Better Living Through Modern Technology - that yellow bastard

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September 14th, 2005


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2005.0914.1933::Better Living Through Modern Technology
[ ]
A couple of weeks ago, right after Google Talk came out, I got online with Jerry and tried to use the voice chat system. Unfortunately, I just had a pair of earbuds and no microphone, so I basically had to speak loudly into the headphones while they were plugged into the mic jack of the laptop and use the onboard speakers to hear the brother. The result was less than stellar.

Since then, I've been on the lookout for a decent headphone/microphone combination. My only qualm about going out and just picking up the latest and greatest doodad is that I've got three different applications for the headset--computer-based voice chat, handsfree cellphone, and PS2 online gaming. I wanted to find a way that I could minimize the number of headsets I needed to buy, but since the PS2 requires a proprietary USB connector (which apparently won't work with a regular, for-the-PC USB headset), my efforts went into finding something that I could use with both the cellphone and computer.

In case you didn't know cellphone headsets are different from computer headsets. Computer headsets usually have two plugs--one for the sound output and one for the microphone input. Cellphone headsets, however, end in a single plug that's actually slightly smaller than the kind of plug you stick in your iPod, because they need to carry both the sound and the microphone on the same line.

Enter Radio Shack's Computer Headphone Speaker Switch.

This nifty device allows you to switch between speakers and a headset on your PC. It has a place to plug in PC speakers and two plugs to stick in your PC sound card's output and microphone jacks. The nice thing, however, is it also has the small, specialized jack for a cellphone headset.

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