Wired Headsets Dangerous – Thanks Bluetooth!

My car is one of the few places I feel like I can get quiet time so I generally try not to talk on the phone while driving. In the past when I needed to talk in the car I used to use a headset or earbud but became so frustrated with every headset, earbud, and earpice I tried.

After several scares in which the wire from my headset got tangled around my gear shift or around my jacket or arm as I turned a corner I gave up on earbuds and headsets all together. Until recnetly I’ve just been using the internal speakerphone in my Nokia if I really had to use the phone while driving.

My conclusion- Cell phone headsets are just plain dangerous and I didn’t need the Univesity of Chicago Hands-Free Cellphone Study to tell me.

Well recently my opinion has changed. Although I work and teach in the field of design and technology, anyone who knows me will tell you that I’m pretty much a neo-ludite when it comes to gadgets. So when I was given a Plantronics M2500 wireless headset as a gift recently (thanks you know who!) no one was more surprised than I was at how excited I’ve been over this gadget.

It’s still a bit too early to tell and I can’t yet comment on the the battery and charging ability but my initial response is EUREKA!. The Plantronics m2500 wireless headset is comfortable, fairly easy to setup and use, is moderately stylish, and actually works which is more than I can say for another model. Unlike earbuds and headsets I haven’t gotten a headache yet from using this thing and the sound quality is clear and I can typically continue my conversation in my home as far as 20 feet from the phone.

With a street price of around $40 at places like, decent design and styling, comfortable fit and no wires to inhibit your driving it’s definitely worth the investment.


New Automated Postal Kiosk- It Really Works!

New APC Postal Kiosk

I love the Post Office.

Yes it’s true you read correctly I love the Post Office and if you could hear me you would know that there’s not a hint of sarcasm in my voice and I’m not winking or nudging. If you ask why I have to confess I’m not really sure. Maybe it’s a bit of nostalgia, after all I still anxiously look forward to getting the mail each day much like when I was a kid and would scream at the top of my lungs, “I’ll get the mail ” or “I’ll get it” when the phone rang or “I get the front seat” as I raced to beat my brother to the car.

It might also be the strength and stability I associate with this austere quasi-government agency. In an age when everything from banks to public utilities have been bought, sold, merged, and have changed names about a half dozen times in as many years the Post Office still has most of the same branch offices, still offers many of the same products and services, and sometimes even has the same staff it did two decades ago much less two years ago. All this gives me a warm fuzzy feeling. It’s nice to know that while the world is rapidly adapting to the new digital world where information and documents whiz by at giga speed some things remain constant.


A Better Coffee Sip Cup! New Solo Traveler

Recently the local shop where I buy coffee changed from one of those peel back and latch (it never works) coffee lid to a sip type lid. These lids are supposed to be designed to allow you to sip your coffee without spilling any so that when you place it in your car’s cup holder it won’t spill while moving. Well the local shop has resorted to placing tape over the hole because quite frankly these lids are a miserable failure at preventing spills and it’s a toss up as to whether they are any better than the really terrible peel back and “lock” lids.

A Better Sip Cup

A couple weeks ago I was ecstatic to discover what seems to be the best design solution to this everyday problem at another coffee shop. The patented Solo Traveler disposable lid is a delight to use and simply ingenious. It’s essentially a recyclable plastic version of the more expensive lids you find on items like those stainless steel travel lids you find at Target or Starbucks. The beauty is in the simplicity, there’s a little hole to sip from and then an elevated nub that you can slide one-handed back and forth to open and close/lock into place.

Simple pleasures are so delightful. Coffee, sliding lid sip cup, winning the lottery… oh well at least I got the coffee and sip cup.


Popgadget – Personal Tech for Women

Popgaget is a site focused on personal technology from a woman’s perspective and I’m delighted to also be a contributer to the online publication.

The site’s focus should be no surprise to readers considering stores like Home Depot and Lowe’s have begun to offer free DIY classes to women and a recent consumer study revelaed that women are responsible for more than 75% of of tech purchasing decisions in the USA.

It’s refresing to see a smart, savvy, non-pandering approach to women and technology. Maybe the auto industry can learn something from Popgadget.


The Big Three- Search Engine Battle

Microsoft launched their new search interface which looks a lot like Yahoo’s relaunched minimalist search site.

And if it’s true that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery than Google must be blushing because both MSN and Yahoo followed the lead of minimalist search kingpin Google.

More than anything else the changes show that the search engine wars, once forgotten just like the browser wars (oh come on you remember Netscape vs. Explorer!), are back. My bet is still on Google not only because they do a good job at what they do but they actually know what they do. A quick look at the Google website reveals their guiding mission, “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” This very focused approach to what they do will not tie them to any particular product or technology and has helped them grow from web-based search to a whole suite of products, services, tools, and targeted searches from Froogle and Google News Search to tools like the Google Toolbar, Keyhole (a robust map service they acquired) Google Desktop Search and GMail.