How to waterproof headphones?

Asked by Betty from Hammersmith

I take it you’re a newer reader and you therefore aren’t aware of my dislike for recommending specific sets of headphones. In a usual case, (like when one reader asked me to recommend sweat-proof headphones) I have to answer with “it depends on a multitude of factors, such as how often you use them, how important sound quality is to you or even (in that one case) how much you tend to sweat. However, I’m not going to let you down, Betty, because waterproof headphones are actually a bit different… Continue reading

Bit Torrent Site Gets Axed, Owner Forced to Pay £68m to MPAA

Bit Torrent website IsoHunt.com, a popular website that specializes in downloadable content, is being shut down following a court settlement.

 

The site, which was founded in 2003, was extremely popular with users. Some 7.4 million viewers had visited the site within three years of it going live. At its peak, Isohunt received an average of 40 million searches a month.

 

In response to the California court’s ruling, IsoHunt’s founder Gary Fung wrote on his blog that “its sad to see my baby go”. Continue reading

The headphones revolution: bright colours, street styling spark new craze

Anyone considering buying headphones for a young relative this Christmas, take care before splashing out the £150 or more that the most fashionable – the Beats, or Skullcandy, or Urbanears models – can cost.

Each brand marks them out as one of a “tribe”, regardless of sound quality. Whereas 20 years ago the most important thing for a teenager was the brand of trainer on their feet – Nike, Reebok or Adidas – now it’s the brand covering their ears that matters. Continue reading

How does bone conduction work?

Bone conduction headphones (commonly referred to as ‘Bonephones’) are actually really clever. In order to best explain how they work, I’ll need to take you on a journey into the Human ear…

No, not literally. That would be disgusting.

OK, so you know how sound travels through the air? Surely you must have done that science experiment at school where you hear sound disappearing into an airless vacuum? Yup, it’s just like that. Continue reading

The Long Road Home: Radios used on Transport Systems and Fleets

According to the UK Government, there were an estimated 5.2 billion bus passenger journeys undertaken on our roads in 2011/2012. Public and private transportation is not only big business; it is also of massive importance to the smooth running of the country.

Whilst only 14% of the UK’s 25 million commuters travel to work by bus or train, this still accounts for over 1.7 million people. In order for a country this reliant on public transport to survive and thrive, it is absolutely imperative that transport workers can communicate with each other in a quick, efficient manner, fuelling an industry that, by necessity, spans the length and breadth of the nation. Continue reading

Kenwood Earpieces: Do you Believe?

My Girlfriend and I recently started watching ‘The X-Files’ in the evenings.

It all started when my friend Kieran practically begged me to borrow his series 1 box set. He went on and on about it until I eventually acquiesced. When I was little, I was somewhat impressionable and easily upset by TV, so I only saw a handful of first-run X-Files episodes. I remember one where a guy had to eat people’s brains in order to survive, another that featured Golden Age Hollywood ghosts haunting an old film set and a bizarre black and white episode about a deformed character who was in love with Cher.  Continue reading

If you work with DP3400 two way radios at work, then you need to look at these earpieces

Last time we mentioned that James Bond might use the earpiece we’re about to describe if he were helping a mate to guard a nightclub. We realize that it’s a bizarre situation to find yourself in, but its probably happened a couple of times in some early Ian Fleming drafts…(Editor’s Note: Wow. That’s quite a tangent. Well done).

The DP3400 earpiece looks good, works well and doesn’t cost a lot of money. You really can’t fault it on its merits.

The DP3400 earpiece features an HQ PTT earpiece that provides incredible clarity and depth of sound. Any instruction, even if a laryngitis-stricken Muttley delivers it to you from a library somewhere, will be clear, clean and crisp to the ear.

But that’s not all, not by a long shot. The transparent tube is almost invisible, designed specifically for secrecy and discretion; it even comes with an extra earbud.

It even has (and we swear we’re not making this up) a hidden micro-speaker located at the base of the centre of the PTT switch.

Earpieceonline lists this product at £27.50, but that strikes us a genuine bargain. This earpiece is covert, brilliantly made and extremely high quality. It is also durable and hard wearing. Of most of the devices we have looked at to date, this DP3400 earpiece is unquestionably the coolest looking. By way of performance, it’s also the best one we have seen so far.

