Null Bit Me

An anonymous null bit wanders… wanting to infect.

Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category

Test Post from Windows Live Writer

with one comment

How do you do?

How do you look like?

Will I keep you?

Written by Null Bit

Saturday, July 7, 2007 at 9:49 am

Posted in Reviews, Software

Under INR20,000 Digital Cameras Reviewed

with one comment

UPDATE [31/Jul/2007]:

THISΒ  POSTΒ  ISΒ  OBSOLETEΒ  NOW

A couple of days back, a (lazy) friend asked me to suggest him some digital cameras that he should consider while buying. And he won’t give me any specifications because he has no idea what to look out in a camera πŸ™‚

Anyways, I just spent about 2-3 hours evaluating a few cameras and sent him a long mail. I thought all that research could be useful to other people too. So I am reproducing the mail (with relevant edits) below. I hope it is useful to some people.

Disclaimer: I am NO expert in cameras. But then most cameras are not bought by experts! So what follows is a very naive review of some shortlisted cameras using information that I found on the Internet.

First of all, I shortlisted some cameras which had the following features (that I would consider mandatory for buying a digital camera). But before that I had to narrow down brands. I decided to choose the following brands which are (I think) easy to get in India:

  1. Canon
  2. Kodak
  3. Nikon
  4. Olympus

Then I made the following conditions manadatory before I shortlisted any digital cameras:

  1. It should be a 6 MP (megapixel) camera or more.
  2. It should have video capabilities with 640 x 480 @ 30 fps.
  3. It should have a good optical zoom. I love 10x optical zoom cameras πŸ™‚
  4. The price of the camera should preferably be within INR 20,000
  5. The LCD should preferably be 2.5″

Using the excellent search features provided by Digital Photography Review, I shortlisted the following cameras:

  1. Canon A710 IS
  2. Kodak EasyShare V610
  3. Kodak EasyShare Z612
  4. Nikon Coolpix S4
  5. Nikon Coolpix S10
  6. Olympus SP-510 UZ

After going through all the brochures/specifications etc. from the official sites, I have ranked the cameras as follows. PLEASE note that the ranking is in decreasing order of preference (i.e. I have rated the first camera listed as the best). In addition, I have listed down the salient features of each camera in a *decreasing* order of goodness.

So here goes the rankings (clap clap :-)):

