If I want to listen to English language radio programmes in Germany, I either use a shortwave radio to pull in a signal from BBC Radio 4 LW, the BBC World Service or I listen to stations via the internet or download podcasts.
The World Service on 648 MW has its good days and bad days. At least a radio is portable and sometimes I can get a good signal on a Tivoli PAL.
Tuning in via wifi means setting up my laptop, establishing a place to listen in the flat and hooking the laptop to the aux input on the PAL to boost the audio. In short, it's not too portable.
I was looking into portable wifi radio receivers and adapators last week in a department store and thought that might be the way to go. I then saw the tiny Asus Eee PC. The screen icon just happened to say "Internet Radio".
Having a little play with it, the sound was OK for two small speakers - better than my 12" PowerBook, so I thought: why not? It's portable, light, no bigger than a novel and the sort of thing I can have on a bedside table. Its price was also on par with buying a wifi receiver.
Now, obviously if I want better sound that means hooking it up to the trusty PAL, but its small size makes that an easier proposition for the balcony and hammock.
The Eee PC is running on Linux - an OS I have no idea about, but I'd rather stick with it than install Windows.
So far I'm mostly using the BBC Player via the pre-installed Firefox browser to use the EeePC as a radio.
When you hit the "Internet Radio" icon on the Eee PC it launches MediaU- MediaU works fine (though the interface is a little awkward in my opinion - too busy). Once you login, you can type in any station and within 30 seconds it's playing.
However another cool "radio" application to run is of course LastFM.
All of which is making radio, in all its forms, a medium to adore. Long live radio!
Having said all that, it's quite obvious that I'm plotting other uses for the little Eee PC. Stay tuned as they say. I'd be keen to hear from anyone using the Eee PC for mobile journalism, blogging, broadcast or multimedia work on the run.
Flying back to Bonn this weekend and will be in Djibouti by Wednesday for a filming assignment.
My first trip to the African continent was in July 1998. A few months later I joined up with Richard
(middle) and drove around southern Africa in an electric blue VW beach buggie. A thoughtful pose here in Swakopmund, Namibia with Barry, a Kiwi pig hunter and general good bloke.
In those days Hotmail was the essential digital address of backpackers and probably does the job for many on the road today too.
I was shooting with Kodachrome Super 8mm film on an ancient Canon and taking stills with the workhorse Olympus OM10 SLR. Still have both today.
As for anything remotely like blogging or Twitter, I never kept a diary but jotted down where we stayed in the back of my photo notebook.
Point It is a handy little passport size book for travelling filled with photographs of dozen of things that might be difficult to explain or ask for when language is a little tricky. There's also several regional maps included, something which I've always thought passports should have at the back. I've owned several copies and invariably end up giving them away to friends about to go on a trip. I picked up another copy to hang on to yesterday
It's the work of German traveller, Dieter Graf, and for 5 euro it's a bargain. I notice the latest edition has gone digital and shows an iPod which may be good for a little haggling in a market somewhere. What I'd really like though is a complete digital version to load onto my iPod and scroll through pictures.
It was our reportage day to the Greater Cherkassy region. Our journey began early and ended very late very a lot of eating and toasting in between. Not to mention a sudden tyre blow out after an hour into the trip.
I'd like to elaborate more on this excursion when time permits to sketch out a field trip for journalists.
For now, my thanks to Björn Månsson from Hufvudstadsbladet in Helsinki for the gift of this stuffed Kangaroo and joey manufactured at the Chorna Kamianka toy factory near Viktorivka.
I'm thinking about naming the roo 'Vik' and the joey Björn. Thanks again mate!
Welcome to Notes From The Field. The aim of the blog is quite simple. It's a space to experiment using the internet and various digital tools for multimedia reporting.
For journalists, the question of how to best use the internet and the available digital technology for their work is very much up in the air.
It's interesting to see the work of the BBC's Ben Hammersley and his colleagues in action during their recent reporting trip to Turkey. Hopefully we'll see more of this type of work. Can journalists working on their own achieve similar results? And can freelance journalists skilled in several mediums take advantage of multimedia reporting?