Tuesday, December 25, 2012



I read Tom Rick’s book, THE GENERALS, in the morning. So far, I haven’t learned much I did not know already, but it is still nice to have it all packaged together so neatly. But will he prove his case re the generals? I don’t know as yet. I have only read 100 pages and it’s a long book. Highly readable though.

The photo is of Tom who looks vaguely like Father Christmas out of uniform—so I guess it is a suitable photo for Christmas Day. I met him years ago in Quantico during a MOUT demonstration. MOUT means Military Operations in Urban Terrain. I recall him as a demon note-taker. It was a beautiful day and extremely cold.

Much later, I spent time trying to get comfortable with my little Olympus WS-801 recorder. Years ago, I used to swear by my two Olympus micro-cassette recorders (one was a spare) but they eventually broke—after much abuse at the Army’s National Training Center in the Mojave desert—and somehow I never adapted to the digital versions—though I experimented many times. Primarily, I found the things too fiddly and longed for a better interface.

The Olympus WS-801 interface may have converted me. It is straightforward by the standards of such machines (simplified complexity). Better yet, the recording quality is excellent. I didn’t appreciate that at first when playing back using the machine’s tiny loudspeaker—but was agreeably surprised when I stuck the Olympus’s built-in USB stick into my computer and played the recordings back using the computer’s audio.  The operating reads the recorder as if it was a USB thumb drive. Very cool.

The results were outstanding for my note-taking purposes—not quite broadcast quality, but close enough. I then copied the files onto my computer, and, after that dragged and dropped one into Evernote. The results were excellent once again. I seem to be back in the audio note-taking business—and it is truly marvelous that I can store audio within my Evernote database. It makes the whole process seamless.

I have experimented with other tiny digital recorders—Sony comes to mind—but have always returned to Olympus as yielding the best results while being more robust. That said, any really tiny recorder is vulnerable if you are in rough terrain. But, then so are you—the operator. Here I speak from experience. After chasing tanks in the Mojave, I pulled a thigh muscle and was in considerable pain for two weeks. A media friend needed back surgery. You have been warned.

The secret with equipment is to practice with it so often its use becomes intuitive—and have a backup. In effect, muscle memory takes over.

To bed at 2.27am. Not quite the lazy Christmas I had planned, but immensely satisfying. 


Orso Clip Art




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