A look into the surprisingly popular world of ‘spy’ gadgetry

British comedian Jack Dee probably said it best, “Men like to use drills because secretly, we think they’re guns”. Tools just bring out our inner 007.

He’s right. Men like gadgets for the same reason. We can’t deny it, there’s just something unassailably cool about a tool that you can use, but that no one else knows about.

Whether you’re prancing around your house pointing a Black & Decker at imaginary henchmen, or fondly imagining that your fountain pen doubles as some sort of deadly offensive weapon, its OK to admit that you like the idea of gadgets.

spy earpiece

If you’re reading this and nodding, then you are almost certainly a man (or else, a bit of a Tomboy, which is fine too). In which case, you probably found this article whilst searching for a ‘spy earpiece’ online. Ergo, the sort of person who buys a this is, well, someone just like you.

If, however, you clicked this page because you want to know what sort of person uses such a device (or indeed, what, if any, its practical applications are), then you’ve come to the right place, ma’am.

Its not all James Bond wannabes, you know.

Business professionals cunningly utilize spy earpieces to receive information in real time as they negotiate huge deals and contracts. They also employ such gadgets when giving lengthy and complex presentations to superiors or potential customers. This goes double (or even triple) for public speakers.

Security personnel will also use spy earpieces, as surprising as that may be to read. Often, the security professional is used as a deterrent; large, imposing men and women are geared up with walkie-talkies and sharp suits or black uniforms in order to encourage would-be troublemakers to think twice. However, it is also common for security guards to operate in plain clothes, keeping an eye on potential situations discreetly and quietly. For this, they use a spy earpiece. For the same reasons, even undercover police have been known to employ spy earpieces.

Then, of course there are students (yes, we had to get to it eventually). These are a great way to help in your exams AND feel like James Bond at the same time. Of course, we’d never condone the use of our products in such a way, but nevertheless, it does happen. Amazingly, the time spent preparing a reliable body of information and then having an accomplice drip feed the correct answers to you via the earpiece would probably be better spent actually learning the material in the first place. However, students can also use spy earpieces in presentations in much the same way that businesspeople do.

Recently, we’ve come across articles online which suggest that even the unemployed are getting in on the act, using spy earpieces in job interviews in order to come across as qualified and knowledgeable.

So, the earpiece appeals to more than just the gadget-crazed would-be 007. Spy earpieces are used by a broad cross-section of the community, not just by men with a little too much time on their hands!

Riedel to Provide Radio Communications Network and Equipment for Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games

This was originally posted at softwaredev.itbusinessnet.com and we thought we’d share it here, Riedel are one of the worlds biggest radio companies and have run the communications for the london olympics, euros 2012 and many other big events, so thsi story comes as no surprise.

Riedel Communications, provider of pioneering real-time video, audio, data, and communications networks, will supply all radio communications equipment and services for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, running from July 23 to Aug. 3 in Glasgow, Scotland. 

“The ability to communicate effectively at Games venues and throughout Glasgow and other parts of Scotland is an essential element to delivering a successful Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games,” said Brian Nourse, chief information officer, Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games. “We have benefited from Riedel’s extensive experience of being involved in many previous major sporting events to ensure a robust communications solution is delivered for our event,” 

 Riedel Communications has designed a radio communications solution for use across Glasgow and at the 14 venues hosting 17 different sporting competitions. The company is providing all radio handsets and radio communication accessories — including more than 6,000 radios — used in the lead-up to and during the Games, along with a terrestrial trunked radio (TETRA) digital network and a Motorola MOTOTRBO digital radio repeater system. Both the TETRA and MOTOTRBO systems are dedicated, fully monitored, and serviced solutions. 
TETRA combines the advantages of analog trunked radio with those of digital mobile radio to provide optimal frequency usage, high transmission quality for speech and data, maximum security against eavesdropping, as well as flexible networking and connection management. Beyond that, the digital trunked radio system supports full duplex communication, GPS-positioning, and connection to the public telephone network. The system offers the option of operating different virtual channels, and it can leverage IP connectivity to support wide-area operation.
With this communications infrastructure, Riedel will ensure outdoor street-level coverage at all official venues, throughout the city of Glasgow, and along the official cycling road race and marathon routes, as well as indoor coverage at Glasgow 2014 competition venues. Riedel is also supplying the radio communications solution for the Scottish leg of the Queen’s Baton Relay, ensuring radio communications run smoothly as the baton makes its way through Scotland to Glasgow for the Games.
“We are delighted to be the Official Radio Communications Partner of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games,” said Christian Bockskopf, head of marketing for Riedel Communications. “We’ve worked closely with the organizers to develop a radio communications solution that satisfies both the technical and operational requirements of all the key players during this world-class event.”

