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Comment I've used the Hearphones - very impressed (Score 4, Interesting) 41

I was at Bose Headquarters the other day trying these out - the Hearphones are actually quite amazing.

Physically they're a black torc that fits loosely about two thirds around the neck. Attached a bit back from the front opening are two tethered earbuds equipped with Bose's really good tips, which come in three sizes. On the right hand tether is a small remote. On the outside of the earbuds are subtle bronze colored microphones.

Aside from being slightly smaller then other torc-style headphones they're not immediately different. They have their control on a remote, and of course the microphones on the earbuds, but nothing screams out also-for-hearing.

Putting them on in 360 mode was like listening to a live mic through, well, very good headphones. However using the app (we were using iPods) it was easy to control the base and treble to focus on what we were listening for - voices.

It was when the Hearphones were switched into directly-in-front mode they got exciting. In a room full of simulated loud coffee shop noise, and a dozen other demo-ees having conversations with their Bose-partners, it all faded away except for whomever I was facing.

Face this way and I could follow this conversation, face that and the other table came in clearly. For years I've had to position myself strategically in bars, restaurants, clubs and conferences - watching folks to ensure I'm following what they're saying. Suddenly that wasn't a concern.

I don't need hearing aids, and while I've spent some amount of time in loud clubs I've not particularly abused my ears. However coming on 50 years my ears aren't particularly reliable in noisy environments and now, suddenly, everything extraneous was muffled.

Sometimes an advanced technology really is like magic (and a really good demo.)

There's also a everything-in-front-of-you mode (180 degrees vs 360 degrees and about 35 degrees for those keeping track.) That would be for sitting at a table of people facing multiple correspondents.

Of course there's an app; iOS and Android. They apologized several times no Windows Mobile version (nobody looked concerned.) However the remote is intuitively designed and did everything necessary so no needing to be rudely screen-peering in the middle of a conversation. Volume up/down, treble/base, and switching between customizable modes.

The other big demo topic was being able to filter a TV or movie theater. Focus on the center speaker, crank the treble, and suddenly dialog popped - no more scrubbing back for what-just-got-said?

That they're also conventional Bluetooth headphones, with the noise-cancelling Dr. Bose invented, was taken for granted.

So, did I buy them?

Not yet. Their price is reasonable for being top-of-the-line noise cancelling Bluetooth headphones + the Hearphone technology but, a bit rich for me. Right now. However after another chaotic holiday party, a conversation where I mishear something important, or a conference where I'm straining to make out the content - yeah, probably.

Oh and if you're condemned to an "open office" cattle pen oh hella yeah. Selective noise cancelling with a music alternative would almost make those hellholes bearable.

Comment Re:Welcome to the Trump future... (Score 1) 458

I've been following this story, and I expect we're not looking at the future, but rather stagnation in the status quo for the last fifteen years or so plus statistical noise.

Where things gets interesting when you start disaggregating the trends. If you look at the life expectancy data by county, the disparity is shocking: almost all rural and poor counties saw little or no improvement in life expectancy since the late 80s, but life expectancy has improved dramatically (5 years or more) in urban and wealthy counties. And here's an interesting fact: the gap between white and black life expectancy has narrowed, but this is largely due to stagnation in life expectancy among working class whites.

This indicates to me that poor access to health care advances for working class and rural whites has driven the overall stagnation in life expectancy. This is in part what Obamacare was intended to address, however it can't possibly improve the situation in rural counties without Medicaid expansion.

Comment Re:Resource Management - Death by Design. (Score 1) 458

I think you are underestimating the role that consumers play in their own downfall.

Cigarettes are bad for you, and everybody knows this, but millions of smokers buy them anyway. Nobody (outside of their own addiction) is forcing them to do so.

HCFS is bad for you, but it makes food taste better -- or at least, it makes people more likely to buy the food. So when company A adds HCFS, its sales increase, and if company B refuses to, it loses market share and might go out of business. Again, nobody is forcing consumers to buy foods with more HCFS, rather it turns out they do so on their own when given the choice.

I'm sure there are people in government (as well as in industry) who value maximizing profit over maximizing health, but they aren't the only bad actors here. There are many areas where people knowingly make health-negative decisions for themselves, simply because they value the short-term enjoyment more than the long-term health benefits.

I don't have any good solution to propose for that problem, but I think any workable solution will have to take that into account rather than just blaming all bad outcomes solely on the supply side.

Comment Interesting they're shutting down devices and not (Score 2) 180

First off this no-charge strategy is not confirmed.

Second what Samsung has been doing til now was installing nag screens and limiting battery charging to sixty percent. I'd be surprised if the US is the first country where they roll out no-charging. All their other methods were first launched in smaller markets.

Thirdly it is interesting they're supposedly software shutting-down the handsets and not simply denying them service. It'd be trivial to place every Note 7 on the blacklist maintained by US carriers for stolen devices.

Of course denying service means the devices are unreachable, so this might be the step before that, to ensure they're not kept around as wifi devices or fancy alarm clocks. Blocking the battery means they're effectively defanged - no charge means no chance of fire.

In my part of the world I haven't seen a Note 7 in weeks. I expect when a clerk points out a Note 7 is keeping a known fire hazard next to their genitals, or in their purse-of-important-stuff, or holding it to their face is asking for trouble, or charging it in their bedroom while sleeping is really scary, and insurance will no longer cover it's damages, the sane ones figure it's time to trade-in.

Comment Re:Welcome to the Trump future... (Score 5, Insightful) 458

The dumbest thing Americans do is assume that consumers act rationally, never-mind should be expected to act rationally. Health care is an insurance product that you want everyone to be forced to pay into so that they take the quickest path to getting back to contributing towards the GDP. None of this should be up to "consumers" in so far as somebody who needs health care gets to shop around if they're sick, blind, alone, or otherwise disadvanted in a miriad of other ways - nor providers, who shouldn't be looking at competition and profit margins for the kind of work they're in.

But I get it - you grew up with a hammer, and everything looks like a nail.

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