Tools of My Trade

by Bob Poole on October 2, 2011

I’ve made a 4-minute video for you of the various pieces of equipment I use in doing my writing, podcasts, video, and audio creations. I thought it might help to see what I use and that I might give you some ideas if you’re in the market for any of this type of equipment.

I’ve also had the video transcribed if you’d rather read than watch and listen.

And, I’ve included a list of all the equipment with links. Many of the links are Amazon affiliate links, by the way. I hope you enjoy and that you find it to be of some value.

Go here if you cannot see video.

Transcription of Video Voice-Over

*Equipment List Follows

00:00:00          Bob:  Hi, everyone. Bob Poole here today, to share with you some of the Tools that I use here in my Office. One of the first things that I really love, is I use two Monitors. I have been doing it, probably, for about six or seven years now. And, I find them indispensable, they just make life a whole lot easier. So, if you ever go to using two, I do not think you will ever switch back.

00:00:19          I use a split keyboard also, for ergonomic reason, I can type better and faster on it. I also have a mouse that positions my hand vertically. You can find some more information about that in the Notes.

That is a typical couple of lines phone, but I use a headset that allows me to walk down three flights, go outside across the street. I can get my mail all while staying connected.

00:00:43          I also have blue USB Podcast Microphone, that is it right there, that I used for Podcasting and recording, even this voice-over that I am doing right now.

This might be something that you have not seen before. It is called a Square and this has taken the place of my Merchant Account. This is actually a little Credit Card Processing Unit, I guess, you would call it. It fits right on top of my iPad. And, I can run a Credit Card right through that. It will also fit on any kind of Smart Phone. I like it on the iPad, and I really like using the thing.

00:01:20          I have a couple of good Studio Monitors for my sound, because, I am going more Video and Audio. Here is a Mixer that will record right to an iPod that I can plug in there. And, I have another microphone setup that will allow me to record to that. So, if I wanted to do Interviews here in the Office, I could do that.

00:01:42          I have an Epson Printer that prints CDs and a Scanner, which, I think is indispensible these days, especially since I do not use a Fax anymore. This is a large Epson Photo Printer. I use it to print photos, because, I still do some of that work, and enjoy doing it. If it is not work, then sometimes just for play and for creative reasons. That is some prints that just came off.

00:02:10          They are sitting right now on top of a table which is really my Shipping Area. This is where I can weigh books and send them out. There is the infamous Fax Machine that is not even plugged into anything … so … I am not sure why I have that.

00:02:25          And, you always have to have a least two dogs in your Office. This is Max, we call him “Max, the wonder dog,” he is the white one. And, over there the little tiny black dog, is named “Sambuca,” he is going to say hello to you. And, besides having dogs, you should also have the Office Cat. This is “Toby”, the Office Cat, sitting in his own chair.

00:02:47          I keep a couple of these lights. These are cool lights, and they are used for Videos, so I can light things when needed. And, I also have a Stereo Digital Recorder. If I want to record tracks and add them to Video, I can do that.

00:03:03          So, that is really it. This is, kind of, a sweep around the Office there, to give you an idea of where I work.

I do use a little Dymo Label Printer that you saw there, which I really like a lot. It saves me a lot of time. I still have a Laptop that I take out once in a while. But, I find that the iPad really does a great job, when it comes to taking its place. I have a little portable keyboard, which I take too.

00:03:26          So, that is about it, we have a couple of other Computer Stations, some printers, and of course what would an Office be, without your Office Mascot. So, here he is – so thanks for being here with us today, taking a look at the Tools of my Trade. Take a look at the Equipment List for more details. Thank you very much.

00:04:07          END OF AUDIO

Equipment List

Dual Monitors – I have both a ViewSonic and a Dell flat screen monitor connected to my desktop computer. The desktop computer, by the way, is one I had custom made for me by a computer wizard who lives near me. It runs Intel Core i7 CPU’s at 2.80GHz with a 16.0 GB solid state drive for the applications and another 1 TB of storage. The reason I have monitors manufactured by two different companies is that the Dells I used to have had continuous problems – usually right after the warranty expired. I love ViewSonic and have experienced no problems.