The DP3400 earpiece is compatible with LOADS of Motorola (and Motorola TRBO radios) including (but by no means limited to): DP, DGP, XPR and XiR Series. XiR-P8200, XiR-P8208, XiR-P8260, XiR-P8268, XPR6300, XPR6350, XPR6500, XPR6550, DGP-4150, DGPTM 4150+, DGPTM 6150, DGPTM 6150+, DP-3400, DP-3401, DP-3600 and DP-3601.

Overall, this is a fine device. The DP3400 is an excellent earpiece, available at a pretty competitive price, with a cool, functional design and a lot going for it. No, this isn’t the same model that the CIA use when guarding Mr. Obama, but it isn’t a hundred million miles removed, either. This earpiece will do a good job, whilst at the same time not breaking the bank.

Next episode, we will bid you a tearful goodbye as we embark on the last in our series of two-way radio earpieces. We’ll be looking at the most expensive item on this list and making some more dumb jokes, stick around.

Get a CP040 earpiece for the best price

Previously, we checked out an earpiece specifically designed to work with the Motorola gp340 two way radio series. Now, we’ll be checking out the Cp040 2-pin earpiece, an affordable and versatile little doohickey that’s amazingly exciting, but additionally does very little to damage one’s bank account.

The Motorola cp040 earpiece is much like the GP300 earpiece. It is small, clever and inexpensive, however it also is quite good value for money. EarpieceOnline lists this earpiece for about £11.50, but it’s a pretty good buy for the price. Continue reading

Radio Earpieces Used by FBI Agents

When y’see US secret service agents on Television or in movies, have you noticed that they’re always touching their ears? Well, at least one of our visitors did and invited me to discover why.

In the ‘Matrix’ movies, Agent Smith and co touched their ears so as to better mimic the behaviour of real FBI agents. So it is visibly a important trait of secret service agents, at least in United states. It’s obviously something they have been doing for quite some time now. Then again, the ‘Agents’ also did it to better receive signals from the technology who ran the Matrix program itself…

In the real world (assuming, obviously, that this IS the real world hmmm….), the reason that FBI agents touch their ears isn’t that dissimilar. Forrest Wickham, of www.slate.com, has the answers:

Are those earpieces uncomfortable? No, it’s just so they can hear better. Pushing in an earpiece makes for a tighter seal, which could mean the difference between hearing or missing a Secret Service codename or another agent’s message about the president’s position while standing in a noisy room. While earpieces are not uncomfortable, they do sometimes come loose, requiring readjustment.

There you could have it, a rather absurdly lo-tech answer, secret service guys press on their earpieces into their ears because that makes the directions come through louder and clearer. Like an obsessive ‘Spinal Tap’ fan, I can’t help but echo the puzzled query of Marti DiBergi and ask “why not just make the radio earpieces louder?” but that’s obviously a question for another time.

Back to, Mr. Wickham:

“Earpieces aren’t the only communication devices the Secret Service uses, and not all earpieces have the same design. Some devices, for example, look like iPod ear buds. The one-ear headphone often shown in the movies is standard and comes with a curly wire that runs down under their shirt to a hidden microphone worn in different locations depending on the circumstances of the assignment. One standard spot is just under the shirt sleeve. (That explains why agents are always lifting their wrists to their mouths.) Earpieces also come in different colors, and some agents choose a device that matches their skin or hair”.

So they do not take action to appear sinister, or to get instructions from the machine world that secretly runs all our existence. They are doing it because, well, their equipment is a little crappy, apparently.

Then again, I suppose that if you were attempting to hear very specific, very important information in a busy and loud environment, then any earpiece you used could be sternly challenged. It is hard to hear everything over the sound of enormous crowds as well.

Mr. Wickham also offers a bonus explanation. At the end of his article post, Wickham tells us why the FBI guys always seem to be sporting sunglasses.

“Why are Secret Service agents always wearing sunglasses? To keep the sun out of their eyes. While the Service has often cultivated a certain mystique, preferring to remain “cloaked in silence and mystery,” spokesmen insist they wear shades merely for their traditional purpose, and not, say, to keep would-be assassins from knowing which way they’re looking. The Secret Service has no set uniform, but agents say that wearing sunglasses on a sunny day helps them to scan a crowd for suspicious behavior”.

Seems adequate to me.

 

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