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Technology Untangled: New conference phone offers unique features

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I purchased a new piece of office technology recently: a high-quality conference phone with impressive features.

The phone I chose was from a manufacturer I had not heard of before. The Konftel 300W is designed by a Swedish company (www.konftel.com). Most of the conference phones (a.k.a. speakerphones) I have worked with are of the Polycom brand. Konftel popped up as another alternative while I was researching conference phones on the Internet. Two features caught my eye right away – the wireless capability and the ability to record phone calls.

The wireless connection between the base transmitter and the phone uses DECT (digital enhanced cordless telecommunications) technology, one of the newest cordless phone standards. It provides a very good range, a stable noise-free connection that works well through walls and floors, and is relatively secure. The specs list the range at a substantial 650 feet.

The transmitter/receiver is a flat, square, black box that can be plugged into an analog jack in a remote corner of the office. The conference phone can then be moved room-to-room without worrying about finding an appropriate analog phone jack, and without stringing a long cord across the room. In an office with a full digital phone system, sometimes the only analog phone jack you can find will be near a fax machine.

The conference phone itself is a typical triangular shape that nests in a charging cradle. Once the phone is fully charged, it offers up to 60 hours of talk time with the included lithium-ion battery. Standby time is 10 days. The phone also notifies you when there is less than one hour of talk time left, so you won’t be cut off in the middle of an important call. Long battery life like this means you can keep the charging cradle in an out-of-the-way location and just charge the phone every weekend, leaving one less cord to clutter your conference table. With no power cord and no phone cord, this unit makes it easy for you to hold conference calls whenever and wherever it’s convenient.

The audio performance is exceptional. The manufacturer touts it as “OmniSound 2.0 – a sound sensation.” All I know is that the phone sounds great on both ends of the conversation, no matter what you want to call the technology that makes it possible. Additionally, there is an equalizer adjustment to tailor the sound for your personal preference or office environment.

The Konftel 300W offers advanced connectivity that takes it beyond the features of the typical conference phone. When connected to a personal computer via USB, the phone acts as the speaker and the microphone for making VoIP calls through Skype, an Internet communication service that I like and have written about previously. The quality of the Konftel microphone and speakers are superior to those found in the typical laptop, making this phone an ideal companion for enhancing Skype video calls. You can also connect the Konftel to many (but not all) cell phones and facilitate a conference with greatly enhanced clarity compared to the marginal speakerphone function offered with most cell phones. The cell phone adapter cable is a special order item not offered in the standard package.

The ability to digitally record phone calls and conferences is another nice feature of this phone. Using a standard SD memory card, you can record all parties in the conversation to a .wav file, a standard computer audio format. You also have the option to turn on or off the recording indicator beep tone. The audio can later be played back from the phone itself, or can be transferred to computer for archiving as well as playback. This unit also can function as a standard digital audio recorder when you’re not making a call, which is useful for dictation or recording face-to-face meetings.

One curiosity I found for a phone with this level of sophistication was that the maximum compatible SD card size is only 2GB. That is probably enough, providing perhaps 20 hours of recording time, but memory cards come in much bigger sizes these days. I expect a future software upgrade will address this. The phone does include an upgrade utility for loading the latest software version from the Konftel website by connecting the phone to your computer via USB. That nice extra feature should help keep this phone from becoming obsolete too quickly.

Many websites sell this phone for around $700, but if you shop around you should be able to find it for about $500.•

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Stephen Bour (bourtech@iquest.net) is an engineer and legal technology consultant in Indianapolis. His company, the Alliance for Litigation Support Inc., includes Bour Technical Services and Alliance Court Reporting. Areas of service include legal videography, tape analysis, document scanning to CD, and courtroom presentation support. The opinions expressed in this column are those of the author.

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  1. I have been on this program while on parole from 2011-2013. No person should be forced mentally to share private details of their personal life with total strangers. Also giving permission for a mental therapist to report to your parole agent that your not participating in group therapy because you don't have the financial mean to be in the group therapy. I was personally singled out and sent back three times for not having money and also sent back within the six month when you aren't to be sent according to state law. I will work to het this INSOMM's removed from this state. I also had twelve or thirteen parole agents with a fifteen month period. Thanks for your time.

