hardware Archives

May 10, 2008

Nokia N82 Test Drive/Review


It's a wrap!

Well, I was very impressed with this camera. Camera? But isn't Nokia a phone company, I hear you say? Yes that's right I said, camera. This device is obviously weighing in to compete with the Blueberries and iPhones of the world, oh; and by the way, you can also use it to make phone calls. During the time I had the Nokia N82, I highly doubt that I ever got beyond scratching the surface of this device's capabilities. As I only had the device for 2 weeks and Australian telco charges are prohibitive for me personally, I kept my use of the phone's web capabilities to a minimum. These being twitter and flickr, both via the web interface. [I've never been able to get my phone account to utilise any overseas services a fault of Optus or me, not the Nokia, I feel.]

Having said that, I set up the phone to access my flickr account directly, and was able to choose what I do with each image, once captured. A double edged sword, as there was, then, another layer of decision making added to the process, with it's resulting costs, if I wasn't careful! So I had to think long and hard about each image after I captured it.

A phone or Camera?

The camera functions on the phone are extensive and given it's whopping 5 megapixel chip, it actually compares to my Nikon Coolpix 5400, bought in 2004. The only thing that my Nikon Coolpix 5400 does that the Nokia, didn't was capture in raw. The cost of adding storage, was too prohibitive for a 2 week loan camera and as a consequence, I twice emptied the camera to keep space available. [The phone hols 116 photos in the highest settings]. The card seems to be of a type not made by 3rd parties, thereby adding to the cost so if a cheaper one came on the market I would definitely buy one. Of course, like most camera phones, these days, it has all the usual functions, white balance, shooting modes, and choices for colour and special effects, and then some. What many don't have is, ISO settings. Where ever possible I try to keep my noise in my images to a minimum and one way to achieve this is using low ISO settings, the trade off being blur. The different flash modes were a bonus as well. And of course what is nearly the killer feature, on the Nokia N82, for me was the zoom lens.


Something strange happened to my photography though while I was testing the camera. I seemed to have cut back or dropped off in my output. Was this because now I had so many features to choose from? Or was it because the newness of the camera slowed me down? I'm not sure and it will take some time for me to work that one out, I suspect.

Bring Bring.... Hello?

As for the phone itself, well it was very good, the quality of sound and reception was impeccable, far superior to my Sony Ericcson K610i. The first few days things were a little slow and awkward for me, as I re-learnt a new interface, but after a few days of phone calls txt messages and photography, I felt pretty comfortable about it all.

The phone aspect of the Nokia N82, as I said was exceptional, my only beef about it was the size of the keys. I found them a little difficult to operate especially, while using the phone to send SMS messages. Perhaps a 40 something, 190cm, 90kg+ bloke should get used to this idea, who knows.

I'm going to assume I'm like most people, reading the manual supplied was a bit of a hindrance, and it wasn't until I downloaded another pdf of the instruction manual that I managed to nut out a few issues, such as predictive text, and adding symbols. Some of the features of the phone that I thought were interesting were, the office suite, and pdf reader. Useful but for a desk-bound person like myself probably overkill. The barcode scanner seemed useful too, but, time just ran out when it came to working out how to use it and sent it up.

In Hindsight

So this phone or camera or whatever you want to call it, is a powerful tool in this day and age of portable digital devices. If I was less desk-bound and in need of a powerful phone/camera/productivity tool, I would consider purchasing the Nokia N82, just for the camera alone. Of course I've never owned a palm or blueberry or any organiser type device, so I guess I'm not that qualified to pass much in the way of judgement. As a photographer though, experimenting with the idea of using a phone daily, almost hourly, this is one killer camera. Personally, and this won't apply to many people, I do however, have reservations about it as a photographic tool as the choices are endless, and these choices move the phone right into the realm of fairly serious amateur photography. However from my perspective I am more interested in what I call gestural photography, something that is about time and space, and operating in a totally intuitive response mode. "Don't Think Just Shoot", in a totally stripped back tool kind of way; where all you are working with is the light and and your own ability to compose an image.

USB & Battery

One last note. USB connectivity was an issue for me, and battery life may have been an issue for me. Given Nokia's poor support of Mac users in the past, it's unlikely that I would buy this camera/phone. I prefer to use USB based tools like, Image Capture™ to control what, and how, I download from camera to computer, and after plugging the USB cable into my computer and the phone, nothing seemed to happen. Bluetooth was adequate for this task during time I had the camera, but in an extended time frame where I am trying to keep my images organised over several projects, it may not be enough. The battery life on the camera was poor, [I tended to get about 36 hours out of charge] but again I doubt I had set the phone up to get the optimum from it, and I'm sure I was not the 1st to test the phone either, so who knows what state the battery was in when i received it. Despite all this I enjoyed my time with this camera, and was ecstatic, at the quality of sound offered by the phone, all round a great tool. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to play AND work with this powerful and flexible tool. One day I'll get a couple of prints made from the images I created using the Nokia N82.

May 13, 2008

Optus announces it will release iPhone too |


[From Optus announces it will release iPhone too |]

Perfect timing as my current contract ends in a few months.

