Office on the road

If you are a digital nomad or just traveling a lot, you will know these situations: How to edit photos on your office computer, with no Photoshop installed? How to merge your application into one PDF in a Peruvian internet café? When traveling without my notebook, I use cloud based programs (mostly for free) and without downloading. Here is a selection for everyday use.

Audio transcription

Sonix: There’s FINALLY a program that can transcribe audio files automatically via speech recognition. The program recognizes American, British and Australian English as well as many other languages, whether your interview is in French, German or even Finnish. I tried the free trial for a 30-minute interview and was thrilled how well and fast it works – so I signed up for more.

This is how it works: You upload your audio file, wait a couple of minutes and get the text complete with timestamps and different speakers. Sonix highlights words where it isn’t confident, so you can jump there with the curser and it will immediately play the corresponding audio so that oyu can possibly correct the word. Then you just export the text e.g. as a word file. I wish this existed earlier, it would have saved me and other journalists or scientists some time. If you decide to sign up for more after the initial free 30 minutes, you can get 100 more minutes for free with the link (if you do, they will give me 100 minutes, too – thanks!)

– In case your audio contains lots of background noise or many different speakers talking over each other, you will still have to transcribe manually. If you don’t want to jump between audio software and word (as I did for years), I found the program Transcribe to be helpful: You get the audio and the editor in one window and can play the audio at different speeds. It’s even faster, if you repeat into a microphone what you just heard in the audio and let the program transcribe what you dictated automatically (works only in Chrome browser). Transcribe has a rather low yearly fee (last time I checked it was 15USD/year).

Software Hacks

– Whenever you really need to get some work done, you are lost in distraction? The programs Anti-Social and Freedom easily get me into an old-fashioned, no social media, no random news reading, working mode. Anti-Social is my favorite, I just block certain websites for a certain time, while Freedom – no! – blocks the whole internet. If you need to access the internet before the time runs out, you have to restart your computer. Unlike those other programs in the list, they are not for free, but cost 15-20 USD. For me it was worth it however 😉

– You need to transcribe hours of interviews and don’t want to switch between Audacity and Word all the time, slow the recording down and even use speech recognition? Transcribe is the best program I could find, but again, not for free.

– You don’t want Facebook to translate posts of your international friends, because you speak and want to maintain several languages? (Click on “See translation” under a post (if it is not already translated for you) –> settings (wheel) –>) Or directly go to language settings –> adjust those

 

Miscellaneous

– check your internet speed: speedtest.net

– You received a document (e.g. via mail) that makes your computer crash? Here you can open and look at it without any danger: viewdocsonline.com

ruler for measurements online (no download) >>

embed MP3, direct hotlink (.mp3)

– make flow charts online – like this (bottom) >>

 

PDF everything

Merge PDF Online

– … or seperate it (alternative: Splitpdf)

good cloud/ online software to fill out and save PDF forms

– Want to send a PDF to your Kindl? First reduce the PDF!

– fill out a PDF form and save it: PDF Escape

Conversions

Word –> Pdf (at the bottom, converts on the site, not via mail)

Jpg –> Pdf 

– PDF –> JPG

Convert PDF –> Word or pdftoword

– Website –> PDF: HTML 2 PDF (o. Ränder) or PDFDownload (with margins)

– ODT (Open Office) –> DOC: http://www.freefileconvert.com (click on convert, if ads appear)

 

Photography

Editing pictures online: pixlr.com

How to find the right camera?

– You would like to know how many pictures were taken with your camera? Take a photo and this page will tell you: Shuttercount. Only works with newer DLSR

German toll regulations for cameras

 

Investigation for journalists (mostly in German)

ultimative Linkliste des Netzwerks Recherche

Recherche-Werkzeuge

Online-Recherche M. Spielkamp

Ergänzungen zum Buch “Investigativer Journalismus” von J. Ludwig

Recherche-Erfolgsstories

Informanten-Seite von J. Ludwig

 

You know a program to add to this list? Great, please tell me in the comments!