May 2003: this is now obsolete in favor of RemotePresence in my personal web site
Since I joined W3C in March 1995, I spend a lot of time in teleconferences, and I've tried a lot of gizmos in an effort to make that part of my life easier. The conventional wisdom was to get one of those Hello Direct thingies; I tried those, but I never really got comfortable with them.
In Dec '98, I found a phone I liked. That one lasted about two years. Not bad for 30 bucks. But it started cutting out a few months ago. Probably just a problem with the connection where the headset cable meets the earpiece, but hey... this is consumer stuff. No user-serviceable parts inside. Or at least: I can't justify the time to try to McGuyver it, test the fix, wonder if any subsequent problems are due to my fix, or whatever. The next one lasted about 18 months, till the ni-cad battery developed a memory.
I just (18Aug2002) got a new 2.4GHz Call Waiting Caller ID Cordless Telephone; BE-3850BK. UPC code: 075668838500. ~$40 at SAM's. Amazon wants $50 for it. TT Systems seems to have made it, then Bell Equipment SONECOR put their label on the front. No, it's actually made by phonemate. It has a NiMh battery. I'm kinda worried about the reliability of the headset, though; it's got one of those little connectors that went bad on my first phone.
So I entered the market for a new teleconferece-happy desk phone.
After suffering thru weeks of teleconferences with a phone that cut out half the time, I admitted to myself that I would never find the time to really research the market for these things. Yesterday (10 Jan 2001), my wife was headed for a big shopping center that has a Radio Shack. So I pointed her at the Nov '99 version of this page and asked her to "get me something like that, please." She came back an hour later and about $69 poorer with an ET-1101 900MHz Cordless Headset Phone. Immediate reaction:
Now that I've tried it out, I can say:
On 27 Dec 1998, I bought a headset phone from Radio Shack for $27.99, and I was happy with it for almost two years. The only caveat is that it lacks a mute button; so the noise my keyboard makes interferes with telcons a bit.
As of Nov '99, it's now priced at $69.99, which suggests I'm not the only one who likes it!
In order to share info about this phone, I went to the Radio Shack web site looking for information that matched the clues on the bottom of the phone. I was saw "CAT. NO. 43-893" on the bottom of the phone and a little form on their home pages that offers to find products by catalog number, and I was pleasantly surprised when typing in 43-893 got me the relevant info, complete with "click here to buy" stuff. I was quite disappointed, however, that I couldn't bookmark the results; they'd used POST in stead of GET for the form. I had to go back to the product catalog and navigate the hierarchy to get the address of the thing I was after.
c.f. TimBL's rule about GET/POST in forms and Jakob Nielsen's rant:
There is not much you can do to get users to bookmark your site, except making it possible to do so: no URL-eating frames, and no weird one-time-only links that do not work for subsequent visits.
Hmm... I'd like to use epinions or something like that to get compensated for sharing this information with the world.
note to self: see also: office equipment inventory