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the digital equipment bag

Megan Betz

I previously posted about trying to pack as much of my "equipment" into one device as possible. I mentioned that this doubles as an effort to save both materials and, more important in the short term as a graduate student, cash. Getting ready to do fieldwork and playing around in the apps, I became really frustrated. Voddio has no options for exporting options without paying.

Basically, the Internet doesn't want to give me endless recording options without making me pay. Understandable. So, I've started a list of other applications I think would be great for researchers doing field work while I continue my search for the best voice recorder for the least cost.

SoundCloud seems like a real winner. It's free; it allows for longer recordings; it is easy to operate. I can download them from the cloud and store them securely. However, there's a limit on the amount of recording you can do before paying a monthly membership. This relationship has an expiration date. Next up to try: Recorder Plus HD and Voice Memos. I also love the idea of Dragon Dictation. Who doesn't want to be able to have a low-cost app that will transcribe for you?

Update on June 3, 2014: I think I found another option. This simple Voice Recorder has it claims, unlimited time for recording & multiple ways to export the files. For. Free. You suffer through some adds, but I'll take that.

I've had way more success finding an app I enjoy writing and working in. Evernote has become my everything. It's also on my desktop at home. It works as a writing platform and a reader with good options for marking up all those PDFs, if you want to pay for that. (I stick with Adobe Reader.) Even if you don't opt for Premium, you get loads of usability out of it before they make you pay for anything. 

That said, I'm also really tempted by the idea of WriteRoom. I love that this takes the whole screen and was created by people who are committed to writing. I think it helps create a productive work environment, but I want a free trial before committing. I know it's only $5... but that's four cups of coffee while enjoying a café and conducting some interviews.

I would love to hear what readers are using. Let's build the best toolkit imaginable, so that we only have one thing to throw in a carry-on or slip in a backpack.