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December 7, 2005

Notice anything with the three photos above?  Yes... only one of the faces are in focus at any one time.  Notice anything with the images below?  Yes.  In the last image, both statues are in focus. 

What you may not know is in both instances, the camera only took ONE shot of each of the two images.  This also meant the different parts of the image were brought into "focus" after the shots had been taken!!!

The technology is called 4D Light Field Photography.  Another way to think about it is a camera that could focus at a bunch of different depth of fields for a single shot.  Traditionally, we get around the "depth of field" issue by using a small aperture, but that means less light...which means it doesn't work well when it is dark out, a problem with most images taken by security cameras.  4D Light Field photography captures all the information in a single shot... focusing on the area of interest is done via software AFTER the shot has been taken!  This is amazing.  This is not AutoFocus... more like ALLFocus :-) Hmmm... I better go trademark that name!


November 11, 2005

Today is Veteran's Day.  It was formerly known as Armistice Day.  It marked the anniversary of the truce signed by the Allies and the Germans in 1918, ending World War I.  The name was changed to Veterans' Day by Act of Congress on May 24, 1954 to remember and honor all Americans who answered the call to serve their country whenever the need arose.

Many of us remember our past with stories and images.  Last November we did an estimate on the amount of data required to capture a lifetime digitally via images (84,096,000 pics). 

At 100kb/image, that came out to be around 8.5 terabytes of data.  With a good compression algorithm, the amount of data could easily be cut in half. 

If we were willing to settle for images smaller than 640x480, we could probably reduce the amount of data by a factor of 10...which would put it at less than a terabyte... which would bring the cost down to three of the Maxtor OneTouch II units or ONE of the Maxtor III ($800)! 

Now, if we used the Plextor burner to store them on double-sided DVDs (8 GB/DVD), a terabyte would require around 125 DVDs ($70).

What is amazing is that the cost to do this was prohibitive when I did the calculation back on 8/24/97 (I remembered the date only because it was timestamped in the note pad of the Newton MessagePad).  In less than a decade, the cost and the technology has dropped such that it is not only possible, but probable that someone born TODAY can have their entire life recorded and archived for less than the cost of a good DVD player.


November 10, 2005

On Tuesday we posted the FirstLook review on the 300GB Maxtor OneTouch II Backup system.  Today, we will walk you through our FirstUse experience of getting the unit ready for the OneTouch backup operation.

One thing was clear already, the software and the "One Touch" button combo made it simple to run a backup anytime we want.  If we forget, well...the scheduled backup will back us up anyway :-)


November 9, 2005

The desks at the RainyDayMagazine office are getting pretty crowded with gadgets these days and there is no end in sight!

We have iPod docks, card readers, graphic tablets, speakers, PowerMate knobs, etc...all vying for connection to the available USB ports.  A company called EDGE has released an iPod dock/card reader combo that will help save some space on our desks.


November 7, 2005

Backing up our data is something we all know we need to, should do, and would do if the process was easier, more convenient, and more automated.

Maxtor has put together an unbeatable system (hardware+software) for making this chore a "one button" operation.

In the FirstLook review of Maxtor's 300GB OneTouch II, we'll take a look at the drive and the various pieces that came with it.  In the FirstUse review, we'll set up the OneTouch backup system and see whether we can really automate our backup chores with just one touch.  Go check it out here.


October 28, 2005

What is the point of making something out of "aircraft aluminum" if it won't protect your iPod from a little abuse by an SUV?

Anyway, we wanted to see how the iKeychain iPod nano case would hold up to a little run in with our truck.  So we set up our StickyPod camera rig, did some preliminary tests, and ran over the iKeychain with the iPod nano inside.  Go here to see what happened.

BTW... we could not have shot the videos without the StickyPod rig.  This rig is just AMAZING.  It enabled us to setup, shoot, and be back in the editing room in less than 20 minutes.  We had both videos completed and on the web in less than an hour!


October 24, 2005

Most computers today come with an internal CD or DVD burner.  Many of them are useful for making CDs and backing up data.  In checking around, we found the Plextor PX-716UF to have all of the features and format-handling abilities we needed. 

