Throw out your memory cards
Published: Monday, January 5, 2004 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, January 5, 2004 at 12:41 a.m.
Concord's new entry-level two-megapixel camera, the Eye-Q Go Wireless, has a pleasing shape, a short learning curve and a 4x digital zoom. Its most outstanding feature, however, is its innovative use of Bluetooth to transmit images without cables.
The camera, which has a suggested price of $180, comes with a Bluetooth receiver that plugs into a USB port of a computer running Windows 98 SE, Me, 2000 or XP, or Mac OS 9.0 or higher. After the included software is installed, the computer immediately recognizes the camera. It takes about five seconds to upload an image. The Eye-Q Go Wireless can also send images to Bluetooth-enabled cell phones, printers and hand-held computers, and it has both a video-out port for displaying images on a TV and a conventional USB connection. More information is at www.concord-camera.com.
The palm-size camera weighs less than 5 ounces. Its few rear-mounted controls can be operated with a thumb and a slide switch below the lens lets you quickly adjust the depth-of-field for close-up, portrait and distant shots.
To make the camera easy to use, however, Concord made some tradeoffs. Exposure settings for conditions like indoor, tungsten or fluorescent lighting must be made manually. The lithium battery, which provides enough power to take about 120 photographs, is nonre- chargeable.
The Eye-Q Go Wireless' seven megabytes of internal memory will store about 15 medium-resolution images. The camera accommodates removable MultiMedia or Secure Digital memory cards, but it may be simpler to unload your pictures as the internal memory fills up than to bother with expensive, easy-to-lose little cards.
The software, from Data Becker, offers tools similar to those in PowerPoint to create sharp-looking lecture materials, sales presentations, business proposals and Internet-based presentations.
The software comes with templates and a wizard to help users get started quickly. Elements like clip art, animated graphics, sound, hyperlinks, freehand drawings, graphs and text can be added easily.
Live Presentations is compatible with PowerPoint files. It can open PowerPoint presentations for editing and can play them as slide shows, and files created with Live Presentations can be saved in PowerPoint file formats. Presentations can also be saved in PDF, or Portable Document Format, which is handy for e-mailing finished presentations.
Live Presentations is widely available at retailers and at www.databecker.com for $50.
While it does not have all of the features and templates of PowerPoint, which sells for around $230, Live Presentations can be a viable option for small business owners, students, educators or anyone else looking to impress an audience without breaking the bank.
Now a new remote control from Creative Labs, Sound Blaster Wireless Music, makes navigating a digital music library more convenient and helps pass off the PC as just another component on the shelf.
The system works by streaming MP3 or WMA audio files from a Windows PC over a Wi-Fi network to a receiver within 98 feet of the computer. The receiver can be plugged into a stereo system or stand-alone speakers.
The remote has a large backlighted display that allows users to shuffle through tracks alphabetically or cycle through playlists made earlier on the PC. Because the system uses a radio frequency rather than infrared beams to broadcast its signal, users do not have to be in the same room as the receiver or the PC to control their music.
Users can expect a time lag of about one second between a button press and the computer's response.
Wireless Music, which is available in electronics stores for $250, comes with software that automatically generates playlists from a user's audio files based on the beats and frequencies of the music.
But some of the software's categorizations might draw snickers from aficionados. ``Hotel California'' by the Eagles ends up on a list titled ``Upbeat Music,'' while A-ha's peppy ``Take On Me'' is filed under ``Slow.''
Flip the phone open and select ``camcorder'' from the camera menu, and you can shoot 15-second ``normal quality'' videos - with audio - at the touch of a recessed button. The video you see on the 2.1-inch 65,000-color liquid crystal display is what you get: 96 by 128 pixels. The VM4500 also has a one-inch external color display that can be used as a viewfinder for self-portraits in addition to displaying caller ID photos and other functions. The VM4500's internal memory can store up to 33 video clips and 31 VGA, or 640-by-480-pixel, pictures.
Sprint says the VM4500 is the first cell phone in the United States that can take and send videos and VGA-quality photos at a flat-rate price. The phone ($380, or $230 with a two-year contract with Sprint), can be used with Sprint's nationwide walkie-talkie service. It can be found at Sprint Stores, RadioShack and Best Buy, a Sprint spokeswoman said. More information is at www.sprint.pcs.com.
John Garcia, Sprint's senior vice president for sales and distribution, said the VM4500 can take advantage of the full range of PCS Vision services, including downloadable ringtones, screen savers and games. The phone comes in midnight blue or a two-tone silver and gray.
One feature that could help turn chatters into auteurs is what looks like an ordinary flash on the front of the phone: it doubles as a floodlight for videos.
Unlike tracking devices that require you to wear a headset to broadcast your head movements to your computer, the TrackIR2 uses an infrared device that rests on your monitor and tracks head movements by means of a reflective dot that you place on your forehead or a hat. The device, available for $129 at www.trackir.com, translates a small movement of the head into a much larger movement on screen, so turning an inch to the right is enough to look out the right window of your cockpit, and 2 inches is enough to twist your virtual view 180 degrees to face the rear.
With some tweaking, it is also possible to use the device to look around the room in first-person shooter games, though the Web site does not explain how. Even if you never figure that out, the TrackIR2 gives looking out the window a satisfyingly high-tech gloss.
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