Headsets, cars, 64 bit operating systems and other stuff

I finally broke down and got a headset for my computer today. Communicating in WoW is somewhat difficult without a good microphone and Ventrilo, or Skype. Apparently hearing himself talk got my brother in-law all confused and he was slurring so bad he sounded drunk. Like, really really really drunk. Got a Logitech one that doesn’t hook in to the USB port, it hooks into the sound card directly, which is the kind I’ve been advocating to people for a long time, especially gamers. The sound card handles a good deal of the audio processing directly through hardware, hooking in a USB microphone is silly because it has to be channeled through the USB port, to the computer’s memory, to the sound card (if you have a good piece of software, the CPU handles it if you don’t), then back out through the speakers or to the internet application you are using. It makes so little sense to use one, all that stuff bogs your computer down, using your sound card rarely if ever does (assuming you’ve got all the right drivers and stuff).

I got the Logitech Premium Desktop Headset. Cost be about $20 at Wal-Mart and I’m fairly pleased with it so far, haven’t tested out the microphone. They make a good product though, I’ve used their stuff for years. The model on the website is an older version of this one I think, mine has a flexible tip on the end of the microphone boom and a volume control on cord. The P/N for mine is 980185-1403. This one also has a few good features most USB ones don’t. One the cable is pretty thick and seems sturdy. It also has a volume knob for the headphones and a mute switch for the microphone. I can plug in the headset, or the microphone, or both if I want and my computer doesn’t ‘ding’ every time I plug it in. Also it doesn’t require any drivers or extra software running on the machine, that’s a very big plus.

I’ve heard of a lot of people breaking their headsets. The most common way is that it gets wrapped around the wheels of their chair. My opinion is the outer later of the cable stretches more then the wires inside it and the wires break off inside. Other people have told me the cables just flat snapped. This could likely be prevented by not plugging the headset into the USB port on the front of the machine. Most people keep their computer towers below their desk, and the cable being on the floor in front of their computer, directly over where their chairs sit, well you see the basic problem.

It’d be better to plug a USB headset into the back of the tower, or better yet get a USB extension cable if you have to plug it into the front. Yes some of those cost almost $30 but they are usually pretty thick and won’t get wrapped up in your chair wheels. Plus the headset will probably just come unplugged if you pull on it too hard rather then breaking.

Another problem seems to be the microphone boom (the arm the microphone is on that swings in front of your face) on the headset itself breaking. This is probably due to delicate ‘pretty’ or ‘futuristic’ design rather then anything major on the user’s part. Don’t buy a headset with a thin little wire boom even for your cell phone, if you do don’t get one that sits in front of your mouth, get a ‘fancier’ one where the microphone sits on your cheek and doesn’t really move much. Also, refrain from dropping or tapping the microphone, that can really drastically affect the sound quality you get out of it. Chewing on the microphone will also cause problems.

A good solid desktop microphone and a pair of headphones you plug into your speakers might be better for you though if you tend to get enthusiastic about your gaming. I am not one of those gamers that just jumps around and hits things all the time but I know quite a few of you are. The desktop mikes tend to be a bit sturdier, and usually somewhat cheaper to replace, plus you can set them further back and get results just as good. Make sure you get headphones with REALLY long cords though, walkman headphones just do not cut it.

My car is in the shop finally. The mechanic seems to think it’s the ignition module and not the fuel pump. Little less expensive for a used module then a new fuel pump so I’m happy. Labor seems cheaper, and I won’t lose $25 worth of gas. I just hope he has it fixed soon and doesn’t charge a whole lot if that’s the problem. I need it working pretty bad.

Windows XP Pro x64 has been nice. It doesn’t seem to like some sets of software but hasn’t refused to run anything yet. Except some spyware, ironically. It refused to run some adware that came with Skype. I find that pretty funny Skype works but the spyware that ships with it doesn’t. Cool, but funny. Medieval 2: Total War doesn’t run so well on it, I think it’s video issue though rather then any huge OS conflict.

Otherwise it is very responsive, has very few frills and hasn’t done anything weird at all. I feel pretty confident I will like this operating system a lot as time goes by. I’m even considering keeping it instead of going the Vista route when that finally comes out (even though I think I have a coupon to get Vista Small Business Edition for free).

Been watching Season 2 of Boston Legal on DVD. It’s hilarious. I am thinking of adopting Denny Crane’s thought processes as my own. Of course it’s just a forum for the actors, producers and directors to push off their political views, but I’m pleasantly surprised it’s more moderate then what I expected from something with Candice Bergen in it. I tend to find I agree with quite a bit of it. That really surprises me especially with all the anti-war stuff in it.

Oh wait, I disagree with the war we’re fighting, how we’re fighting it and why we’re fighting it anyway. I guess I would agree with the show’s views on it then.