June 16, 2008

Second Thoughts?

About This Mac

Yesterday I talked about this new app I downloaded [], since I downloading and running it I've had some problems, serious ones. Of course this particular laptop is very long in the tooth, and at the wrong end of the power scale. I also set-up at 5 apps to run using it, so maybe that was too much a drain on my humble system. The problems I had were, applications hanging to the point where apple+option+esc, was no good and I had to apple+control+restart. The 1st time I did this, I then got the flashing question mark on my start up disk! After a bit of prodding and poking I managed to get things back up and running. Then today the same thing happened, with all 5 apps running again, so I have now stopped using the app, and the apps it creates until I can investigate further.

Pity it is a great idea.

Edit, it seems that it is an OS issue, and may even work well on Intel machines

August 10, 2008

PowerBook 100 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Wow, an Apple product on the front page of Wiki Sunday morning[local time]

[From PowerBook 100 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia]

Aright; alright; alright, I know; I'm a nerd

August 17, 2008

Tools, Equipment & Craft

Nice piece on equipment tools and craft.

August 29, 2008


Interesting to see/hear this guy muse over hardware.

[From NOTIFBUTWHEN #2: Tech Time]

October 4, 2008

Fallibility, Atonement, Redemption, Trust, And Other Arcane Technical Concepts.

Found this page/article this morning, courtesy of an e-mail list/forum I participate in that is discussing computers and education.*

[From Neal Stephenson's publishers site, of the book, "In the Beginning was the Command Line."]

About twenty years ago Jobs and Wozniak, the founders of Apple, came up with the very strange idea of selling information processing machines for use in the home. The business took off, and its founders made a lot of money and received the credit they deserved for being daring visionaries. But around the same time, Bill Gates and Paul Allen came up with an idea even stranger and more fantastical: selling computer operating systems. This was much weirder than the idea of Jobs and Wozniak. A computer at least had some sort of physical reality to it. It came in a box, you could open it up and plug it in and watch lights blink. An operating system had no tangible incarnation at all. It arrived on a disk, of course, but the disk was, in effect, nothing more than the box that the OS came in. The product itself was a very long string of ones and zeroes that, when properly installed and coddled, gave you the ability to manipulate other very long strings of ones and zeroes. Even those few who actually understood what a computer operating system was were apt to think of it as a fantastically arcane engineering prodigy, like a breeder reactor or a U-2 spy plane, and not something that could ever be (in the parlance of high-tech) "productized."

Download the zipped file to read the whole article, I, of course spent a few hours turning the txt file into a dtp publishing application to 'dress' it up and make it easier to read.

OK; OK; so I'm mad.

Some noteworthy quotes

..."Applications get used by people whose big problem is understanding all of their features, whereas OSes get hacked by coders who are annoyed by their limitations."
..."Or they could make the browser one with the OS, gambling that this would make the OS look so modern and sexy that it would help to preserve their dominance in that market. The problem is that when Microsoft's OS position begins to erode (and since it is currently at something like ninety percent, it can't go anywhere but down) it will drag everything else down with it."
..."The OS has (therefore) become a sort of intellectual labor-saving device that tries to translate humans' vaguely expressed intentions into bits. In effect we are asking our computers to shoulder responsibilities that have always been considered the province of human beings--we want them to understand our desires, to anticipate our needs, to foresee consequences, to make connections, to handle routine chores without being asked, to remind us of what we ought to be reminded of while ļ¬ltering out noise."

*Written in 1999, so some aspects of the article may or may not be relevant.and according to Wiki, now defunct as a piece of software. But I feel the principles regarding how and what a computer is used for, still hold true.

January 10, 2009

Moore's Law...

According to the SD Association, a 2 Terabyte SD card is on the horizon.


SDXC is a next-generation memory card format, with up to 2 terabytes storage capacity and read/write speeds of 300 megabytes per second. SDXC (eXtended Capacity) will provide maximum speeds even when it achieves its maximum 2TB storage capacity. "SDXC is a large-capacity card that can store more than 4,000 RAW images, which is the uncompressed mode professionals use, and 17,000 of the fine-mode most consumers use." said Shigeto Kanda, general manager at Canon. Developed by the SD Association, specifications for the new SDXC standard will be released in the first quarter of 2009.

January 12, 2009

Sony's G3 Cyber-shot Includes Wi-Fi Web Browser.

January 10, 2009: Sony's CES announcements include the Cyber-shot G3, which is claimed as the world's first Wi-Fi-enabled digicam capable of uploading photos and videos to web sites through any public hotspot.

The built-in web browser enables the camera to connect wirelessly to free or fee-based hotspots, as well as to secure and unsecured access points.

Read more

January 14, 2009

LEGO Announces Digital Camera, MP3 Player and Other Branded Electronics | Kid's Tech Toys Reviews

Digital Blue and LEGO have announced a licencing agreement that will bring several LEGO branded kid's tech products to market. The line is scheduled for release this summer and will include digital cameras, video cameras, MP3 players, walkie talkies and other electronics. Read on!

February 3, 2009

Detective work?

unidentified agfa camera

A former student has asked me, for some help. Can anyone help me identify this camera, I can see it's an Agfa, but not the make?

