New Tablet New Tech

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With Anime North over, I found myself looking for new tech solutions for covering a multi-day event.  Carrying around 20 lbs of gear like laptop, camcorder, camera, cell phone, Android tablet plus chargers and battery packs plus full size tripod took it’s toll with 30+ degree weather.  So what solutions can be had cheaply?

I did find a bluetooth keyboard that worked with my Asus Zen tablet but the fixed housing was made for iPad Air tablet.  I jury rigged an insert out of black foamcore but in practice the tablet battery life drained like crazy using bluetooth. Plus I had to take it out of the enclosure to use the back camera.

I’m trying out a Lenovo Yoga 2 10″ tablet with Windows.  Can’t afford a Surface but the Lenovo was on sale for $229. Once you add accessories, additional storage aka microSD it might push it to $300 but for under 2 pounds it is far lighter than a full laptop. It has twice the RAM and storage as the Asus Zen tablet. Plus the rear camera was 8 MP over the Zen 2 MP.  Still it’s too “PC” to be tablet and too “tablet” to be a PC. Huh?

Let me explain.. while windows programs run well on it. Apps I run on a touch OSes like Android or iOS don’t.  Even those in so-called apps like Twitter and such in the PC app store are simply browser window that opens just to that social media website. So why bother with an APP-less app and simply use use a browser. :/  As for too tablet to be a PC, a regular desktop is useless  in selecting some items on screen or desktop. No, not that file.

I did find an Android emulator, AndyDroid which at least allows you to access and download Android apps from Google.  Sad to say it’s sluggish and doesn’t necessary gets video right. Still this is the early days of trying it out and understanding it’s quirks and finding work around.

Video is another story. My Samsung camcorder was great… 10 years ago for covering events like masquerade. Since it died when LCD display ribbon cable broke, I have replace it with a used camcoder.  However with the advent of digital video recording of cell phones, tape camcorders are obsolete. Still looking at solutions but the ideal that I’m looking at multi-camera outfit could cost from $1000-2000 for two or three camera setup.  I don’t think the masquerade is worth that costs at this moment but it’s still on the radar.

Ricoh Theta S

Ricoh Theta S

I was looking briefly at Ricoh Theta S before Anime North.  The thing about this camera is that it shoots 360 degrees and has fish-eye lens on front and back.  It can also shoot 360 videos which means you can literally look around and even up and down.  The cons to this camera, the lens are easily damaged. With Anime North foot traffic being as it is, it would get damaged. Another con is the price, about $500, $600 once you figure in accessories. Little bang for a lot of bucks for some novelty shots. 8 Gigs storage isn’t much you need to tie your tablet or phone to the Theta S just to properly control.  Editing 360 video is destructive to originals as it overwrites the data with lower resolution version.  360 video isn’t there yet for what I like to use it for. Plus learning curve pushed it out of contention for this year’s Anime North.  I might still consider it later but like most users of Theta wants a model that uses microSD cards. Sample image below.

The Painted Hall at The Old Royal Naval College in United Kingdom – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA

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