Archive for March, 2020

Don’t Mute, Get a Better Headset

Saturday, March 28th, 2020

Matt Mullenweg:

When you’re speaking to a muted room, it’s eerie and unnatural — you feel alone even if you can see other people’s faces. You lose all of those spontaneous reactions that keep a conversation flowing. If you ask someone a question, or they want to jump in, they have to wait to unmute.

If people prefer to mute, fine, but largely I agree, I’d prefer if they didn’t for the sake of a real-feeling conversation. Matt has lots of audio tests here for you to check out on different hardware (and software).

I would personally buy anyone I work with regularly remotely a good audio setup, so that we can hear each other well. It’s a real detriment to meetings when anyone doesn’t sound good. The value of clear communication worth far more than a hundred or two bucks (that’s a privileged thing to say, I realize).

At the moment, I’ve got a variety of setups. I can just use the mic on either my laptop or the ones in my LG UltraFine displays. That’s OK for quick low-importance meetings as long as I’m alone in the office. An easy upgrade from that is for me to put on my headphones (I use some over-ear Beats things). I just don’t always because I don’t love wearing headphones for long. I’m a little unsure what the best microphone is between the Beats, Laptop, and display, but I kinda assume none of them are particularly good.

If I want to make sure I sound good, I yank down my Rode Podcaster which I have mounted on a boom arm on the desk. I’ll do that for any fairly important meeting, like an hour-long all-hands or a partner meeting or anything. I just don’t do it all the time because it’s a little in-my-face to be there all the time.

If I need to sound really good, I’ll hop over to my recording booth (hey, I’ve been podcasting for a long time) where I use the Shure SM7B (this whole setup). Kinda eyeing up that Sennheiser MKH416 that Matt mentions though.

Choosy, but for everything except the main thing it’s for.

Thursday, March 26th, 2020

After seeing some folks do this, I was inspired.

The main marketed feature of Choosy is opening particular links in the browser of your choice. I’m not particularly interested in that. Not that I don’t use multiple browsers sometimes, I just don’t wanna be asked every time I click a link.

What I am interested in is the type of links that aren’t even really links. They are just identifiers to hop you over to a native app to a particular place. Zoom is a big one of course, but I actually have this somewhat annoying issue with lots of apps. I generally prefer using the desktop app version of things, even if it’s just a web wrapper. One thing I like is just being able to close the window entirely and pop it back open right where I was, which you can’t do with browser tabs.

My list includes not just Zoom and Notion, but also Figma and Front.

I tried Slack but I don’t think it works right.