Monday, February 23, 2009

Blackberry Geocaching

I recently got an 8830 Blackberry from work. I was quite excited by the GPS feature that it comes with. It also comes with some mapping software and will even do turn-by-turn spoken directions (for a fee).

Since I occasionally enjoy geocaching and since I don't own my own GPS, I thought it would be neat to do it with the phone since I always have it on me. I downloaded Google Maps mobile expecting that it would give me all I need for GeoCaching since it is great for road navigation. Unfortunately it has some quirks that make it almost useless for GeoCaching. Namely the fact that you can't easily (it is possible) get the coordinates from your current location.

I did some searching and came up with a nice little utility that is promising. It is still a work in progress, I think, but it is certainly usable the way it is. It's called GeoBerry. It does have a couple of quirks. It seems to have issues when my BB wakes up from hibernation (or whatever they call it on BBs). Anyways, I give many thanks to the author for giving his time on this app. It is a free app but I plan on giving a donation to help support it.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Olympus Stylus 1030SW Digital camera

The Olympus Stylus 1030SW is a great camera! I first saw the sister product, the 790, that a friend at work had bought. It was very similar to the 1030 and I had intended to buy it but when I looked at the spec of the 1030 I couldn't pass it up, even though it was around $50 extra. I'm not going to talk a lot about the spec here because you can read that on the Olympus site.

Now, this isn't a studio quality camera. In fact, even though it is 10.1 Megapixel, it doesn't even take a stunning quality picture. However, if you are looking for a camera that takes great snapshots in just about any condition, this is the one. The quality of the pics is as good as most point and shoot models... but how many of those can you take down a water slide?? This one you can.

The under water rating for this camera is 33 feet. That is plenty for your average pool, water slide or other standard water sport. We've gotten some great shots of the family at the beach and in the pool.

I took the camera scuba diving and got some great shots but 33 feet is a little tight for that setting. I took the camera to 30 feet and I don't really think there is a lot of safety margin after the rated depth. At 30 feet the camera's LCD started to push in and it took some time for it to come back out. I think I would want to get the optional underwater enclosure if I was going to take it diving again.

I must say that one of the coolest things about this camera is that it provides underwater audio as well as video. Not really practical but really fun to play with. I also really like the macro + LED feature.

It is also really nice to clean your camera by dunking it in clean water. Do that with your SLR!

The Good
  • Very tough
  • Good quality pictures
  • Reasonable quality video
  • Quick power on/off
  • Quick focus
  • Good macro settings (especially LED option)
The Bad
  • Short battery life when depth gauge is turned on
  • Not a great zoom
  • Auto scene settings are kind of useless.
  • It's not easy to use the manual settings (although...this is a point and shoot camera so what do you expect?)
This camera is exceptional at what it is, a fun camera that will go anywhere with no fuss. I would absolutely recommend it.