Nerdy Gear Post

11 Mar

I’m a big fan of lifehacker and was strangely intrigues by their recent series on stuff the writers use and how they work. So I’m going to try a similar one but from a medical web 2.0 point of view.

This is deeply nerdy and of no relevance to EM but you might enjoy it if you’re that way inclined.


I’ve been a mac user (originally a mac mini that’s still ticking away as a music server for us) since 2004 and I feel a little bit stuck with them now. I suppose that’s good marketing and product design on Apple’s part…

This is where I do pretty much everything, from my lecturing work, music recording, to my theology masters to watching DVDs (we don’t own a telly), to all the EM and blogging stuff. Everything is on this. It’s an early ’08 MacBookPro that I’ve upgraded the memory and hard drive on and unfortunately had to get a new logic board when it melted a few months back. If I can keep it going I have no intention of changing it.

If I’m in the house I usually use it with this lovely Dell monitor. It’s 6 years old which means it was dirt cheap on ebay when I got it last month. The wireless keyboard is an ’04 so it’s developing an interesting collection of gram +ve organisms down the sides of the keys but it works just fine.

For recording the anatomy videos I use the above set up. I used to record a fair bit of music (all the music on the videos is mine) and so I had this stuff lying around already. The Behringer desk is a lovely little desk for this type of thing, and it has the all important phatom power for the microphone. The keyboard acts as a USB input more than anything else but it’s a reasonable MIDI controller if you’re into that kind of thing.

This is a Rode NT1-A which is a lovely mic. It’s probably a little bit over the top for podcasting but it certainly does the job.

As for mobiles I have an old 3G (not an S) that still runs the very best as long as you keep it on iOS 3.1. It plays music and movies, works well as a phone and lets me use twitter and the net. I’m not very excited by any of the new iPhones to be honest.


GoodReader this is definitely the best app I’ve ever got. It handles pdf, txt files, photos and even the web a fair bit better than iOS does on its own. I have it linked to my google docs and dropbox and I have a legion of plain txt files that I make all my notes on (and write lots of blogs on) and they’re all synced through dropbox through this.

Yeah sure, you could buy all the new stuff and do it all on native client apps but I much prefer keeping things as simple as possibly with as few apps and bits of hardware as possible. Hence no iPad either. I’m deeply suspicious of how materialist I can be about these things (and how good folk like Apple are at making money out of it) so I deliberately try and ban myself from buying new bits. The world seems to have enough stuff in it already. I beat myself with whips too as it helps me feel better about it…

I use Quicktime and Keynote to make all the anatomy videos. I lecture for a living at the minute and powerpoint sucks in comparison to Keynote to be honest, especially when it comes to handling video.

Otherwise I use Papers, google reader, twitter and instapaper to keep up with all the EM stuff. I use most of the apps below fairly regu;arly. Some are better than others.

If you’ve suffered through all this and actually are interested then I’d love to hear thoughts on what makes the interweb and blogging and eLearning work for you.

7 Replies to “Nerdy Gear Post

  1. What program do you use to make your anatomy videos? I’m putting together a few of my own (non-anatomy) talks using leftover music equipment, but haven’t found a setup I’m particularly pleased with yet. Thanks

    • Hi Vince

      I make the presentations and the animations using Keynote and then record them live with Quicktime Player (go to File>New Screen Recording). They’re all one take usually. I then trim the file and add the music with iMovie on the mac. Making the presentation is the long bit, recording and it and trimming it takes about 15 mins

      Looking forward to seeing what you’re gonna make!

    • I’d love to see you set up David. The one thing that would tempt me away from osx is Linux. The android seems far superior to me I’m just not bothered enough to make the change!

  2. Interesting to see the working behind the videos. I enjoy your videos immensely.

    I think the future of education is going to be exactly this sort of multimedia integration, although I will continue to enjoy large textbooks for some time to come. Clinical books will require multimedia to remain relevant and with this in mind I am interested in the future of i or eBooks with embedded videos etc. If I was not labouring under the problems of post-grad exams etc., I would probably be trying to write one myself.

    I am also intrigued by the Behringer device. You may just have answered a problem we’re having with our embryonic home studio…. balancing guitars with low wattage amplifiers, drums and vocals when the room is small, the neighbours are not as far away as I would like and there’s only one spare speaker to put everything through….

    Best wishes,


    • Hi Mark

      The change in med ed over the next 20 years will probably be pretty dramatic, but given the amount of vested interests in it (academics, universities and publishers) i imagine it’ll still be high cost and controlled even though i wish it would all move open access.

      The Behringer desk is brilliant. I’ve used it for a few live events and have run a few guitars and a coupe of mics and a keyboard through it. It’s only a mixer of course so you’ll still need an amp if you want to drive a speaker and create some volume. It’s really handy for recording music i find. All the music on the podcast is stuff i recorded with the same gear so it might give you an idea of what it can do!

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