New Technology for the Blog

I am always looking for new ways to potentially improve the blog and if technology comes into the picture, then so much the better. In this case, “picture” is an appropriate word.

Last year, I upgraded my personal camera to the Panasonic GH1 and have been extremely happy with it. The 4/3 lens capability keeps the camera to a decent size even with my 14-140mm lens. However, when I bought the Panasonic, I gave my old camera away.

Soon thereafter, I realized that the new Panasonic was just easy enough to tote around every time I left the house. That prevented me from capturing many photos for the blog. I decided I needed to look for a second camera that I could always have with me.

My first research had me considering another Panasonic as I wrote about HERE.  I continued to read reviews and consider my wants and needs and finally settled in on the Casio EX-H20GBK Hybrid-GPS.  I had a friend that was going to the US and she brought it back to me.

The camera has a hybrid GPS feature. That means, it you walk in a building and out of line of site of the GPS satellites, it keeps tract of where you are walking and estimates the location. Here is a video showing some of its features.

As with any hand held, there are tradeoffs. Normally low light is not one of their strong points. Another is the lag between the time you press the button and the time the camera focuses and actually takes the picture. However, if you want something to carry around 100% of the time, you have to accept those flaws.

The main reason I chose the Casio, over the Panasonic or Sony models, was the battery life. I can get over 600 shots on one charge and that is two to three times as much as the other brands.

I went with a case from Pacsafe, like I did for the Panasonic SLR. If you are looking for cases with security features against theft, I recommend you check out that brand. In my estimation, they are the best, hands down.

So that is the first piece of technology that is developing for the blog.

The second is also a camera, but it has two purposes. It is a video camera that is mounted in your car and is continuously taking a video. It is the Zetronix zDrive-HDV camera.  A friend of mine had bought two, one for another person, and when the other person didn’t pick it up, I took it.

If you have lived in Panama for any period of time, you know that any accident that has a gringo involved, the one at fault will be the gringo. Witnesses come out of nowhere, if the case goes to trial, even if the accident happened with no one around. Most know of the couple that fled the country to avoid going to jail from an accident where the other parties were diving under the influence and without seat-belts.

Now for the blog, I am going to try to use it to capture some videos that may be used for driving instruction to some location. How well this will go remains to be to be seen.

I have take a few videos to this point and the quality seems reasonable. The camera itself is a Chinese made device and the instructions are EXTREMELY poor, bordering on useless. My first problem was that the date and time was not correct. Now you would think that you would be able to manually set the date and time, but you can’t.

I used my MagicJack and spent a fair bit of time calling the service center. They were helpful. Even with their help, it took me three calls to get it set. Now that I know how to do it, it is easy, but you will not figure it out from the website.

It requires a Microsoft PC, and downloading a special program to set the date and time. You then connect the camera via USB cable and execute the program. It grabs the date and time from your PC and stores it in the camera.

That being said, I am happy with the purchase. Keep your eyes open to see their entrance on the blog.

12 thoughts on “New Technology for the Blog

  1. An interesting experience at the Ford Dealer service center.

    I took my Ford in for service and left it with the mechanics and departed for a few hours. For reasons that I don’t quite understand they failed to notice that I had one of those Dash Camera, the same type as Chiriqui Chatter is using.

    Ok the Mechanic took the car to the service wrack but before he lifted it up he sat in the car fussing with the radio and changing the stations around, no big deal but what happened next is something I would not have expected. With my camera mounted on the inside of the windshield (with its miniature view finder in plane site) it was able to pick up and record a faint image of the interior of my car reflecting off the inside of the windshield.

    What I observed and also heard from the audio function was the mechanic rummaging through my glove box as I could see his reflection and also listens to his activities. I can only conclude that he was not only somewhat deviant or untrustworthy but has little respect for one’s property. Fortunately for the mechanic I was not missing anything but if I was you can be assured that he would be watching the video with me in his general manager’s office.

    The Dash Cam is a great investment and recommend for everyone who is of North American origin in Panama.

  2. We are in need of purchasing one of these cameras for our car. Is this the model you would recommend?

  3. I have just purchased the camera. To be honest, I have not done a full market search to see what is available but with the limited time I have had with the camera, I am satisfied with it.

  4. “Now for the blog, I am going to try to use it to capture some videos that may be used for driving instruction to some location. How well this will go remains to be to be seen.”

    Hi Don Ray, I was letting Nena read this over my shoulder (she’s not a computer person but she loves reading the blog with me) and she always gets me tickled with her comments.

    After reading the lines quoted above, this was HER comment:

    “So now Don Don can show us the way to the restaurant AND provide photos of the food.”

    I could not reply at the time as I was shaking too much from the laughter. 🙂 Nena just sees things differently.
    jim and nena
    fort worth, tx

  5. hi don…
    thanks to your blog, i’m interested in a dashboard video cam also. you wrote:” The second is also a camera, but it has two purposes.” what is the 2nd purpose?

    are you still happy with your zetronix? which model did you get? any stumbling blocks other than programming the time?

    thanks don…
    norm : ))~

  6. H i Norm, The first use is to record events leading up to an accident, The second would be for documenting driving videos for the blog.

    I obviously still had it for a short time, but it is working fine. I forget about it as I drive and it is not a distraction. I am satisfied with Zetronix for doing what it was purchased for.

    I have not seen a way to playback videos on the camera itself. This isn’t a problem for me.

    As far as I can see, the time setting requires a Microsoft Operating System.

  7. I got a similar one of these off eBay for $60 worked well for 2 months then the red element disappeared and had all sorts of weird color videos, to be fair they replaced it and since then its been fine… but not too sure how long it would last!

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