I have waded through many threads on these topics. I will soon have to use Skype for conference calls and, therefore, buy a microphone at least. I think a headset incorporating earphones is the best choice because using a microphone with my speakers will almost certainly cause feedback. LinPC.us has only a free-standing microphone.
From what I can make out, a wireless or USB headset would be best because a set with a jack would have to be plugged in when I boot the desktop. I would appreciate advice about hardware to buy and software to use (there seem to be differences of opinion).
Looking at 'Configure your desktop', am I correct in thinking the microphone is an 'input' device and the earphones an 'output' device? I will need to set things up so that, when I need to use Skype, I can switch from using my speakers to using the earphones. I cannot work out how I would do that. Would I need to re-boot?