Record audio from my day

Posted on 2014-11-29
Last Modified: 2014-12-15
I need something that I can put in my pocket, but will do as good a job as possible of recording the events of the day.

Functions needed:
1  Click it to mark a particular time.
2  Doc to charging station at the end of each day.
3  Upload data daily with zero hassle.

Assistance in finding the perfect device is greatly appreciated.
Question by:frugalmule
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LVL 32

Expert Comment

ID: 40471892
There are great number of "voice recorder" apps out there. Have you evaluated any of these?

Can you give some examples of things you want to record? (E.g., billable hours?)
LVL 16

Expert Comment

ID: 40471899
The PDA (personal data assistant) market when South in 2010 more or less with the advent of smartphones.  I am retired and don't use anything at the moment.  There are still some out there which you can review by googling "personal data assistant" but you will just have to review the features they have.  I would suggest getting a quality smartphone and applications that will fill your needs.

Sorry that is all I got.

Author Comment

ID: 40471946
I'm not looking for a phone app, but rather a hardware device specifically for this purpose.
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LVL 32

Expert Comment

ID: 40471980
I am not sure one exists anymore. The app market has pretty much killed this kind of thing. A free or $0.99 app does all this, and has kind of killed the appliance market.

Hopefully someone else has a better suggestion.

Author Comment

ID: 40472112
The hardware in a phone is not good enough to pick up a recording the way hardware recording devices can.  I need something specifically geared for surveillance so that it will pick up distant audio from inside my front pocket.  The best recorders can filter out noises from very close and pick up stuff from further away pretty well but I just don't know what the current resources are for such equipment.
LVL 38

Assisted Solution

BillDL earned 125 total points
ID: 40472164
So, "recording the events of the day" equates to a continuous audio recording of everything that is happening around you, but one that marks the time whenever you want that recorded?

There are loads of discrete surveillance devices like tiny cameras and microphones built into expensive looking ballpoint pens, standard looking USB Flash Drives, etc, that record audio and video to flash memory storage.

What you need is a voice activated recording device with extendable microphone on a 3 foot lead like this:

Enduro Black Box Recorder

Battery life on standby = 76 days
Battery life in continuous operation = 46 hours
Recording memory capacity = 144 hours
MP3 format rate: 64Kbps (adequate for voice and ambient sound)
Microphone range = 30 feet
Download of audio = USB cable

It doesn't have a switch that interrupts the audio and injects the time and date, but seeing as you have it on you while you are awake, just look at your watch whenever you need the time recorded and say rhetorically: "Gosh, is it half past one already?".

The microphone might look like a fuzzy blob fixed to the top of your outside jacket pocket, but I am sure that there are equivalent devices and slightly more covert microphones available in America.  The link for the above device is to a UK shop and manufacturer that specialises in surveillance equipment.  Just search "voice recorders spy surveillance", and you will find plenty of devices like this:

Author Comment

ID: 40472191

Thank you for being the first to offer tangible suggestions.  I think the keychain recorder if it can be located might meet the requirements.  Below is a recap.

Block with lead - - excellent if easy and somewhat more discrete weren't a requirement, not great for a front pocket because there is too much of a chance of it being realized by someone at some point.

Pen - - interesting, don't like the pretentious look of the gold pen, prefer something more inconspicuous.

Keychain - A keychain recorder might be just the ticket if we could find a good one with wifi auto-upload capability, and one-click index markings.  Hmm, looking...
LVL 20

Assisted Solution

viki2000 earned 125 total points
ID: 40472247
LVL 38

Expert Comment

ID: 40472264
Remember that the "block" optionally comes with a 3 foot microphone cord.  It seems to have a standard 2.5 or 3.5mm jack connector, so it is probable that you could get a more covert microphone from another supplier.  If you wear an ID badge, that would be the perfect cover for a microphone.  I still have a tiny old dynamic mic that is small enough to hide behind an ID badge, and when you consider how small but effective microphones there are now, I'm sure you would find one that can be hidden even more easily.  By making a very small hole in the lining of your front pocket you could have the recorder in an inside jacket pocket and the cable with mic coming up through it.  Alternatively, pass the cable down the inside of your sleeve and under your watch strap or through a cufflink buttonhole.  It is highly unlikely that the small foam windshield would be noticed there.

That particular UK manufacturer was only a suggestion.  I'm sure that there are plenty other similar devices with equally good spec available in America.

I don't know about WiFi upload capability.  Given the fact that the devices are being made as small as possible and that memory in them is maximised, adding WiFi capability would probably defeat the purpose, given how easy it is to simply connect "removable storage" to any Windows PC by USB and copy the files off it.

I have used little transmitters that broadcast on selectable in-between radio frequencies (usually FM) and you can receive the transmission on any radio where the recording can be made.  You obviously need to be within range and ensure that nothing else is transmitting or receiving on the same frequency.  You wouldn't need a broadcasting licence because of the limited range from a small battery powered transmitter but, while talking about legalities, it would be wise to check out the laws in your state pertaining to covert recording of other people.

The "index marking" function kind of goes against the general idea of covert surveillance.  The whole idea of a hidden device is that it runs with zero human interference and without revealing its presence.  I honestly don't think such functionality would be available in this type of device, but it has been many years since I last had to use anything like this and technology has advanced at an incredible rate.  It is possible that some voice activated devices may add a synthesised voice date and time stamp each time they are activated.

I hope you can find something suitable.
LVL 25

Expert Comment

ID: 40472690

I have needed such a device is the past. I used a Panasonic pocket recorder that when in my coat pocket, inside, it recorded from as far away as 5-6 feet in good quality. Old technology often works better then the latest. If you might like the model number let me know. I'm sure you can find one like it on Ebay.
LVL 14

Assisted Solution

JohnnyCanuck earned 125 total points
ID: 40473933

Accepted Solution

Rob G earned 125 total points
ID: 40474316
Just keep in mind that while you can record all day long, depending on what you do with these recordings might be something that will not be held up in court.. Like if you record sexual harassment at work, and work in a state or country that has certain wiretap laws.. I know here you can record audio or video, but if you combine the two you are breaching the wiretap laws and can get in trouble..
LVL 38

Expert Comment

ID: 40500077
Thank you frugalmule.

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