Moto Hint Review: The Very first Bluetooth Headset I Wasn’t Ashamed for you to Wear

When we found this post we were so pleased, having sought for over a year for this, finding it on this website was an thrilling day for yours truly.

Bluetooth earpieces have always stuck out. I mean they’ve literally stuck out of your ear. Perhaps they’re not as much of a fashion faux pas as Google Glass, but there’s definitely a stigma about them. To combat the cyborg look, some wearable manufacturers are building smartwatches, but Motorola also has a backup plan: a tiny, handsome earbud that can act like a personal assistant.

What Is It?

It’s an itsy bitsy teenie weenie Bluetooth headset—basically the entire thing fits inside your ear. It pairs more or less seamlessly with Motorola’s already very good voice-control software on the new Moto X, allowing you to do stuff with your phone while it’s still in your pocket/purse/backpack/bathroom floor. Did you see the movie Her? Remember the earpieces they wore to interact with their digital assistants? This is basically the beta version of that. But with a less robust (and less sexy) operating system.

Who’s It For?

It’s for people who have secretly wanted the utility of a hands-free Bluetooth headset but couldn’t bear the stigma of wearing one in public. I mean, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and all, but come on, those things make you look like an asshole. Realtalk. While it’ll work with any Bluetooth-capable phone (which is basically every phone) it’s especially designed to work with Motorola’s latest and greatest.

Design

From an engineering point of view, it’s really damn impressive. It packs in a speaker, a touch-sensitive panel, dual noise-canceling microphones, a battery, and an IR proximity detector into something that’s the size of a thimble and weighs only 6 grams (or 0.2 ounces). You can even trick out the Hint with backplates made of different materials, like canvas, wood, and leather, so you can match it to your Moto X though Moto Maker.

Motorola couldn’t cram a very large battery in there, though: Indeed, there’s just a 46 mAh cell inside the Hint’s diminutive chassis. To put that in perspective, that is exactly 1/50th (yes,fiftieth) of the size of the battery in the Moto X. So, to help you get through the day, Motorola also built a rather clever carrying case that doubles as a portable charging station.

Drop your Hint into the little docking port inside the case, plug in a standard micro-USB cable, and you’ll actually be charging two batteries at once: the 46mAh cell inside the Hint, and a second 150mAh battery in the case that holds an additional 2.5 charges worth of electricity. Simply pop the Hint out of your ear when it’s running low, and into the little slide-out cubby on the Charging Case once again. When you close the case, an LED light at the top begins to pulse so that you know it’s working.

The case, too, can be customized to match your earpiece and phone (though I’m not sure if there’s a wood variant). It’s easy on the eyes, definitely pocket-sized, and convenient.

Using It

You pair the Hint with your Moto X pretty much like you’d pair anything else. It’s a simple process and thankfully it worked on the first try (which isn’t always the case with Bluetooth audio devices). Once paired, you can choose to set the Hint as a “trusted device” which means that when the Hint is connected to your phone you can bypass your lockscreen. In other words, if you have the Hint in your ear (not in your pocket), you’ll be able to skip straight to your homescreen as soon as you turn on your phone. Definitely handy. To save power, the Hint uses a proximity detector to tell if it’s actually in your ear, and switch to standby mode whenever you take it out. But when it’s in your ear, it’s constantly listening.

At least, it is if you’re using a Moto X.

You don’t have to have a Moto X in order to use the Moto Hint. The Hint uses a standard Bluetooth protocol for audio which means it will pair and work with any smartphone that supports it (yes, even iPhones). It will work just like a regular Bluetooth earpiece. You’ll be able to use it for all your calls and it will still be discreet and good-looking, and maybe that’s all you really want anyway—a smaller, more attractive earpiece. That said, you’ll be missing some of the banner features like being able to interact with your phone via Moto Voice and the Hint constantly listening for your command.

