Camcorders .. you love them .. or you hate them. Its a simple as that. Once hey used to be the sidearm of choice of the annoying uncle at your birthday party, who insisted on pointing them into peoples faces to suck away all spontaneous behavior and replacing it with a bunch of awkward grins. Now, most of them have been pushed into oblivion by high end camera’s on smartphones or super rugged go-pro action camera’s used by ‘outdoorsy’ types to impress their friends. So who (aside from a budding porn producer) still needs a camcorder ? And why in hells bells would you want a waterproof one ?
Well, once you wrap your hands around JVC’s All Weather Everio Camcorder .. you kind of start to see the point of this camera. Smartphones are cool, they are ubiquitous and they are great for the average point-shoot-and-share experience of a Youtube Video. But the absence of physical controls (and a static lens) make it hard to do some of the more advanced filming tricks like zooming and stuff. Smartphones also have the tendency to break, snap, splinter, shatter and disintegrate at the slightest hint of “adventurous use” If your pristine phablet survives a gravity powered french kiss with a concrete floor from three feet high without breaking .. you are a lucky man. The industries answer to the “adventurous youtuber” comes in the form of the go-pro like action camera. Encased in a force field of plastic this stabilized “set and forget” camera is mounted on you bike – helmet – stroller .. and will survive any stunt the owner preforms as he/she steps in the footsteps of the JAckaSs crew (and perhaps dies while doing it). So since surviving the ordeal is more important then an oscar for best director .. the Action Camera’s have few to zero options.
So enter the Everio. This Full-HD , Dust, water, shock and freeze proof camera is JVC”s savior of your upcoming winter-holiday video. With a form factor that looks like a classic camcorder, the Everio promises 4.5 hours of battery life and a 60* Zoom capability. We won’t go into technical details because we aren’t big shutterbugs, and break it down into our first impressions. The Everio looks pretty solid when you grab hold of it. The slightly larger casing makes it easy to hold even while wearing ski gloves or something. The placement and size of the primary controls (zoom, record etc) is also designed with the down sloping glovev wearing Spielberg in mind who is more focused on making the shot while trying to stay upright (and alive) instead of fiddling with little buttons.
But there are some cool extra things included in the camera’s software like taking 10Mpixel still shots (no need for an extra DSLR) , wireless syncing to your tablet or phone (no PC required) and the option to livestream your actual footage to a smartphone or tablet over wifi. Throw in some built in instagram filters and the Everio is a little one-stop holiday production shop for your video’s. With good audio and video quality to match (and why not thrown in some software stabilization) we do see you using this camera on your next adventurous holiday.
But hey ! Its waterproof ! (or so it says on the box) .. So lets test that .. shall we ?
At 319 dollars this thing brings a lot to the table for anyone who is going on a holiday and wants to rough things up a little.
So have you ever wondered what the humidity level is like in your living room ? Or how far the temperature drops outside during the night. Would you like to know the decibel level in your house during the night or the overall air quality ? It might not seem essential information you CANNOT live without but its just a small selection of the information offered by the Netatmo weather station.
Now some say that weather stations are for old uncles with bushy nose hair who like to smoke a pipe, drive a volvo and quote Carl Sagan during birthday parties. Who tell you (while using dramatic gestures) that the amount of hectopascal pressure is ..”Too damn high” for the time of year.
And lets face it .. as an information junkie having access to this kind of information is just too cool to pass up. But you’re not a creepy uncle (yet) and surely lack the bushy nose hair .. and you are a geek .. So what do you do.
169 euro’s later you might find yourself the proud owner of the Netatmo weather station. Forget old school weather station contraptions that are bolted to the outside of mouldy cabins in the woods. These 2 battery powered cylindrical devices (one for the inside and on for outside) have sensors for temperature, humidity, CO2 levels, Decibel levels, Air quality and more. Nice if you are “in the room” but with the wifi hookup you can access this info anywhere you go.
A very easy setup process lets you setup an account with Netatmo and install their mobile application on your favorite Android or IOS Tablet or smartphone to access your weather station from anywhere.