 

What Type Of Two Way Radio Should A Shopping Centre Use?

The truth is that shopping centres (or ‘malls’ if we’re being American about it), can seriously improve an area’s local economy. It is basic economics really, if the supply is less than the demand, then there is profit to be made. I expect a percentage, Deepak!

OK, I’ve thought a bit about this one and, I reckon your best bet would be an affordable, yet high performance unit like a Motorola DP3400 or similar. I suggested the DP3400 because it a) it won’t bankrupt the (hypothetical) project, b) it is very versatile and c) it is exceptionally easy to use (user training takes, on average, about 20 minutes).

A DP3400 offers use of 32 channels, functions as both analogue and digital and is available in UHF or VHF versions. In short, this radio is perfect for security, health and safety or even customer service.

I’ve recently found the ‘Case Studies’ sections on the Motorola website (you can probably tell by my other pieces this month), but the DP3400 has a case that’s exactly like yours. For what its worth, here’s what they said about it.

“Digital two-way radio was chosen to provide a secure, discreet communicationsystem with no risk of transmissions being compromised by eavesdroppers. The Centre’s local Motorola Authorised Dealer demonstrated how  MOTOTRBO digital radios could provide greater coverage and improved audio clarity than analogue and enable users to make both one-to-one and group calls. The increased battery power would extend battery life by up to 40%, enabling the radios to be used throughout the entire 11-hour trading day without recharging”.

That sounds pretty good to me. In any instance, you keep dreaming and don’t let anyone discourage you. Find out what it takes to be an…um, ‘shopping centre design person’ and just go for it! 

Bring beautiful music (and sound effects) to your ears with this headset buying guide

This Headset buying guide from PC world is one of the most detailed we could find for this christmas, if you’re looking for a headset for a family member then reading this will put you in the right direction.

 

Modern games deliver awesome graphics, but the visuals are only half of the gaming experience. Studies have shown that audio quality can shape your perception of the entire gaming experience. When a high-quality soundtrack reaches your ears, your brain will also perceive the game’s graphics to be of higher quality.

Audio quality can affect your gaming experience in other ways, too. Without good audio, you won’t hear enemies approaching or hiding behind cover. You might not hear your teammates as they try to coordinate with you or give you instructions, and they won’t hear you clearly, either. And you’ll lose that sense of immersion in the game world that turns a good gaming experience a great one. A high-quality headset is just as important as a good graphics card, keyboard, and monitor.

Audiophiles want the best quality they can get, and gamers need the best tech available. Top-of-the-line headsets deliver both. Whichever camp you’re in, the first choice you need to make is between a stereo headset and a surround-sound headset. Stereo—independent sound from the left and right channels—is the more common option, but it can’t match the realism of surround sound.

Headsets that use surround-sound technology simulate realistic room acoustics through digital signal processing. They trick your brain into thinking that sound is coming from specific locations in the environment. It’s a great sensation and can be really helpful in games—when it works. If the designer handles the encoding poorly, however, it can create myriad artifacts and distortions that make audio enthusiasts cringe.

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Inline controls make it easier to adjust a headset’s volume and mute functions.

Once you’ve made that decision, focus on comfort. A headset should fit your noggin the way your favorite sweatshirt fits your torso. A too-heavy headset will pull down on the top of your head and strain your neck, turning you into a broken bobble-head. The headband should be well padded, and the ear cups should cover your ears completely to keep sound in and background noise out.

Natural materials such as cloth mesh and leather (especially lambskin) are the most comfortable to wear for long gaming runs. Vinyl and other types of faux leather tend to peel and crack with age, and they can irritate sensitive skin after several hours.

analog or usb
Headsets can connect via USB or analog. The Logitech G430 lets you choose.

