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Philips Demos Keychain-sized Camcorder 151

Posted by michael
from the skirt-cam dept.
mateub writes "Philips gave PC Magazine an exclusive demo of the KEY019 USB camera/camcorder etc. Sez PCMag: 'You can use the 128MB of internal memory for 2.0-megapixel still shots, digital video, MP3 files, and document storage.' How long before we read the first story of some, um, inappropriate footage captured with one of these?"
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Philips Demos Keychain-sized Camcorder

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  • by theraccoon (592935) * on Friday April 09, 2004 @06:58PM (#8821281) Journal

    How long before we read the first story of some, um, inappropriate footage captured with one of these?

    Just as soon as I can buy one...

  • by mindless4210 (768563) on Friday April 09, 2004 @06:58PM (#8821286) Homepage Journal
    That's a pretty sweet little toy. I wonder how much one of those costs... and how effective is it? I know there's probably a thousand different uses for something like that.
  • by tsunamifirestorm (729508) on Friday April 09, 2004 @06:59PM (#8821290) Homepage
    128Megs doesnt seem like much. or if it is, the video is probably lo-fi
    • I wonder if they could make it 2-3 times as big, which would still be pocket sized, and hold 10 times as much memory?

      And does the sound record in stereo?
      At that size two microphones would probably be too close together to make much of a difference.
      It would still be great for recording concerts.

      And how much do these things cost?
    • by colinramsay (603167) on Friday April 09, 2004 @07:07PM (#8821360) Homepage
      Take a look here [firebox.com] for a handheld camera which can be upgraded to use 128mb SD cards. In it's standard 8mb form, it can take 2 minutes of low res footage at 15fps.

      Just a comparison. We got one, it's really pretty good for the price.
      • by iamhassi (659463) on Friday April 09, 2004 @07:51PM (#8821637) Journal
        pfffft... my canon A60 [powershot.com] is smaller than that thing (A60's 101.0 x 64.0 x 31.5mm vs SiPix's 100 x 74 x 36mm) plus it takes 180 seconds (3 min) of continuous 320x240 15fps video and it takes excellent 2mp pics with a 3x optical zoom (vs no optical zoom on the SiPix), storing them on dirt cheap CF cards and 4 AA batteries allow lots of videos! Best part: the price. $65 after mail in rebate! [fatwallet.com] Or you can just buy them for $165 at any walmart [walmart.com].

        $91 for that "SiPix Pocket DV Camcorder" is a waste of money.... oh did you say you bought one?

        The A70 is the same size but takes 3mp and 640x480 video, although it's considerably more expensive.

        • by Anonymous Coward
          The Canon S500's are much smaller than the A60/A70. They seem to have similar spec's both for still and motion capture.

          But, in 640x480 mode, it's only 10fps. In 320x240 mode, it supports 15fps.

          The Sony DSC-T1 has the best video I have heard of.. 640x480 @ 30fps. But, I hear the still image quality sucks.

          In movie mode with the Canon S400, you cannot use the Zoom. I am not sure about the others, but especially at the relatively low resolutions that's a big limit.

          What I am looking for is: DVD quality
          • What I am looking for is: DVD quality, 720x480p (preferably with 16:9 widescreen capability), and
            30 fps and 60 fps modes.

            Me too. Actually, make that 1024x768, and 1 - 70 fps variable speed mode and I won't have to use a 16mm camera ever. One can dream... :-)
          • "What I am looking for is: DVD quality, 720x480p (preferably with 16:9 widescreen capability), and 30 fps and 60 fps modes."

            Then you're looking for this [panasonic.com]. 702x480 30fps 6mbps (that's high quality) MPEG2. Fills 512megs in 10 minutes. Not quite 720x480, and sorry no 60fps (why 60fps?? that'd take a crap load of space), but it's darn near close.

            too bad it uses SD, if it was compactflash II compatible they'd have a real winner on their hands, with 2gig CFII selling for only $150 [pricewatch.com] while 1gig SD is over dou [pricewatch.com]

    • MPEG4. They recorded at least 20 minutes of it. Since they didn't mention quality, and they stressed (repeatedly) that it doesn't replace current camcorders then we can safely assume that the image quality is, at best, standard tv quality. Still, that's much better than the old CIF stuff most digital cameras do, and the convenience factor (carry it everywhere, whip it out at a moment's notice) is worth it for some people.

      I expect low-budget proctology offices everywhere buying them in droves... Hope you've got good healthcare.

