unfair. As drinks came out, so did Ali, making clear the earpieces had to go. Although the audience on TV was privy to the discussion, most spectators at Hove were left bemused, so small were the devices that were being used.

South Africa went on to win the match and afterwards Woolmer was unrepentant. “All I was trying to do was give help and advice,” he said. “I’m sorry if I’ve upset anyone. I’ve tried to be innovative; the idea was to take the game forward. Where we erred was, I should have asked the ICC for permission. Perhaps I’m naive, but it didn’t occur to me. I felt it was a really good idea and I would like to discuss it with the ICC.

“I’m not trying to disturb the batsman or the captain, I’m just wanting to offer some advice. They use it in American football and I believe the French used it in their World Cup campaign, so I felt it was a really good idea. Hopefully, it will make life easier for the cricketer.”

He also went out of his way to explain the system was not aimed at giving instructions. “If Donald, for example, is not bowling with rhythm I could tell him to run in harder or more softly. It is a way of addressing technical faults by looking at the game from a different angle.”

Cronje was also dismissive of criticism. “There’s nothing in the rules to stop us from using it and it’s very disappointing it’s been stopped,” he said. “The coach sits at a different angle from me and he can give me different options when we’re batting or bowling. It’s always nice to hear another voice.” He also asked if the ICC was going to ban gloves being taken out to batsmen “in case a message from the coach is sent with them”.

If the media hoped Azharuddin would be incensed, they were disappointed. “It’s going to happen,” he said. “It does in other sports.”

ICC spokesman Clive Hitchcock said: ‘We made our position clear when we said that the World Cup is not the event to experiment with new devices. We would listen to anything the South Africa management had to say on the issue, but in view of the fact that we would have to get all the countries together to discuss the issue, it is unlikely these devices will be used again in the current tournament. There may be nothing in the rules banning them but neither is there anything there saying that they can be used.”

When the press asked Ali Bacher, the chief executive of the United Cricket Board of South Africa, for his opinion, he admitted he was aware of Woolmer’s innovation. “Bob came to me about 15 months ago to ask about it and I told him at the time that it could be controversial,” he said. “But Bob has a hyperactive cricket brain and sometimes he gets ahead of himself.”

The South Africans left Hove still hoping they would be allowed to use the earpieces but the ICC made clear it was not going to budge and that was that.

What happened next

  • The ICC subsequently banned the use of such devices but Woolmer was undeterred. “I believe that technology is the way to go forward and we will be using earpieces in the nets at Warwickshire so that I don’t have to keep interrupting players to make my point. But I am also hopeful that I can persuade the ECB to allow the use of earpieces in second team cricket to show that they can be a real help to captains and players.”
  • Less than a year later Cronje was uncovered as a match-fixer and subsequently banned from the game. He died in an air crash in 2002.
  • Woolmer resigned as South Africa coach at the end of the tournament and returned to Warwickshire. He died in suspicious circumstances during the 2007 World Cup.​​

With the end of the Cricket world cup approaching, we still don’t see any modern communications coming into the game, does it matter that the coaches are able to communicate better with their players? other sports allow the coaches to shout and lead players, why wouldn’t cricket? you can find the original source of the article here

Business

Earpiece comes in handy for hands-free phone

This was initially made on http://nwherald.com

The last time I remember being hands free was when I was in high school, riding my bicycle hands free.

No hands on the handlebars while I bicycled with my golf clubs to Green Acres – no kidding – Country Club in Donnellson, Iowa. My 10-speed was a marvel in balance. It certainly helped that Donnellson was flat and the streets well-paved, as well as completely lacking in traffic.

I could maneuver the mile to the golf course without putting my hands on the handlebars, except to make turns. It probably was dangerous, and police probably would pull me over now for hands-free bicycling.

Why I didn’t crumple up into a pile of bicycle and blood is beyond me. But I had hardly a care in the world when I was biking to the golf course or other points in between. And this was before helmets and the notion of traumatic brain injuries. I was just a kid.

Now, hands free takes on a new meaning in Illinois. It’s not about bicycling; it’s about driving.

And, as of Jan. 1, it is illegal to talk on your cellphone while driving if you are holding it up to your ear. Police can pull you over if they see you and give you a $75 ticket first time out. And if you don’t get it the first time, the second time you are pulled over, the ticket is $100. After four times, you could have your license suspended.