You can connect a headset to your PC in one of two ways: with a USB connector or with jacks (typically, 1/8-inch jacks). USB keeps the audio signal in the digital domain until it reaches a digital-to-analog converter, which can be inline with the cable or inside the headset. These designs prevent electrical noise from the PC’s motherboard and other components from contaminating the audio signal. If you’ve invested in a high-end sound card, or a motherboard designed to isolate its onboard audio components from electrical interference, a good analog headset will deliver excellent audio quality.

Don’t forget the element that turns a pair of headphones into a headset: the microphone. Communication is huge in multiplayer games, so a good mic is invaluable. A flexible stalk will enable you to position it comfortably near your mouth when you need it, and easily shunt it aside when you don’t.

bvlack a40 34a0s 0023 astro a40 tag
Some headsets, like the Astro A40s, have such additional features as equalizers, a detachable microphone, and inline controls.

Extra features are the icing on a headset cake. Inline controls provide a convenient way to adjust the volume and mute the mic when you don’t want to broadcast your conversation. A removable microphone allows you to comfortably use the headphones with a digital media player while on the go. And an equalizer or client software can let you establish sound profiles for whatever you’re listening to—games, movies, or music.

Escape the never-ending ambient sounds of holiday music and squabbling families by throwing on your new headset and blasting away in-game baddies while enjoying sweet high-definition audio.

Source – http://www.pcworld.com/article/2069881/bring-beautiful-music-and-sound-effects-to-your-ears-with-this-headset-buying-guide.html

What frequencies do walkie talkies use?

Hi Pat (Patrick? Patricia? The Puppet Formerly Known as ‘Postman’? – Just kidding!),

Happy New Year!

Now, to answer your question, two-way radios use a range of what are called ‘frequency bands’ – these are areas of the electromagnetic spectrum (a fancy name for the total range of electromagnetic radiation) that are used for audio communication.

Most radios will operate on either VHF (Very High Frequency – any frequency range between 30MHz and 300MHz) or UHF (Ultra High Frequency – any radio frequency range between 300MHz and 3GHz) modes, but the two types of radio are incompatible with each other, so a careful choice is required on the part of the user.

Generally speaking, UHF radios are better suited to urban or indoor environments, whilst VHF has a slight advantage if you’re using your radio outside. For more on the VHF vs. UHF debate, check out Wendy from Stoke-On-Trent’s question, posted in December.

Anyway, the lowest frequency is the VHF Lowband frequency (25Mhz – 50MHz), whilst the VHF Highband frequency is anything between 126MHz – 174MHz. The general UHF Band is anything between 403MHz and 512MHz.

Of course, the right frequency for you depends greatly on your needs. Is your radio system used professionally or as a hobby? Is security an issue or not really? That sort of thing.

Remember also that it is illegal to use certain frequencies, as they are used by the Emergency Services. Two-way radio use is actually quite tightly monitored/restricted, largely for public safety purposes.

According to a Motorola online course “Because frequency spectrum is an infinite resource, and the number of users in many areas is high, many radio channels are becoming crowded. Channel loading is a term used to describe the number of users assigned to the same frequency. Channel loading is so heavy in some areas that additional users are no longer allowed on particular channels, or frequencies. The use of channels is authorized and licensed by government agencies in most countries”.

The course goes on to say that,

“In all cases, a license to operate radio equipment is required and must be applied for with the appropriate governing body. The license is granted to operate on a particular frequency, or set of frequencies, with specific eligibility rules that must be met”.

Anyway, is pays to do a little research before heading out into the field with your walkie talkie. 

Get a GP300 earpiece for the best cost

We consume a load of time writing about Motorola 2 way radios, so we’ve chosen to do a series that concentrates on the earpieces that link up to them.

Not only do a number of respectable businesses manufacture top-of-the-range 2 way radios that are both inexpensive and trustworthy, there are also a large array of 2 way radio earpieces that vary from low priced and cheerful (but nonetheless effective) to the last word in techno badassery (Editor’s Note: not actually a word). Continue reading

How does a virtual reality headset work?

Virtual reality, which I’m going to define as ‘the creation of a computerized 3D environment that can be interacted with and manipulated in much the same was as the real world can’, is a pretty multi-faceted concept. There are quite a few ways to allow interaction with a virtual environment (VE), but the headset is perhaps the best known.

So, the key thing that a VR headset needs to be able to do is track the movements of the user’s head (and, where possible, their eyes) in order to allow for better interaction with the VE. After all, if I tilt my head from where I’m sitting and look at the ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage action figure that stands on my desk, the positioning of my eye line will change my perspective of the figure. So VR, in order to be convincing, needs to work on the same principle. Continue reading

Why Can’t I Use a Radio or a Phone on an Aeroplane?

