I may buy one from Semsons & Co. Inc. for $680.98, which includes the Xacti for $549.99 plus a 1GB SD memory card for $90, extra battery for $15.99, and $25 for shipping. I hope this company is reputable. I'll report more when I get it.
UPDATE: I went with a Hong Kong dealer on eBay for $515 including shipping. Highly recommended. Ordered on a Sunday, arrived Tuesday morning.
It looks like camcorders of the future will take advantage of video blogging by appealing to people who want to record videos directly onto a hard drive or memory card. Video tape will go away much like audio tape has, as it is simply easier to record directly to digital to edit. Pretty soon, in camera editing will become much easier to do, with software like iMovie installed right on the camera so you can edit on the LCD, or when you plug in to a TV. The pros are already using cameras that record to directly to hard drive. By this time next year, hardware manufacturers will be selling a lot more of these. But I can't wait... I need one now. If you are interested in my research, here's what I found out about some other cameras that record directly onto memory card or mini-hard drive.
The Xacti was released on Aug 23, 2004. Here's a google translation of the Japanese press release. (Be patient, it took about 5 minutes for it to work for me) If you can read Japanese, here's the original press release.
This seems like the perfect videoblogging device. It is small, it can record Mpeg4 video, which is standard for most vlogs these days. It can record an hour's worth of video on a 1 GB card. It has image stabalizer technology, which was one criticism of the Fisher camcorder (it didn't). It records up to 30fps in a 640 by 480 pixel resolution.
Please understand, this is all in my opinion and not a professional review of any of these cameras. I'm simply writing up my notes for geeks like me who like research. I'd like to update this page, so watch for updates if I have time.
- Panasonic SVAV50 MPEG-4 SD Video Camera. $300-400. Reviewers say this is not good in low light. The camera also does not look very ergonomic.
- Panasonic SVAV50S MPEG-4 SD Video Camera.
- Panasonic SVAV100 D-Snap MPEG4 Digital Video Recorder w/10x Optical Zoom.
- Panasonic PVDC252 MiniDV. This got good reviews, but it is minidv.
- Canon Powershot S400. Steve Garfield uses this. Reviews said the camera has some noise issues.
- Fisher FVDC1. Jakob from Vimeo uses this. Check out his videos to see the quality. It records to mp4, which is great for posting to the web. Released Nov. 13, 2003 for around $800. This past November Sanyo dropped the price a couple hundred dollars for the holidays. I am sure they are ready to release another version, but I haven't seen any news about it. However, I looked around some more and found the Xacti. You can get the Fisher on Amazon for 569.99.
- JVC Everio GZMC100 2MP Digital Media Camera with 4 GB Microdrive & 10x Optical Zoom. $1000 new. This is the camera with microdrive technology. However, the drives are expensive. One reviewer says it cost him $567.33 on the JVC site, so instead he "found the same Hitachi 4GB drive on Amazon for $219.88." JVC sells batteries for $73.12, but this same industrious reviewer found one on eBay for $22.80. Reviewers complain about the zoom noise, pale colors in weak light, how both units take 8 seconds to turn on, the microdrive can overheat, it was hard to handle, and there was weak image-stabilizing. However, this looks to be the direction the manufacturers are going. There's also a horizontal version but I don't see what that adds. They were announced in the New York Times on November 25, 2004, and released in December 2004. (FYI-- The Times requires that you register to view the article, I find it easier to use Bugmenot)
With a lot of these cameras, the software isn't very good, for instance with the Panasonic cameras, the output is a non-standard .MOD file that you have to manually change to .MPG if you want to edit it using most other editing software.
The greenhouse effect is being countered by particles in clouds reflecting the sun's light back into space. Therefore, the greenhouse effect may actually be worse than we know, but we don't feel it because we are getting LESS sunlight.
It amazes me that there are people out there who don't know how to use the Internet safely. To me, it is like crossing the street. You have to know to look both ways and observe the rules of the road, or you will get hit by a speeding car. This article makes it sound like there are many people out there surprised they are getting hit when they walk blindly out into the middle of the road. The internet is being sold like the telephone network. It is safe, secure, and nothing can happen to you when you go on it. That's just not the case. The internet is not the phone network. It is dangerous, and to use it, you must protect yourself.
There are a few programs that are helpful in protecting you on the internet. They are free, and very useful. There are also some very helpful sites that are trustworthy and worth looking at every once in awhile for security updates. If you just bought a new computer, I recommend that you download all of these programs, including the latest Windows updates, and burn them onto a CD to install onto the new machine BEFORE YOU EVEN CONNECT IT TO THE NET. I've read some other articles about how some people who just bought their new computers in December plugged them in and immediately got hit with worms and viruses, AS THEY WERE DOWNLOADING UPDATES FROM WINDOWS UPDATE! It's a rough world out there. And you have drivers looking for pedestrians to run down... so check these programs out.
- Zone Alarm - a helpful firewall, the free version does just as much as the paid version.
- Ad Aware - protects against spyware and malicious programs.
- Spybot Search & Destroy - gets rid of most spyware if you have been unfortunate enough to have any on your system.
- Firefox and Thunderbird - the best alternatives to Internet Explorer and Outlook that you can get for free.
- Gmail - the best free e-mail service you can get. It's in beta now and you can only get an account if you know someone else who has one, but if you ask around, there should be someone who has free accounts to give away. I have 9. Ask me. I'll give you one.
- Norton Antivirus - I've never had a problem with this virus protection software. You have to pay for it, but it's worth it.
- Windows Update - If you are using Windows to connect to the Internet, be sure to run Windows Update every month, week, or day. As bad a reputation as Microsoft has gotten for their security holes, they do offer helpful patches that should be installed as soon as they are released. The only unfortunate thing about Windows Update is that you have to run in on IE. But if you protect your system with all of the above methods before you go here, you may be safe.
- Leaktest - tests your internet connection to insure that it is free of leaks-- that is, that you can surf the net without opening up your IP address or computer to malicious users.
- Gibson Research Corporation - Steve Gibson is the best security/Windows programmer on the net. His Leaktest program is proof that Zone Alarm is the best firewall out there, and that a firewall is needed to make your system safe. Check out his site every once in awhile. There are a lot of good programs there. And another good thing about his work is that it is free. However, I keep meaning to give him some money one of these days...
Hopefully those "rules of the road" will help some of you that use Windows how to make your systems safe. I never wrote them all down as I assumed everyone knew about them! But I guess, everyone has to take a driver's test at least once, and learn about all of this stuff at some point in their lives.
From this videoblogging list message, I was introduced to the concept of Mob Art, which includes Mobile games that you can play on your cellphone. I clicked on a list of these games, and saw one called Raygun, by a company called Glofun, which uses GPS to track your location and send "ghosts" to you which you must then "zap" with your phone by moving towards them.
Mini-cameras mounted on an eagle let you see a true bird's eye view...
- Daily Experience - This guy has been video blogging significant moments in his life for a couple years.
- c 7 11 23 - This guy has taken a picture of himself every day since 1998.
- Tehching Hseih - A performance artist that did one year performances in NY, like living in a cell for a year, and punching a time clock every hour for a year.
- Jobs in Antartica
- Family photos - a family documents their life through yearly photos.
- Same thing as above, with sisters
- American Mile Markers - A guy drove across country from NY to San Francisco and took a photo every mile.
- More obsessive photo projects, courtesy of c71123.com.
- Ten Years of My Life - A guy takes a picture a day, for the next ten years.
- More obsessive photo projects, courtesy of c71123.com.