The convenience and internet facility of cell phone photography has caused a definite decline in the quality of family images I’ve shot and collected over the last few years. This recent picture was typical of my disappointment:
I realized my ‘good’ camera has just been collecting dust for months. I thought I might pickup an Eye-Fi SD card for my camera, which would permit me to email and post better photos via my smartphone. Alas, my high-end Lumix TZ1 point and shoot from 2006 is too old and not compatible with the eyefi technology!
I’m reading up on camera’s with built-in wifi now available, but it appears the integrated technology is still buggy and causing consumer complaints. Maybe this all will mature a little and I can look for santa to bring me a solution this winter. (Recall, I had a pretty good cellphone camera for a little while in 2010, but I discarded it for my first smartphone).
The bargain-priced off-contract Palm Pixi Plus I picked up last summer went terminal with major malfunctions of the touchscreen. I got a new 2-year verizon contract android phone, the Pantech Breakout. Its the low end of Android devices, and I liked it because its the smallest smart phone they offered. I just don’t want to have to carry a brick in my pocket. All phones w/tactile keyboard were thick and heavy.
Android apps (its OS 2.3)
GPS run tracking program is accurate and usable
excellent voice recognition and voice prompted search
4G with front camera for face calls
google navigation good enough to drop verizon navigator
much better camera than the pixi
much faster than the pixi, capable multitasker
speakerphone mic works when connected to car audio
no free wifi hotspot
Android OS instead of WebOS
no tactile keyboard, I make errors every single time using touchscreen keyboard
larger than I would like.
no capacitive touchstone charging available
no flash on camera (and no flashlight)
shorter battery life, but I’m managing it well, see below
marque time display does not show when phone is locked (this is a clear UI design fail)
Pixi had a silence rocker switch, and a keyboard key for the @ sign. Nice UI touches.
The best android tip I’ve come across so far is the battery saver application Juice Defender. Try it, it really works. Otherwise, my ‘droid experience has been pretty good. It has a built in task manager that displays and kills applications, so I don’t have to engage with the ad supported app Task Killer. I haven’t figured out shortcuts for highlight, copy and paste yet. Haven’t tested or used any bluetooth functions yet. My biggest complaint is the phone came jam packed with junky apps that I can’t remove, and I’ve run out of internal storage already and have to put additional apps on the micro-SD card storage.
Recently I picked up a Verizon 3G Pixi Plus smartphone because they’ve been dumped on the market and I could buy one for only $60 w/no contract. I’m not eligible for a contract phone upgrade until April 2012. The Pixi runs the WebOS operating system and has a lot going for it, however application development is behind the curve because this smartphone platform is at least 4th behind Apple, Android and Blackberry. I’ve also ran into some severe limitations of this tiny phone, and I’m already craving an upgrade. here’s the good and the bad.
great small form factor, slick physical design, allows me to ditch the belt holster
although small, the tactile keyboard works well
verizon navigator is built in which I use a lot
drPodder app has revolutionized my podcast acquisition and consumption
email and calendar integration works really really well, for work and personal accounts.
wifi works seamlessly and flawlessly. also has a built in 3G hotspot function which works well
cool inductive no-cable magnetic charging system (shown in image)
It is an extraordinary era in which we live. It is altogether new. The world has seen nothing like it before. I will not pretend, no one can pretend, to discern the end; but every body knows that the age is remarkable for scientific research into the heavens, the earth, and what is beneath the earth; and perhaps more remarkable still for the application of this scientific research to the pursuits of life. The ancients saw nothing like it. The moderns have seen nothing like it till the present generation. . . . We see the ocean navigated and the solid land traversed by steam power, and intelligence communicated by electricity. Truly this is almost a miraculous era. What is before us no one can say, what is upon us no one can hardly realize. The progress of the age has almost outstripped human belief; the future is known only to Omniscience.
My new-every-two Verizon term was up for renewal, meaning I could get a new phone with big discounts. For the last two years, I’ve had a LG Daretouchscreen phone which features a decent web browser, and a virtual QWERTY keypad for spelling out those odd words and terminology in email and texts. It also had a decent camera, and took nice quality 640X480 video. I’d also gotten used to using the Verizon navigator service and Verizon email client and liked both.
So, I’d been thinking the last year about making the leap to a real smart-phone, an Android of some flavor, and making the commitment to Google address book, maps and navigation, and all that goes along with that. But I’d also been missing the phone call experience of a flip phone – something about talking into a flat touchscreen surface held against the side of my head never did feel quite right. After several weeks of researching and pondering, after all, phone selection is a big commitment, I decided against a touchscreen/Android upgrade and found a flip phonewith some prettycool features.
This is what attracted me about the C721 Casio phone:
runs verizon email client for personal and work email
camera flash works as a flashlight
Rhapsody music compatible
and the biggie: military spec WATER and SHOCK RESISTANCE!
From my research I was aware of the following compromises:
no QWERTY keyboard
no android apps of course
maximum of 320X170 video capability, I’d miss the hi-res video of my LG.
crippled web browser
Verizon address book still lacks mailing address fields
no built in headphone/audio jack, and the provided port converter is for 2.5mm size headset plug
awkward connectivity to a PC, not plug and play
After using this phone for a month, I’ve got the following observations:
The camera takes damn good photos, but its not the quality I had hoped. Especially in lowlight.
the external buttons are small and awkward
built in photo editing functions are awful
battery life is poor and getting worse, but I may have a defective battery
Verizon navigator works great, and is truly functional and legible. Just wish they offered speedometer and odometer functions for my running.
did I mention waterproof? I’m not reluctant to take this phone anywhere – and I’ve lost two phones previously to water damage.
I have yet to try putting music on this phone, or to sync with a computer. Too much hassle.
Verizons proprietary T9 predictive word technology cannot be taught custom words. Because no QWERTY keypad, I would use this.
A native facebook client is not available.
I could switch back and forth between my old LG Dare and the Casio if I had a need to, but the irony is that the circumstance where I am most in need of the Dare’s web browser and QWERTY keyboard is when I go camping, and that’s also when the waterproof casio is highly valued. Now, if I could only tether with the Casio, I’d be a happy camper.
Network connection to the living room is via a cisco powerline network extender that uses existing electrical house wiring. I got this $90 network gadget in a random grab bag from woot.com last month for $8 shipped. I plugged it in, and it just worked, with no throttling of network throughput, and no configuration required. I’m getting a 10Mbs download stream at the remote hub just like I get at the source router. That is over twice as fast as what’s needed for HD delivery. And the added bonus is that my dish network DVR is now connected to the internet and I can manage the recordings over a web browser. SOOO much easier to search for programming and navigate our queue of recorded programs. (Can a slingbox be far behind?)
But back to the streaming video: it almost indistinguishable from regular HD, although I did notice some visual stuttering during rapid camera pans. We watched Julie and Julia Sunday afternoon, and there wasn’t a single hiccup in the whole movie.
Plus our first blu-ray DVD’s start arriving from netflix this week, and I look forward to that.
Hope this makes up a little bit to the family for my accidentally erasing the season finale of Nurse Jackie, after the series stopped airing on Showtime.
I was looking for an old video edit that was not in my digital records, so I pulled out the old camcorder to check the 8mm tapes. When I plugged the camcorder into our new Windows 7 PC, a Windows Live Gallery dialogue box popped up giving some options for importing the video. One of the options was “make DVD of the entire tape”.
I tried it and it works like a charm. It broke the 60 minutes of video into about 18 chapters and created a menu with preview video. WOOT! I’ve got about 15 hours of 8mm recordings from 1992 – 2005. I’ll be transferring them all to DVD in the next few months.