The most exciting aspect of the Plextor PX-716UF is it will handle the new double layer DVD discs.  This means we'll be able to put over 8GB of data on a single disc.  That is more than 12 CD-R's worth of storage space! Go check out the FirstLook review and see if this unit will satisfy your DVD burning needs. 


October 12, 2005

Apple just announced an iPod with video capabilities... now you can store photos, listen to music, AND watch movies on it.

Our suggestion would be to not even bother reading the specs... just go and buy it... now!  You KNOW you want it :-)


October 11, 2005

No matter how careful you may be in transporting your gear, sometimes they will still break, not because of carelessness, but perhaps because of a flaw in the product. 

For example, Sony had switched their CCD manufacturing process a few years ago from ceramic to epoxy coating.  Some of the CCDs manufactured under this new cost-saving process has malfunctioned due to repeated exposure to heat and moisture.

All of the major manufacturers which used Sony CCDs in their product have just announced a repair program for customers with gear experiencing this problem.  Check with the company (Canon, Fuji, Sony, Konica Minolta) for more information regarding your specific product.


October 4, 2005

Since everybody is going ga-ga over Flash Memory at the moment, we thought we would bring you a few more Flash related goodies.  DigitalFoci sent over a few items we thought was kind of useful... and frankly, we can't have enough of these things around the RainyDayMagazine office.

First is a multi-format card reader.  If you don't have more than one format you need to support, then you clearly don't have enough gadgets...

Next is a multi-format Flash memory case.  Now before you start snickering (like our intern did until we showed her how cool it was), take a closer look at it.  The special form fitting wells will hold multiple cards in place... on top of each other!  OK.  It not as great as sliced bread, but it is pretty close.

We had a little commentary yesterday about Flash memory...today we thought we would share our thoughts on one of the newer formats call TransFlash.  This new tiny format was developed for small devices such as cell phones

Normally, we wouldn't have cared that another format has hit the streets.  However, the new iTunes phone (ROKR) uses this new format.  Althought the new ROKR has the artificial 100 songs capacity limitation, it doesn't take a genius to see where this is going. SanDisk has announced they will have 2GB cards by 2006.  Read all about it here.

NOTE: TransFlash was recently adopted by the SD Card Association (SDA) and renamed "microSD".  Why? Because it wasn't confusing enough before :-)


October 3, 2005

OK...what Flash memory company got a mention by your favorite magazine last January?  Lexar Media's award for being royally screwed by Toshiba was just upheld by the California courts on Friday.  Today J.P. Morgan upgraded the company because of it recent licensing deal with Sony.  Of course, the stock went on a tear today and jumped almost 20%.  This is one company to watch.  Oh... and their Flash Memory cards are damn fast :-)

We have always loved Sony products here at RainyDayMagazine.  However, we just couldn't get ourselves to buy any of their digital camera (yes...we coveted them!!!) because of their MemoryStick Flash format.

However, we may finally breakdown and get this new Cyber-Shot N1 when it becomes available in November.  8 Megapixels, touchscreen interface, Zeiss optics... resistance is futile!!!


September 17, 2005

If Spiderman needed to mount a camera to take some action shots of him swinging from building to building, he would get a StickyPod!

The StickyPod Dash Cam kit came with everything (knuckle joint, extensions, mount, nylon web tether) we needed to securely mount a camera to it and it to a car.  We also got the heavy duty "Pro" mount which has a larger surface and 4 suction cups. 

The StickyPod is not just great for shooting videos from a vehicle.  Folks at the office started seeing ALL kinds of places to mount the StickyPod.  Go check out the RainyDayMagazine FirstLook Review and see for yourself.


August 20, 2005

Not everybody sees their world in Black and White.  Some like to see it in color.  If you like to give the cones in your eyes more of a workout, then head over to ColourLovers and share some your favorite palettes with like minded folks there.

Some folks sees the world in even more bizarre ways.  Shigeo Fukuda is one of those that can do some pretty cool things with lamp and a large bunch of salad forks. 

Go here to check out an amazing book on him and other artists of optical illustion.