  2. Our nation produces very few jurists of the caliber of Justice DOUGLAS and his peers these days. Here is that great civil libertarian, who recognized government as both a blessing and, when corrupted by ideological interests, a curse: "Once the investigator has only the conscience of government as a guide, the conscience can become ‘ravenous,’ as Cromwell, bent on destroying Thomas More, said in Bolt, A Man For All Seasons (1960), p. 120. The First Amendment mirrors many episodes where men, harried and harassed by government, sought refuge in their conscience, as these lines of Thomas More show: ‘MORE: And when we stand before God, and you are sent to Paradise for doing according to your conscience, *575 and I am damned for not doing according to mine, will you come with me, for fellowship? ‘CRANMER: So those of us whose names are there are damned, Sir Thomas? ‘MORE: I don't know, Your Grace. I have no window to look into another man's conscience. I condemn no one. ‘CRANMER: Then the matter is capable of question? ‘MORE: Certainly. ‘CRANMER: But that you owe obedience to your King is not capable of question. So weigh a doubt against a certainty—and sign. ‘MORE: Some men think the Earth is round, others think it flat; it is a matter capable of question. But if it is flat, will the King's command make it round? And if it is round, will the King's command flatten it? No, I will not sign.’ Id., pp. 132—133. DOUGLAS THEN WROTE: Where government is the Big Brother,11 privacy gives way to surveillance. **909 But our commitment is otherwise. *576 By the First Amendment we have staked our security on freedom to promote a multiplicity of ideas, to associate at will with kindred spirits, and to defy governmental intrusion into these precincts" Gibson v. Florida Legislative Investigation Comm., 372 U.S. 539, 574-76, 83 S. Ct. 889, 908-09, 9 L. Ed. 2d 929 (1963) Mr. Justice DOUGLAS, concurring. I write: Happy Memorial Day to all -- God please bless our fallen who lived and died to preserve constitutional governance in our wonderful series of Republics. And God open the eyes of those government officials who denounce the constitutions of these Republics by arbitrary actions arising out capricious motives.

  3. From back in the day before secularism got a stranglehold on Hoosier jurists comes this great excerpt via Indiana federal court judge Allan Sharp, dedicated to those many Indiana government attorneys (with whom I have dealt) who count the law as a mere tool, an optional tool that is not to be used when political correctness compels a more acceptable result than merely following the path that the law directs: ALLEN SHARP, District Judge. I. In a scene following a visit by Henry VIII to the home of Sir Thomas More, playwriter Robert Bolt puts the following words into the mouths of his characters: Margaret: Father, that man's bad. MORE: There is no law against that. ROPER: There is! God's law! MORE: Then God can arrest him. ROPER: Sophistication upon sophistication! MORE: No, sheer simplicity. The law, Roper, the law. I know what's legal not what's right. And I'll stick to what's legal. ROPER: Then you set man's law above God's! MORE: No, far below; but let me draw your attention to a fact I'm not God. The currents and eddies of right and wrong, which you find such plain sailing, I can't navigate. I'm no voyager. But in the thickets of law, oh, there I'm a forester. I doubt if there's a man alive who could follow me there, thank God... ALICE: (Exasperated, pointing after Rich) While you talk, he's gone! MORE: And go he should, if he was the Devil himself, until he broke the law! ROPER: So now you'd give the Devil benefit of law! MORE: Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil? ROPER: I'd cut down every law in England to do that! MORE: (Roused and excited) Oh? (Advances on Roper) And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you where would you hide, Roper, the laws being flat? (He leaves *1257 him) This country's planted thick with laws from coast to coast man's laws, not God's and if you cut them down and you're just the man to do it d'you really think you would stand upright in the winds that would blow then? (Quietly) Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake. ROPER: I have long suspected this; this is the golden calf; the law's your god. MORE: (Wearily) Oh, Roper, you're a fool, God's my god... (Rather bitterly) But I find him rather too (Very bitterly) subtle... I don't know where he is nor what he wants. ROPER: My God wants service, to the end and unremitting; nothing else! MORE: (Dryly) Are you sure that's God! He sounds like Moloch. But indeed it may be God And whoever hunts for me, Roper, God or Devil, will find me hiding in the thickets of the law! And I'll hide my daughter with me! Not hoist her up the mainmast of your seagoing principles! They put about too nimbly! (Exit More. They all look after him). Pgs. 65-67, A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS A Play in Two Acts, Robert Bolt, Random House, New York, 1960. Linley E. Pearson, Atty. Gen. of Indiana, Indianapolis, for defendants. Childs v. Duckworth, 509 F. Supp. 1254, 1256 (N.D. Ind. 1981) aff'd, 705 F.2d 915 (7th Cir. 1983)

  4. "Meanwhile small- and mid-size firms are getting squeezed and likely will not survive unless they become a boutique firm." I've been a business attorney in small, and now mid-size firm for over 30 years, and for over 30 years legal consultants have been preaching this exact same mantra of impending doom for small and mid-sized firms -- verbatim. This claim apparently helps them gin up merger opportunities from smaller firms who become convinced that they need to become larger overnight. The claim that large corporations are interested in cost-saving and efficiency has likewise been preached for decades, and is likewise bunk. If large corporations had any real interest in saving money they wouldn't use large law firms whose rates are substantially higher than those of high-quality mid-sized firms.

  5. The family is the foundation of all human government. That is the Grand Design. Modern governments throw off this Design and make bureaucratic war against the family, as does Hollywood and cultural elitists such as third wave feminists. Since WWII we have been on a ship of fools that way, with both the elite and government and their social engineering hacks relentlessly attacking the very foundation of social order. And their success? See it in the streets of Fergusson, on the food stamp doles (mostly broken families)and in the above article. Reject the Grand Design for true social function, enter the Glorious State to manage social dysfunction. Our Brave New World will be a prison camp, and we will welcome it as the only way to manage given the anarchy without it.

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