February 22, 2009

But It's Still a Camera

It should be noted that before the advent of the focal-plane shutter, reflex mirror, and motor drive even old-fashioned cameras were virtually silent. Indeed, that is one of the reasons that so many great photographers loved using rangefinders like the Leica. They were small, quiet, and unobtrusive.--David Schonau

This quote from David Schonau, raises a good point. [The complete article is about a politician attempting to bring in a law in the USA, that all camera phones have an audible shutter.] While he is correct in that Leicas and similar range-finders are virtually silent, they are STILL cameras. Everybody in western culture knows what a camera is and is capable of, but the dual functionality of a mobile phone camera makes this more of a intriguing and potentially confusing issue. One that is still being debated. It even impacts on an approach and style of phone-camera photography, as seen in That's MR poplabs' stream on flickr. Other people such as Mr Sco, use the device's dual functionality to capture some of the best candid portraiture I've seen in a long time, while I Nancy's candid work draws on a more formal style.

March 2, 2009


It's that time of year when, I attempt to coax aspiring photographers away from the 'P', 'A' or 'Tv' settings on their cameras. For many many years we at PIC photographic imaging college used the ever trusty Pentax k1000. Simple, solid reliable, durable [even in student hands] an all round great beginners camera. No clumsy interface, no strange dials, one that could take a photo without a battery even.

When pic first bought a digital camera, a Canon 350d, it was ruined beyond repair in it's 1st year of life. By contrast, most of our Pentax K1000's are more than 15 years old and some are over 20 All still going great guns, even after numerous trips to the the camera technician.

The principles of exposure, depth of field, focus, and good picture making, have not changed. All the controls on a camera I need to teach someone how to make good images, are; manual aperture control, manual shutter control, manual focus, [d.o.f of field scales on a lens would be handy too] a tripod mount, and the ability to add a cable release. I care not whether these controls are electronic or mechanical.

Now, call me an idealist, but surely would it not be in the interests of camera manufacturers world wide to make such a camera? We enrol enough students to employ 6 full-time teaching staff and several assistants and technicians year in year out for more than 20 years. We still have over 30 Pentax K100's in our store, we have associated lenses of several focal lengths, filters UV, and coloured, cable releases macro lenses and close-up re-copying facilities, the lenses are all 'K' mounts .

I dream of a digital camera, that has minimal electronics, shutter aperture and white balance controls and no more, with a "normal focal length lens as standard, with d.o.f scales marked accordingly, with the ability to add a cheap cable release, and of course a tripod mount.

Canon, Nikon, anyone?

... crickets....

May 3, 2009

Scanner Camera

Today, I am attempting to build a scanner camera, primarily for use in a class at work but just for my own curiosity, to see what kind of images I can make, I'm also thinking about an article that questions whether digital [onscreen] images can be art?

June 16, 2009

Scanner Camera

I recently began experimenting with alternatives to traditional digital capture. I'd thought about using a scanner somehow to capture images, and some digging around on the interent produced some good results. The main one however, used a simple cheap magnifying glass lens with cardboard apertures and a sliding focus arrangement. I figured I could do better, and with numerous 35mm lenses lying around, I figured I could get something more manageable together. So here's how I made these images.

I used a Canon, flatbed scanner I had lying around, one that I use for low end webscans. I bought some black foamcore, and scrounged up an old 35mm lens.

I cut 4 strips of the foam core to fit the scanner each being 50mm high, and the approprite width and length to fit the scanner. I then cut a piece the same size as the platten of the scanner. This had a hole that held the lens in place. I used the ever useful gaffer tape to construct it.

It took some time to realise that, I had incorrectly calculated the focal length of the lens I'd used. So by modifying the piece that held the lens so that it sat lower inside the 'housing', I had more luck.

#6 Mod #1, 45mm lens board f16 hyperfocal
Uploaded with plasq's Skitch!

Exposure and focus still seemed a little hit and miss, so I set up a studio arrangement, and had more luck, but of course the platten of the scanner is more than A4 in size, which puts it in the realm of an 8 x 10 inch camera, in terms of square area of light capture. This seemed a bit of a waste, and eposures anf focus were stil not at an optimum.

My final experiment was to use a Box Brownie Camera, attached to the scanner, this yielded pretty good results too. Ultimatley though, I'd like to get my hands on an 8 x 10 camera lens, say around 300mm and try to utilise the entire platten.

The last idea came from the scanner project page.

January 30, 2010

I bought a new camera

I was disappointed, that I missed, buying the Canon G10 in 2008, I hunted high and low for it in late 2009, to no avail. I purchased the G11 early this year and, I'm much happier anyway. Noise levels are reduced in this model, according to the specs and the banter on forums like

[From Canon Camera Museum | Camera Hall - Digital Compact Cameras]

Unfortunately due to the awful lighting conditions this time of year, I've not been able to shoot a great deal, to really get some results from it.

Interesting too, note that Canon, list it in the “Museum;” already?

November 20, 2010

A rare occurence

borked iPhone file

A rare incidence of a corrupt Iphone file, I may just attempt to open it with another application and see how I go?

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