My oldest piece of computer equipment is my Harman Kardon Soundsticks (and subwoofer). They are almost 20 years old. I remember buying them shortly after they first hit the market which according to the internet was back in the year 2000. I bought them when I bought my second computer in early 2002.

My very first desktop computer I got in December of 1995, the second I bought about seven years later in March of 2002, the third computer was (I think) 2008, and I didn’t get my fourth desktop until I bought my Mac Min this past summer of 2021. I’ve also had three laptops in that time. I bought the first one in 2005, the second one in 2011, and a friend gave me the third one (it’s from 2012) a couple of years ago in the end of 2019.

I mention this all because I was thinking about speakers again this morning. I do that often. For about a decade now whenever I turn on my desktop computer there is a good chance my Harman Kardon speaker won’t be working. About three days out of seven. I don’t know why. I thought it was because my computer was old but they do the same thing with my new computer. I have to plug and unplug the speakers, sometimes a dozen times, before they work again.

I usually just have to unplug the USB cable from the hub I have it plugged into but sometimes, maybe one out of ten, I have to unplug the speaker from the power cord. I don’t know why this makes a difference. With my new computer I got a new USB hub and this one has individual on and off switches for each USB plug. That little button has proven useful for my speaker problem but other than that I’ve never had a reason to use it with any other device.

The mornings that the speaker isn’t working I always think to myself that I should get new speakers so as not to have to do this all the time. But then the speakers work again and I don’t think about them. They really are nice speakers. Being that 99.9% of the time they’re working just fine I’ve never had to replace them.

They have new versions of these speakers but those ones have bad reviews. The main problem with them in the reviews is that they’re not durable and break quickly. I found that amazing since they look like the exact same design and mine have lasted so long.

I have a couple of different wireless bluetooth speaker that I used with my laptop and iPad. One goes in my bedroom to be used at night as I fall asleep. It’s a small 6x3x3 inch speaker that runs on a rechargeable battery. I usually play music, sleep sounds, or an old documentary as I fall off to sleep. It’s been only the sleep sounds in recent years but it used to be the other stuff too. This one has been working fine.

My second bluetooth speaker is similar to the first except instead of being a rectangle it’s a triangle. I used that one in my studio to hook up to my laptop whenever I’m on Zoom or Streamyard. Oddly I’ve been having trouble with that one as I’ve been getting a lot of interference with it. Instead of being able to hear the people I’m talking to they break up into static.

At first this was only happening when using Streamyard to stream my live YouTube show on Friday nights. I couldn’t hear the guys I was talking to while doing our show. I fiddled around with stuff and eventually started connecting to the internet via ethernet rather than wifi. This cleared things up briefly. Then it all happened again.

Meanwhile the wifi and speaker were working fine, most of the time, when I was using Zoom. The class I was teaching over Zoom was four hours and 20 minutes long so I ended up using the speaker as it was plugged into power. That was the next thing I changed as I was searching for a solution to my interference problem.

My YouTube show is three hours long so I usually had the speaker plugged in during that too so I unplugged it. The interference went away for a brief bit but then came back again. This very Friday night it came back with a vengeance. Only on Streamyard. On Zoom everything was fine.

My solution to the Streamyard speaker problem was to go wired. Y’see I have one other computer speaker. In 2008 I bought a small USB speaker. Back then I used to ride a stationary bike and I would set up my laptop in front of it and watch episodes of the X-FIles. But the computer’s speakers were so crappy that I could barely hear the show. So I bought these wired USB speakers. They cost less than $20 and are about two steps above the crappy laptop ones.

They’re two little speakers on a hinge that fold up to be “Portable.” The USB cord also retracts inside of them. I used them for a couple of years but not much since then. They’ve spent a decade inside a drawer. They’re still a step up form my current laptop speaker though.

Those are the speakers that saved me from the interference while broadcasting on YouTube over Streamyard. I plugged them into my laptop and moved them over to the side away from my microphone. As I wrote they are not the greatest speaker but I could hear everything just fine because of them. Availability is the greatest ability is what the sports guys say.

As I struggle with my Harman Kardon Sound Sticks in the morning or my bluetooth speakers with my laptop I often contemplate getting newer and better speakers. Usually the though ends right there as I have no idea which ones would be better but now Apple has come out with their own portable wireless speaker. It’s about $100 and I’m sure it would connect with all my Apple stuff no problem. Maybe there won’t even be any Streamyard interference. Maybe I’ll find out some day. Just not today. My speakers are all working today.