Secure Communications for Non-Spies

Nothing to do with books, but definitely a device that will draw lots of attention in public places. Nothing discrete or pocket-friendly about the Skyted. PG suspects a blue-tooth headset like the one below would be a better selection for anyone who was not concerned with elbow-to-elbow phone bank seating, lip-reading competitors or enemy spies.

PG has had several versions of this headset. It’s not the smallest, but fits in a shirt pocket and has the best sound of any he’s tried on both ends of a call.

The design of the Skyted reminded PG a little of the first cell phone he tried.

No, this is not Mrs. PG or any other person PG knew before he met the future Mrs. PG, simply the first photo he found that showed this phone for the clumsy lump this was. Making a discrete call was impossible. Making a call while driving was virtually impossible.

PG rejected the thick brick for the cell phone shown above, a Motorola “bag phone.” It worked very nicely when PG was using it in his car, which was 100% of the time.

Better than the brick for all purposes other than walking through Manhattan talking to people. Better than a brick while you were walking through Manhattan not talking and carrying a brief case.

Actually, the bag could do double-duty as a briefcase if you didn’t have too many papers and didn’t mind a little folding and scrunching.

12 thoughts on “Secure Communications for Non-Spies”

  1. This shark is constantly annoyed because it’s so hard to find audio devices that:

    • have decent audio quality and true noise/wind-cancelling microphones, and

    • do not require recharging of a battery (therefore, are wired 3.5mm plug rather than Bluetooth), and

    • do not interfere with either eyeglasses or range of head motion, and

    • last more than six months in normal, fairly gentle use.

    This shark is increasingly grouchy about the failure to accommodate eyeglasses. (Given how grouchy this shark is anyway, it might be very difficult to tell that it was “increased.”)

    • I don’t find that my hearing aids interfere with glasses (though they do fail the recharge criterion). And since they are “open” vented, they let all external noise in quite well, including your own speech (when used as bluetooth mikes). They do interfere with hairstyles, since the combo of hearing aid & glasses makes a short haircut a little more fussy covering tech behind the ears.

  2. I have an AfterShock headset that works very well. It transmits sound through the skull bone an inch in front of the ear. That means the ear is open to any other sounds in the surrounding area.

    It’s like listening to a radio in a room. You hear both the radio and the other surrounding sound. Wonderful for not getting run down

  3. Bluetooth-enabled hearing aids are a game changer. (Well, c’mon, you knew I wasn’t young…)

    You still need something like fingers and a device to do the dialing (e.g., smartphone (with its own volume controls)), but otherwise it’s a great arrangement. Just stick ’em in the soundproof charger overnight. My latest smartphone is a folder and fits in a pocket as a tidy square.

    So, since the ergonomics package in general finally (after decades) gets my approval, even breakthroughs like the Skyted personal privacy schtick is gonna need to step up to match.

    • One of my friends got one last week so I finally saw it in the flesh.
      Pretty good but my favorite form factor remains the HTC 3125 Windows Mobile “Startrek” phone:

      Unbeaten ergonomics: it fit safely in the small front pocket of my jeans and I could draw, flip it open with my thumb, and be talking in three seconds. One handed. (Plus it came with MS READER.)
      Obsoleted by the phone network. (Boo! Hiss!) Stuck with a phone bar, now.

      The square foldables are a step in the right direction but the ergonomics still need work.
      A slightly taller closed shape and maybe a ridged edge to facilitate one-handed flipping.
      (How hard can it be to get the ergonomics right? Freaking Hollywood got it right 70 years ago!)
      And, of course, much cheaper price. 😉

      • The old Blackberry pagers fit nicely in pockets. Sigh…

        I’m an unusual female, not willing to buy clothing without adequate pockets (I’ve been envying men with butt pockets in jeans and breast pockets in jackets since the 60s), but (believe me) it takes serious dedication to restrict yourself to a female wardrobe where you can carry a skinny wallet, a similar notepad w/mini-pen, a folded square phone, and keys on person. (E.g., skip a purse, most of the time).

        All it needs are two relatively serious skirt pockets, but it does mean giving up on most pants and dresses, and the skirts must be flared, not straight.

        Device form factors are not small enough yet.

        Oh, the joys of winter, when blazers and cardigans can sometimes contribute a spare pocket or two.

    • I have seen one guy in a store saying “Call (somebody),” wait a few seconds, and then start talking.

      Of course, it could have just been a crazy person – I can’t tell the difference, to be honest.

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