  1. Canon A710 IS
    Image Stabilization
    – 7.1 MP
    Focus: Macro: 0.39 in.-1.8 ft./1-55cm (WIDE) [This was the best among the reviewed cameras]
    Shutter Speed: 15-1/2000 sec. (settable in Tv and M) [This was the best among the reviewed cameras]
    – Aperture: f/2.8-4.8
    – 6x optical zoom [This was a tiny disappointment. I would have loved a 10x-12x optical zoom here]
    – 640 x 480 @ 30fps (or 320 x 240 @ 60fps)
    – Memory: SD/MMC
    – ISO: Auto, ISO 80/100/200/400/800
    – AA batteries (also AA-sized rechargable Ni-MH battery)
    – 2.5″ LCD (115K pixels)
    – Flash: Normal: 55cm-3.5m (W), 55cm-2.5m (T) Macro: 30-55cm (W-M)
    Look at photos taken by this camera
  2. Olympus SP-510 UZ
    – 7.1 MP
    – 10x optical zoom
    Focus: Super Macro Mode: 1.18” – infinity (3cm – infinity) [You can take photos really close to the object]
    – Digital image stabilization [Note however that this is not real image stabilization]
    ISO (AUTO, 50, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600 2500*, 4000* (* approx. 3 Megapixels))
    – Aperture: f2.8 – f3.7 (adjustable in 1/3 EV step)
    – Flash: Wide: 14.8 ft. (4.5m), Tele: 11.2 ft. (3.4m)
    AA batteries (4) (630 images per charge)
    – Take pictures in low light conditions with Bright Capture Technology
    – 2.5″ LCD (115K pixels)
    – Shutter Speed: 15 – 1/1000 seconds, Bulb
    – Memory: xD-Picture Cardβ„’ (16, 32, 64, 128, 256, 512MB, 1GB or 2GB) [This is not very good since these memory cards are used in extremely few devices and hence cannot be reused or borrowed from or lent to friends]
    Look at photos taken by this camera
  3. Kodak EasyShare Z612
    640 x 480 video @ 30fps with stereo sound in MPEG-4 upto 80 mins. [This is real good. I wish more cameras had MPEG-4 videos. You use up only about 1/10th of the memory compared to the normal videos in other cameras! If videos are very important to you, choose this camera.]
    Image stabilization
    – 12x optical zoom
    – 6.1 MP
    – Aperture: f/2.8-f/4.8
    – Memory: SD/MMC
    High resolution viewfinder (230K). 100% field of view.
    – Flash: wide: 2.0–15.4 ft (0.6–4.7 m) at ISO 140 ; tele: 3.9–8.9 ft (1.2–2.7 m) at ISO 140
    – Proprietary Li-Ion Rechargable Battery.
    – Shutter Speed: 16 to 1/1000 seconds (adjustable in 1/3 EV step)
    – macro wide: 4.7 in.–2 ft (12–60 cm) [This is bad. Close-up photographs at short distances will not be good.]
    Look at photos taken by this camera
  4. Nikon Coolpix S10
    Image stabilization (with Image Sensor Shift and vibration reduction)
    – 2.5″ LCD (230K pixels)
    – Focus: macro: upto 1.6″
    unique swivel design [This is unique to Nikon. I like it.]
    – 6 MP
    – 10x optical zoom
    – Memory: SD
    – Aperture: f/3.5
    – ISO: upto 800
    – Proprietary Li-Ion battery (300 images per charge)
    Look at photos taken by this camera
  5. Kodak EasyShare V610
    Extremely small and thin
    2.8″ LCD
    Embedded BLUETOOTH
    640 x 480 video @ 30fps with stereo sound in MPEG-4 upto 80 mins.
    – 10x optical zoom
    – 6.1 MP
    – Memory: SD/MMC
    – Shutter Speed: 8–1/1200 sec.
    – Focus: macro wide: 2.0 in.–2.3 ft (0.05–0.7 m)
    – Flash: 2.0–11.2 ft (0.6–3.4 m) at wide, ISO 280 ; 2.0–10.8 ft (0.6–3.3 m) at tele, ISO 400
    – Aperture: f/3.9–f/7.1 at wide, f/4.8–f/8.0 at tele [This is the ONLY reason why I rate this camera so low down. I think night photography will be awful with this camera.]
    Look at photos taken by this camera
  6. Nikon Coolpix S4
    – unique swivel design
    – 6 MP
    – 10x optical zoom
    – Memory: SD
    – AA batteries (2) (290 images per charge from alkaline batteries)
    – Aperture: f/3.5
    – Focus: macro upto 2.5″
    – 2.5″ LCD (110K pixels)
    Look at photos taken by this camera

Now we can’t forget memory prices which will have to be bought. The memory prices being quoted at JJMehta today are as follows:

SD Card: 512MB – Rs. 995 ; 1GB – Rs. 1750 ; 2GB – Rs. 2750
xD Card: 512MB – Rs. 1500 ; 1GB – Rs. 2250

Well, that is it. Please do remember that I am no expert in digital cameras πŸ™‚

Written by Null Bit

Saturday, January 6, 2007 at 1:39 am

Posted in Reviews

Riya o Riya, what have you done!

with one comment

After having played with Riya for about 4-5 hours, one thing stands out like mad. I just have to … have to keep my pictures private. I cannot keep them public. It is unsafe. And all my friends who appear on my pics did not like being made famous by me 😦 After I “trained” Riya to recognize a few faces, anyone could just type my friend’s name in the search box and find his pictures. Privacy goes to super hell!! So I’ve had to go to each pic and mark the ones with my friends as private … oh so painful 😦

Technology wise it’s awesome. But it’s a thousand times worse than Google. Remember, a picture is worth a thousand words? Google’s amazing search capabilities destroys my anonymity on the web unless I am paranoid and extremely careful with my name. Riya can do much worse. Imagine a college friend uploading pics of mine in college… me with the beer bottles and the vodka… me in my underwear … me kissing a girl (ok.. that never happened.. but it could have :-D). That is ok. I couldn’t care about people who don’t know me seeing those pics. Now imagine me trying to get married. Prospective father-in-laws/wife’s googling for me or “riyaing” for me!!! Yikes… there goes my chances …

Apart from that, I hate the fact that they won’t let browsers other than IE6 and Firefox. I know it is in beta… but i prefer showing a warning instead of blocking out other browsers altogether. You know… some functionality might just work, such as search the public photos.. and maybe that is all I want to do.
Riya has a long way to go, even though the technology is amazing… and they really need to tighten up privacy and make it more usable. Ugh.. I’d hate to have to browse each pic to mark them private. And if there was a simpler way, they should have highlighted it someplace very prominent. Privacy is going to be crucial for this webservice to be successful.