I don’t want a ticket. No call is worth $75. And you would have to be plain dumb to lose your license over cellphones.

I’ve had a cellphone for almost nine years; I think it came inside our wedding cake. For all my life, I had been tied to the landline, only it wasn’t called a landline. It was called a telephone, and it was attached to the wall. And if you wanted to make a call, you were attached to the wall.

I was a latecomer to cellphones. In fact, I was anti-cellphone. If I had a cellphone, it meant that I was connected to the world at all times; there was no getting away from it. Of course, if it rang, you would answer it. No matter where you were. In the living room. In the bathroom. Egad. In the car. There was no escaping the world with a cellphone. I wanted that escape.

But I’ve come to find out that I do not receive a lot of telephone calls. And I do not make a lot of telephone calls. I haven’t done a thorough analysis, but I think most of the telephone calls I receive come from my pharmacy, my friendly pharmacy. Completely computer generated.

My good wife comes in second. We’re really never that far apart to need to call.

But call I do on my way home from my Friday evening appointments, talking all the way from the parking lot to our driveway. I make the call to let her know I’m on my way home, giving her a chance to fire up the oven for the pizza.

And I’ve been doing this with one hand on the steering wheel and one hand to my ear holding the phone. It’s never been a problem. Not even close. It’s like talking to someone in the passenger seat. It’s hardly a distraction.

But it is a distraction, according to Illinois state law. And distractions cause crashes.

So, instead of holding the phone to your ear, you have to use hands-free technology, such as a Blue Tooth device, an earpiece, a headset or a speakerphone. The Blue Tooth is out of the question. People who use those devices look like they have cicadas sucking on their ears. Ugh.

An earpiece came with our cellphones, and that is what I am left to use.

I gave it the first try a couple of weeks ago, and I don’t see how it improves safety over a handheld phone. But greater minds than mine prevail in Illinois.

It took several minutes – before I started the car – to figure out how to plug the earpiece into the cellphone. Then I had to fairly jam the earpiece into my ear so it wouldn’t fall out or puncture my eardrum, then I made the call to my wife, and then I started the car. By the time I was in reverse, I was talking on the phone hands free.

The call was amazingly clear compared to the last time I tried using an earpiece years ago. I could hear my wife and she could hear me. Amazing.

But I was afraid the earpiece would fall out if I moved my head too quickly, and that’s enough to get into a crash. I am guessing the more I use the earpiece, the more comfortable I will become, and it won’t be long before it is second nature. Just like riding a bike. Hands free.

Business

Lost Copy Of Shakespeare’s First Folio Discovered

A lost copy of Shakespeare’s First Folio has been discovered in Northern France.

The First Folio is the name commonly given to the 1623 collection entitled Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories Tragedies. The book contains 36 plays, a great many of which had never been published prior to 1623, which makes The First Folio an extremely important document, as it represents the only original source for all subsequent printings/performances of many of Shakespeare’s works, such as The Tempest, The Comedy of Errors, The Taming of The Shrew, Twelfth Night and Julius Caesar.

Counting this new addition, there are only 233 first edition copies of this book left in the world, and each have small textual variations that shed new light on Shakespeare’s writing style, creative process and (possibly) his personal life.

The book was discovered in the public library of Saint-Omer, a small town near Calais. Prior to this, it had been held in a Jesuit college in the town. It was moved to the library following The French Revolution, which ended in 1799.

In addition to being a major literary event in its own right, the discovery of the book has sparked new debates as to The Bard’s religious affiliation.

For over 150 years, some scholars have suggested that Shakespeare had links to secret Catholic sects that were outlawed (and severely punished) in the 16th and early 17th centuries.

Elizabethan England was officially a Protestant country and Catholics were brutally suppressed under this regime. Proponents of this theory cite examples in Shakespeare’s writing (in particular King Richard The Second) and the presence of the mysterious William Shakeshafte at the home (and later in the last will and testament) of Alexander Hoghton, a known underground Catholic.

This previously unknown First Folio is thought to have made its way to France in the possession of Edward Scarisbrick, a well-known English Catholic who is believed to have studied at Saint-Omer in the 1630’s. Scarisbrick was known to go by the name Nevill – and this book is inscribed with the same name.

The Jesuit College that originally owned the book sheltered Catholic exiles and also trained Englishmen who wished to become priests. Today, the institution still exists, although it has been relocated to Lancashire.

