Where Africa and Technology Collide!

Weapons of Choice

WhiteAfrican {2}, originally uploaded by Jon Shuler.

Thanks to everyone for 2008. What an amazing (and unexpected) year!

My “Weapons of Choice”:

  • Moleskin notebook
  • Zebra pen
  • Sanyo Xacti waterproof camera (dustproof for Africa!)
  • MacBook Pro (not pictured)
  • Nikon D50 (not pictured)

What are yours?


  1. I also like Zebra pens! I’ve got the telescoping kind though – fits much nicer in a pocket.

  2. Canon 5D – 50mm & 24mm lenses
    Zoom H4 – 4 Way Stereo Audio Recorder
    Fountain Pen

    • @Jon Shuler – Okay, now I just saw your Zoom H4, and that’s even heavier duty than Miquel’s Zoom H2. I’m feeling a little gadget envy coming on…

  3. I always new you used a Mac. Great tools. I love what you did in 2008. God bless you and what you are doing in 09′.

  4. Canon 30D – 24-70, 70-200, 10-22
    Sony Ericsson K530i unlocked (talking phone)
    Blackberry Curve 8320 unlocked (Twittering (eventually blogging) phone)
    Miquel Rius notebooks
    Zoom H2 (great for interviews)
    Thinkpad Z60m or X40 depending on travel conditions

    Yeah, I know the last item makes me super uncool, but I’ve had too many Apple laptops fall to pieces when traveling. The Thinkpad isn’t “sexy” like a Mac (although that is subjective to what one finds sexy 😉 but its thick, slabness stands up to just about everything I can toss as at it.

    • @Miquel – so I’m guessing Maneno will be doing something on smart phones then in 2009? 🙂 By the way, nothing against PCs from me. I run one in my house as the desktop. I had to go lookup Zoom H2 due to not knowing what it is… Man, that woke up the gadget-lover inside of me immediately. Looks incredibly useful.

  5. @HASH I had forgotten about the Zoom H4 until Jon mentioned it. When I choosing between them, the H4 was a great deal more expensive and now it’s just $100 or less above the H2. The XLR inputs in the H4 are a serious plus and the construction is more rigid, but that comes at a cost of larger size and more weight. I also like the fact that the H2 is a bit more stealthy as I like to record random sounds and conversations in cities and the H4 stands out a good deal more. But again, they’re both quite good and I suppose it’s all based on your needs since the price is much less of an option now. Really, really good audio quality from either.

    Yeah, on Maneno we’re getting close to having the base solid and will probably take off the Beta tag in the next couple of months. Then it’s all about mobile in creating both a smart phone version as well as an SMS/MMS interface which will be the most important for blogging. I’m really looking forward to what Ken is going to be doing at Frontline SMS as I plan to be digging in to in to integration in the first half of this new year.

  6. Mine are nearly identical to you. Just looking at what is handy next to my computer as I type I have…

    – Zebra pen (only 3 left! But I’ve found a good African equivalent)
    – 3 moleskins (to do/random thoughts/ journal, Africa/ministry, Arabic)
    – Canon D1 Mk2 w/24-105mm (my walk around lens)
    – Sanyo wp video camera
    – Nokia N82, my newest still & video camera! & soon to be modem
    – MacBook Pro (where don’t I go without this)
    – Edirol R-09HR (audio recorder)

    Usually I don’t carry the audio recorder as I just shoot video with one of my mini video cameras. I researched the recorder heavily before my purchase. With my application, I’m mostly recording ambient sound in the field and have nothing to hook into. If I though I might be using mics (boom) or plugging into a mixer or something, I would have definitely gone with the H4. It’s a great buy. Jon, I have to say I’m jealous of the fountain pen. I feel like when I write in a moleskine that it needs an equally studious method of dispensing ink (a nice pen). I almost feel like I should be using a quill.

  7. It depends, but here’s what’s in the bag (btw, searching for a new bag)
    Either a Canon 10D or the Canon Vixia HF10
    Parker Duofold Rollerball
    Zoom H4
    Bose earbuds
    Jawbone bluetooth

    Moleskin or reporters notebook

  8. plane tickets
    people everywhere to learn from and write about
    old Dell laptop with MS Word (so I don’t lose what I’ve written when the connection is dodgy), followed by the cut and paste function
    old Canon digital camera, but testing Nokia N82
    Flip camera
    beer or its equivalent

  9. @Linda The best list yet! 🙂

  10. @ Miquel – hey thanks! i’m still learning about the tech side from all you guys so maybe for 2009 I will step it up and go mobile….:-)

  11. @ HASH Sorry bro, my mistake, I only have the H2, though I have used the H4. I WANTED the H4! I would get it if you have the cash.

    UNLESS, as Miquel says you want to go small/light/stelth, OR you want to do fast sit-down interviews. I say this because you can stand the silly thing up with one stereo pair pointing one way (with a 90º pattern) and one pair pointing the exact opposite direction (with a 120º pattern) and record 4 audio tracks simultaneously.

