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Gathering hardware

I can’t remember all the details of everything I am being told or being exposed to. I wish I had a USB port in my head so I could just plug in a memory stick to download some of this information. I am finding the interviews a bit challenging because it seems rude to take notes and yet I know I won’t remember everything. I am also trying to pack so much into my trips that reflection time is minimal. I need time to process and get things down on paper! Another plan is needed.

I have been experimenting with various techniques. First of all I wondered if I could record interviews directly onto my laptop. I have installed a sound recording programme (thanks to my Masters supervisor, Peter Murphy) and with a small microphone plugged in I was told this would work. Well, it did work, but, it became apparent very quickly that the microphone needed to be of a better quality. Solution number two was to use a dictaphone recorder and then transfer the sound files to my laptop. More cables were purchased and it still didn’t work very well. I do however now have the necessary cables to record telephone interviews straight to my laptop and this seems to work well. The next idea was to get a better microphone. Today in Melbourne I purchased an omni-directional microphone which can sit on the table when you are interviewing and pick up everyone’s voices. I am going to test it out a bit later and I’ll let you know how it goes. Oh yes and while I was buying this, it seemed like a good idea to buy a video capture box to convert videos into digital files should I want to use them in presentations etc. I feel a hardware junkie developing. Do I really need all of this stuff??????

The next thing I found out about was the mini disk recorder – I want one! It is so neat and compact and apparently very effective. The new model Sony recorders allow up to 45 hours audio recording on one mini disk and the transfer mechanism has changed in this latest model so that when you transfer via a USB port into your computer you do not lose the quality of the recording through the conversion from analogue to digital.. These recorders also allow for about 30 hours of playback from one AA battery. I will need to explore this option and look at costs. I then asked if I purchased one of these recorders do I still need my omni-directional microphone. “Yes”, was the answer to that question – the quality of the recording is determined by the microphone so the better the microphone the better the quality of your final recording. Sounds so obvious doesn’t it!

While I was on the hunt in Melbourne for all this information I came across a fantastic shop JB Hi-Fi which sells all this sound equipment plus all the CDs, DVDs etc. you can imagine. I was blown away by this store. Nothing glamorous but jam packed with music, equipment, movies – actually all the DVDs are in a separate shop two doors up! The best part about it is they are having a pre-Xmas sale and their DVDs are so cheap – actually cheaper than the cost of going to the movies back in New Zealand. I think I will have to go back tomorrow and buy some Christmas presents.

By the way, I have realised that I haven’t mentioned the ultimate hardware purchase I have made – a $2 ball of polypropylene cord which has been converted into a clothesline on the balcony of my hotel room.

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2 Responses to “Gathering hardware”

  1. on 21 Dec 2004 at 10:42 am Anonymous

    I’m sorry I can’t help you if you’re wanting a USB port in your head (at this point) but I can offer: http://www.cyborgname.com/cyborger.cgi?acronym=marica&robotchoice=yamasora


  2. on 21 Dec 2004 at 10:10 pm Marica Sevelj

    Thanks for the cyborg. I look forward to a productive download – I need the brain down time!

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