August 18, 2005

The Ansel Adams Exhibition opens on August 21 (this Sunday) at the MFA.  This exhibit, sponsored by RBC Dain Rauscher, features a wide range of Adam's photographs from the Lane Collection.

RainyDayMagazine got a first hand look of this amazing exhibit this week.  As Saundra Lane said at the preview..."This is an exhibit I've been waiting 30 years for and it's now finally here!".  Go take a look at what awaits you at the MFA. 

The exhibit will be there until the end of December.  We urge you to go on Sunday and go back often... there is so much in the photographs that one cannot possibly see everything in one visit.

Some of you RainyDayMagazine readers may remember an article we did back last November on the Gigapxl Project.  They have been posting updates on their site as they journey across America with their giant digital camera.

We couldn't help but think that if Ansel Adams was around today, he would be right out there with these guys!  Go check out their stunning images here.


August 16, 2005

We don't print out too many images because most of everything we shoot here at RainyDayMagazine end up online.  However, every once in a while it is nice to get our hands on a hardcopy.

Since we basically got this Canon i4000 printer "free" with our $100 Mac Mini computer/printer rebate from Apple... we said "sure, let's hook it up and see what we will get out of this thing.

In our FirstLook review, you can follow along as we take the Canon i4000 from the packing box to setup.  In the First Use review, we'll calibrate the printer and maybe print a glossy photo. 

If all goes well, our friend Kathy will get her framed present in time for her birthday.  Go check out the reviews here.


August 2, 2005

Scanners are probably one of the more useful tools around the office.  Up until now, bringing a scanner with you on the road was just not practical.

The Plustek OpticSlim M12 package comes complete with carrying bag, cables, stand, software, and a wall mount.  Go check out RainyDayMagazine's FirstLook Review here.

Another useful tool that is starting to get some traction is video conferencing.  VC used to be only available in "special conference rooms" at a business.  Apple has made it available to everyone with OSX and an iSight video camera!  RainyDayMagazine wants to take that ability and literally take it on the road.

Our plan is to use this iSight camera in the Boxster Carputer project.  We'll be installing the camera into the Boxster in a few week.  You can read the FirstLook review of the iSight here


July 29, 2005

Here is another bit of Eastern tech that will probably never make it to our shores.  They look like regular camera phone, but they have a little bit of cool image processing software built in that converts barcode to text... in this case into Chinese characters. 

So instead of giving out your phone number to that hottie you just met in the bar, just let her take a pic of your "barcode tattoo" :-)  That scenario will never happen, will it?  Well, I guess these phone are are right up there with the "augmented reality glasses".


July 19, 2005

A few weeks back we did a FirstLook Review of the CVS One Time Use Digitial Camcorder. 

We have completed our FirstUse review and have posted some samples so our readers can get a feel for the quality of the videos from this $30 digital camcorder.


June 14, 2005

If we did get sucked into a worm hole to another dimension, we would hope we had the CVS One-Time-Use digital videocamcorder with us!

This is going to be the killer product of the summer!  Go read the RainyDayMagazine "First Look" review here.


June 8, 2005

CVS announced today they will start selling the $30 disposable digital videocamcorder.  We were very excited... especially after reading today's WSJ article by Mossberg.  We drove out to our local CVS and asked for one, only to get a TOTALLY blank stare from the clerk behind the counter.   I knew what she was thinking... " Do you KNOW you are in a CVS?"  and  "if we did sell a digital whatchamacallit...did you think it would only be $30 ????". 

Did the executives at CVS not think that folks would be interested in this thing on the DAY they say it would be available?  A call to CVS customer service set us straight. Apparently they will not actually be shipping them out to their stores until the end of June.  Wow...what a really good way to generate a lot of annoyed potential customers. We'll try again at the end of June.


June 7, 2005

Being able to swim with the fishes would be cool, but being always plugged into the grid and having live information constantly pumped into your brain would be even "MORE COOLER" :-)  OK...maybe not.