    My only beef with it is that it’s really slow to boot up and slow to write (but then I have 1x cards so…)

  12. @ Linda has the most honest list I think 🙂

    Has anyone tried putting a good wired headset or wired lav into their phone for interviews? Just a though? Curious to see what would happen…

  13. macbook
    suunto watch
    wacom graphics tablet
    canon 5d
    canon g9
    7 tb hard drive
    cheap cellphone
    road warrior motorbike (soon)

  14. # X17 timer/notebook
    # cheap Pelikan fountain pen
    # HP nx8220 laptop w XP&Ubuntu
    # Nokia N95 (= 5mpx cmos cam)
    # Leatherman Wave 2004 🙂

  15. Let’s see:

    Macbook Pro (complete with Ushahidi travel sticker and dinged corners)
    Canon 5D with 80mm 1.8 prime (salivating for 5D Mk II)
    iPhone (with Recorder app for recording interviews)
    Any ol’ pen will do
    Michael Graves laptop bag
    Package of Garden tea (from Uganda)
    6-inch army blade (for walking around Nairobi mostly)

  16. BIC Atlantis pens
    H2 (love it!)
    Motorola Q9h phone (w/GPS)
    Solio solar charger and battery
    SVP still camera
    Jazz HDV-178 HD camcorder
    Blackberry 8700c backup cell

  17. dell d630 [work] or toshiba A210 [home]
    samsung E250
    kasuku notepad
    bic ballpen
    safaricom 3G modem
    samsung 512mb flash disk
    old canon camera –

  18. MacBook
    Wool laptop sleeve from Bolivia emblazoned w/ Global Voices logo!
    Motorola PEBL
    Moleskine cahiers (pocket – plain, large – squared)
    Sony MZ-M100 Hi-MD minidisc recorder
    Sony ECM MS907 microphone
    Canon PowerShot G9 camera
    Canon Rebel Xti DSLR camera
    Lenses: Tamron 18-250mm, Sigma 10-22mm, Canon 50mm
    FireLite 80G portable hard drive

  19. List depends on how much stuff I want to lug around.

    – Nikon D50 with 18-200VR (Only lens you need!)
    – crusty 1st generation white macbook with peeling sides and vote Obama sticker
    – iPhone
    – Ericsson k610i
    – H2 (coming soon!)
    – Canon HF100
    – Canon Powershot S1000
    – Garmin GPS
    – Leatherman Skeletool (great beer opener)
    – JBL on tour speakers (for long trips)
    – ground coffee and a small french press (excluded for trips to Kenya and Ethiopia)
    – Travel towel

  20. forgot to add, chacos sandals. so so important.

  21. @matt – and i thought i was the only one who brought my little french press with me!

  22. @linda – I’ve grown to love Nescafé but sometimes you need a little rocket fuel in the morning 🙂

  23. @ Matt Berg – yeah, you kind of don’t have a choice do you? It’s funny that it’s in places where you would think the real stuff would be flowing like wine! Never though to bring a french press, that’s a good call.

  24. @jonathan – the only problem is when everyone is drinking milk with tea and you’re the jerk asking for boiling water every morning! but definitely better than nescafe or going without….

  25. hey y’all… since some of us carry moleskins (i neglected to mention mine above, however)… i’m curious. do you fill in the amount of reward for return of your moleskin? if so, how much do you put in there? or do you leave it blank?

  26. • my moms toshiba laptop because mine got nicked and I’m too broke to buy another one right now.
    • my 2 nokias that I got free;one in the Safaricom Bonga Points promotion the other from mentalacrobatics because mine got nicked
    • my diary which i got free from Bamburi Cement Limited because the one they gave me before got nicked
    • my black bic biro,which i nicked from mentalacrobatics.
    • kasuku notepad..i bought it
    • zain modem which mentalacrobatics loaned me because mine got nicked 🙂

  27. @Nekesa – I’m sensing a pattern here… Seems a lot of nicking goes on in your world. 🙂

  28. @Nekesa, Hash: I am sure even Daudi will agree it’s that Were-symptom where gadgets will suddenly walk away once members of the extended family are around. #Nokia_6230i

  29. @ White African and jke.. Hoping to get myself:
    Moleskin notebook
    Zebra pen
    Sanyo Xacti waterproof camera (dustproof for Africa!)
    MacBook Pro
    Nikon D50
    X17 timer/notebook
    cheap Pelikan fountain pen
    HP nx8220 laptop w XP&Ubuntu
    Nokia N95 (= 5mpx cmos cam)
    Leatherman Wave 2004

    When are you visiting the “The Weres” again? 🙂

  30. dude… we have all the same tools except the moleskin pad. yikes… i’m turning into my brother in law. i love those zebra pens. they are the bomb. that’s the only pen i’ve ever owned for longer than a few days without losing it.

  31. @WhiteAfrican or guys living in Kenya. Where can I get a Moleskine. Or an equally capable Notebook?

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