Oct 22, 2013 at 6:49 pm #1309043
@maiaLocale: Rocky Mountains
Companion forum thread to:Oct 22, 2013 at 6:58 pm #2036712
I have a Sansa Clip – 0.85 ounces – maybe 16 hours on a charge – it does voice recording but I haven't used it yet
I occasionally record something using my camera – record video and start talking – kind of inefficient to record video which takes a lot of memory when all I want is sound, but if I'm just wanting to record a little it doesn't matterOct 22, 2013 at 7:08 pm #2036715
@b-g-2-2Locale: Silicon Valley
Voice recorders have limited bandwidth to record. So, voice can easily be recorded with only a few kilohertz of bandwidth, and that is why these little gadgets work.
If you are trying to record something fancier, like animal sounds, you probably want to get a audio field recorder with shotgun microphones that will add up to be much more expensive.
Try recording the audio of a pika on its lunch break with a voice recorder!
–B.G.–Oct 22, 2013 at 7:38 pm #2036727
memory is cheap, no reason to skimp on bandwidth.Oct 22, 2013 at 7:40 pm #2036729
@b-g-2-2Locale: Silicon Valley
Ahh, if it were only that simple.
–B.G.–Oct 22, 2013 at 7:42 pm #2036732
This is so those people who talk to themselves can look like they're dictating, blogging or transcribing medical notes?
It's like Lily Tomlin joked 40 years ago, "Those crazy people walking the streets of New York, talking to themselves? We should pair them up so at least they LOOK like they're having a conversation."
Bluetooth has enabled all of us to look like crazy street people.Oct 22, 2013 at 8:07 pm #2036745
Interesting. I've never come across anyone using one outside. I do have one. Though I too have never brought it with me. Never even thought about it. Rex, have you always been a note maker?Oct 22, 2013 at 9:12 pm #2036764
>Rex, have you always been a note maker?
Recording my backpacking experience has changed over time. In the 1970s-1980s, I carried a notebook and camera, and wrote when I got to camp at night. But I forgot a lot, and often I was too tired to write, so days would go by with no notes. I also grew tired of looking at the world for photo opportunities. For a while, I carried nothing to record my experience.
What really motivated me to try a recorder was my job. I started getting work-related ideas at random times when pen-and-paper were inconvenient, so I tried a recorder.
Some people leave themselves voice mail messages with notes and ideas. Not practical for backpacking without cell coverage.
I've seen lots of people talking into cell phones on the trail – or were they secretly using the voice recorder app?
Using a recorder works great for me, and I don't care much what others think. YMMV, HYOH, …
— RexOct 22, 2013 at 9:33 pm #2036773
@ngatelLocale: Southern California
Never thought of taking one either, but then I never thought about taking a MP3 player either.
Now for someone like Skukra, it makes sense… recording his trip is his job.
I like Nimblefoot's solution :)Oct 22, 2013 at 10:47 pm #2036796
@dwambaughLocale: Pacific Northwest
Your technique screams for a unit with a remote control/mic, leaving the recorder tucked away in a pocket and the mic handy on your shoulder strap. I couldn't find a recorder with the mic and remote in the same module, but the Philips LFH-885 has a remote and a mic jack, so you could wire it all up. That Philps rig has the features you listed too, but I'm not buying you one :)
I don't get the safety thing— can't stop for 30 seconds?Oct 22, 2013 at 10:59 pm #2036801
I considered the mic + remote + recorder tucked away, but don't like wires running around to snag or break. Hmm, maybe if I ran them through some plastic tubing …
Safety – yes. I can't write and walk at the same time. I'm grateful I can still walk and talk/record at the same time!
Stopping for 30+ seconds 30-40 times per day to write gets old, fast. So I wait to write down a bunch of stuff "later", forget half, and get frustrated.
Recorder works better for me.
— RexOct 22, 2013 at 11:03 pm #2036803
>" I started getting work-related ideas at random times when pen-and-paper were inconvenient, so I tried a recorder."
Good point. I get my best engineering ideas (the paid-work kind I mean, although lots of MYOG stuff, too) while on the trail. It nice to bill for hiking time.Oct 23, 2013 at 4:47 am #2036835
My voice recorder is surely no longer made: an Olympus VN2100. I have a spare so I am covered when the current one dies (they all do eventually). I started using it when I took long car trips; since then I always have one with me (well, not in the shower).
I record before getting on the trail: how many miles was it and how long did it take to get there? I find this very helpful in dealing with Maine roads in the middle of nowhere: it's amazing the difference in how long you remember it taking to get somewhere and how long it actually took. A lot of the roads I take to get to a hike are not meaningfully covered by maps online. Since a lot of Maine hiking areas are clustered, it's also helpful for trip planning. If on a trail, I also note times to features. That's helpful to me if I return or to friends who decide to go there.
As Rex said, when alone, it's amazing how many great thoughts you have. If you record them and listen later you will often find how many unimportant thoughts you had! That makes you even happier you didn't stop to write them down. I keep my recorder in a pants pocket that is either VERY deep or zippered. I want it secure but close for when I really want it.
Addition: I have also used it several times to have a friend identify bird calls from the woods. Unfortunately, he has several time removed life-listers I thought I had discovered!Oct 23, 2013 at 5:57 am #2036844
"At home I transcribe most of the recordings into text files."
This is the crucial flaw for me. It means I have to listen to all notes again, cannot search them effectively ("Ctrl+F") and even need more time to write them all down.
I would love to see a solution that easily does this job for me. Like a build in voice recognition mode. I record some verbal note and the output is a txt file (or something similar). Would be great for blogging too!
Does anyone know a solution to that?
