Social Networking, professional connections

The question comes up, from time to time... Why do System Administrators seem to be better at (Social) Networking than Network Administrators. You'd think that Netadmins would have the communications thing down cold. But, I've found, we tend to have smaller social networks, but with links we can rely upon to do our jobs.

Linked in? Yep, I've been there a while... View David K. Z. Harris's profile on LinkedIn

But, why are there so many more Systems-related conferences than Network-related? OS related trade shows, versus Network trade shows.

I just find it odd, that's all.



Can you hear me now? Wait, now I can't hear you!

California's two new laws regarding hands-free cellphone use while driving have Bluetooth headsets in the news, and on the front page of many papers. I still haven't found the right combination in any solution that I've tried. Every one has had some deficit.

Since I wear glasses, I don't like anything that has an ear-loop. None have been comfortable so far. I also prefer an in-ear (ear-bud) style, versus an over-the-ear solution with a headband. This certainly limits my choices, but there have been a few good choices. Good, but none were Great.

For listening to calls, the best for me has ben the Sony HB-808 headset. Good talk-time, and lightweight, with sufficient audio to the earpiece, and the microphone has some automatic gain control, but it is not so good about noise cancellation. It comes with an earloop, which can be reversed to wear on either ear (that's fairly standard), but the art near my ear was also uncomfortable, because it pressed against my ear when I used the earloop. But, the diameter of the earphone was slightly smaller than an original iPhone earphone, so I tried using the Griffin EarJam earbud adapters for the iPod earphones...This was a HUGE improvement! It now fits in my ear without an earloop. It's light enough to stay in my ear. And, because the earbud is in my ear, it seals out local noises, while allowing me to turn the earpiece volume down! Even in a data center, staring down dozens of fans, I can hear my calls just fine...but, that's where it all breaks down. Because the microphone has gain control, it hears all of the fans, so I constantly have to juggle the phone to mute and unmute the microphone during calls in the data center to service gear. It frustrating for me.

I finally bought an original Jawbone, because of the noise canceling technology. It really is great, for the people I call. I don't have to mute my microphone in the data center (in most cases), which has been really useful. But, the device has an awkward earloop, since the device MUST rest on your cheek in order for the noise canceling to work. And, since it's pressing the microphone aginst my cheek, the earpiece hovers above my ear. Folks can ear me, but I've got to turn the volume up to 11 to hear them over the local noise.

I tried all 4 of the ear-bits that came with the Jawbone, but none were comfortable, and only one came close to helping me lower the volume of the earpiece. The earpiece is also slightly smaller than the iPod earphone, so the Griffin earbud trick wouldn't seat securely. Even trying to secure the Griffin part, it would fit in my ear, but then the microphone wouldn't press against my cheek (defeating the noise cancellation), so that trick didn't work. BUT, at MacWorld SF 2007, I found Comply's "Whoomp!" earbud enhancers. They are snugger, and more flexible than the Griffin part, with a foam earpiece on a slightly slanted axis. This held the Jawbone snugly, pressed the mirophone against my cheek, and sealed the outside noise nicely...but, the foam bit was hard to clean. I still use it, but each earbud only lasts about 3-4 months for me.

A friend turned me on to another option for the original Jawbone; Using the Jabra Ear-gels (available from Hello Direct for about $6US), which gives you another set of 4 sizes, which SNUGLY fit the Jawbone. hey are more supple than the original Jawbone ear-bits, but they still aren't as comfortable as I would like. My friend has already tried the new Jawbone, and has been favorably impressed.

I've tried using commercial adapters (cable, switch and microphone) with my own iPod earbuds, but the microphone still hears the fans. (It's a dichotomy; If I can hear you well, you can't hear me well...why can't they make a headset that allows both?)

I'm fine using a headset in the car, but I received a Tom-Tom for my birthday, since it has bluetooth hands-free speaker phone capability. This works OK, but I understand it's a high-theft-rate target. I can't leave it in the car, lest someone breaks a window to steal it. (Even if you take it inside, I'm told that leaving the suction-cup mount on your windshield is enough attraction that a thief may smash your window to see if you stashed it inside the car.) As a result, I now have one more thing to stow and carry back and forth.

Should I try using the Tom-Tom as a speakerphone in the data center? They don't brag about noise cancellation, but folks seem to hear me pretty good when I'm in the car. :-)