If you are a deep researcher and writer like myself and/or are wanting to create podcasts, videos, or websites, below is a list of my must-have tools. These are the things that make me tick, allow me to create materials and videos that I can share with the world, and provide me the security I need while doing so. I always encourage everyone to use their voice and skills to get the truth out. This is not a competition. This is our country we are fighting for, and together we are stronger. I hope you find this to be incredibly helpful.
This is How I Begin My Day
I’m always groggy when I wake up, my mind is in a cloud, and I have to scan news and messages for an hour just to get my wheels greased up. I do this while drinking down a glass of fresh squeezed orange juice – every morning. It’s a bit of an addiction. Once my mind revs up to about three on the Richter scale, it’s coffee time! I can only drink decaf, but it psychologically soothes me. Once I feed all the furry critters, and let my dog outside, I hop right on the computer. It would probably be wiser to say that I take a shower, eat a hardy breakfast, and start my day with Qi gong, but I would be lying – and I’m all about the truth.
I have this incredible, vintage drafting table that I’ve converted to an office desk, with a keyboard pull-out shelf and all! It makes me feel nostalgic. What’s on it, are the must-haves I cannot function without, including fresh cut flowers so I can smell the scent of nature when I look out the window at all of the blooming trees.
Must-Haves For Building A Platform with The Right Tools
Background Search Database
An ABSOLUTE MUST! This one is a no-brainer for anyone digging or wanting to look into people that may be spending time with their children. This one database saves me a significant amount of time to grab some key information and starting points to set me on my path. It pulls up their employment history, social media profiles, criminal background, affiliations & relationships, addresses where they’ve lived going quite a ways back, liens and bankruptcies, and other great data points. A no-brainer!
SECURITY: Virtual Private Network (VPN)
This is an ABSOLUTE MUST for PRIVACY & SECURITY, especially considering how inexpensive it is! Whether you are researching, on social media, handling online banking, or simply shopping online, EVERYONE should be using a VPN these days, between the censorship and spying taking place. It not only securely shields your browsing activity, it also allows you to access region-restricted websites. The encryption tunnel gives you the privacy you need from spying eyes, and also prevents websites you visit from scraping your info and targeting you with endless ads. It’s kind of fun too, because you can select what country you want to appear to be operating out of. I will not search the internet without having VPN activated, and it’s literally one simple click, and you are off to surfing. The best part is, you can activate it on all major desktop platforms and mobile devices for the entire family, which is a great idea if you have children! It’s even more critical to use when you are utilizing public wifi. Run them on ALL of your devices for full security. There are two fantastic VPN sources I recommend: NordVPN or ExpressVPN.
NordVPN offers military-grade encryption, a strict no logs policy and the ability to run 6 devices at the same time, including laptops, mobile devices, and smart tvs. It accesses 5000+ servers worldwide, and has a 30-day money-back guarantee with 24/7 customer support.
ExpressVPN offers split tunneling, kill switch, 256-bit AES encryption, no activity or connection logs, DNS/IPv6 leak protection, and the ability to run across multiple devices. It accesses 3000+ servers worldwide, and has a 30-day money-back guarantee with 24/7 customer support.
Websites and security
There are so many options out there these days with building a website, but I wouldn’t spend a fortune on hiring some expensive outfit to do it for you. These days, there are endless templates available that are very easy to navigate, and you don’t need to be familiar with code, though it is an added bonus. I would also recommend, in addition to a good VPN, to be sure you have a solid ad-blocker app, script blocker, antivirus / antimalware solution, use Tor browsing for relative maximum anonymity, and use Opera or Firefox over Google Chrome. You can search GitHub or SourceForge for a plethora of apps.
Discounts When Shopping Online
Call me silly, but I’m not much of a shopper, and don’t require many material possessions. But, there are some necessities such as computer items, software, backup drives, pet related products, etc. that I must purchase, and when I do, nine times out of ten I shop online. Why? It’s faster, I’m too busy digging, there are always coupons, and who the hell likes dealing with crowds?! So, I use Ebates. Ever hear of them? Don’t laugh, you will thank me later. I’ve been using them since 2011. Basically, they are teamed up with a ton of stores, so you go to Ebates and find the store you wish to shop at. They generally list a bunch of coupon deals for that store and indicate what percentage you will get back on the sale. You click on that store, it drops a cookie, tracks your sale, and you get that percentage back (that Ebates indicated), which goes into your Ebates account. Every quarter they mail you a check for all of the savings against your purchases. They generally range from 1.5% – 6%, but often have double deals. It’s quick, it’s easy, and that surprise quarterly check is glorious! When you live on a limited budget like myself, savings are like gold, which is why I am sharing this with you.