      -Adam
    • For comparison, one of the latest digital cameras can record colour video with sound, but there usually is a maximum video clip limit size of 8 Mbytes (or around 60 seconds), and the resolution is limited to 320x200 during this time. And it takes around 30 seconds to compress the video. So maybe this video camera could store around 10 minutes of video with video at 320x200.
      • The Sony DSC-T1 still camera records 640x480 30fps video, limited only by the memory card capacity.

        I find it ironic that their newest camcorders, which can also record MPEG to MemoryStick, only record MPEG1 at 320x200. It's pretty ugly stuff. Mebbe I should've bought the still camera instead of the camcorder...
    • "128Megs doesnt seem like much. or if it is, the video is probably lo-fi"

      With modern codecs, you can store nearly an hour of 320 by 240 video.
    • You don't need that much. Le Moment Du Supreme usually doesn't take that long...

  • download (Score:5, Funny)

    by appleprophet (233330) on Friday April 09, 2004 @06:59PM (#8821291) Homepage
    "How long before we read the first story of some, um, inappropriate footage captured with one of these?"

    More importantly, how long until the torrent is posted?
  • Great But... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jchawk (127686) on Friday April 09, 2004 @06:59PM (#8821292) Homepage Journal
    This is great and all but who wants 2 megapixel anything? Camera phones, this device are create for getting quick shots, but honestly do you want to archive them? They simply don't look good, because the color is off, usually they're fuzzy etc...

    I'm not knocking this device, but I have a feeling it's a sign of better devices to come. With in a year or 2 I would bet you start to see 4 and 5 megapixal devices like this... This is when they are really going to take off!
    • But what? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by baudilus (665036)
      2 megapixels is sufficient for most applications. Remember, the digital camera on the Mars Rover is only 1 megapixel. If you need to take higher quality picture / movies, buy a higher quality piece of hardware. Something tells me that the truly useful applications for this type of device (e.g. clandestine) do not cry out for super-high quality photos.

      It's also good for getting that quick shot of your buddy spewing chunks because who carries around a big digital camera everywhere they go? This you can kee
    • Re:Great But... (Score:5, Informative)

      by AJWM (19027) on Friday April 09, 2004 @07:12PM (#8821399) Homepage
      Considering that 2 megapixels gives you slightly more pixels than fit on a 1600x1200 computer screen, that's actually pretty darn good (depending on the quality of the pixel). You must still be thinking of the old cheapy 640x480 (1/3 megapixel) devices.

      Granted you need more if you want photo-quality prints, but it's more than adequate for on-screen use. In a device this small, the real limitation is the size and quality of the lens (ie, crappy) rather than the resolution of the sensor. There's a reason that good cameras have big lenses, and it has little to do with the size of the sensor or film they're recording on.
    • 2megapixel is wayyy higher resolution than on most camera phones....
    • Re:Great But... (Score:2, Insightful)

      by winsk (117756)
      This is great and all but who wants 2 megapixel anything? Camera phones, this device are create for getting quick shots, but honestly do you want to archive them? They simply don't look good, because the color is off, usually they're fuzzy etc...

      2 megapixels is perfectly fine unless you want to make large prints. The color being off, or the picture being fuzzy has more to do with the quality of the optics, the CCDs, etc.
    • Re:Great But... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by odie_q (130040) on Friday April 09, 2004 @07:21PM (#8821453)
      5 megapixels is overkill for a lot of applications. For ordinary 15cm (~6") photo paper printouts of vacation photos, 3 Mpixels is enough. For web use I'd say 1Mpixel is plenty good enough.

      Bad quality is more often due to crappy lenses and ultra-low quality CCD's than low resolution. If a 2Mpixel CCD is cheaper than an equivalent 4Mpixel one, it has a place in the market.
      • Re:Great But... (Score:4, Interesting)

        by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Friday April 09, 2004 @08:48PM (#8821993) Homepage Journal
        I disagree that 1MP is enough for web use. If you weren't going to scale the image that would be true, but any time you scale an image by anything other than doubles or halves you end up doind a bunch of weird interpolation and you lose data. A lot of it. If you're going to scale an image at all in any direction then you want as much information to start with as possible.
        • You're quite right, although modern interpolation techniques are very good. This is why I would want as much as 1Mp for web images, which gives me plenty of headroom when I scale them down to web sizes (often scaling down 4 times, or to 1/16 Mp)

    • Just a bit of an off-topic rant...

