The WEP-200 is a Bluetooth headset, I use it with both my Samsung phone and my Mac (works great for Skype). I’d wholeheartedly recommend it, assuming you find it comfy in your ear. It’s small enough that you have a little less of the cyborg look when you walk down the street connected, elegant-looking, has great sound, and seems to mostly Just Work.

That’s the minor recommendation. The major recommendation is that if you want a Bluetooth headset (and you do, if you use your phone much in your car; wanna stay alive?) the place to get one is the Palm store located conveniently in major airports. Not only do they have a bunch of Bluetooth headsets on sale, they have one of each in a drawer so you can stick ’em in your ear and see how they feel/sound. I’m almost sure that brain cancer can’t be transmitted by sharing headsets.



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From: Will Fitzgerald (Mar 17 2007, at 02:49)

It's pretty well established that the most dangerous part of using a cell phone while driving isn't dialing, but the talking. So the bluetooth phone isn't going to help this: if you "wanna stay live," you'll pull over to talk.

A typical conclusion: “If you put a 20-year-old driver behind the wheel with a cell phone, their reaction times are the same as a 70-year-old driver who is not using a cell phone. It’s like instantly aging a large number of drivers,” says David Strayer, a University of Utah psychology professor and principal author of the study.

Stayer's Applied Cognition Lab: http://www.psych.utah.edu/AppliedCognitionLab/

Latest study report in Human Factors: http://www.psych.utah.edu/AppliedCognitionLab/HFES2006.pdf

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From: David Magda (Mar 17 2007, at 06:14)

I don't think the issue of using phones in cars is about having both hands free. The concern is that if you're operating heavy machinery at speed your attention should be more on what's going around you than what's being said over the phone.

Marshall McLuhan had a good hypothesis in his _Understanding Media: The

Extensions of Man_ :

The telephone demands complete participation, unlike the written

and printed page. Any literate man resents such a heavy demand

for his total attention, because he has long been accustomed to

fragmentary attention. [...]

Many people feel a strong urge to "doodle" while

telephoning. This fact is very much related to the characteristic

of this medium, namely that it demands participation of our

senses and faculties. [...] Since the telephone offers a very

poor auditory image, we strengthen and complete it by the use of

all the other senses. When the auditory image is of high

definition, as with radio, we visualize the experience or

complete it with the sense of sight. When the visual image is of

hight definition or intensity, we complete it by providing sound.

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From: Ed Davies (Mar 17 2007, at 06:21)

I read somewhere, in a light aircraft context, that there were 150 communicable diseases you could get from headsets. Even though people don't tend to fly with colds because of the danger of blocked ears, when I used to fly I much preferred to use my own headsets - and not just because I knew they fitted comfortably and worked.

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From: David Smith (Mar 17 2007, at 08:23)

"...wanna stay alive?"

I seem to remember a recent study that indicates that it's the distraction, not the hand-off-the-wheel, that makes using a cell phone while driving so dangerous...this summary of one recent study is from the Insurance Information Institute:

"A study from researchers at the University of Utah, published in the summer 2006 issue of Human Factors, the quarterly journal of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, concludes that talking on a cell phone while driving is as dangerous as driving drunk, even if the phone is a hands-free model. An earlier study by researchers at the university found that motorists who talked on hands-free cell phones were 18 percent slower in braking and took 17 percent longer to regain the speed they lost when they braked."

The APA Online says:

"Psychological research is showing that when drivers use cell phones, whether hand-held or hands-off, their attention to the road drops and driving skills become even worse than if they had too much to drink. Epidemiological research has found that cell-phone use is associated with a four-fold increase in the odds of getting into an accident – a risk comparable to that of driving with blood alcohol at the legal limit."

And, yes, I do talk on my cell phone while driving.

And yes, I'm one of the

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From: John Cowan (Mar 17 2007, at 10:23)

I don't drive, so insofar as I deal with cars at all, someone else drives me, and I've spent some portion of my life talking with drivers -- friends, family, professionals. I wonder if there are comparative studies on the danger of talking on the phone vs. talking with a passenger. I tend to suppose that the risk of the latter behavior is lower, because talking to someone local leaves you mentally local, whereas talking to someone remote causes you to project yourself in imagination to that remote location, blocking to some degree the local sights as well as sounds. (I did a lot of the courting that led to my marriage on the phone, as it happens -- much of it with my eyes shut.)

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From: Scott (Mar 17 2007, at 16:21)

Re: John Cowan's remarks -

I'm not aware of any rigorous studies, but a couple of informal tests I've seen indicate that you're very much on the right track. When you're talking to somebody who is physically in the car with you, it appears that your primary attention is on driving, and you are attending to the conversation secondarily. When on the phone, however, that appears to be the primary focus of attention.

My wife theorizes that this is because a passenger in your car is, as you implied, in the same space mentally, and therefore requires much less attention; if you're talking only sporadically because of driving conditions, they understand why implicitly because they're right there with you. When you're on the phone with someone, you don't have that shared environment, so much more attention must be paid to the conversation to keep it going.

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From: Rafe (Mar 17 2007, at 16:21)

The biggest difference in talking to fellow passengers is that when something stressful is happening, most tend to shut up and focus on the road, because they respond to the same stimuli as the driver. The person on the other end of the phone has no idea that you're about to merge into traffic and the person in front of you just slammed on the brakes -- your fellow passenger probably does.

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From: Michael McMillan (Mar 17 2007, at 19:58)

My girlfriend is disabled, and has difficulty performing some inticate tasks which require a lot of manual dexterity. Things like holding a phone to her ear. For years she has used a headset with the microphone on the cord. She can insert something in her ear, but has difficulty with the hook that most of the headsets use.

I got her the WEP-200 for christmas because it was the only headset designed to be used without an ear hook. There were others available which had an optional ear hook, but all long time users said that the ear hook was nessassary. I also got her the jabra adapter to use the phone with her existing phone. The only problem is the limited battery life of 4 hours talk time (1.5 hours to charge). The realistic range is about 20 feet.

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