We got a Virtual Phone Booth noise-canceling headset from Plantronics, and to our utter amazement, it worked. We don’t mean we were amazed because it was from Plantronics, which has been in the headset business since dinosaurs ruled the Earth, but because it actually canceled outside noise.

Virtual Phone Booth is a set of ear buds, as they’re called: tiny things you stick in your ears, like the ones that come with MP3 music players. Hate ’em. ButVirtual Phone Booth these are sculpted and fit quite well. There’s also a slim microphone stick attached to one of the buds.

Joy plugged the earbuds and microphone into her Sony laptop and logged onto our Skype account to make a free phone call to Bob. The call went through with no problem, and the quality was excellent. Just in case that was because of the Skype service and not the Virtual Phone Booth, she turned on a radio a couple of feet away and tuned it to full volume. Bob could hear the radio faintly in the background of the call, but there was no distortion or loss of call quality. She then added a nearby device that reproduces thunderstorm sound effects. Couldn’t even hear it. We don’t usually get stuff that works right, right away.

The Virtual Phone Booth is very tiny and weighs about an ounce. The list price is $110, from

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