View Full Version : Voice Recorders as a capture device?
04-07-2006, 10:26 AM
Can I ask if anyone uses a voice recorder as a capture tool? I have ordered one and am trying to think of when I would use it.
Do you use it to record notes to yourself whilst in public? Do you feel embarrassed doing this? What sort of notes do you leave yourself?
Or did you buy one and find you don't use it at all?
04-07-2006, 12:18 PM
In my "former life" as a reporter, I used a small voice-activated recorder as a backup to note-taking when doing Very Important Interviews. I used it only as a backup (when I couldn't read my writing or the source denied saying something) because doing the interview took enough time, I doidn't want to have to listen to the whole thing again.
I experimented with using it as a "car inbox" but ditched it in favor of a few 3x5 cards and a golf pencil in the console. 1) I had to go back and listen to the fool thing, write it down and put it into the system, whereas the index card could just be stuck in my planner and run with it. 2) Something about "recording it" mage it seem these must be great and lofty thoughts. Somehow "remember to get gas" did not seem worthy of the effort. (That now goes on a sticky note that goes on the steering wheel -- DA's trip over it on the way out the door theory).
04-07-2006, 01:00 PM
Currently I have a Philips 9360 Digital Voice Recorder (this replaced a Dictaphone Micro Cassette). It has proven to be an excellent tool for capturing ideas while driving, do not use in public too much *grin* since I am a bit shy.
At my desk or in public I will write it down on a 3x5 card, at my desk or in a meeting it will be placed in my Time/Design binder.
04-07-2006, 01:03 PM
I find the only thing that I TRULY ALWAYS have with me is my cell phone. So I use the little memo recorder as a way of capturing things that I think of. Upside: it works great and I already carry it. Downside: there are some settings where you can't really stop a conversation and make a memo without seeming weird, whereas I could probably take a pen out and jot something down.
I try to clear it every morning and put items into my trusted system (Outlook + GTD Add-in), but if I don't, I have an item in my weekly review that prompts me.
04-07-2006, 01:05 PM
I use a voice recorder only when I'm driving. My cell phone can record three minutes worth of voice memos, and that's plenty for my purposes -- I don't have to carry an extra voice recorder, and the limited capacity prompts me to dump these notes into my system regularly.
04-07-2006, 01:19 PM
I used to have a Palm PDA with a built-in voice recorder. I used it daily. It was great. Then I got a Blackberry, which doesn't have a voice recorder. I had to buy one.
I have an Olympus Digital Voice Recorder VN-100SE that I got at Costco. I am sure there are lots of good items out there.
My number one use is when I am driving. If you don't drive, it might be a lot less valuable. I get lots of ideas when I am driving and the voice recorder is my Ubiquitous Capture Device when I am behind the wheel.
In a different thread today, someone mentioned Win Wenger in the context of brain dumps. I had tried a number of Wenger's suggestions and abandoned all of them. They just didn't do anything for me.
But in the last three weeks I have tried something new inspired by Wenger. During my morning drive I turn on my recorder and free associate. I don't censor and don't worry if what comes out is pure drivel. Most of the time it is pure drivel. But sometimes I get some good ideas.
I delete everything. Wenger seems to think that there is some benefit to recording this kind of brainstorming. If I ever get some brilliant idea and worry that I'll forget it, I can relax because I know my recorder is on.
You ask what I kinds of thoughts I capture? The same thoughts that I would capture on paper. The same thoughts that I would enter as NAs in my system: talk to John about X, buy wife Y, clean up Z . . .
I am a big fan of keeping logs. I log certain foods I consume. I commit myself to doing certain kinds of writing three times a week and I log when I have done it. I commit myself to getting my inboxes to zero twice a week and I log when I do that. (The last few weeks I've only gone to zero once a week.) Sometimes I tell my voice recorder what I have eaten that day so I can enter it into my log at a later date.
In summary, I use my voice recorder to capture stuff when it is inconvenient to write. I would strongly discourage anyone from writing notes when driving. I highly recommend a voice recorder for someone who drives.
04-07-2006, 01:56 PM
I use a Samsung i730 which has a record option. I use it for quick notes, reminders and recording delegation assignments.
04-07-2006, 02:15 PM
My husband uses his cellphone for voice memos. Either he'll use the phone's record feature, or he'll call his office voice mail and leave a message for himself.
I did the same when I had a 90 minute (round trip) daily commute. Now that I don't, I find notes on paper are more natural for me. YMMV.
04-07-2006, 02:54 PM
Even if I have paper and pencil in the car with me, it seems that whenever I need a red light (to write something down), they're all green. So I use mine while driving. I bought it while I was in college which was a while back. I think it's good that I'm using it...
I use my palm Tungsten T3 voice memo for notes in the car when driving and occassionally in other rushed settings where I can't write something down. (such as running from one gate to the next at the airport... you never know when a next action will hit you...)
