My secret obsession


I’ve got a confession. I am obsessed with something right now and I can’t seem to let it go.

Every day, lately, I have been indulging my obsession. Watching videos, mostly. No, nothing kinky. I am obsessed with high-end voice dictation recorders. Especially the top-of-the-line units from Olympus and Philips.

See, I’d been thinking about buying a digital audio recorder, for notes and to dictate books and blog posts. I found that there is an entire universe of audio recording options–for recording music, for recording lectures and meetings and interviews, and for dictation.

Great. If you want to keep me busy, just give me lots of options.

Anyway, I studied what was available, and learned more about audio recording than I will ever need to know. I had dismissed the high-end units, because they are expensive ($500 and up) and have a lot of features I don’t need. But then I saw that they have a feature I really want and can’t get from (most) of the more modestly priced units.

The high-end recorders have a sliding switch on the side of the unit that allows you to use your thumb to rewind and fast forward, which means you don’t have to take the recorder away from your mouth when you are dictating. In addition, they allow you to “record over” and/or “insert” dictation anywhere in the audio file.

You can make corrections on the fly. Just like you can on many (most?) desktop dictation machines and microphones. Just like the one I used to own.

Without these functions, when you make a mistake or want to add something, you have to just keep recording.

Now, you may be thinking I’m a nutter for obsessing over this, but it’s important to me. Maybe because I cut my teeth on dictation and I know what a difference in productivity this capability delivers. Or maybe you’re thinking, yes, this makes sense, why don’t you just go ahead and pick up one of those high-end units and stop annoying me.

But here’s the thing. I realized that I don’t need to buy anything, I have an app on my iPhone that does what I want.

The app is called “Dictate + Connect” (formerly “Dictamus”) and it is heralded by legions of lawyers and other professionals. I’ve had it for years but used it only sporadically because I haven’t been dictating. Now that I’m using Dragon NaturallySpeaking for transcription, I can use the app when I’m away from my desk.

Dictate + Connect allows you to record over and insert into existing recordings. It also allows you to select a section of your recording and delete it or move it elsewhere. I can edit my dicatation on my phone before I send it to my desktop to be transcribed.

The app does everything I need it to do. I can live with the absence of a side switch. I’ve ordered a new headset microphone so I can hold the iPhone in my hand and work the controls while I continue to dictate.

So, I had the solution in my pocket all along. If you share my obsession, or you want to have another option available for notes and dictation, check it out in the app store (iOS and Android). You can download a free version with full capability but limited recording length and try it out.

Okay, that is all. I’ve got some dictation to do. And maybe a video or two to watch.