Marantz introduces new portable digital recorder: PMD620

imageOntario, CA – Marantz unveiled its PMD620, a new handheld solid state SD-Flash memory recorder, due to ship in November for a street price of $399. [Click image to enlarge] UPDATE: It’s Shipping!!!

The Marantz PMD620 will record in WAV or MP3 file formats (16 or 24 bit resolution) from its two built-in omnidirectional mics or a plug-in external microphone. It can record in mono or stereo. It stores recordings on SD memory.

It is powered by two AA batteries (recorders that take standard batteries make better field recorders, since you can buy fresh batteries anywhere; custom batteries present more of a problem). The Marantz representative plugged something into its side which I assumed to be AC power, but I didn’t ask.

I did plug in my own headphones and external microphone to try it out. Alas for the noisy trade show room; I couldn’t really hear the sound quality (this was ...Read More

Posted by Susan A. Kitchens on September 30, 2007 in • AudioAudio: Hardware
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Two Rings, One Message.. a story from Podcast Expo

Yesterday, I re-met Ron Ploof of Griddlecakes Radio, audio storyteller. He said, “Listen to Two Rings, One Message.” I just did. It’s a story that begins during WW2 and continues to the present day. A story of war, of love, and the inspiration of lost –and found– heirlooms. The story itself begins about 5 minutes into the 26-minute episode.

Posted by Susan A. Kitchens on September 29, 2007 in • Personal History
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Veterans History Project digital specs

I got the “digital file format wishlist” from Sarah Rouse at Veterans History Project. This is specification for video, audio and image file formats.

Video: .mpeg-2 file, at least 3Mbps, with a spatial resolution of 702x480 at 30fps

Audio: .wav file, CD-Audio quality (44.1 KHz, 16-bit)

Images: Color tiff files, 300dpi, scanned at 8 bits per channel.

Veterans History Project
Download PDFs of forms from this page of the VHP site.

If you’re doing video, check out the Ken Burns and Lynn Novick guide PDF file, from The War’s Veterans History Project page.


Posted by Susan A. Kitchens on September 28, 2007 in • Do it: YourselfVeterans History Project
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Latino Vet Stories, Day 3

Latino WW2 Vet stories from the Pacific and Italy, in keeping with The War’s third episode, “A Deadly Calling.” Taking Tarawa island in the Pacific and fighting in Italy at Anzio and Monte Cassino, here are some highlights from the US Latinos/Latinas & WWII Oral History Collection.

Joseph Alcoser concentrated on getting a good education, but then volunteered for the service when he was a senior in high school.

“I never thought about returning home,” he said. “I thought we were sent off to die.”

Consequently, Joe did not communicate very much with anyone back home while he was overseas. He sent only one letter to his mother.

“If anything happened to me, my family would find out,” he said.

“The scariest battle for me was the midnight battle at Surigao Straight,” he said. It was dark and we could only see shells flashing by the ship. The unknown was what caused great fear.”

The battle that occurred near Tarawa Island, an island east of New Guinea, had a ...Read More

Posted by Susan A. Kitchens on in • Online Oral History CollectionsVeterans History Project
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A PodCamp SoCal report

Audio gadgets, workflows, meeting people, and stories. PodcampSoCal was a good day yesterday. I was expecting to have different breakout regions in the room, but we all followed a single track together as one room. I saw several Zoom Handy H2s set up on small tripods, recording the proceedings. And one or two Zoom H4, too. Looks like I’ll be turning from The War and what’s your story to an audio geek gadget maven for the next day or so. The agenda was full and continuous I didn’t get a chance to ask people what their experience was like using their various recorders. But I’ll be at the show Friday and Saturday, so I hope to do that then.

Oh, and family stories did come up; I managed to get myself on the agenda at day’s end and spoke of the Veterans History Project. One guy, Dan Bach (he produces a math show and wore a tee shirt filled with lovely graphic symbolic goodness related to prime numbers), mentioned his dad during the Q & A: A WWII vet, a prisoner of war who received his purple heart 60-some years later. Perhaps I heard about him in the news? Just looked it up, and here’s the story of Leo Bach. He was at Pearl Harbor the day it was bombed, and he was shot down over Germany. I told him, you gotta interview your dad; this field kit has your name on it (I only had a handful of Veteran History Project field ...Read More

Posted by Susan A. Kitchens on in • AudioAudio: HardwareInterviewingVeterans History Project
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At PodCamp SoCal today

I’ve lots of good stuff in the pipeline for posting here, but I’ve taken my The War intermission a bit early to prepare for PodcampSoCal. Catch up on some of the recent news items, or post in the open thread. There are but 24 hours in a day, and I’m using ‘em all. Back soon with more Latino WW2 stories, Japanese American internment and Go For Broke posts, and digital requirements for submitting to Library of Congress.

Posted by Susan A. Kitchens on September 27, 2007 in • Housekeeping
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Liar, liar!

Larry Lehmer talks about Liars. Or stretchers of truths. Fabulists (not to be confused with fabulous, or its shorter cousin, faboo). His post points to a faboo post about a fibbing Mom. Ann Hagman Cardinal tells her uncle a story her Mom had told her, and he –with other family members present – tells her the truth. That conversation sets her on her path as writer and storyteller.

