What you need to make your companion work.
Option 1-Use a USB headset with a microphone. Failure is not an option!
NOTE: The Companion will NOT work with earbuds with a microphone in the wires to the earphone jack. We strongly recommend using a USB headset.
Option 2-Save yourself a LOT of hassle.
Refer to Option 1 and click the headset to the left.
We’ve already drank the Kool-Aid, so we know how great it is to own a Companion. We promise it is the coolest!
So, to repeat, you MUST have a USB headset plugged in to complete the circuit and make your Companion operational. The mic is part of the USB headset.
Me? I’m using the CORSAIR HS50 headset with mic. This headset terminates to a 3.5mm jack, so I’m also using a HyperX Cloud Virtual 7.1 Surround Sound USB Card (HX-USCCPSS-BK). The Hyper-X converts the 3.5mm TRRS (tip-ring-ring-sleeve) jack to a USB-A. The Hyper X also acts as an amplifier for the audio signal, so you will sound loud and clear.
The Companion comes with a power adapter (wall-wart), with a MICRO-USB connector on one end that you plug in to the Companion. Simply plug in the power supply to your Companion, and make sure you have a USB headset connected to the Companion or it will not work. The Companion needs a USB headset. The USB headset MUST terminate to a USB-A plug (above).
Think I’ve made it clear enough about using a USB headset?
As stated, just plug in the power adapter; no off/on switch. You will see a red LED light indicating that power is being received by the Companion. CHECK!
You will also see a GREEN light right next to the red power light that occasionally will blink. This green light is indicating that the Companion is reading from the Micro USB SIM card at the rear bottom of the Companion (which is a good thing!). CHECK!
When you order your Companion, it will come already set up for your wireless device. You will never have to fuss with connecting it to your wireless system, as its all done automatically.
With headset plugged in, moments later you will hear the voice that says “Questions Loading”. Once you hear the loaded questions, intros and answers, your Companion is online and all set to go. Just turn the main dial and start listening! YOWZA!
The rotational dial also has the ability to be pushed down; its sprung for a momentary push action, then the main dial pops back up to its normal position. You will navigate through the menus by pushing down once with the dial for a moment and turning it. Each indent on the dial will navigate you to the various feeds by turning the main dial. We have lots of moments, eh?
But wait – there’s more!
The Touch Sensor:
The touch sensor offers a few options.
1– Use it as a stop start button to hold the spot where you want, be it a podcast, or answer to a questions, listening or whatever!
2-Use it to fast forward through a question, reply, podcast, or answer to an ask-all.
3-Press on the touch sensor AND push the main dial at the same time.
This will allow you to skip forward to the next podcast.
Don’t get frustrated! There is a learning curve as you navigate through the Companion, getting familiar with its features, advantages and benefits. Wear it around your neck and feel great!
Your listening to a podcast, and you decide to power down. With the most recent update, now the Companion remembers where you left off, so when you power up the next time, it will resume at the point where you were. Even better, lets say you were listening to three podcasts, one minute into the first one, 10 minutes into the second, and 5 minutes into the third. Now the bookmarking will take you back to EACH spot on the podcasts you left off at! You won’t have to re-listen to what you already heard.
Don’t want to hear a podcast. Just MUTE it.
Even though you will be using the power adapter, you can use your Companion anywhere in your home since it works off of your Wi-Fi. You can also set up your smart phone to work as a a hotspot to get online. What more could you ask for!
Ditch the power adapter:
We have found a battery available on Amazon that is the same size as the companion so you can operate free from the plugged in power supply. FITS PERFECTLY!
CLICK THE IMAGE TO PURCHASE THE BATTERY
Some things that you should know about your companion:
If you find that the audio you are listening to is too low (as it was for me), there is a simple fix! PRESS AND HOLD DOWN THE MAIN DIAL AND ROTATE IT CLOCKWISE TO RAISE THE VOLUME IN YOUR HEADSET.
WHILE PRESSING DOWN ON THE DIAL, TURN IT COUNTER-CLOCKWISE TO LOWER THE VOLUME.
Firmware updates are pushed out every Friday night, so LEAVE YOUR COMPANION POWERED ON FRIDAY NIGHTS TO RECEIVE THE UPDATES. Just plug it in, red power light ablaze and sleep tight! These Friday night updates are important, because the crew is constantly trying to make your user experience the best it can be. For example, we’ve just added podcasts to the Companion, and we’re going to be adding more functionality in the coming weeks. Don’t miss your Friday night updates.
Update July 20, 2018
You can now dictate custom tags. Two known issues here: 1 – there is no beep or indication that the Companion is recording your dictated tag. 2 – After you dictate your tag, the Companion will go silent while it converts your speech-to-text. Give the companion 2 full minutes before giving up. There is a lot of silence while we wait for speech to text to complete.
The most notable bug fix in this release is you don’t have to push the main dial twice to select a menu item. Now all menu items can be selected on the first click, without having to click a second time.
The Podcast Companion is about joining conversations in voice format with other listeners about the shows you love. It’s a device dedicated to the visually impaired or blind, exploring new ideas with new people, all through voice, always interactive. It is much simpler to use than a smart phone, so if you can work an old fashioned radio, you can work a Companion, which includes a touch sensitive button to help you navigate your way around your Companion’s menus.
It doesn’t get much easier.
“Voice is the most humane way to connect with another soul.” (Lulu Miller, NPR)
“When the whole world is silent, even one voice becomes powerful”. (Malala Yousafzai)
“Justice may be blind, but she has very sophisticated listening devices-your ears”. (Anonymous)
“Blind don’t mean you can’t listen”. (Stevie Wonder)
“People rely so much on vision that a lot of the world is lost to them”.
(Invisible Shores by Oliver Kennett)
The Companion has answers.