What’s it listening for? Glad you asked. You may remember that the Moto X smartphone also has an always-listening feature where you can program a wake-up phrase of your choice to instantly unlock the phone and allow you to immediately issue a voice command. Originally mine was, “Miiister Anderson…” a la Hugo Weaving, but I’ve since changed it to, “Hi there Jenny.” I’m not totally sure why. Regardless, assuming you’re using the Hint with a Moto X, it uses the same wake-up phrase, and then you’re free to control your phone no matter whether it’s in your pocket, on your car dashboard, or wherever else you might have stuffed the damn thing (ahem).

When it works, it works really well and is generally very convenient. For example, just yesterday I lost track of time and was scrambling to pack up my suitcase and meet some friends before heading to the airport. We hadn’t picked a restaurant yet. I was able to rush all around the apartment like a chicken with its head cut off, while still receiving text messages and calls and coordinating with my friends. Or two days ago, when I was walking around a new city, I was getting turn-by-turn walking directions piped straight to my ear while looking around and enjoying the scenery.

As for how discreet it is, I wore this thing for three solid days (when I wasn’t swimming, showering, or charging it)—walking down the street, in stores, at restaurants. I was waiting for someone to ask me about it—daring them, even. But nobody seemed to notice. Not once. Maybe they didn’t want to ask me about it because they thought I was deaf in one ear and didn’t want to offend, but honestly, I think it’s so small that it just barely registers. Then again, I was a bit self-conscious about talking to it when surrounded by people. I’d do it walking down the street, but I’d typically wait until any potential cyborg-hunters were a safe distance away.

It comes with a few different sized gel-attachments to make sure it fits snugly into different-sized ears. I found that the pre-installed medium size was the best fit overall, but even so, after a while it did become a bit uncomfortable in my ear. When this happened I would just pull it out of my one ear and pop it into the other, and that gave my ear the break it wanted and solved the comfort issues. It’s not ideal, but it isn’t too awkward. Getting it to fit in your ear just right is very important, because if it doesn’t really get in there it can be pretty hard to hear.

Actually, that leads me to the first strike against it. In my experience, the Hint has very inconsistent volume levels. Some things it says will be relatively loud and easy to hear, and then for other things it just kind of whispers. Seems like a software issue that could be ironed out. More annoying is when you’re trying to issue a voice command and it doesn’t seem to be able to hear your voice over its own sounds. It was particularly problematic when I was playing music: I was shouting my key phrase over and over, but it just didn’t register. This same thing happens with the Moto X, even playing relatively quiet audiobooks with Audible, so I’m thinking it may be a software issue.

And even at max, the Hint really doesn’t pump out as much volume as a traditional Bluetooth headset. I really struggled to hear what it was saying over the sounds of light traffic or even a cranked-up A/C in my car. Pushing it further into your ear helps, but watch out: When you tap the touch-sensitive panel on the back it activates Moto Voice just as if you’d uttered the wake-up command. Or deactivates it just as you were trying to hear whether the Hint had properly interpreted you. Or ends your call, which is a special kind of annoying.

On the positive side, you can start a call on your phone, then simply pop the Hint into your ear and the call will seamlessly transfer to the earbud. Take it out in the middle of a call, and yep, your call is right back on your phone. Pretty slick, but doesn’t happen quiiite as fast as you’d want, so you’ll miss a few seconds of what the other person is saying while waiting for it to switch over.

There are some other places where improvements need to be made on the software side. For instance, Google is making a push to make Hangouts the default messaging app in Android, but Moto Voice doesn’t really integrate with Hangouts yet. That means that if you’ve already switched over to Hangouts you’re left out of a lot of the text messaging goodness, which is one of the banner features. It will beep when you get a new text, but it won’t read it to you or say who it’s from. You have to say your wake-up phrase and then, “What’s new?” and then sometimes it will read it. Annoying.

Also, when sending a text (or an email), you dictate the message, and then it will ask, “Do you want to send this?” but it doesn’t read your message back to you. So you have to pull out your phone and make sure it heard you correctly before you confirm, which pretty much defeats the purpose. In general, don’t expect too much: Moto Voice (and Google Now/Search for that matter) still has trouble with natural language. You really have to memorize commands in order to get it to do what you want. It’s still ahead of Siri in this department but it’s way behind Windows’ Cortana. We hope Google will up its game very, very soon.