I process the voice memo as soon as I can get into an appropriate setting with my palm.
04-07-2006, 06:21 PM
I use mVoice on Tungsten 650.
I mainly use voicemail when I'm thinking of a email or letter I have to write. I like to use it to capture ideas for the email then when I get back to the computer, I already have a rough draft waiting for me in the voicemail.
04-08-2006, 02:34 AM
I have Olympus WS-200S - a great, high-quality voice recorder with standard USB connector but I rarely use it because it is not always with me.
More often I use my Nokia 6670 voice recording function - cell phone is always with me.
But I have a general problem with voice recorders:
I hate to listen to my recordings and transfer them to the GTD repository.
Not that I do not like my voice - it is OK. I simply do not like to do it. So my voice recorders are rather black holes - not parts of a trusted system.
04-08-2006, 04:22 AM
Well my voice recorder has arrived. All I need to do is work out how it works and I'm set.
My mobile phone is pretty old and doesn't have the facility to record so I couldn't try things out with that before buying this one. I have bought a Speed Link PDR3 if anyone else has heard of it? Tiny little thing!
I do drive, but the instructions state not to use it whilst driving! It has earphones so that I can play back messages without other people having to listen to me, which I like. I can set a voice alarm to remind me to do something at a certain time which may prove useful.
I will let you know how I get on, and if I find that I use it or not :(
Please feel free to add to the conversation, I find it interesting to learn how others use this technology.
On experiment I want to do is to see if my Speech Recognition software will turn the recording into text. That would be useful!
04-08-2006, 04:25 AM
I took David's advice about having as many collection devices as you need and as few as you can get by with. The Creative MuVo is a little recorder w/the following dimensions (from their web site): 2.87" x 1.38" x 0.63". It can hold about 8 hours of voice on the cheapest model (128 MB).
The two contexts I use it for are:
in the car
at the gym
The most handy part is that as part of my daily collection device sweep I plug it directly into the USB on my PC and listen to the message I've left myself. The one drawback is that it does not have a built-in speaker, just a mini headphone jack. For me that's not an issue as I'm in a different context (@PC) when I need to listen.
04-08-2006, 07:49 AM
Same here - I've found the digital voice recorder to be really useful.
I have one on my Pda and use it most often in the car - usually when thoughts occur to me whilst driving.
Previously I would tell myself 'ooh - I must remember that and make a note of it later...' only to forget all about it later when I'd stopped driving.
Now I rarely miss a thing and really feel at a loss when I haven't got the pda with me in the car.
However - I too am a bit shy about using the recorder in public, and usually opt to make a digital note intead of a voice recording.
Another bonus for me is that I can later transfer all of my voice notes over to the desktop pc and keep them if necessary.
Only bug bear is when I don't keep on top of them - you know, listen to them and jot them down in the appropriate places... Tut tut!
But otherwise it's a real bonus.
04-08-2006, 12:26 PM
I love my DVR. It's especially good for when I'm out on walk and get an idea, or a line to write in my book. Driving, too. I do feel a bit silly using it in public.
It's an Olympus VN480PC. I wish I hadn't bothered to get the PC linked version, though. I find it easier to listen to it and then type it in.
04-08-2006, 12:56 PM
I haven't been able to find a useable voice recording application for PalmOS. I found one that was demoware but I could never get the demo to work properly, so I didn't trust it to buy the registered version.
My Palm (UX50) has a voice recording function, but I find it more productive to simply write an idea down in Bonsai and then process it later.
I don't dispute that for some, voice recording might be easier and more functional.
04-09-2006, 04:34 AM
When I'm driving on my own, I always listen to some educational or motivational stuff (family prefers music). Definitely need a Dictaphone to note any ideas that come along. Hassle to transcribe it though, and always use paper otherwise.
05-05-2006, 12:27 AM
I use a Sony W800 celll phone, which is also my mp3 player, reasonable quality camera and all round repository. I also use it to give me a "nudge" when I think I'll forget something I must do at a certain time, as it lives in my pocket.
Neat thing on this model is the shortcut features are programmable (sort of) so you can select as many or as few things to be one-press activated.
Find it very useful to record conversations too, again, one touch. Not all conversations, but if I'm going to scribble and talk...so far I've not been in the situation where somebody has told me a number and I've mis-written it.
05-05-2006, 07:20 AM
Brent: I use a Treo 650, with lots of utility programs. Voice memo's not one of the built-in features, so from http://mytreo.net I found a very simple, _freeware_ :) memo tool called SoundRec. Not the greatest sound quality, but it's worked well enough to use it to capture.
(P. S. I too am relatively shy in public, but I don't hesitate to record a memo... since I've got the combination phone-and-Palm, I look like I'm making a quick call to someone, except it's really to a near-future me. hehe)