Friday, May 13, 2005

The Acme Blogger Kit

Glenn Reynolds is designing the 'Acme Blogger Reporter' kit, for guys who want to be citizen reporters, just as an intellectual exercise of indicating what they should have. His kit includes a laptop, digital camera and video editing software. It's a good, capable suite, but somewhat expensive and heavy. Although good for covering press conferences, hosted events and meetings, it is less than ideal for events in which the blogger's physical mobility and inconspicuousness are  essential. For example, I can't imagine myself carrying a laptop and a long-lens camera around in West Africa, although I admit that's a somewhat extreme example. An alternative setup, which might be dubbed the "Caveman Blogging Kit" would consist of the following:

  • a 4-5 megapixel point and shoot digital camera that will fit in your shirt pocket. It should take AA batteries and have some video and sound capture capabilities. With a half gig memory card this ought to cost about $400.
  • a one gig USB storage key. Cost, about $100, maybe less.
  • access to online file storage where you can dump files via FTP. Cost may vary. Say $10 a month.

For computers I would live off the land using internet cafes and coin-operated type arrangements because the real constraint on the road isn't finding a computer but finding one with a broadband connection. You can download stuff from the camera onto your USB key via adapters, so that in a pinch all you need to carry around is the USB key. You can empty the USB onto your domain subdirectory. This suite is unnecessarily unwieldy for covering conferences and similar events. You have almost no image processing capability. No video editing capabilty. But if you can make arrangements with someone at home base to process the stuff you leave in your online storage, the image editing limitations can be solved. In fact, there might a small business opportunity in processing dropped-off images and video.


One of the readers recommends using a Treo 600 for the Cavemen Blogger role. It has a built-in QWERTY keyboard.