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Written by Null Bit

Thursday, March 23, 2006 at 4:41 pm

Posted in Reviews, Webservices

Crashing made easy and friendly

with 2 comments

Some ideas are just fabulous. And not always because they have a lot of thought put into them, and have a huge database backing it up with extremely complicated tables. Just found out about Can I Crash? from Kiruba’s blog. And it is an amazingly simple and wonderful idea! Keeping it a wiki also just made it so simple… no one needs to manually update lists of bloggers etc. The workload is distributed across many people. I love it.
In case you’re too lazy to check out the site, please don’t be πŸ™‚ However, if you’re adamant… this is a place where you can invite travelling fellow bloggers to stay at your place. And look for accomodation if and when you’re travelling. I hope it’ll work. I’ve read multiple bloggers posting about having other bloggers stay at their place. And this is how you can simply find friendly people willing to put up with you πŸ˜›
There’s not much yet on the site, at least for India. But I hope the templates are improved. I’d like bloggers to have their own pages where they list the bloggers who have stayed with them as well as the bloggers with whom they have stayed themselves. Now that could act as a friendly or a nuisance index for each blogger πŸ˜€ You let a lot of people stay with you and your friendly index goes up. You go stay with other people, and your nuisance index goes up!!
This site will get my details as soon as I become a little more friendly and a little less worried about anonymity πŸ™‚
Good work Henriette and Thomas?.

Written by Null Bit

Monday, December 26, 2005 at 7:12 pm

Posted in Reviews, Webservices

Performancing…

with one comment

Ok… another test post!
Scoble keep giving out interesting links… so this time it is Performancing for Firefox. This happens to be the FOURTH blog editor that I’ve tried. This is crazy :-D. But I guess it just shows how fickle-minded I am. And that blog editing softwares still have some way to go before I can settle down with someone.
Performancing is really nice. I don’t even have to move out of Firefox. It splits the browser into two panes (reminds me of ‘Ctrl-x 2’ in Emacs) and I am browsing in the upper pane and blogging in the lower one. I find it so easy to link to the various stuff that I like doing now. And, I don’t have to keep switching windows using the Alt-Tab keys.
Yep… I really like this. I can keep saving my drafts as Notes. Which is good, because my Firefox has been crashing quite often of late. I can set the categories. Blogging is almost anonymous. There’s just one [Publish To: Null Bit Me] button at the bottom which can give away my blog to people around me. Yep… I am paranoid. I hate people peeking. And this was one of the feedback mails that I sent to WordPress.com because I really wanted to blog without my blog name showing in big bold letters on the screen. The best thing that I liked about Zoundry i.e. the ability to store my previously used URL’s in my blog has been bettered now. Because I have ALL my links in the Firefox history!
This is seriously cool… Performancing is definetely Performance Enhancing!
And I love it πŸ™‚
And now for the biggest test…. to publish, and see how it looks like on the actual site….

[UPDATE: Two problems noted.
a) The formatting like bold and italics disappeared after publishing.
b) The hyperlinks all open in the same window and I cannot control it. I like my links to open in a new window.]

Written by Null Bit

Wednesday, December 21, 2005 at 1:44 pm

Posted in Reviews, Software

Test Post using Qumana

with 3 comments

ok… where do these people come up with these names? πŸ™‚ Do they have any meaning? Or they just keep saying gibberish until they say something that they like or rhymes with their name or something??!
This is a test post.
Wanted to see what this Qumana thing was like. After w.bloggar, Zoundry, this is the third blog editor that I am trying out.
And I think I’ve liked Zoundry the most. It seems to have been written by bloggers, instead of plain old software engineers πŸ™‚ It has features that I use quite regularly, especially the used hyperlinks that it stores for me. However Qumana can add ads in your post! It’s not very useful to me, but that should be useful for some people who’re looking to make money from blogging.
But for your information, i never click on ads πŸ˜›

Written by Null Bit

Tuesday, December 20, 2005 at 5:59 pm

Posted in Reviews, Software

gchart — seriously cool

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Just found http://www.gchart.com from digg. It is seriously cool. This is so much better than the complicated or image heavy sites to find out the time in some other place on the world.

And a simple URL to remember too πŸ™‚

Written by Null Bit

Thursday, December 15, 2005 at 10:16 am

Posted in Reviews, Webservices