Like

The size is really incredible. The Hint is tiny, discreet, and even when you do notice it, it’s a pretty slick little gadget. The charging case is really well-engineered and it looks good, too.

Being able to do a lot with your phone without even having to pull it out is a pretty big deal and there are times when it’s genuinely extremely convenient.

No Like

Unpredictable volume levels in the earpiece. It struggles to hear you when there’s much ambient noise, and it can’t hear you at all when you’re listening to music or an audiobook. But don’t even bother listening to music with it, because the audio quality isn’t great anyhow. Callers generally understood me pretty well, but I struggled to hear them if there was any ambient noise.

Having to take it out of your ear to charge it every three hours or so is kind of annoying, though I appreciated the break.

It needs work understanding natural language.

Because it’s basically invisible it makes you feel like a crazy person when you’re walking down the street shouting, “Hi there Jenny. HI there Jenny! HI THERE JENNY!!!”

Should You Buy It?

Maybe, but there are some big ifs. If you have a new Moto X, then it’s pretty cool how it can leverage Moto Voice. If you’re the sort of person who uses (or wants to use) a Bluetooth headset anyway, then the tiny form factor of the Hint could definitely be very appealing. If your job/lifestyle/fetishes could really benefit from being able to interact with your phone without touching it (I don’t know, maybe you’re a pastry chef and you’re constantly covered in flour), then, yeah, maybe. But remember, it costs $150, which is pretty steep for a Bluetooth headset.

For most of us, the Hint is a cool little luxury item. Could it be the first step toward a product that we’ll come to think of as a necessity? Actually, I think there’s a pretty decent chance of that. It has a lot of forward-thinking ideas, but the software just isn’t quite there yet. It feels like a beta. If you’re looking to fall in love with a Scarlett Johansson-voiced artificial intelligence — or even a Jarvis-like robotic butler — you’ll need to wait quite a few more years.

http://gizmodo.com/moto-hint-review-the-first-bluetooth-headset-i-wasnt-1645744079

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what is an earpiece?

In general, an earpiece refers to any products that functions by either hanging by the ear or covering it. People use the phrase to refer to products that are used to block the entry of water or sound into the ear. It also refers to the part of eye glasses that extends and fits on the ear. However, even though there are many meanings, it is most commonly used in the electronics world. This is a gadget that coverts electronic signals into sound waves and then directs them into the ear for the user. There are many types of electronic earpieces that can be found in stores both on and offline. In fact, you will be baffled to find out the variation in designs, functionality and other features.

Several decades ago, the earpiece was the only product that could be used to listen to audio signals that are generated electronically. However, with the invention of things such as amplifiers, they were reduced to personal preference than necessity. This is the reason why anyone who uses them does so because the either would like to listen to the audio alone or they just do not want to bother others. One of the most obvious things to note is that they are used specifically where privacy is required. Some other terms used to refer to the earpiece include a headphone, ear buds, headsets, stereo phones and many others.

Categories

There are two main categories of earpieces – the wired and the cordless types. The cordless type utilizes special waves such as infrared or radio waves to transmit the audio from its source to the ear. You can find such product for almost every audio player. Whether you are using a CD player, a phone or computers you always will find something that can be used for this propose. Their also must be a signal connection link in order for the cordless type to function. For instance, most people use Bluetooth or Wi-Fi.

As for the wired type, you need to ensure that it has been physically attached to the signal source. You need jacks at the end of each cord in order to facilitate this. The best part is that jacks have been standardized and so, you do not have to worry about what fits in your layer. However, you need to know that there are jacks that are only used for professional equipments and so they might not be useful for other situations. Your choice between the two categories depends on your current situation and the specific media players that you are using. You might even want to use a combination of both.