Olympus has been working on a prototype display that is intended to be worn all the time.  Why?...To "augment" your reality, of course.  "Is this train going uptown?"  Look at the train and see!  "What's her phone number?"  Look at...hmmm...there may be some uses for this technology :-)


June 4, 2005

We got a very cool camera from Logitech (QuickCam Orbit) yesterday and spent most of the day playing around with it.

We'll be using this camera to implement some of the "video security" ideas of the Porsche Boxster Carputer project.  Go here to check out the setup of the Logitech QuickCam Orbit.


May 31, 2005

Think your TV's picture is good? Think the color is life like and vibrant?  We thought ours was until I went to the SID '05 conference last week.  There is a company called Genoa that is about to change the picture we'll see on TV... yes, we'll have to get a new TV to see the pictures, but you will when you actually see what you were missing!

Our computer and TV monitors basically use the Red, Green, and Blue (RGB) primary colors in various intensity and combinations to create all the colors we seen on the screen.  The left diagram above show what the eye can potentially see.  The triangle on the right shows what a TV typically can display.  The smaller band of color outside the triangle is the color that are recorded in film which is missing from playback! 

Genoa has developed that technology called ColorPeak to enable TV and computer displays manufacturers to show us those colors.  If I didn't see it with my own eyes, I would have not believe the difference!  The Genoa technology utilize a modified version of RGB with 1 to 3 supplementary primaries such as Yellow and Cyan to deliver higher brightness than in today’s RGB displays.  The difference is stunning!

Another advance in display technology that was quite impressive were the 3D displays.  One such company developing google-free 3D displays capabilities is SeeReal Technology.

These were not the Red/Green images and goggle displays of yesteryears.  Nor were they the LCD shutter and google displays of yesterdays.  They are goggle-FREE displays that gives a true 3D image to a viewer at a specific distance.  The SeeReal monitor can also track a moving viewer to show the appropriate image as the user moves in front of the monitor!  I wonder how long before we'll have 3D TV ???


May 10 , 2005

Camera lens have typically been made of glass or plastic. To adjust the focus, a system of mechanical gearing is usually employed to move the optics (left device).

Now there is a new approach...a liquid lens (right device). The idea is simple and elegant. The lens is made of two different liquid that do not mix...think "oil and water".

Light is bent at the boundary between the two liquids. The curvature of the lens (and the amount of light bending) is controlled by an applied voltage.

Phillips' technology is called "FluidFocus". A French company called Varioptics also owns several key patents of this approach. Both companies have demonstrated working prototypes of these liquid lens. Varioptics has also demostrated a zoom version suitable for cell phone cameras.

As the first photo shows, size is one obvious benefit. The other is the lack of moving parts which translate to quicker autofocus and lower power requirements...all critical design factors for small devices.


April 26 , 2005

Yesterday, we showed you how to see the world via GoogleMaps. However, if you do decide to venture out and see the world for real, you will need a good bag to help you keep all your travel gear handy and organized (passport, cash, credit cards, cell phone, digital camera, etc...). Norazza's Tri-Fold Traveler will do just that!

Click on the image above or go here to read the full RainyDayReview!


April 14 , 2005

I made something I called the AdventureCam about 3 years ago because I wanted to shoot videos without having to hold the videocam in my hands while doing my "extreme sports". Some might not consider trying to seeing everything at Comdex or E3 and extreme sport, but unless you have tried it...

It worked great. However, as with many of my homemade contraptions, it was not as elegant as it could have been. Using it required wearing a backpack with wires hanging out everywhere. It made one looked like a total geek... an image I assumed proudly :-)

Samsung felt bad for folks like me and decided they can do much better! By the middle of this month, you will be able to get a much more compact version which will let you document your own extreme sports activities.

You can pre-order the Samsung SC-X105L MP4 Sports Camcorder at Amazon now and get a $100 discount.

However, it is clear to me now that no matter how small they make this gadget or how pretty a model they get to show it off...it is just goofy looking to have a camera lens on your head, unless you are "7 of 9" :-)


April 11 , 2005

I purchased a Canon Digital Elph when they first come out 5 or 6 years ago for around $600. It was the 2 MegaPixel version that used a CF card. I still use it everyday. All the images in this magazine were shot using that camera. The fact that I still find the Digital Elph purchased six years ago useful is quite a testament to Canon's design! It may also be the reason why the top eight best selling digital cameras on Amazon's are Canon's!