I just stared at him, heat rising from my chest to my face.

Finally I sputtered, “What? Mom made it all up?” I began to recount the other stories she had told me. One after another, they were confirmed to be fiction. I was furious. Beyond furious. How could my mother feed me these lies year after year? And I believed her! I could just see her talking to me over her shoulder in the VW van, her self-righteous lecture about not telling stories ringing in my ears.

I stared at my half eaten lunch, tears gathering in my eyes. My cousin Jose Luis took my hand and said, “Annie, what does it matter if the stories are true or not? Isn’t our family as defined by the stories that aren’t true ...Read More

Posted by Susan A. Kitchens on September 26, 2007 in • InterviewingPersonal History
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Latino WW2 Vets companion stories, Day 2

More companion stories from the Latinos and Latinas & WWII Oral History Project that echo the theme of “last night’s episode” of The War, When the Going Gets Tough. These are stories of the war in North Africa and Italy, and of being shot down from a plane.

Joseph Diaz made it to Naples when Mt. Vesuvius was erupting.

Pvt. Diaz was the only Mexican in his unit, which included Audie Murphy, the most decorated combat soldier in World War II. Mr. Diaz said Murphy admonished the soldiers not to waste ammunition.

Once he landed in Morocco there was no time to travel slowly. His division moved into Tunisia, where fighting subsided, and Pvt. Diaz thought he was heading home.

Unfortunately, there was more fighting to come against Germany’s Gen. Erwin Rommel. By marching or riding on tanks and trucks, Pvt. Diaz quickly moved into Palermo, Italy, where soldiers were rebuilding the area. From Palermo, Pvt. Diaz headed to Naples and reached ...Read More

Posted by Susan A. Kitchens on September 25, 2007 in • Online Oral History CollectionsVeterans History Project
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Watching ‘The War’ Open Thread

The War Open ThreadAre you watching The War? What do you think? Consider this an open thread to discuss anything about The War.

The weekend before it began, I wanted to do a Ken Burns roundup post. That was when the number of stories about the show was still reasonable. The Carnival took precedence, though. Since then, every news outlet imaginable has produced a story about Ken Burns and WW2 and The War. Stories of the making of. About the companion Book. Reviews.

I wanted to “live-blog” the documentary, you know, saying, “He’s just dissolved to a new black and white photograph. He zooms in, slowly, slowly, and There! he pauses on the face! Fade to another photograph; this one is a horizontal pan.” That kind of snark—Ken Burns is parodying his own style!—was better before-the-fact. We’re watching it in ...Read More

Posted by Susan A. Kitchens on in • History
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Two stories from a Latino WW2 Oral History archive: War in the Pacific

Here are two excerpts from the oral history project that has interviewed Latino World War 2 veterans. A trip through news search engines brings lots of latino response to Ken Burns not-including and then including stories of latinos in The War. I’m less interested in reactions than in the stories themselves. So I’ll dip into one oft-cited oral history archive to find stories that keep with the theme of “last night’s show” for inclusion here.

Today, two stories from the Pacific theatre of war: Bataan death march and being taken prisoner of war by the Japanese.

From the narrative of Philip James Benavides, who served in the Pacific. He was a musician that was part of the Marine Band; he fought on Guadalcanal and Bouganville, and was taken prisoner of war.

Circumstances forced the 9th Marine bandsmen into combat as they headed back to the frontlines to replenish supplies and retrieve the wounded and the dead.

“It was unbelievable. The more we battled,” he said. “I guess you could say you got used to it.”

Hungry and tired, the Marines would eat anything they could scrounge up, including roots and grubworms.

After contracting (and recuperating from) malaria, he went island-hopping again in the Pacific

On Nov. 1, 1943, Staff Sgt. ...Read More

Posted by Susan A. Kitchens on September 24, 2007 in • Online Oral History CollectionsOral History ProjectsVeterans History Project
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Two Companion Web Sites to Ken Burns’s The War

The Veterans History Project’s companion site features stories from its collection about the events described in each episode. Episode 1 covers Pearl Harbor, Bataan Death March, Guadalcanal and Japanese American internment camps. And I’ve linked to it before, the PBS Site for The War… the site got a revamp and facelift. Happy to see a prominent link from the PBS site to the Veterans History Project site.

Posted by Susan A. Kitchens on in • LinksOnline Oral History CollectionsOral history in the newsVeterans History Project
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Veterans History Project casts wide net

Veterans History ProjectThe Veterans History Project is casting a wide net for 20th and 21st century wartime stories. The project is soliciting submissions from veterans –and civilians who directly participated – during the conflicts of WWI, WW2, Korean War, Vietnam War, Persian Gulf War, and wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Back in April of this year, Sarah Rouse, Senior Program Officer of the VHP, spoke at the Southwest Oral History Association’s annual meeting. Rouse described the project’s wide scope.

While many oral history projects are focused on a limited population, the Veterans History Project stands with the Slave Narrative Collection, the 1930’s WPA effort to record the recollections of as many living former slaves as possible, or the Shoah Project, which collects personal narratives of those survivors of the Nazi holocaust. Like these other collections, the Veterans History Project’s purpose is to collect, archive and curate as many personal recollections as it possibly can.