BTW: Siri, Google Now or other "voice recognition" software on smartphones need internet access since the processing is not done on the smartphone but on the remote server. What a pity!Oct 23, 2013 at 6:12 am #2036848
"Does anyone know a solution to that?"
There are others as well.Oct 23, 2013 at 6:18 am #2036850
"It nice to bill for hiking time."
You bill for hiking time if you come up with a work idea?
You chemical engineers….Oct 23, 2013 at 6:27 am #2036853
I just use my iPhone's voice recorder and it works fine for me. I use it at work and not so much in the back-40.
As long as I keep it in airplane mode, I don't need to turn it off; I've never bothered to remove the SIM card. I can go four days without a re-charge even when I take it out of airplane mode 2-4 times per day to plot a GPS coordinate.
To each their own.Oct 23, 2013 at 6:33 am #2036858
Thanks Doug! I knew this would be possible!Oct 23, 2013 at 6:49 am #2036864
Michael Keaton in Night Shift explains why he carries a voice recorder. Great article!
Oct 23, 2013 at 8:34 am #2036910
@verberLocale: San Francisco Bay Area
I also often carry a voice recorder backpacking. For me it's a Olympus V90 which I purchased in the 1990s
I really like it because it's smaller, lighter (31grams), and more ergonomically shaped than current recorders. It also has a replaceable AAA battery. Nowhere near the record time of the modern recorders, but I am typically just doing quick notes to self, so I don't need a lot of time.
My wishlist would be be the same size/shape, less weight, at least IPX7 water resistant, bigger memory, with usb sync which would auto-transcript the notes and give a user interface which lets me listen to the recording while the transcription is highlighted and lets me edit the transcription to clean it up. Bonus point for nice integration with Evernote.
For backpacking, I actually like the object being in my pocket with a start / stop button -and a lock switch, because I don't need or want continuous recording and given weather I want to bring it to my mouth (often with hand cups over to block wind). Mounted on shoulder strap would be too likely to pick up wind be unnecessarily exposed to weather, and doing an in-the-ear approach (which are used by some devices I use) would be bothersome.
When not backpacking I would love something like kapture except I would want it to have a longer memory buffer and not interested in the easy sharing feature but have easy editing (ideally with sync / transcript feature above).
–MarkOct 23, 2013 at 9:23 am #2036932
@redyetiLocale: South Eastern UK
Yes I was going to post a similar story! (Sorry – this was supposed to "reply" to Ian B. who uses an iPhone…) When the phone was new I had it got five days without running out of power when kept mainly in Airplane Mode
I use the iPhone at the end of the day for a diary mainly. But also for recording things like "Must get more meths" or "Invite Tom on the next trip" on the trail.
Also, an Ortleib A5 Document Wallet makes not only a bomb-proof waterproof case but it almost entirely cuts out wind noise so you can use the phone to make notes in high wind.Oct 23, 2013 at 9:52 am #2036940
You bill for hiking time if you come up with a work idea?"
Oh yeah. More than multi-purposing gear, I love to multi-task my time. When I've got a conference call for which I don't need notes or a computer in front of me, I try to be on the beach, earbuds in, walking the dog. I'm getting exercise, the dog is getting exercise, and I'm billing for my time.
Back to the article: Two other (morbid) uses for a voice recorder come to mind. One is to convey emergency medical information. A friend was leading a trip in the 1970's and a big rock fell on a guy's foot, splitting part of it open. Bad, but not life-threatening. After a big game of "telephone" involving other groups and a Boy Scout cross-country runner who ran 20 miles to the trailhead, the helicopter past the actual inured guy because it was looking for two fatalities and a injured horse up on this mountain. Sending out a written note would have solved that. Sending out a DVR with a report of the victim condition, medical history, contact info, etc, would be quicker than writing it all down. The other morbid thought was along the lines of Chris McCandless's last note found in the bus or if Aron Ralston hadn't sawed his arm off to extract himself from the boulder, they could have left more of a message to family and friends.Oct 23, 2013 at 11:10 am #2036985
@edhyattLocale: The North
I've used one a few times backpacking – and have transcription software as I use one at work quite a lot; it's convenient…but..
..I don't know why, but I prefer to write at the end of a days (more often a series of days) walking. It seems more natural – odd. And as I talk (I like to think with a degree of eloquence) for a living – odder.
Perhaps I need to work harder at the transition.Oct 23, 2013 at 11:37 am #2037000
@jimsubzeroLocale: New Uraniborg CO
Rex, as an old Lisp programmer I love the recursive (reflexive?) nature of your voice recordings about voice recordings. If this review of voice recorders and their use was itself recorded initially on a voice recorder, you win a kewpie doll!Oct 23, 2013 at 11:19 pm #2037274
Great comments on this article, I'm surprised it got so much attention.
Transcription: Yes, it's a chore, but I enjoy re-living the trip. Another option is online transcription – send your MP3s, they return transcripts.
Night Shift: Ack! I hope I'm not too much like Billy Blaze. Might need to see that movie.
Morbid: I thought, very briefly, about including the "last note" use in the article. Sending patient notes on the recorder with the patient might work. Need a way to attach the recorder to the patient (like pinning a paper note to clothing), to prevent loss along the way.
Recursion: I hoped someone would pick up on that. Much of the article content was developed as scattered notes on the recorder, but no, I didn't speak it start-to-finish into a recorder!
Never used LISP, but I did install a LISP compiler on an IBM mainframe in 1978. I guess it worked, nobody complained. Trying to read LISP back then gave me headaches, so I never learned it. That's OK, I've forgotten dozens of languages by now.
Now if someone could identify that mystery sound …
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