If you act FAST...you might be able to snag one of these Canon Powershot SD110 (3 MegaPixel, 2X optical zoom) on Amazon for $170 (58% off!!!) before they sell out! This is the best deal I've seen on these cameras EVER. I can say from personal experience...they are fantastic!


March 16, 2005

A few days ago we were at the New England Flower Show celebrating the coming of Spring. It appears that visitors to California's Death Valley National Park are getting an even more spectacular, once in a lifetime, flower show!

Because of all the heavy rain in California, conditions are perfect for all kinds of the wild flowers to take advantage of the unusual amount of water. The blooms started in December and are now at their peak. In another two weeks, the temperature will be above a hundred and this show will be over.

So, if you are in the area, pack up your vehicle, bring plenty of water, and take a trip out to see something that you may not see again in your lifetime!

You can find more about the hours, fees, and other useful information about the Death Valley National Park here.


Feb 24, 2005

As I mentioned a few days ago...PMA 2005 convention was in Orlando this past weekend. True to form, most of the major digital camera manufacturers announced new products at the show. The amount of new gear introduced was astounding!

The site Let's Go Digital has done a great job covering the show so if you are interested...head over there to check out all of the offerings.

In looking through all of the new gear, I could not help but noticed that many of the cameras are SO similar that they were almost identical.

Take the Nikon Coolpix series for example...Coolpix 4600, 5600, 5900,7600,7900. I'm sure Nikon knows how they differ, but is it clear from reading the specs? Not really....OK, they have different sensor resolutions. However, that is like saying I'm going to buy a camera based on a different film speed or ASA setting. Hey wait... that's EXACTLY what I'm saying. If I want a better sensors or higher resolution pictures, I need to buy a whole different camera. That's that same as say...if want to use a higher resolution film, you need to buy a specific model camera to use it? Hmmmm....why can't they just make the film standard so it would work in all film cameras. Oh, they did!

So...when are manufacturers going to start making cameras with removable imagers so I don't have to upgrade the entire camera just to get higher resolution? I talking to you Nikon, Olympus, Sony, Canon, Kodak, HP, etc...

Don't give me all reasons why you can't. After all, I can upgrade my PC by swapping in a new CPU. Start thinking about how to make it so I CAN :-) See all you guys at PMA 2006...


Feb 21, 2005

Digital cameras and cell phones are a natural fit for many reasons, the obvious one being the combination of the ability to communicate voice and images with the same device. Many companies have been heading down this path for the past several years and Sony Ericsson is no exception. Sony Ericsson announced the S710a back in July 2004.

The S710a should be available now. Features of the phone include:
• 2.3 inch 262K color TFT display
• Swivel-style design
• EDGE high-speed data
• 1.3 megapixel digital camera, 8x digital zoom
• MemoryStick Duo card slot
• Bluetooth

Pricing for the Sony Ericsson S710a is on the high end: $449.99 with a 2-year contract, $499.99 with a 1-year contract, and $549.99 without a contract. Although Amazon has it listed for $269.99 but they don't have it in stock. We will probably wait for the next generation... especially since this is only a 1.3 megapixel version. Besides, I have never been a fan of the MemoryStick format...althought the Cybershot DCS-M1 did come pretty close in making me change my mind.


Feb 18, 2005

You may have noticed a lot of new cameras were introduced this week. The reason is PMA2005 starts in Orlando on Sunday. Photo Marketing Association (PMA) Convention traditionally serves as THE place for new product rollout in digital imaging and conventional technology. More than 83% of exhibitors plan to launch a new product or service at PMA 2005.

One of the new camera that will make its debut is this Canon SD500. Canon packed a 7 megapixel sensor and a bunch of other goodies into this digital camera.

If you want to take this unit snorkeling, you will need the optional watertight case.

I've been using Canon's Digital Elph cameras since they were introduced 4 years ago. They have never let me down... on land or underwater. I'm looking forward to getting my hands on one of these SD500!