A must-have account, whereby they bogusly charge us ten cents per court document page to “display” on your screen. You can also download full court documents in pdf format. It’s absurd we are charged for this, but it’s also a necessary tool in order to access key court documents on players I’m investigating. They charge you quarterly, based on the number of pages you pulled up, and if you research the way I do, it can add up quickly.
This is a free software I downloaded about a year ago and it has served me well. I like it because you set the perimeter in which you want to screenshot, then it allows you to add text, underline, arrows, etc. in a variety of colors you can choose from. It saves the image off as a png. I’ve probably created over 3,000 screenshots since I downloaded it.
Production & Editing Tools for Videos and Podcasts
Designed for Mac, it is the video editing and recording software I use to produce my videos. I love it! It allows for full screen HD capture, is super easy to navigate and has great features. It also supports Keynote and Powerpoint, and best of all – it publishes directly to YouTube, Vimeo or Flash movie. The ScreenFlow SuperPak is “super” cool because it comes with a gallery of over 500,000 images, audio, video clips, transitions, and motion backgrounds that you just drag right into your timeline. Boom!
Flip4Mac may come in handy for some folks. It’s a Windows media component for QuickTime that allows you to play, import and export Windows Media on your Mac. I personally don’t have the need for this, but thought I would share because it’s a handy tool for some. Another groovy tool is Switch, which is a tool for broadcasts and post-production pros that allows you to play, inspect, QC and correct all of your media.
Wirecast is made by the same company as ScreenFlow and is an all-in-one live streaming production software that enables capture, live production and encoding for live streams. This can be used on both Mac and PC. I don’t have this yet, but I’m eyeing it up.
These are pretty high-end tools that allow you to author, edit, encode and repurpose video captions and subtitles for television, web and mobile delivery. This is one heck of an exciting tool that I will be working toward obtaining in the future!
Get a Decent Mic
I recently had to purchase a new mic because my cats broke my other one. It was a really cheap one to begin with, but it did the job, until they did a job on it by dragging it through the house. I scoured the internet for something affordable, and read hundreds of reviews on various products. I finally settled on the Blue Yeti Mic. I love this mic! It’s pretty badass looking, and makes me feel so professional. The best part is that I got it for just under $100, and there is no way my cats can drag this through the house, as it’s a solid heavy mic. It has tri-capsule technology, studio quality sound, has a mute button, and connects via USB. It’s available through several sound system stores or on Amazon of course.
Don’t Forget The Basics
Lined Notepad Paper
Yep, I’m old school. I type at rocket speed, but I sure do love scratching down notes, thoughts, and names with my Uni-ball Vision fine ink pen. It must be “fine.” I won’t write with anything else. Okay, so maybe I have a touch of OCD. I bet you keep yours by your side as well.
Where would I be without my white board? One day I will have a cool, vintage warehouse, with one entire wall designated for white boards only. There is nothing like seeing a visual map of what’s in your mind, displayed on a wall, so you can dissect the heck out of it! I highly recommend a white board whether you are researching or building a schedule for podcasts, interviews, or videos.
A Solid Computer with A Good Monitor
I’m not suggesting you can’t perform some tasks with your mobile device or a video camera, but when it comes down to editing, you want a decent computer. I myself have been a Mac girl since I was a teenager, so I operate off of a 27” iMac. You could certainly go with a PC, but when it comes to the world of graphics, iMac is where it’s at. Just sayin’. I’m working up to getting a couple more monitors one day, so I can utilize three screens at once. Imagine how much more productive I will be?!
This is my resource page I created and share with the world on my website. Whereas there are several sources I go directly to, by memory, I often reference my own resource page when I’m trying to find something specific. There are a wealth of resource links on this page. It’s important to build up an organized list of resources for yourself, whether it’s contacts for interviews or shows, or avenues for digging, lists are key.
In the world of digging – this is an absolute! I have multiple flash drives and backup drives, backing up all of my research and videos weekly, and dispersing them to different locations. I won’t say how many copies I have, but let’s just say, my research will never die.
Anti Blue Light Eyeglasses
Oh my! Of all things on this list, this item has been a lifesaver for me! When you spend as many hours as I do in front of a computer, the eyes need to be protected. I where prescription glasses for reading, and my eyes were becoming so fatigued, that I literally thought I was going to lose my eyesight. My eye doctor told me we could get a special protection put into the lenses that significantly reduce the blue light coming from our monitors. I was willing to try anything, so I coughed up about $130 to get them. Best thing I ever did. My eyes are never fatigued now! If you don’t need prescription glasses, I’ve seen the “anti blue light glasses” available online for pretty darn cheap. I just had to share this point.
This should be a good start to get you rolling on building your website, creating podcasts, doing live streams, and creating fantastic videos to share with the world. The more people working together to expose corruption and wake others up, the better.
Best of luck to everyone on building up a platform that works best for you!