      Decades ago (this was back when a CAD computers cost $20K or more) I proposed the adoption of CAD for the company I worked for. It was new and spiffy and promised all kinds of new things I could learn.

      Since then I've seen a lot of clueless use of the technology that seems to waste more overall time than drawing by hand ever did. The worst part seems to be that management can hire discipline-ignorant CAD people and expect to save big bucks. Not to mention that newcomers
    • Re:Great But... (Score:3, Informative)

      by Rolo Tomasi (538414)
      The problem is that the tiny, crappy lens doesn't even have an optical resolution of 2 megapixels.
      • How can you measure optical resolution in "megapixels"? That doesn't make any sense at all.
        • Sure, all you have to do is figure out how much detail is possible through one of those lenses, and convert it to pixels.

          There *IS* a finite amount of detail that an analog camera lense can produce.
    • by KalvinB (205500)
      I have a 2.0 Megapixel Visioneer camera and I need to install an LED over the photosensor so I can control exposure (light off == long exposure, light on for fastest exposure) since the flash kills the battery after very few shots but when used in the proper lighting (or low lighting and proper care) the pictures are quite excellent.

      During a vacation to DC I took over 1000 pictures with the camera. After I realized what it was doing in low light with excessive exposure times I compensated by holding it ve
    • Re:Great But... (Score:3, Informative)

      by juhaz (110830)
      2 megapixels is just fine for lots and lots of things. Few years old "real" non-professional digicams are 2mpixel, most of the time the pictures from those are just fine. They are light years ahead of this thing, despite the same theoretical resolution.

      These, on the other hand, as you point out, simply don't look good, they look fuzzy, and the colors are off, but that's not because they don't have enough resolution on CCD, it's because they have absolutely CRAPPY optics, and crappy electronics, and crappy
  • Already happened. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by domodude (613072) on Friday April 09, 2004 @07:00PM (#8821304)
    This sure does top the JB1 camera that ThinkGeek sells.

    As per the "choice" footage and pictures, this has already happened with the new camera phones. Mobileasses.com or something to that order.
  • It sounds like a pretty neat gadget all right, but I'm willing to bet it's way too expensive to be worth it. I'm waiting a while longer before buying any many-function nerd gadgets.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 09, 2004 @07:03PM (#8821326)
    And record the people who decide to strip search you at the airport.
  • Roll your own RPV (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Trespass (225077) on Friday April 09, 2004 @07:05PM (#8821340) Homepage
    Add something like this to a radio controlled model airplane and you've got a (relatively) cheap platform for surveillance or air survey work. Could have uses in archeology as well.
    • Yes, that would be perfect to mount on a plane like this [hobbyzonesports.com]. It's a small electric plane, with something they call an "X Port". They use this to drop parachutes or little plastic "bombs", and to do combat with little sonic transmitter/receivers. It should be pretty easy to adapt the trigger mechanism to turn the camera on.

  • I wouldn't worry (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mia'cova (691309) on Friday April 09, 2004 @07:06PM (#8821348)
    Cameras are getting smaller and smaller anyways. I don't know what advantage having it on your keychain does for any kind of voyeurism. Just turn on your TV and you'll bump into one of those hidden-camera comedy shows. How long before we're getting all of those in HDTV? It's really not hard to film without being noticed.

    We all just have to get used to it. We're going to be recorded everywhere we go in public and our friends are going to get thousands of horrible photos of us.

    I just have a regular 3 megapixel camera and already have something like 10,000 photos saved. My friends have cameras too and take just as many photos. I know there must be bad / 'compromising' (lol) photos of me I haven't seen but really it's no big deal. We all just finally need to get used to it and stop being so fricken camera shy!

    Smile :)
    • I'm not entirely sure it'll be too easy to not be 'camera shy' with the knowledge that the Powers That Be could very easily be on the other end of those cameras, being the ones who record us "everywhere we go in public". I, for one, wouldn't be too comfortable with that.
    • Re:I wouldn't worry (Score:3, Informative)

      by iamhassi (659463)
      "Cameras are getting smaller and smaller anyways. I don't know what advantage having it on your keychain does for any kind of voyeurism."