I like the fact that this national effort, funded by Congress and run through the Library of Congress’s American Folk Life division, is rooted in family oral history. Congressman Ron Kind of Wisconsin ...Read More

Posted by Susan A. Kitchens on September 23, 2007 in • Oral History ServicesTranscriptionVeterans History Project
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Veterans History Project Medal Controversy: Fraud or Clerical Error?

Veterans History Project buttonThe Veterans History Project’s web sites posts stories from its collection. An independent Medal of Honor watchdog fact-checks the recipients listed on the Project’s web site against the official records. Watchdog finds discrepancies, notifies Project. Vets History Project scrubs the bad records. Investigates. Is this a case of Lie-induced Nausea or Unfortunate Clerical Error?

Test yourself. Quick: Which of these is the true Medal of Honor? the Vietnam Armed Forces Honor Medal or the Medal of Honor (Air Force)?

This week, MSNBC reported that the Veterans History Project (VHP) took down listings of veterans whose reports receiving the Medal of Honor were false. And here’s the tricky bit. Were those listings fraud? Exaggeration? Error?  Doug Sterner, who operates an independent web site honoring those who have received the Medal of Honor, fact-checked the Veterans History Project‘s site and database and found the errors and reported it to the VHP. The Project notes that many of the false listings are due to clerical errors.

The accusation: “Gross Negligence”

Doug Sterner’s efforts are devoted to debunking false claims to receiving medals—and honoring the known recipients of the medals. He ...Read More

Posted by Susan A. Kitchens on September 22, 2007 in • Online Oral History CollectionsOral history in the newsVeterans History Project
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Yessss! A Mention in the US News cover story!!!

USNWR Sept 27 2007 cover
US News: Making History, by Alex Kingsbury. “From World War II soldiers to the survivors of Hurricane Katrina, more people are sharing their own memories to bring the past back to life.” I spoke with him back in June, the story mentions me and this site. Color me stoked. I’m planning to do a roundup of stories about Ken Burns and The War; I’m tickled that one of them will be slightly self-referential.

I discovered it this afternoon, immediately after posting Genealogy Carnival, after I took my broken-footed boyfriend to doctor’s office. So glad they subscribe to around 4 copies of US News & World Report. They said I could have a copy before I even said, “I’m in here. My name is right here.” 

Ahem. Back to business. There are several related articles and sidebars in this issue. In addition to the main story talking about the phenomenon of oral history and personal memory projects, there are these stories:

A Ken Burns profile—An Intimate View of ‘The War’.

Tips for Recording Oral Histories. Emphasis on equipment and video, and the wisdom of Donald Ritchie, author of Doing Oral ...Read More

Posted by Susan A. Kitchens on September 18, 2007 in • Oral history in the newsOral History ProjectsVeterans History Project
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Carnival of Genealogy: Family Wartime Stories

Welcome to the 32nd Carnival of Genealogy. The theme: Family Stories of Wartime. The entries span the Revolutionary War to the Korean Conflict.

On the same day I was reading through the submitted entries, I asked my SO to set the TiVo to record all seven episodes of Ken Burns’s The War (begins Sunday, 23 September on PBS), a 14+ hour documentary that tells the story of World War 2 through the eyes of ordinary people from four American communities. “In extraordinary times, there are no ordinary lives.” We also watched a documentary that the TiVo recorded earlier this year: The Perilous Fight: WW2 in color. Color motion picture was accompanied by excerpts from diaries and letters written by those who lived it. It was a (mostly) sober couple of hours of non-Glenn Miller getting In The Mood (er, not that mood) for the Carnival, and for the upcoming Ken Burns documentary.

Ken Burns and PBS are promoting the The Veteran’s History Project (VHP), a nationwide oral history project to record and preserve the stories of Americans in wartime at the Library of Congress.

Pearl Harbor

The common theme of the documentaries, the VHP, and this carnival: Great historical events do not belong to the Kings and Queens, Presidents and Prime Ministers, War Secretaries and Generals, decision makers and strategists. When one nation fights another, the war is experienced from family to family, household to household. Whether victim, refugee, prisoner, laborer, soldier, the events of that war seep into every corner of a nation.

So here are some stories of war from the households of family (and neighbors) of the carnival partipants.

Revolutionary War

Revolutionary War-era maps and charts

Randy Seaver at Genea-Musings tells us the story of Patriot Soldier, Isaac Buck, one of his favorite ancestors and his service and war pension. Good for Isaac Buck that he received a pension, and good for Randy that the records are there to tell him of his ancestor.


Randy’s story mentions Ticonderoga; Here’s a map of Ticonderoga with authentick informations, 1777, from Library of Congress Memory Project. (My grandfather’s 100th birthday party was in the Village of Ticonderoga, or “Ti” as we call it)

The Revolutionary War is also known as “the First Civil War,” according to Tim Abbot of Walking the Berkshires. His account ...Read More

Posted by Susan A. Kitchens on in • GenealogyHistoryOral History ProjectsVeterans History Project
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