Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Sox Talk

I heard from my agent that the Yankees are about to offer me a $4 million contract if I don't rip them here, so I won't. Why not take it? After all, they're operating in a financial realm that no other team - not even the Red Sox or Mets - can fathom, apparently. They can afford it, it seems.

As much of an advantage as the Red Sox have over almost all the other teams (the Mets, Angels, and possibly the Orioles are the only other teams in the top tier of financial capacity, and you have to discount the Orioles because they're owned by a douchebag), the Yankees have over them. Which puts the Yankees a full quantum jump ahead of all the rest of baseball. Just the first 16 players on their current roster are going to be making about $185 million combined next year.

Basically, the best hope for Boston (and Tampa) is to see if this year becomes like the last time the Yankees tried to assemble a team by buying all the players in sight. It resulted in 15 years of mediocrity until they started developing minor-league talent during Steinbrenner's suspension. People think of the 1977-1978 Yankees as the first teams that bought titles. Really, there were two truly high-profile free agents on those teams - Reggie Jackson and Catfish Hunter. Other than that the teams were mainly assembled through trades and minor-leaguers that they developed. The return to prominence they had in the 1990s was pretty much the same thing - good trades, developing talent, and a couple of hired guns to fill the holes. This Yankees team is becoming an all-star squad, and I really wonder if they can break the Curse of A-Rod. I wasn't nuts about the Red Sox trying to sign Mark Teixeira (I was happy with the lineup as-is - assuming a healthy David Ortiz at DH and a healthy Mike Lowell), but I really thought he'd wind up in Washington or Baltimore.

Also worth noting - Scott Boras is evil. I think he stays young by drinking the blood of virgin gneral managers. And I stand by that opinion regardless of whether or not any of his players sign with Boston.

Summary of the last two months

C'mon everyone, pay your bills!

Weekend down the Cape

Halloween party!

America is back, baby!

Ahh, vacation...

David takes Manhattan!

Sick of crappy headsets!

Lots of new customers

Snow, ice, bleh.

In-laws come to visit

Hurry up and wrap the gifts!

And that brings us up to date...

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Cry for help

Not me per se - I'm cool right now.  My cry is for a Bluetooth headset that doesn't suck in any way at all.  I've tried damn near all of them, really I have.  Here's the (short) list of features I want:

- Reasonably lightweight.  It doesn't have to be so small people mistake it for a vitamin tablet.  Just light enough so it doesn't hurt my ear.

- No need to stick in my ear.  My ears don't hold devices that well, anyways (I can't use iPod earbuds - they slip right out).  Give me a decent ear loop and I'll be fine.

- The ear loop should be small, but solid, and have enough play so I can actually wrap it properly around my ear.  And I need to wear sunglasses with it.

- Gimmick-free noise cancellation.  No weird probes in contact with my flesh.

- Good volume and easy adjustment.

- Battery life giving me at least 6 hours of talk time.  Standby doesn't matter as much - I plug it in every night.

- Either no blinking light, or one that's off by default.  It's bad enough I wear a headset all day.  I don't want to look like a cyborg when I do so.

- Range good enough that I can leave the phone in my pocket and not worry about static.

- Tough enough to toss in my jacket pocket or backpack without breaking it.

- Buttons that don't accidentally turn it on if I breathe heavy when I have it in my coat.

- A solid enough fit that I can put the thing on and use it without worrying that it's going to go flying off my face as soon as I turn my head.

Virtually all the ones I've tried flunk in some way or another.  I'm still using them anyways, but it's a huge pain in the neck.  Here's the current state of what I have:

- Jawbone 2: Sound is good, battery life is good, but it always feels like it's going to fall off.  And I have to use the old earpiece from the Jawbone 1 to hold it even half-securely.  Plus the little contact is always coming loose from my face.

- BlueAnt Z9i: Good performance, horrible earhooks.  The original Z9 fit somewhat better for some reason.

- BlueAnt V1: See above.  I was able to get an old earhook from a headset I used back in the Stone Age to fit into it and that helped a little, but the fit is still horrid.

- Motorola H15: I'm sending this one back.  Great promise, mediocre fit, horrible connections.  Maybe I just got a dud, but people were hanging up on me when I used it.

- Plantronics 520: Not horrible.  Blinks like a Cylon, looks a little too conspicuous, and I had to hack up the earpiece so it wouldn't cause pain.  But it fits OK now, the sound is pretty good, and the battery will last about a month.  I can leave it in my car for weeks and keep using it when I need to.

We've already established (through about 8 years of posts) that I am a Bluetooth Whore of the worst sort.  But I'm really kind of surprised that the market just hasn't built one that's a no-brainer for me yet.  Meanwhile, I'm struggling to get as close as I can to the right headset - so I keep buying them and keep rotating them in and out of my collection.  I've also given away a few over the years.

What I find myself doing of late is using the built-in Bluetooth in my car more and more, and leaving a headset in my pocket (the 520, usually) for the rest of the time.


(It's been a nice last month since I posted - I'll write about it sometime this week or so)