      A) it's smaller and easier to conceal than standard small cameras
      B) doesn't look like a camera so it's less obvious you're recording
      C) sometimes you're in situations where you didn't plan on something happening so you didn't bring your trusty camera, like the girl dancing on the bar during happy hour (usually that's unexpected, although I know some bars...)

      this wo

  • by cliveholloway (132299) on Friday April 09, 2004 @07:06PM (#8821349) Homepage Journal
    ...is the whole camera. All the pics are close-ups. My guess is because it's actually about 2ft long and they don't want to scare us off.

    cLive ;-)
    • by Anonymous Coward
      So you're really saying that it's even more of a 'convergence product' than PCMag wants to admit, i.e. "the ladies will love it"...
  • by AtariAmarok (451306) on Friday April 09, 2004 @07:10PM (#8821379)
    " How long before we read the first story of some, um, inappropriate footage captured with one of these?""

    This is much more likely if they add a vibrator mode to the thing.
  • Inappropriate? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by colinramsay (603167) on Friday April 09, 2004 @07:11PM (#8821382) Homepage
    See, the thing I always wonder when people bring up this topic is this - the technology to record people without their permission has been here for a while. Be it photographic, video, or audio, there have been accessible means to invade someone's privacy for quite a number of years.

    What devices like this represent are a proliferation of this technology. And the uses to which it is put is not a problem of the technology, it's a problem of society.
  • Isn't nearly enough for the sex video! But seriously, I think this is a very cool idea. My only worry is that these will be quickly banned from public places the way camera phones have been. Interestingly enough, devices like this make it easy for anyone to commit espionage, take pictures in public rest rooms and the like, or spy on people or organizations. I wonder when the government will decide that you need a liscense for one of these, too...
  • by lhaeh (463179)
    One of this cameras major functions not mentioned in the article is that its viewfinder doubles as a image/video preview monitor. Since it can handle >20 minutes of mpeg4 video you could upload your favorate tv show to watch at youe leasure. Looks like your fscked when the battery wears out, its not replaceable.

    • by zipwow (1695)
      If it isn't mentioned in the article, can you point out where it is mentioned? The thing I'm seeing pictures of here doesn't look like it has any kind of digital viewfinder apart from some glass. The specifications list a "2 element optical viewfinder" which I think equates to "glass and mirrors".

      -Zipwow

      • by lhaeh (463179)
        I though it was just a regular cheepo plastic lens viewfinder as well, its hard to imagen they packed it so tight with features.

        You have to click on the 'exclusive slideshow' link at the bottom of the page. From the article:

        This viewfinder also acts as a microdisplay for viewing video playback (you'll need to plug the headphones in to hear sound). The trashcan symbol sits to the left of the delete button, which deletes whichever pictures or clips you're viewing. Below the button are the Power and Memory

  • Why must.. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by dj245 (732906) on Friday April 09, 2004 @07:16PM (#8821421) Homepage
    Why must companies create these silly devices that they call "camcorders" that really have little or no storage space to speak of? It isn't a proper camcorder, it is a gimmick. 128mb of space is not a lot of space. Not only that but the firmware of the thing means you don't get the whole 128mb. Add in a lossy (lousy?) mpeg codec, and you'll be lucky to get five minutes at any kind of watchable quality. I hope people don't actually buy these things expecting a halfway decent recording device. The image sensor must be terrible (being so small and cheap) Good thing its a camera too, because its a pathetic camcorder.

    I hope we don't see more of these things in the future. Do these companies have focus groups? What focus group with any sanity decided they wanted a camcorder with 5 or so minutes of storage? More likely they wanted a camera that could record a video (maybe) but that isn't the way this thing is being marketed. Just because you can easilly and cheaply add features to existing products doesn't mean you have to promote them and market them as primary functions. (Camera phones anyone?)

    • Re:Why must.. (Score:4, Interesting)

      by timeOday (582209) on Friday April 09, 2004 @07:28PM (#8821510)
      yeah, too bad they couldn't go for 256 megs.

      On the other hand, I record TV shows on my computer, and I've set the bitrate so 1 hour fits on a CD (700 megs) and the quality is pretty good IMHO. So at the same bitrate, 128 megs would hold around 10 minutes of video. I don't know about you, but I seldom shoot more than 10 minutes of Camcorder footage for anything, because it would be too boring to watch.

      • Re:Why must.. (Score:4, Interesting)

        by dj245 (732906) on Friday April 09, 2004 @07:42PM (#8821588) Homepage
        Thats why some people shoot for hours and hours and then take all the interesting bits and put them into a 3 minute clip so they don't bore people to tears. Its like in American Football. In 3 hours, maybe 2 minutes of something really exciting happens.

        Oh and television capping at a really high bitrate and then post-recompressing to a 2-pass codec (Xvid, mpeg2, divx, whatever you want) will give the exact file size you want and much better results compared to fixed-rate low-bandwidth encoding. Thats why these types of camcorders suck, they do fixed-rate at low bitrates and 2-passing later only gives lower file sizes of the already crappy looking video.