3D sound effect

Owing to the way that it is inserted into the ear, the earpiece makes the brain to assume that the sound is I a straight line between the ears and so, you might not hear the three dimensional sound effects that are produced by the original player. This is because the sound is fed directly into the eardrum.

Utility safety: Headsets protect worker hearing and improve communication

You can read this orignal post at this website

Work safety equipment: Motorola Solutions Inc. has announced the joint collaboration between 3M and Motorola on the 3M Peltor Heavy-Duty Headset Portfolio. Motorola is now the sole distributor of the MT7H79 Direct Radio Connect Headsets, optimized and certified to meet Motorola’s performance standards for APX and MOTOTRBO(TM) two-way radios. The initial launch will include 15 new headset products from the Peltor HT, MT and Tactical Pro Series that serve as complementary accessories to Motorola’s digital two-way radios. Ideal for noisy work environments, this portfolio will help customers meet hearing conservation program requirements. Hearing conservation programs are mandated by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration to protect workers with significant exposure to occupational noise from hearing impairment.

Since 2004, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has reported that nearly 125,000 workers have suffered significant, permanent hearing loss. Hearing loss is the most commonly recorded occupational illness in manufacturing. These protective communication products provide hearing protection for noise levels above 82 decibels (db) while allowing users to hear their surrounding environment and communicate. The portfolio of solutions is ideal for manufacturing, public safety, public works and utility workers.

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KEY FACTS

• The 3M Peltor heavy-duty headset portfolio comes in a variety of styles, providing flexibility and comfort for extended wear including over-the-head, neckband and hard-hat attached options.

• It also has a 22 – 26dB noise reduction rating that is key for hearing conservation.

• The portfolio includes field replaceable parts and repair service after the 12-month warranty period.

• The companies will continue to build-out a suite of unique protective communication headsets for Motorola two-way radios.

Doug Moses, 3M Marketing Manager, Protective Communications, said: “3M and Motorola Solutions are globally recognized solution providers, and 3M is excited to work closely with a company that offers premium products in the radio market. The 3M brand has been dedicated to providing hearing conservation solutions for noisy environments for years. Through this joint relationship, we are able to complement Motorola’s radio expertise for enhanced communication in high noise environments.”

Nick Candotti, director, Accessories & Energy Business, Motorola Solutions, said: “Motorola Solutions is pleased to collaborate with 3M Peltor to better equip workers and help improve their safety. This positive working relationship, in addition to the expanded two-way radio accessories portfolio, creates an extensive array of hearing protective communication solutions for our customers.”

Channel 4 Buys Hitler’s Hair for Three Thousand Pounds

British TV station Channel 4 is being strongly criticized after it authorized the purchase of a lock of hair that apparently once belonged to Adolf Hitler, for £3000.

The hair, which was acquired for DNA testing as part of the upcoming show ‘Dead Famous DNA’, was allegedly collected by the Dictator’s barber.

Channel 4 bought the hair from Nazi sympathizer and Holocaust denier David Irving. The controversial ‘historian’ also attempted to sell other Nazi memorabilia online in 2009.

Yahoo! News quoted Labour MP Ian Austin as saying that the sale represented a particularly uncouth publicity stunt. Austin said, “This sounds sick. It’s appalling that Channel 4 would get involved with a Holocaust denier in some bizarre and tawdry show purporting to be entertainment (…) It’s disgusting, and raises questions about Channel 4’spublic broadcasting remit.”

However, Channel 4 defended the move, with a spokesperson saying that “We believe the potential importance of the scientific and historical insight justified the purchase,”

Initially considered to be a respected academic, British author David Irving’s career as a historian gradually fell into decline as his works became more and more biased towards Hitler’s Third Reich. He has since spoken at various Neo Nazi rallies and has gone on record, a great many times, as both a Holocaust denier and a virulent anti-Semite. He has stated that he believes in a Jewish conspiracy to rule the world and has openly accused concentration camp survivors of lying about their experiences.

At the time of writing, Irving is banned from entering Germany, Austria, Italy, Australia and Canada.