The real reason is that the signals generated by your radio receiver (yes, it generates signals as well as receives them) can interfere with the aeroplane’s navigation equipment.

 

In an article for ‘The Straight Dope’, published in 1987, Cecil Adams (who ran a similar, but far superior, column to this one) explained it far better than I could. He said,

 

“Most modern receivers use something called a “local oscillator,” which is sort of an internal transmitter. The oscillator generates signal A, which is mixed with the somewhat raw incoming signal B to produce nice, easy-to-work-with signal C. There’s usually some sort of shielding around the oscillator, but it’s not always effective and sometimes errant signals leak out to make life difficult for other radio equipment nearby. If the other equipment happens to be an aircraft navigation device, somebody could wind up digging furrows with a $25 million plow. So do your bit for air safety and bring a tape player instead.” Continue reading

How does a virtual reality headset work?

Virtual reality, which I’m going to define as ‘the creation of a computerized 3D environment that can be interacted with and manipulated in much the same was as the real world can’, is a pretty multi-faceted concept. There are quite a few ways to allow interaction with a virtual environment (VE), but the headset is perhaps the best known.

So, the key thing that a VR headset needs to be able to do is track the movements of the user’s head (and, where possible, their eyes) in order to allow for better interaction with the VE. After all, if I tilt my head from where I’m sitting and look at the ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage action figure that stands on my desk, the positioning of my eye line will change my perspective of the figure. So VR, in order to be convincing, needs to work on the same principle. Continue reading

Why Can’t I Use a Radio or a Phone on an Aeroplane?

The real reason is that the signals generated by your radio receiver (yes, it generates signals as well as receives them) can interfere with the aeroplane’s navigation equipment.

 

In an article for ‘The Straight Dope’, published in 1987, Cecil Adams (who ran a similar, but far superior, column to this one) explained it far better than I could. He said,

 

“Most modern receivers use something called a “local oscillator,” which is sort of an internal transmitter. The oscillator generates signal A, which is mixed with the somewhat raw incoming signal B to produce nice, easy-to-work-with signal C. There’s usually some sort of shielding around the oscillator, but it’s not always effective and sometimes errant signals leak out to make life difficult for other radio equipment nearby. If the other equipment happens to be an aircraft navigation device, somebody could wind up digging furrows with a $25 million plow. So do your bit for air safety and bring a tape player instead.” 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

Inform, Entertain and Educate, Two-Way Radios in Broadcasting

The disparity between how easy it is to watch a television program and how difficult it is to make one is truly staggering.

Outdoor shoots are often rushed, always difficult and dependent on a number of factors completely outside of any Human control (principally: the weather). Managing a live broadcast outdoors is a difficult job that only highly trained professionals are properly equipped to deal with.

Mistakes can cost huge sums of money and even jobs to be lost in an instant. As a result, it is of absolutely paramount importance that an outdoor shoot runs as smoothly as possible. It is not possible to control all the variables in this equation, therefore the factors that are controllable need to be handled with a great deal of care and attention. Continue reading

Games pioneer John Carmack joins virtual reality headset firm

Latest news – The Band at Oculus are re-inventing the Virtual Reality Headset with their crowd funded Oculus Rift headset. John Carmack of half life, call of duty and Quake fame and a guru in 1st person shooters, has joined the Oculus company to progress a game, presumably a 1st person shooter, for the headset. Watch how this develops because the future of games may be in this appointment. Continue reading

Gupta: Cell phones, brain tumors and a wired earpiece

So to continue my run of content on this blog, I have decided to share one of our favourite posts this week. I used to be hesitant to add it to the blog because I actually didn’t wish to offend the initial writer, but I trust he/she is glad that I enjoyed reading their work and planned to share it with my readers.

By Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Chief Medical Correspondent

Just about every time I use a cell phone, I plug in my wired earpiece first. Having discussed the use of earpieces on several news shows, people expect to see me using one. If I am walking around the CNN studios, my colleagues often comment on it. In airports, people will stop me in the rare cases I forget to use the earpiece, and remind me about it. Perhaps, they are intrigued because I am a neurosurgeon who openly shows some concern about cell phones. Continue reading