Sunday, 25 September 2011

Tech Blast From The Past: Nokia HS-1C Camera Headset

This is something from our not so distant past. From a time when Nokia still ruled cellphones and a time when no one wanted an Iphone or an Android based one. This was circa 2002 to 2004, a time where cell phone manufacturers first started integrating cameras into cellphones. The first cameras were not actually built into the phone but were connected to it via connector ports, or Pop-ports in Nokia based phones. I happen to have one Nokia camera headset lying around, the Nokia HS-1C camera headset.

 It is basically your handsfree headset with a built in VGA (0.3MP) camera in two settings (low and high - which I now consider lower and low). I connected this to my trusty Nokia 6610i, which is still working fine. All it needed was a new battery and a new case to make it look good as new. But no touchscreen, no 8MP camera (it has a 0.1MP CIF camera), no proper internet (you could, but you'd be frustrated like crazy as even Opera Mini hangs and stalls).

I suppose it could be considered as an upgrade to those who used Nokia without a camera then or an upgrade from the crappy built in CIF camera the 6610i had - compare the two pictures above, the smaller one is taken with the built in camera and both are in their original sizes. Anyway, it is actually a toy, or a gimmick for people to show off to others at that point in time. Why do I say so? Well it actually cost half as much as the Nokia 6610 at that point of time - in 2003 the 6610 (without the 'i' as it has no camera - the 6610i came a year later cost in the region of RM700-800 and the HS-1C cost around RM400. And it was outdated within the year as everyone built in cameras into their phones.

But when it comes to these cameras do not expect the pictures to come out fabulous, it will not work in badly lit places as their sensors are minuscule. Processing power is limited. Imagine if I wrote my motoring reviews in 2011 and the photos used came out from the little Nokia phone or the HS-1c headset camera instead of the 5MP, 8MP camera phones and my trusty point & shoot camera. Check out the same car taken with a 5MP sony camera phone below. Camera phones of today have made blogging and taking decent photos much easier.

 In a world where everything is now HD this and HD that, this bit of lo-fi technology is refreshing, but that's about it actually. You can't use it for anything these days. The quality really sucks and we loved it back then as we had nothing else unless you bought a proper 2MP digital camera those days - while a far cry from the point and shoot and DSLRs of today was adept in taking proper digital photos for its time.

Friday, 9 September 2011

Trip to Australia Special: A good watch, decent walking shoes and clear blue skies

Going O.S. (that's Aussie talk for 'overseas') requires you to pilot your rented car with some confidence and style. An Omega Seamaster 300 circa 1965 on a NATO type strap did just fine. Another one of that 'One Good Watch' that everyone should have.

And if you're going on holiday one should wear a decent pair of shoes. You may drive, but you will also walk a whole lot. From one tourist locale to another, from one shop to another, from one amusement park ride to another. The little gal is wearing canvas Keds in checkered pink, the Malaysian man (namely, yours truly) is wearing chocolate brown leather wingtip sneakers - Portugese made shoes marked DeMiguel and the missus, multi-coloured Bimba & Lola.

Blue skies. Clear blue skies. This is something we do not get here in the Klang Valley, Malaysia at the moment as it seems the bushfires over in Sumatra, Indonesia has caused smog. Shitty. Really shitty And quite unlike the scenic lighthouse over at Byron Bay, New South Wales that I frequented very recently. Sigh. Quite a climb for a lazy boy like me, quite a climb.


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