According to The Jewish Chronicle Online, Mark Gardner, director of communications at the Community Security Trust, said, “It is distasteful to see Hitler being sensationalized in this way, but even worse that David Irving – of all people – ought to profit from it in this way.”

‘Dead Famous DNA’ is to be fronted by Mark Evans and will see the DNA testing of the remains of other famous figures from history. People like Charles Darwin, Marilyn Monroe and Napoleon Bonaparte. The programme will be broadcast later this week.

you can obtain the original article here

Gupta: Cell phones, brain tumors and a wired earpiece

My basic review of the new radio accessory it starts up well, looks pretty awesome, is simple to run and very energy resourceful, the radio accessory really is a top quality product. I’m pleased I bought it, read further below.

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.

Truth is, it is a pretty easy thing to do – using an earpiece. Furthermore, my neck doesn’t hurt after being on the phone for a long conference call, and given that many of those calls take place in a car, an earpiece becomes a requirement. Still, though, I don’t want to dodge the obvious question: Do cell phones cause brain cancer?

It may be too early to say for sure. The latency period or time between exposure and recognition of a tumor is around 20 years, sometimes longer. And, cell phone use in the U.S. has been popular for only around 15 years. Back in 1996, there were 34 million cell phone users. Today there are 9-10 times as many. Keeping that in mind, it is worth taking a more detailed look at the results of Interphone, a multinational study designed to try to answer this question.

The headline from this study was there was little or no evidence to show an association between cell phones and cancer. Though, if you went to the appendix of the study, which interestingly was available only online, you found something unsettling. The data showed people who used a cell phone 10 years or more doubled the risk of developing a glioma, a type of brain tumor. And, across the board – most of the studies that have shown an increased risk are from Scandinavia, a place where cell phones have been popular since the early 1990s. For these reasons, the whole issue of latency could become increasingly important.

Cell phones use non-ionizing radiation, which is very different from the ionizing radiation of X-rays, which everyone agrees are harmful. Non-ionizing radiation won’t strip electrons or bust up DNA. It’s more like very low power microwaves. Short term, these microwaves are likely harmless, but long term could be a different story. Anyway, who likes the idea of a microwave, even a low-powered one, next to their head all day?

And, what about kids? I have three of them, aged 5, 4 and 2. Fact is, they are more likely to lead to my early demise than cell phones. But, as hard as it is to believe sometimes, they actually have thinner skulls than adults, and will probably be using cell phones longer than I ever will.

The first person to encourage me to regularly wear an ear piece was Dr. Keith Black. He also is a neurosurgeon, and makes a living removing – you guessed it – brain tumors. Keith has long believed there is a link, and for some time, his was a lonely voice in this discussion. Nowadays, he has loud and prominent voices accompanying him. Ronald Herberman, director of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, sent a memo warning staffers to limit their cell phone use. One of the possible consequences, he says, is an increased risk of brain cancer. The city of San Francisco is trying to pass an ordinance requiring radiation warning labels on all cell phones. The European Environmental Agency has said cell phones could be as big a public health risk as smoking, asbestos and leaded gasoline. Even the makers of cell phones suggest you don’t place a device against your head, but rather advocate holding it 5/8 to a full inch away.

Many will roll their eyes at this, scoffing at the precautionary principle on display here. Fair enough. Still, I like my wired earpiece, and I don’t have to turn my life upside down to use it. I also text and email a lot more, because my kids rarely allow me to have a phone conversation. Speaking of kids, you will probably see mine using earpieces too, when my wife and I decide they are old enough to use one, which isn’t in the foreseeable future.

you can get the original post

Former WWE Champ Brian Danielson Apprehends Burglar

A burglary was thwarted last month by professional wrestler Brian Danielson – known to WWE fans as Daniel Bryan – after he unknowingly interrupted two robbers who were in the process of burglarizing his home in Pheonix, Arizona.

Thinking quickly, the four time World Champion chased down one of the suspects and applied a chokehold, subduing the would-be thief until police could arrive.

