I Finally Found a Bluetooth Headset for my BlackBerry that Works in my Noisy Car – The Plantronics Voyager Pro

By Dave Peiser

Up until now, I have been really unhappy with all the headsets I’ve tried using with my BlackBerry Storm. They typically work fine when I’m sitting at my desk at the office, but once I start moving around and particularly in the car with the A/C or heater blowing, the person on the other side of the conversation has had a hard time following everything I am saying.

And it’s not that I’ve been cheap. The first Bluetooth headset I tried was the Aliph “Jawbone” which was a great example of one that worked under ideal circumstances but not in my car. The Jawbone has a small plastic nub that needs to touch your cheek in order for the noise cancellation to work. I couldn’t get that nub to constantly be in contact with my cheek, so it typically had no functioning noise cancellation. So it wasn’t any better than the cheapos.

I tried wired headsets too, but microphone placement seemed to be sub-optimal, especially with background noises in my car.

The device that has finally been working for me is the Plantronics Voyager PRO Bluetooth Voyagerpro Headset. This headset has two noise-canceling mics on a boom that sticks out from the earpiece toward your mouth. Their marketing material says they have “Three layers of WindSmart technology–stainless steel mic screens, acoustic fabrics, and an electronic filter–block intrusive wind noise”. That's lots of mumbo jumbo, but the bottom line is It works!! I have used this headset with my air conditioner blowing big-time on a hot day in Calfornia and the person I was talking to could hear me and I could hear them. Amazing!!

The Voyager Pro was a cnet Editor’s Choice in April of 2009 (http://tinyurl.com/qczs37).

It also has an available car charger, which works perfectly for me, because I only use the thing in the car. I don’t need to look like a dork walking around talking to myself, right? As of 7/2009 you can get a free car charger for registering the device on the Plantronics website (http://tinyurl.com/cra9vm).

The typical price for the Voyager Pro is $99.99 and you can buy it at most places that sell these type devices including:

Amazon.com: Plantronics Voyager PRO Bluetooth Headset

See a promotional video about the Voyager Pro on YouTube

Start talking! And driving! At the same time! Don't miss your exit though!

Getting Email on a BlackBerry

by Dave Peiser

When my clients tell me they want to get real-time email delivered to their phone or PDA, the one and only product I recommend is the BlackBerry. Why? The BlackBerry is just light-years ahead of other products with both the user interface for managing email and with the technology for delivering the email to their devices. Add to that a well thought out “back-end” software platform for managing anything from one to thousands of devices.

The following is a summary of what is available, regarding synchronizing email, as well as contacts, calendar and other organizer info when using a Blackberry:

1. You use Microsoft Outlook or Outlook Express, and email comes in using a “POP3” type connection. Or you get your email online with Yahoo! or Gmail. Or you don’t currently have an email account, or want a new account just for Blackberry-delivered email.

This is the easiest setup to do, and many business owners should be able to get this done without an IT guy like me.

What’s available?

  • Wireless email via the BlackBerry Internet Service – email is sent to the BlackBerry in parallel with the email being sent to Outlook. So the email you receive on your BlackBerry also shows up in Outlook. You can receive and reply to emails, but the replies do not make it back into Outlook.
  • Synchronization of your inbox, sent items and deleted items with Yahoo! email accounts.
  • Full synchronization via a usb cable connection: Using a cable to connect the BlackBerry to your PC, plus BlackBerry Desktop Software, your email, contacts, calendar, memos and tasks synchronize with Outlook. You can also transfer files between your BlackBerry and PC.

2. You use Microsoft Outlook, and email comes into Outlook using a Microsoft Exchange Server.

What’s available?

  • You can sync email, contacts, calendar, memos and tasks wirelessly. Smaller businesses (up to 30 users) can use BlackBerry Professional Software (previously called “BlackBerry Enterprise Server Express”), and there is no cost for one user. There is a charge for additional users.  With over 30 users you need to use a program called BlackBerry Enterprise Server. These programs are very similar in capabilities. Here is a link to a comparison of BlackBerry products. Both of these programs need to be installed on a Windows server (2000 or 2003). With up to 10 users you can put it on your Exchange server. Ideally, it should be installed on a separate server from the Exchange server.
  • Optionally, a program can be loaded onto users’ PCs that allows them to customize the synchronization settings.