I had a restful labor day weekend. I can't say I thought much about technical writing, but I have been thinking more about podcasting. It's something I want to do, but putting together a show requires quite a bit of effort.
After a long deliberation about the best way to record a meeting, I decided it's best to get a lapel mic attached to a digital recorder, and then ask the speaker to repeat any questions given by the audience. I could create another digital mic for audience members to pass around, but doing so would require me to splice in their questions into the other audio track -- not the most convenient thing to do. It would probably take about 2 hours, if there were 20 questions. I'm not sure that's worth it.
The only other solution would be to get a mixing board, hook two microphones into it, and then plug it into a digital recorder. But then you'd have the speaker on a leash, unless you used a wireless lapel mic. I actually bought a wireless lapel mic and tried it out, but it sounded nasally and fuzzy -- I took all the equipment back.
On another note, I also have a $180 credit at Radio Shack (I took back a birthday present). Strangely, after wandering around in there and another store, I really didn't see anything I needed. I love my iRiver MP3 player, which I got off eBay for $100. Almost no MP3 player these days comes with a microphone jack. I have no idea why. I thought I wanted to buy a PDA, but they are practically extinct at electronics stores.
This weekend I've also been coping with massive data loss. It's not so bad, actually. I had about 7 years of data on that hard drive, and I don't feel like paying $800-$1,000 to extract it. Luckily I had FTP'd our photos -- otherwise that would have been tragic. I tend to live in the current moment, always reading new material and trying new things. I can't say that I would one day reread all of the essays I wrote that were never published, but I would have liked to. One day I will probably screw up the STC Suncoast chapter site and lose all the data -- somehow the internet will have to carry on. In a way it is liberating.
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I'm a technical writer based in the California San Francisco Bay area. Topics I write about on this blog include technical writing, authoring and publishing tools, API documentation, tech comm trends, visual communication, technical writing career advice, information architecture and findability, developer documentation, and more. If you're a professional or aspiring technical writer, be sure to subscribe to email updates using the form above. You can learn more about me here. You can also contact me with questions.