Interviewer Equipment

1. A battery-driven Laptop computer with the following features:
 a. An available USB port  (preferably two)
 b. Windows software (ME or newer)
 c. Email software capable of transmitting attachments (e.g., Outlook Express)

2. A Sony MX-20 Digital Recorder (~$250 from Sony, ~$200 from bizrate.com) with:
 a. AC power adaptor (~$20 from Sony)
 b. Sony Digital Voice Editor software (included with the MX-20 recorder), which will be loaded onto the laptop.

3. A batteryless Kensington 33130 Portable Laptop Speaker (or equivalent) with a USB connector to the laptop, drawing power from the laptop, and delivering audio output in place of the laptop's speakers (~$40 from Amazon.com)

When recording an interview, questions for the subject are broadcast over the speakers from a stored file on the laptop.  The Kensington speakers are (usually) much better than the built-in laptop speakers, and deliver the questions clearly to the interviewee.  No AC power is needed to power the Kensington.

The Sony MX-20 is used to record both the broadcast questions and the subject's answers.  Both laptop and recorder will use batteries for that purpose, so that no AC power is needed in the interview room.  The laptop's batteries are rechargeable, but the Sony recorder's AAA batteries are not, so it is advisable to carry spare batteries and/or the Sony's power adaptor.

The questions to the subject are in three parts, and three question/answer files will be recorded on the MX-20.  Once recorded, the MX-20 files, having the extension msv, will be downloaded to the laptop via a USB port.  Those downloaded files may then be played back over the Kensington speakers, using the Sony software, to verify to both the interviewer and the subject that the questions and answers were successfully captured.  As may be seen, a single USB port on the laptop will suffice, but two would be rather more convenient.

Upon completion of the interview, the  three files will be renamed and relocated into the c:\Interviews folder on the laptop, from which they may be transmitted elsewhere via email attachments.  The name of such a file, as ultimately transmitted to CEC personnel, will have the form c:\Interviews\1234-P2-POL-CA.msv.  The files remaining on the digital recorder may then be deleted to make room for later interviews.
 

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