    • Re:Why must.. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by aussersterne (212916)
      25 minutes of MPEG-4 is what they claim on the Web site. That's not bad. I personally think any more than ten minutes of home video at any particular event begins to enter boring city. I certainly don't want to see a full two hours of little Jimmy's birthday or even Our Excellent Spring Break. A few minutes of footage is all that's required to get the gist of most events.
    • Re:Why must.. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Frennzy (730093) on Friday April 09, 2004 @07:47PM (#8821616) Homepage
      I think it's more of a 'because we can' attitude. I am actually quite pleased with convergence in data storage devices...the video is just another input.

      I DON'T like the fact that I had to buy a 'camera phone' to get the other phone features I wanted.

      However, this would be a real handy gadget to have. (And it's just that...a gadget...+1 Karma to whomever can identify the origin of that word...specifically, whose name it came from and what they are most famous (in the US) for...no googling, you cheaters).

      As a cheap and easy way to move over a hundred megs of data from place to place, I like it. The fact that if you happened to see something noteworthy, like, say, a hostage situation or a plane going down and you could just pull out your keys and record it (in poor quality, yes) for posterity, is just a bonus.

      Plus, if it gets people interested in buying technology again, so much the better. We need tech jobs growth (in all sectors)

      Come to think of it, I have a great idea for this...do new video projectors have USB inputs and file translation capabililites? If they don't, they soon will. Now those marketing droids won't need laptops...they can put together their PowerPoint presentations and them load them onto their keyring, and just jack that into the projector.
      • The fact that if you happened to see something noteworthy, like, say, a hostage situation or a plane going down and you could just pull out your keys and record it (in poor quality, yes) for posterity, is just a bonus.

        yep lets associate cameraphones with aeroplane crashes. The experience of taking a sub-megapixel picture on a device with no viewfinder or realtime-display window, zoom, or flash definitely reminds me of being shafted up the arse by the aerospace industry.

        • Wow, you really have a reading comprehension problem, don't you?

          First, I explicitly stated I DID NOT like having a camera phone. I wanted a phone, not a camera...but in order to get the features of the PHONE that I wanted, I was forced to buy a camera phone, because that was the only device that had everything else I wanted.

          When I said this was a bonus, I was referring to the device in the article...the "lipstick" "keychain" device.

          I'm still not sure where you come up with the 'shafted up the arse
  • by sethml (232387) on Friday April 09, 2004 @07:16PM (#8821424) Homepage
    There are some nice pictures and such in a Philip press release at:
    http://www.press.ce.philips.com/press/2004-2-23-Ce bit2004-568.html [philips.com]
  • You can now safely go into US theaters in the usa without fear of triggering the cam-corder check until such time as they ban keychains.

    It's been noted by one observe that Cantonese subtitles are no longer on their pirated video downloads. Patrons of such P2P file systems before had some assurance that cam editions of movies came with subtitles.
  • by 77Punker (673758) <spencr04&highpoint,edu> on Friday April 09, 2004 @07:18PM (#8821433)
    Where?! Anybody got a .torrent??
  • Oh Great (Score:3, Insightful)

