I used to say to people that if they could write an email they could blog. Which is true as far as it goes.
It is also true that once you start getting serious about blogging you start to think about incorporating still and moving images and audio. There are a lot of resources online, but if we want to have our own original material, we need some tools of the trade. Especially if we want to get into live blogging.
I had a stab at some live blogging from BlogWorld & New Media Expo last year in Las Vegas. I was really not prepared: about the best I achieved was some tweeting during a couple of the keynotes.
As I get my road warrior tools together for this year’s BlogWorld Expo I feel much better prepared.
Probably the centerpiece of my new traveling blogger kit is my Asus eee pc notebook, which I’ll be taking this time instead of the perfectly good but chiropractor-friendly Asus A6000 Entertainment Notebook I lugged around the Las Vegas Convention Center last year.
I’m also looking forward to being able to use the smaller notebook on the plane, even when the person in front of me decides to push their seat back into the recline mode. In economy, it’s impossible to use the larger notebook in those circumstances.
I have to say the keyboard on the eee is not big enough for me to type quickly and accurately, so although not in the picture above but hopefully in the mailbox on Monday is a foldable keyboard bought on eBay a few days ago for the princely sum of $6.99 (the postage cost more).
We have arranged to collect a Flip camcorder delivered via Amazon, for when we get to Vegas. That should make it a snap to do some instant interviews with fellow delegates and upload them more easily than with my excellent but comparatively cumbersome and firewire-requiring Samsung: although I am taking the bigger camcorder too, together with a neat, very lightweight tripod I picked up recently for a very reasonable $40.
I suspect that what I film with the larger camera will be for editing when I get home, as I won’t have access to the editing software I have here while I’m on the road. I’m hoping to be able to use Seesmic to record some comments directly to the notebook. There are some challenges there, which I’ll cover in another post.
I’m also taking my lightweight Samsung L100 for still shots (it actually takes video too, but I use it basically as a still camera .
Then there is my new Plantronics foldable headset, as recommended last year at BlogWorld by the legendary podcaster Leo Laporte. I have to admit it is a whole lot better device than the $9 one from KMart that I’d been using!
Not forgetting an adaptor plug or two. Had a terrible time in the US several years ago – could not find an adaptor to enable me to use my Australian power cord, even in New York!
I know my travel kit is not the advanced equipment some of my colleagues use, but for a word-focused person like me it’s a veritable hi-tech assembly!
And yes, there is the usual panoply of re-chargers, spare batteries, firewire, power cords, cartridges…
Also some analog kit
In the picture above I’ve included deliberately my Moleskine notebook. There are some things I keep up with better that way than digitally.
The hi-lighter is because I’m re-discovering its value when reading through a lot of printed material.
A valuable resource for live blogging is the online CoverItLive service, for which I signed up ages ago but have not so far used under fire.
I’m reading only good things about CoverItLive, for example in several comments on a post the other day by Darren Rowse, a.k.a. Problogger, with tips about live blogging.
A great resource for me in terms of podcasting and anything requiring upload/download facility for audio or video is BYOAudio, which costs me $19.95 a month – which I consider money very well spent.
For still image editing on the computer I need a Linux product and right now I don’t want to even think about trying to download and learn GIMP for the eee, so I was relieved when someone recommended the Picnik online service. I’ve tested it and it looks like it can do what I need, basically re-sizing and saving images as jpegs or gifs.
A couple more posts about live blogging that I’ve found helpful are:
Aliza Sherman on Preparing to Live Blog an Event
Josh Hallett in early 2007 – this is a post which is especially helpful on how to approach a paid gig as a conference blogger, including a recommendation to be transparent if you are blogging for a client’s dollar.
We’re arriving in Vegas a couple of days before the conference begins, so we can do a bit of sightseeing in the surrounding areas. Hopefully that will generate a few pictures I can upload.
I’m sure there are some things I’ve forgotten for my road warrior blogging toolkit. And I hope if you notice any glaring omissions you will be kind enough to tell me.