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Saturday, January 02, 2010

Idea capture on an old-school voice recorder

Olympus S-711 voice recorder

I picked up this Olympus microcassette recorder from Staples for 35 bucks. Why? It’s a quick way for me to record an idea or something I need to remember to do. My cell phone has a voice recorder but it allows only 10 notes. There’s also a voice recorder on my PDA, but I need to enter a password then navigate some menus to get at it. I also have pen and paper in my wallet, but it’s faster to speak than to write.

So whether I’m sitting in the car, or taking a shower, or walking along the street, I can quickly take this out and press Record when I need to note an idea for later. Of course, it’s sometimes not appropriate to pull out a tape recorder, such as when you’re having a conversation with someone, in which case you use pen and paper. But it’s pretty handy for most situations (not to mention cheap).

I transfer these voice notes to my main system (Outlook) every few days, or during my GTD Weekly Review on Saturdays.

It’s a hardy little unit. As General Chuck Yeager said in praise of an engine, “Simple, few parts, easy to maintain, very strong.”


  • You couldn't find one that is solid state rather than mechanical?

    I made the mistake of buying a solid state recorder (not waterproof) not realizing it didn't sync to a computer (who would have thought?).

    By Blogger doug, at 1/03/2010 9:33 a.m.  

  • Hi Doug,

    The solid state ones were a bit more expensive, so I decided to go with this one. Also, I had an Olympus microcassette recorder in the past, and found it to work well.

    What do you like about the solid state ones?

    By Blogger Jonathan, at 1/03/2010 10:42 a.m.  

  • No moving parts - i would presume its more reliable and compact! And small. But it frustrates me I can't sync it to my computer.

    I don't think I'd take it into the shower tho.

    By Blogger doug, at 1/03/2010 11:26 a.m.  

  • Whatever happened to a pen and a notebook? Just sayin'.


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5/05/2010 11:24 p.m.  

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