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Recording a Note on Your Pocket PC

In addition to typing, handwriting, and drawing, you have another interesting option for creating a note. You can record a note in your own voice — or someone else's if you can get her to talk into your Pocket PC.

Voice notes are often the most convenient way to create a note because you can record a note while you're doing something else. You can even create a voice note when writing is pretty much impossible, such as while riding in a crowded bus on a very bumpy road.

Although recording voice notes on your Pocket PC while you're driving seems mighty tempting, it's not advisable. Even talking into your Pocket PC takes too much concentration for this to be safe. If you absolutely have to record a voice note while driving, try to find a safe place to pull over so that you don't endanger everyone else (and yourself) on the road.

How good do you want it to sound?

Remember those commercials for audio recording tape that asked "Is it live or is it Memorex?" Well, no one is going to mistake a recording you make on your Pocket PC with a live voice. Quite honestly, if you really want high-fidelity recordings, you need to look somewhere else.

The voice-recording feature on your Pocket PC is somewhat lacking in audio quality for one very good reason: Storing high-quality digital sound recordings takes up a lot of space. By choosing a lower quality level, you greatly reduce the amount of memory needed for your recording.

Choosing the best recording format can be a bit of a pain. Your Pocket PC offers quite a few options that range all the way from one setting that uses about 2 kilobytes for each second of recording to another option that uses about 172 kilobytes per second — a ratio of 86 to 1!

Unfortunately, the choices aren't quite as simple as they may seem. The smallest-sized voice setting certainly gives you the longest recording time on a given amount of memory, but you may not be able to understand your own voice recordings if you select that option. The largest-sized files certainly sound better, but they waste half of the space they use because they're in stereo format — even though you're recording from a monaural microphone on your Pocket PC (both channels of the stereo recording have exactly the same signal).

To make matters worse, if you want to share your recording with your desktop system or perhaps to e-mail a voice note to someone, only some of the recording formats are likely to be usable, depending on exactly where the recording is played back. For example, the GSM 6.10 format — the one that happens to produce the smallest files — won't be playable on most desktop PCs. And it figures that the format that produces the largest files is the one that pretty much anyone is able to play. You'll probably find that it takes some trial and error testing to see which recording formats are usable for other people because any particular desktop PC may not have the ability to use the format you select.

So experiment a little before you decide on the recording format. Create a few sample files using different formats, and then try listening to those recordings on the different PCs and in the different applications you're using. That way, you won't have any unpleasant surprises when you actually need to make an important recording.

Choosing your recording format

To select the format that will work the best, you may want to try out several different ones. To select the recording format, follow these steps:

1. Click the Start button and choose Notes from the Start menu.

Make certain that you are viewing the list of notes rather than creating a new note. If you're in a note, you have to close the note to access the recording settings.

2. Choose Tools --> Options and then tap Global Input Options to display the Settings screen.

3. Click the down arrow on the Voice Recording Format list and choose the option you prefer from the list.

4. Click OK when you have made your selection.

Don't waste memory choosing a stereo recording format. In most cases, the equivalent mono format works just as well and takes half as much space.

Recording your note

The easiest way to record a note is to simply hold down the Record button on the side of your Pocket PC and begin speaking into the microphone. Continue holding down the button until you're done. You can also click the Record button on the recording controls toolbar to begin a recording and click the Stop button to end the recording. You can display this toolbar by clicking the icon that looks like a miniature cassette tape on the Notes menu bar.

If possible, try to make your recording in one pass. Each time you press and release the Record button on the side of your Pocket PC, you create a new recording. So if you want all your thoughts to be included in a single recording, be sure to hold the button down continuously while speaking.

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