Keyboard – is a Microsoft Natural Keyboard Elite. It took me a little bit of time to get used to it but once I did, I found it to be more comfortable and I type faster. I’m also missing the end of my left index finger and had to learn to type without it years ago and for some reason the shape of this keyboard also helps with that left handed stuff.

Mouse – Evoluent VerticalMouse 4 – wired – USB. This thing saved me from carpal tunnel surgery. You can read about it here and make up your own mind. Again, some people might find it takes getting used to it but it only took me a few minutes and I was mousing away with no pain.

Phone – GN Netcom 2 line with a GN Netcom 9350 wireless headset. Jabra now owns GN Netcom and the most recent wireless headset is the Jabra GN9350 DECT 6.0 Wireless Dual-Functional Office/VoIP Headset System with DSP Technology. It is not the least expensive one but I have found it to be the best I’ve ever used. It just works flawlessly. You’ll need a remote handset lifter to be able to have the wireless headset pick-up and set the handset back down automatically. The phone itself is a good one but no longer made. You can use any phone with the wireless headset and remote lifter.

USB Podcast Microphone – Made by Blue and is the Yeti model. It’s simple to use and the quality is superb.

Square – Start accepting credit card payments without all the hassle and expensive of a bank merchant account. It plugs into the headphone jack of your smart phone. Payments are automatically deposited to your bank. And, the fees are less than any merchant account I’ve found.

Audio Monitors – Mine are M-Audio Studiophile AV40 Powered Monitor Speakers. I love the sound and they are shielded so they don’t cause a problem with the computer or other equipment.

Epson Printers – Both of my printers have been replaced by newer models. I got the small one because it also prints CD’s. A good replacement seems to be the Epson Artisan 50 Color Inkjet Printer. The large photo printer is a 4800P which was replaced by the Epson 4880. I’ve had good success with Epson products and don’t hesitate to recommend them. All the inkjet printers cost too much to operate. At the price of ink the printers should be almost free.

Scanner – Mine is an Epson model 3170 photo. It has been replaced and there so many models of scanners I would suggest you get the best one in your budget that gives you great resolution. If I was replacing mine today I’d buy this one. Epson Perfection V600 Photo Color Scanner.

Dymo Label Printer – my model is out-of-date. If I was buying a new one (and I will when this one dies) I would purchase the Dymo 450 Twin Turbo Printer. It holds two sizes of labels so you can do stamps on one side and address labels on the other without having to change labels.

Digital Shipping Scale – Ultra Ship Model 75 is what I use in my mailing area. I like it because it will weigh up to 75 pounds in .1 ounce increments. The display is a remote with a 3 foot cable for weighing large items and it will hold the weight. It’s also programmable.

Sony PCM-M-10 digital recorder – it is a 24-bit stereo recorder. I use it when I want to record high-end audio to add to my videos or for anytime I want to really be able to control audio recordings. It’s a  great piece of equipment.

Lighting Equipment – I have a lot of lighting equipment from my professional photography days. But, you don’t need pro equipment for video. I like using a couple of inexpensive softboxes with cool fluorescent lamps. Throw in a couple of stands and you have a pretty good setup. Here’s a kit that will give you everything you need. Photo Basics 403 uLite 3-Light Kit.

Audio Mixer – I have an Alesis iMultiMix 8USB. It is a mixer and recorder that has 24 bit-digital effects and an integrated iPod dock to direct-to-iPod recording.

A couple of things I didn’t mention in the video that I use are the:

Logitech 720p Webcam C310

Azden WMS-PRO Wireless Microphone System

Audio-Technica ATHM40FS Precision Studio Headphones

Kodak Zi8 Pocket Video Camera

Dogs and Cats – You’ll have to find your own but I recommend visiting your local shelter or other organizations that adopt animals.

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