Other works of Shakespeare have also been discovered in the Jesuit College at Douai, Northern France.

Of course, this evidence alone merely proves that English exiles enjoyed reading Shakespeare. As Dr. Martin Wiggins, a senior fellow at the Shakespeare Institute in Stratford-Upon-Avon told The Independent, “He was admired and studied by English Catholics. We already knew that. Now we have more evidence. That doesn’t mean that Shakespeare was himself a Catholic sympathiser,”

The book will be put on display in Saint-Omer as part of an exhibition of old English texts, something that is expected to draw tourism from interested parties.

Dr. Wiggins has also suggested that the copy, which has been annotated with stage directions by an unknown party, probably represents the earliest known school production of Shakespeare.

Business

Earpiece comes in handy for hands-free phone

The supplier of this piece of writing is here – this website

The last time I remember being hands free was when I was in high school, riding my bicycle hands free.

No hands on the handlebars while I bicycled with my golf clubs to Green Acres – no kidding – Country Club in Donnellson, Iowa. My 10-speed was a marvel in balance. It certainly helped that Donnellson was flat and the streets well-paved, as well as completely lacking in traffic.

I could maneuver the mile to the golf course without putting my hands on the handlebars, except to make turns. It probably was dangerous, and police probably would pull me over now for hands-free bicycling.

Why I didn’t crumple up into a pile of bicycle and blood is beyond me. But I had hardly a care in the world when I was biking to the golf course or other points in between. And this was before helmets and the notion of traumatic brain injuries. I was just a kid.

Now, hands free takes on a new meaning in Illinois. It’s not about bicycling; it’s about driving.

And, as of Jan. 1, it is illegal to talk on your cellphone while driving if you are holding it up to your ear. Police can pull you over if they see you and give you a $75 ticket first time out. And if you don’t get it the first time, the second time you are pulled over, the ticket is $100. After four times, you could have your license suspended.

I don’t want a ticket. No call is worth $75. And you would have to be plain dumb to lose your license over cellphones.

I’ve had a cellphone for almost nine years; I think it came inside our wedding cake. For all my life, I had been tied to the landline, only it wasn’t called a landline. It was called a telephone, and it was attached to the wall. And if you wanted to make a call, you were attached to the wall.

I was a latecomer to cellphones. In fact, I was anti-cellphone. If I had a cellphone, it meant that I was connected to the world at all times; there was no getting away from it. Of course, if it rang, you would answer it. No matter where you were. In the living room. In the bathroom. Egad. In the car. There was no escaping the world with a cellphone. I wanted that escape.

But I’ve come to find out that I do not receive a lot of telephone calls. And I do not make a lot of telephone calls. I haven’t done a thorough analysis, but I think most of the telephone calls I receive come from my pharmacy, my friendly pharmacy. Completely computer generated.

My good wife comes in second. We’re really never that far apart to need to call.

But call I do on my way home from my Friday evening appointments, talking all the way from the parking lot to our driveway. I make the call to let her know I’m on my way home, giving her a chance to fire up the oven for the pizza.

And I’ve been doing this with one hand on the steering wheel and one hand to my ear holding the phone. It’s never been a problem. Not even close. It’s like talking to someone in the passenger seat. It’s hardly a distraction.

But it is a distraction, according to Illinois state law. And distractions cause crashes.

So, instead of holding the phone to your ear, you have to use hands-free technology, such as a Blue Tooth device, an earpiece, a headset or a speakerphone. The Blue Tooth is out of the question. People who use those devices look like they have cicadas sucking on their ears. Ugh.

An earpiece came with our cellphones, and that is what I am left to use.

I gave it the first try a couple of weeks ago, and I don’t see how it improves safety over a handheld phone. But greater minds than mine prevail in Illinois.

It took several minutes – before I started the car – to figure out how to plug the earpiece into the cellphone. Then I had to fairly jam the earpiece into my ear so it wouldn’t fall out or puncture my eardrum, then I made the call to my wife, and then I started the car. By the time I was in reverse, I was talking on the phone hands free.

The call was amazingly clear compared to the last time I tried using an earpiece years ago. I could hear my wife and she could hear me. Amazing.

But I was afraid the earpiece would fall out if I moved my head too quickly, and that’s enough to get into a crash. I am guessing the more I use the earpiece, the more comfortable I will become, and it won’t be long before it is second nature. Just like riding a bike. Hands free.

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