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Can You Hear Me Now????

Can You Hear Me Now????
by Gary Woods

A lot of people I know are using VoIP or Voice Over Internet Protocol using a free download called Skype. This technology allows you to use your computer and a broadband connection to speak to most of the people in the world for free or cheap. The biggest problem I've found is getting a good quality headset so you can be heard and they can hear you. The one that currently seems the best to me is the Altec Lansing AHS302usb headset which retails for $40.

The soft leatherette ear pads are comfortable and block out a bit of office noise. The adjustable microphone boom lets you position the noise-canceling microphone for clear voice reception, and the 7.5 foot cable reaches behind even the biggest desk.

The coolest part of this device is that uses a USB connection and it features inline controls. The first time you plug the USB adapter in you choose the AHS302usb as the input and output device in the Sound preference pane and you're off and running.

The headset's inline controller is a great feature. You can clip it to your shirt, and it provides a rotary volume control along with a switch for controlling mute, low gain, or high gain for the unit's microphone.

Although the headset's audio quality is great for voice, it's also pretty decent for music and games. It's not as good as high-quality headphones, but good enough for listening to iTunes between Skype calls.

If you have any suggestions or questions for me please drop me a note at or see my column on the Internet at or call me at (805) 729-0910

Gary Woods is the Computer Trainer for the Santa Barbara Association of Realtors. You can hear Gary on the Radio at 1290 AM Monday 9-10 AM and he is a Broker/Associate at Home Realty & Investments, Inc