    by esac17 (201752) on Friday April 09, 2004 @07:22PM (#8821463)
    Does that mean we won't be able to have our keys out in the gym anymore? Last night my fiancée called me as I was dressing and the locker room attendant politely asked me to put my cell phone away because people were afraid of getting their pictures taken with the camera phones. Now will there be a reason to limit, if not to start searching our bags everywhere we go.
  • by e9th (652576) <e9th@@@tupodex...com> on Friday April 09, 2004 @07:34PM (#8821554)
    If I had a nickel for every time I've said, "Damn, I wish I had a camera," I'd already have enough nickels to pay for the thing.
  • by t_allardyce (48447) on Friday April 09, 2004 @07:40PM (#8821577) Journal
    Ok i know the world needs more food and medicine than anything else but we should send loads of these things to countries like china, iraq, america & cuba etc where there are oppressive regiemes in oparation, they could be used to capture countless numbers of human rights atrocities! Yes i know they're all made in china.
  • but for the people who sport tin foil, realize that certain government agencies have had much better mini video cameras for quiet a while...
  • At only $249 MSRP... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by josh glaser (748297) on Friday April 09, 2004 @07:59PM (#8821701)
    ...it sounds great, but it is $100 more expensive than the Gateway (the current best buy for tapeless camcorders, because it's not $800 like most). It has double the memory, but lacks a card slot (and an LCD display). So for it's value, well, I'd say they're both good buys for people who want an ultra-cheap camcorder that's small (these things go for convienience and such, not for super-high quality) and just fun. I'll probably buy one of these things just so I can always have a camcorder around to take video of stuff that happens (I don't want to have my "real" camcorder with me all the time). For now, that's really what I see the market for these (and, say, camcorder phones) is - when these things have hard drives, well, then they might be more of a viable alternative to a "real" camcorder. But like them a lot now - they're tiny, cheap, and you can always have them with you to capture life - in all its spontaneity.
    • Just wanted to add a bit of a P.S. here (mainly stuff I forgot to add in the original post, but hey, that's what P.S.'s are for, right?) The Philips Key-Ring Camcorder can play MP3s and WMAs, the Gateway cannot. The Philips can take 25 minutes of video, the Gateway gets 5 (high quality) or 18 (low quality) - but remember, that's with the base memory, you can upgrade (and will probably want to). Oh, and Philips also sells a standalone Key-Ring MP3 player and a Key-Ring Camera (that they just upgraded to 2
  • Is it *really* 2 MP? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    The KEY007 is marketed as 1.3MP, but it only has a 0.3MP sensor, and the images are upscaled to 1.3MP. All I see is "2MP sized images", nothing about what the sensor really is? Nowhere does the press release mention the sensor size, only that it produces 2 megapixel images. My gut feeling tells me that this is a 0.3MP camera, or maybe if we are very lucky, a 1.3MP camera, that is upscaled to 2MP. I'd love to be wrong.

  • duh (Score:3, Funny)

    by douthat (568842) on Friday April 09, 2004 @08:31PM (#8821895)
    How long before we read the first story of some, um, inappropriate footage captured with one of these?"
    That's how they beta tested it.
  • Is it really 2 MP? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 09, 2004 @09:37PM (#8822214)
    The 1.3 MP is actually 0.3MP

    see http://www.doyourthing.philips.com/tt_camera_key_r ings_additional_info.cfml

    How does it work?
    Your Camera Key Ring captures pictures using a VGA sensor, which displays about 300,000 pixels (640 x 480). When you upload the pictures to your laptop or PC, Photo Manager automatically enhances your images using digital interpolation to 1.3 million pixels.
  • by T-Ranger (10520)
    On next Wednesday afternoon.
  • by serutan (259622) <{moc.nozakeeg} {ta} {guodpoons}> on Saturday April 10, 2004 @01:12AM (#8823026) Homepage
    One of the topics that came up late one night in college was what life would be like if everybody was highly telepathic. You would have little if any privacy, and it would be impossible to lie to anybody. So politics and personal relationships would be radically different from what they are. It strikes me that the potential to be recorded in detail at any time might have a big impact on society. People could carry these things around to cover their asses or gather blackmail material. Crooked politicians would be unable to trust anybody, which might be a good thing. In fact, the degree to which our lawmakers freak out about this particular technology being in the public's hands is probably a good indicator of how dirty they are.
  • by TheSync (5291) on Saturday April 10, 2004 @01:41AM (#8823095) Journal
    I have one of the early thumb drive/camera combos. I notice that many of them need a lot of light to take a picture. Mine won't even let you try to take a picture in dim lighting. Outdoors, they work OK.
  • How long until (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ErichTheWebGuy (745925) on Saturday April 10, 2004 @03:19AM (#8823408) Homepage
    How long before we read the first story of some, um, inappropriate footage captured with one of these?

    No, the real question is, "How long until I don't get to carry around my keychain flash drive because someone thinks it's a camera?"
  • Not me! (Score:3, Funny)

    by smchris (464899) on Saturday April 10, 2004 @10:13AM (#8824414)

    How long before we read the first story of some, um, inappropriate footage captured with one of these?"

    I'd only look at a KEY019 for the articles!
  • ...here [philips.com]. Looks like it will be going for 300 euros.
  • My two year old Sony Clie has a built-in camera that can record video with sound for as long as you have space on the Memory Stick to store it. It seems like you could get an hour or more of video recorded on an empty 128mb card. The image quality isn't anything spectacular, but it's definitely fun & useful to use, if in a "lo-fi / arty" way.

    For example, when I was on my honeymoon last year, I was able to use the Clie to make short, narrated video clips of the "disco ball" effect that the Eiffel Tower

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