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Jewish World Review
Oct. 13, 2006
/ 20 Tishrei, 5767
Three neat daily tech products
I do three things every workday; you might also: I get up, I go to work,
and in the office, I'm supposed to work, often on the phone. Three new
tech products make those tasks easier for me.
Before going to sleep, I put on the $149 Sleeptracker watch
(www.sleeptracker.com), which will track my "almost awake" moments each
night. Last night wasn't too good - an average of 29 minutes and 55
seconds passed between each of those for me. It only tracks the "almost
awake" moments, the firm claims, and can tell when there's actual
movement, such as arising to go to the bathroom.
On the other hand, the watch can somehow sense my best wakeup time within
30 minutes of when I've set the Sleeptracker's alarm. When I did arise at
the watch's urging, I felt better.
It would be nice if the watch had greater memory to store more than one
day's readings, or if there was a way to wirelessly transfer the data to a
software program to a computer, say via Bluetooth. Computer software to
track the data would also be a plus. But for now, this is a neat device
On the way to work, the need for a handsfree cell phone headset fits with
the increasing trend towards legislation requiring their use. The District
of Columbia has done this for a few years; California will require it in
Over the past couple of years, the trend has been towards smaller and
lighter Bluetooth headsets. The Jabra JX10 (www.jabra.com) may be one of
the smallest and lightest of the lot. Jacob Jensen, a leading Danish
design firm, created the device's design and it shows.
This is a tiny marvel. Wearing it, one hardly knows that it's there, until
you have to make or receive a call. There's digital signal processing
circuitry to knock out the background sounds, and noise cancellation
technology to make what you say clearer. A single battery charge yields as
much as six hours of talk time.
There's a price to be paid for all of this, and it's just under $180,
which is six times - or more - the cost of wired headsets for mobile
phones. But if you're running around, especially in areas where the law
dictates, it could be the best money you've spent in a while.
At the office, the GN 9350 headset, made by GN Netcom, Jabra's parent firm
(www.gnnetcom.com/US/EN/), could be one of the most versatile phone
products since the arrival of the Touch-Tone phone more than forty years
ago. The 9350 - retail price $300 - will connect to both your desktop
phone and a Windows-based PC for what's called "IP telephony," or calls
made via the Internet using services such as Skype.
Sound quality for the headset is excellent, something very nice when
talking on the phone. A headset allows a knowledge worker to type or write
or do something while speaking; a wireless headset allows you to avoid
cord tangles. As someone who takes notes on a computer while speaking -
it's part of the writing game - this headset is close to bliss.
The notion of switching between dial-up and IP telephony is a neat one,
and worth the price premium this headset commands. I do wish, however,
that its makers would do whatever is necessary to make this work with a
Macintosh system, since there are a number of Mac users out there, and the
number is growing.
But if you straddle both worlds, this is a device to get. It will serve
you well, it's easy to set up and when using it, you'll wonder how you
ever got along without one!
Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.
JWR contributor Mark Kellner has reported on technology for industry newspapers and magazines since 1983, and has been the computer columnist for The Washington Times since 1991.Comment by clicking here.
© 2006, News World Communications, Inc. Reprinted with permission of The Washington Times. Visit the paper at http://www.washingtontimes.com