If you don't need all that resolution, perhaps the new Canon SD400 is more appropriate.

Both of these cameras allow you to print directly to a printer without having to first transfer the image to a computer. They also have some built in image processing capabilities (color correction for sky, skin tones, color swapping, etc) right in the camera.

I will have to try the on-camera color correction for myself before I can comment on their usefulness, but the idea is intriguing.

Olympus did not shy away from introducing their new models for PMA2005 either. They announced four new models this week in their D-series consumer digital line and two new models in the Stylus line.

I LOVED Olympus' film cameras when they were making them. In fact, most of my film equipment consist of the OM-4 series (3 bodies, a whole bunch of Zuiko lens, accessories). However, I have trouble buying into Olympus and Fuji's xD memory format. I already own a bunch of memory cards in PCMCIA format, SD format, CF format... I REALLY don't want to buy another bunch of flash cards in yet another format. Am I the only one that feels this way??? So...until I see something SO radically different from manufacturers that uses a memory card format other than SD or CF, I will just have to miss out on using their cameras. If you have already bought into the xD memory format... you may want to check out Olympus' new offerings.


Feb 17, 2005

Kata is a company that designs, develops, and manufactures high quality “Carrying Systems ”. We think their gear are perfect for the type of traveling we and our readers love to do...rugged, but relaxed.

RainyDayMagazine will be doing a series of reviews on the Kata R102 over the next six months. The first and second in the series will be a look at the case itself, the next review will be our initial impressions after the first outing. The last report will be our "In the Wild" review where we'll detail our findings of how the gear hold up after a few months of use.

So check here periodically and see how things are going. We are as eager as you to see how this Kata R102 hold up to our abuses!

Nikon announced their D2Hs Digital SLR. This pro digital camera has all of the auto and manual modes you would expect.

The Nikon D2H now has a larger buffer for faster image capture, improved auto-focus sensors, and new wireless data transfer capabilities.

If you want to take the Nikon underwater, you'll need this housing from Nexus. It should be available in time for Spring Break :-)


Feb 15, 2005

What's better than your vacation photos in 3D? Why...your vacation videos in 3D, of course. Granted this video camcorder is probably a little bigger than the Sony DV cam we usually pack with our gear, we couldn't resist letting you know about it!

The camera(3DVX.2) is built by 21st Century 3D, uses standard miniDV tapes, and can record directly to hard drives. The best part is this camcorder really IS portable... if you are as strong as Ken:-)

One thing that is hard to do with a 3D image is to print it, but with Epson's new StylusPhoto R1800...you may not care. This new printer from Epson has some pretty impressive specs: 5760x1440 dpi, 1.5 picoliter droplet size, 8 separate inks, and a 100-200 years print life!

The price is around $550, but it is unclear when it will be available. We'll review one for you as soon as we can. In the mean time, go here to read more about it.

A great printer is not much use without great images. Photographers have been capturing great images with Leica cameras for decades. Leicas are the type of camera that are passed on from one generation to the next. They use the best optics available, have a timeless design, and remain functional way past their prime...some would say these cameras are always at their prime.

Leica's D-LUX digital cameras are no exception. The design is minimalistic, but the functions are fully featured: 3x zoom, 3.2 megapixel, multiple flash modes, multiple metering modes, and housed in an aluminium body. No doubt the D-LUX is another classic in the making.


Feb 8, 2005

There are many ways to navigate through a collection of photographs. Mappr! is one of the more compelling interface for organizing and presenting photos on the web. Mappr! is a project from Flickr, the online photo storage site.

Photos are "tagged" by their contributors. The viewer may select the density of photos on the map. Moving the cursor over a thumbnail will give more info of the image. Clicking on the thumbnail brings you to the larger image.

2005 is going to be a great year for digital camera! Following Sony's lead, most companies will be introducing their 5 MegaPixel units for under $500. FujiFilm just announced theirs... it's called the FinePix Z1.

This unit has 3x optical zoom, a huge 2.5 LCD, focus lock, and will be available in June for around $450. We'll bring you more info and an indepth review when the unit ships.