I must be honest : At first we thought .. What are we gonna DO with this ? But the fact that you can access the “real time” indoor and outdoor weather stats on your portable device ANYWHERE is pretty darn cool. But the real fun starts when you start looking at the “logs” of all the sensory information collected by the Netatmo. Instead of just “sayin” the weather was good the last week, you can just whip up your phone and show off a very detailed graph of the moisture level in your garden over the last 23 days.
The power of the Netatmo lies in its well designed apps for the IOS and Android platform. Though the sensory range of the Netatmo is “limited’ ( We find that a Geiger counter would be a nice geeky addition) the total package is pretty cool. The sound meter is great but may give you the accidental ability to find out what weeknights your parents have sex. Whether you will be using your Netatmo on a daily basis once the gadget-factor wears of is something that we don’t know but it sure is cool to play with.
At a 169 Euro’s for the basic set (additional outside modules available) the Netatmo is not cheap but if weather stations are your thing , this is one of the best geek-friendly ones you can get. With its high build quality, pretty design and perfect app execution the Netatmo never ‘rains on your parade’ .
Buy the Netatmo on their website HERE.
The New lords of the Media.
I sit here in the darkness, broken only by the light of my monitor typing away the morning dawn. My fingers huddle around the warm cup of cappuccino i just made myself , to avoid cramping up in the cold. I could turn the heater on but I refuse. Outside the drizzle marches on for the fourth day in a row , Its presence only occasionally broken by an outright downpour or the faintest illusion of a clearing of the clouds. It does sound like an autumn tale .. But its actually mid August.
This summer has been a truly weird one. Having frozen our preverbal behinds off in ‘the winter that would not end’ giving us the chance to fire up the boilers until may, the brief glimpse of summer we had was like looking into the exhaust of a launching space-shuttle with temperatures of 36 degrees and more for days and days straight.
Binary Weather system.
And now .. plunk : Rain-season has been bestowed on us ! Incredible but true. Its like we have a binary climate system here. Summer / autumn / summer / autumn etc etc .. Not that I mind the latter weather. I mean , OK , its drowsy and cold .. but one must admit, the drizzle brings the chisel to the geek. What better excuse to spend hours behind the computer then a never ending monsoon season outside. And thats what I have done yesterday all afternoon. With my wife (still sounds weird) having a cold in the midd of summer and feeling poorly, stretched out on the couch underneath a pile of pillows.. I was hammering away on one of the most time consuming varieties of computer use : Video editing. The down part of having 400 pictures, 2 hours of video and 3 hours of audio recorded on your wedding day .. Is the fact that you have to edit it all ! Wanting to make something special for our guests I am going with the ‘video’ approach and am pouring everything into my own ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ epic wedding video-with-more-pictures-then-actual-video. All-tough fascinatingly interesting to do, peaking all of ones creative hairs .. its actually quite amazing if you think of it. With a 1200 euro laptop and the enclosed software one is able to edit pictures, organize them, turn them into movies, arrange the movies, edit the movies, add effects to the movies, add menu’s to the movies, animate the menu’s to the movies, add titles and scores to the movies and utterly come up with a completely ready to play DVD.
Ok , 99 % of what people make is utter crap , (possibly including mine) but the fact is that its incredible that this kind of multimedia editing power is at the fingertips of the average computer user. Add a pinch of talent and one does get a dangerous alternative to the crap thats on TV. In the span of 5 years , from the analogue linear editing consoles to the completely computerized home video studio , a lot of power has been put into the hands of the average joe and I'm utterly fascinated at what people do with it. Where places like Youtube are piled up to the rim with crap, the occasional gem does sparkle in the form of some beautiful contribution to the meld.
We become the media.
The conclusion : WE have become the media. And as the power to create is bestowed on us , I hope the big time media conglomerates are finally seeing that : Maybe they should get their act together. As PVR’s and Portable media players free us from the linear consumption of media we are no longer shackled by the bounds of ‘what’s on now’. We have become not only the kings of the realm of ‘anytime anyplace and on any device’ when it comes to consuming media .. We are also the ones that say : If its crap ? We’ll make our own.