Saturday, August 27, 2005

CVS Must Hate Me by Now

CVS is a drug store that is primarily on the east coast, but ironically there was one back in Rantoul, IL when we lived there (last month). I had read on Slashdot that there was a disposable camcorder that CVS was going to start offering, and that people were interested in hacking it since the disposable cameras they were selling had been hacked. I was surprised to find out that they also had disposable digital cameras as well!

Ok, what does disposable really mean. What it comes down to is normally you would pay $30 for the digital camcorder and another $12 to get that developed onto dvd. Max 20 minutes of footage. So basically $42 to get 20 minutes of footage. Its kind of pricey if you ask me and the quality as I found out is not great (definitely not dvd) but certainly passable to watch as a download clip on the internet. The digital cameras were $10 with no LCD and $20 with LCD. Keep in mind once you develop the cameras/camcorders you don't get them back and have to purchase again.

I was in the middle of moving so I didn't pay much regard to any of this since money was tight and I couldn't find it in any CVS. Then after I was in a CVS for other reason - I found a CVS that carried all of these different items. One week later I read the camcorder is hacked!

So I rush out and buy one of these things, not thinking anything other than "Cool" and "Fun". Its smaller than I expected (i'll post pictures when it isn't 3 in the morning) and seems pretty cool. It even came with a $5 off coupon for the digital camera with lcd! I end up making a cable following these instructions (its the same cable as the digital camera - bonus!) and spending a good part of a Saturday afternoon buying a soldering iron and learning how to solder. The cable is made by destroying the end of a parallel (printer cable for non geeks) and a usb cable (can't help you there if you don't know that is) and doing some bending and soldering. When all was said and done it was a recognized device.

Saturn2 is a program that was made to download the files right off of the camcorder and voila - a $30 digital camcorder. The quality is honestly so so, but my digital camera can't take 20 minutes of footage and this can. If I get some web space to upload to (nudge nudge Rich - hook me up) I'll put some videos up to show the quality.

Next post - my experience with the disposable digital camera with LCD. Good news - its hacked! But not nearly as easy as I thought it would be.

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