“Unfortunately, he wasn’t in very good shape so it didn’t take much.” Said the 33-year-old former WWE Champ, who headlined the company’s 30th annual WrestleMania event last April and successfully defended the WWE Championship at May’s ‘Extreme Rules’ Pay Per View event.

“Its probably not the best thing to do, because you don’t know what’s gonna happen,” Danielson confessed to interviewers. “I just reacted, and that’s what most people do.”

Upon returning home and disturbing the attempted robbery, Danielson and his wife Brie Bella – also a WWE wrestler – were mostly concerned for the safety of their dog, Josie.

“Our main concern was for Josie, so we came in, Brie went looking for Josie, I saw the guys running out the back, I chased ’em, I caught one of ’em, and kept him until the police got there,” said Brian Danielson, somewhat matter-of-factly, at a press conference held by the couple the next day.

According to Danielson, the suspect was winded by the time the Champ caught up with him “Exhaustion makes cowards of us all, and he was very, very tired, and it literally took zero effort to take him down,” he said.

When some reporters teased Danielson that his on-screen wrestling rivals ‘The Authority’ may have been behind the robbery, he joined in with a few tongue-in-cheek comments of his own.

“Who knows, maybe Triple-H (whom Daniel Bryan defeated at WrestleMania XXX) is behind this whole thing?” Brian joked.

Last week it was reported that police in Pheonix had uncovered three further suspects believed to have been involved in the break-in. The three have been linked to multiple burglaries in and around the local area.

Danielson has wrestled for many wrestling companies, including Ring of Honor (ROH), where he held the ROH World Championship and was known as ‘The American Dragon’.

By the way, the dog was fine. In fact, she joined the couple at the press conference (no, really).

Brian Danielson is presently recovering from serious neck surgery and has been inactive in the WWE since June. We wish him a speedy recovery.

FB Undergoes sex Transformation

Representatives from social media site Facebook have announced that they are adding several new site options, which will allow users to effectively customize their gender.

This action was taken after Facebook employees consulted members of 5 leading gay and transgender advocacy groups.

There will now be around 50 new options, including ‘bi-gender’, ‘transgender’ and ‘androgynous’. It will also be possible for users to choose whether the site refers to them as ‘he’, ‘she’ or ‘they’.

Facebook engineer Brielle Harrison told the press that, “There’s going to be a lot of people for whom this is going to mean nothing, but for the few it does impact, it means the world,” However, as of 2011, there were an estimated 700,000 transgender adults in the US, so this decision is likely to positively effect a sizeable amount of people.

Gender is not the same concept as sex, or even sexuality, yet the general public erroneously considers all of them to be interchangeable. Whilst a person’s sex simply refers to their sexual organs, the term ‘gender’ actually describes their social role within a broader cultural context.

For example, a person who considers him/herself to be bi-gender can often feel trapped when forced to conform to a culturally enforced ‘male’ or ‘female’ gender role. Bi-gender people generally exhibit traits indicative of multiple sexes, or occasionally create alternate personas for both their male and female sides.

People who describe themselves as transgender feel that a sex-based description is an incomplete one. They do not appreciate the rigid definition of ‘male’ or ‘female’ being thrust upon them and prefer instead to define themselves. This is, of course, totally independent of a person’s sexual orientation. It is possible for a heterosexual male to identify as a female (and vice versa).

For another example, intersex individuals are people born with a variation in their sex characteristics, making them neither male nor female in terms of biology. Often, these people find our cultural enforcement of gender roles to be stifling and deeply emotionally unsettling.

As of this week, Facebook’s English-speaking users will have the option to define themselves by these, or a multitude of other gender-based characteristics. The decision will allow users “to express themselves in an authentic way” according to Facebook.

This move reflects the growing exposure that LGBT groups and individuals are getting within contemporary culture. The Transgender Law Center in San Francisco stated that they were “thrilled” by the news. They are likely not alone.

the origin of this article is here