Feb 3, 2005

JVC's Everio line is really filling out with some great devices. First it was the MC200. Now JVC just announced a 3 CCD version (GZ-MC500). Some of the internals are the same, but the resolution has now increased from 2 to 5 Megapixels. 6 and 8GB CF drives will be available sometime in 2005. The prices will be around $2000 when it ships. [More...]


Feb 1, 2005

These stereoscope don't look like they were designed for extended wear, but it was too good to not post here. For those that can't get enough of steroscopic photography and all its goofy gear... this is a must have (or must make) contraption.

If you are really committed, the $1000 that it'll put you back shouldn't deter you. [More...]


January 13, 2005

One nice thing about sitting around all day thinking (not napping...like my cat) is sometimes things click into place. I'm the first to admit, just because all the pieces fit together, it doesn't mean that's how it's going to happen. What am I blattering on about?

I've been trying to understand how the Flash Memory folks like LEXAR are going to make money selling digital memory cards... unlike photographic film, these cards are reusable. Why would anyone keep buying cards?

Then it clicked...what if these cards get SO cheap that we don't bother reusing them? Crazy idea? What if you can buy 128MB or 256MB cards for about $5 to $10? You can keep 25-50 high-res (5 MB) images on them... most people would want to back up the images somewhere. It's much easier to just leave them on the cards! An unlike film, one can always erase and reuse them at a later date. Sure there are cheaper $/MB ways of backing up the data, but there are other factors coming into play...accessibility and ease of use.

Consider the new printer and TV offerings in CES 2005. Most of them are trying to take the computer out of the "shoot, view, print" loop. The user may want to do some edits on the computer once in a while, but most of the time, they just want to shoot it, view it, and print it. Many photo printers have card readers built in. Some even have small LCD viewers and let you crop photos before printing.

So all of the thoughts above bring me back to this...if the digital memory cards are cheap enough, it will make sense to leave the images on them and get new ones when they fill up. If that's the case, one of those Flash Memory companies may just be end up being this millennium's Kodak!


January 9, 2005

Just how many ways can one watch TV? Well judging by the new gear introduced at this year's CES, quite a few! You can now watch your favorite show on the world's largest flat screen (a HUGE 102") from Samsung, or project it from a palm size DLP projector, or view it on your Verizon VCAST capable 3G cell phone!


January 8, 2005

A few weeks ago we showed you how to record TV shows on your Mac and watch it on your PocketPC. While the computer and the ConvertXPVR were part of the puzzle, the component that made it all possible is a 1"x1" part called a CompactFlash card from Lexar. It allows the data converted by the ConvertXPVR and captured by the Mac to be stored and transfer to the PocketPC for playback.

CompactFlash (CF) memory is a solid state storage medium. One of the benefits of "solid state" is there are no moving parts. CF memory is also "non-volatile", meaning it does not need power to retain the stored data. These qualities make CF perfect for portable devices. There are some limitations to CF... the most serious being cost and storage density. Currently, a 4 GB CF card will set you back a few hundred bucks, while an 80 GB hard drive can be had for less than $50!

Three years ago, a format called iVDR (Information Versatile Disk for Removable usage) started to make the rounds. The consortium's main goal was to set up a standard to allow hard disks to be "pluggable" in and out of various devices at will. The cost and size of hard disks have dropped tremendously over the years. Capacities such as 200-500 GB drives are now within reach of the average consumer.

This year at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), iVDR devices are starting to appear on the show floor. The drive cartridges comes in 1.8" and a 2.5" sizes. They are designed to fit into devices such as TVs, Video players, Video camcorders, etc...

It is pretty easy to imagine how the pieces will fit together...pop in a iDVR cartridge in the camcorder, record, pop out the cartridge and put it into the TV, play. The benefits of this approach are also pretty straighforward...lot's of storage space, low cost/megabyte. The only thing I'm not too clear about yet is the power requirements for this format... which leads to the question, where is the battery in the camera shown above? Is it integrated into the removeable cartridge? If so, THAT would be cool, but it would also be expensive!




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