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Camera/Consumer stuff

paul wheaton
Trailboss

Joined: Dec 14, 1998
Posts: 20582
    ∞

What is the point of having a web site that gets lots of traffic if one cannot use/abuse that medium by changing the world for the better by whining about consumer trivia.

Today I wish to talk about digital camera manufacturers and two different retail outlets.

I am having a particularly frantic couple of weeks and one of the things on my "to do" list is "digital camera".

My last digital camera worked spectacularly well until I fell into a swamp with it. That camera was an Olympus which I purchased at Costco about five years ago.

I popped into a "Best Buy" where they have a huge selection of cameras. My mission was to spend no more than 20 minutes getting a camera to meet my needs. I started looking and a guy popped out of the woodwork and my first question was "Which cameras can I plug into my XP computer and see the pictures stored on it without having to install any other software." He said "All of them do that now." Lovely. I then proceeded to narrow the list down quickly based on my other requirements. 15 minutes later I'm out of the store with a "Canon" brand camera.

As bits of time come, I unpackage the camera. charge the battery, take a sample pic and then plug it into my computer. Nothing happens. I scour through the documentation only to see stuff about installing software. I cannot find a phone number to call for help. I go to bestbuy.com and see they have a "technical support" phone number. I call it. Push lots and lots of menu buttons and then get a person on the phone that tells me to call the manufacturer.

I go to costco and buy an olympus. I get home, charge the battery, take a pic, plug it into my computer and the folder pops up. Everything works as expected.

The only downside is that I cannot find the strap. I probably lost it. I use the strap a lot to make sure I don't drop it. The are phone numbers all over the packaging. I call the number and a human answers on the first ring. In about a minute and a half they take my address and say they are sending me a new strap. They didn't want my phone number, nor did they ask me a bunch of weird marketing questions. Fast and efficient, just the way I like it.

In summary: costco/olympus are smooth. bestbuy/canon are lame.

The funny part is that when I went in to return the canon, the sign on the front door said "best products. best service."


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Pat Farrell
Rancher

Joined: Aug 11, 2007
Posts: 4659
    
    5

Your bitch is really with BestBuy. The bozo lied to you. If you had gotten a real answer, you would have been much happier.

Why did you even darken the door at Best Buy? They are famous for having zero clue about anything technical.

Are there no Ritz, Wolfe, or other Camera stores near you? They have folks who actually know what a camera is. And I've seen that the prices are comparable, the service is much better.

You'd probably have had better luck at Tigerdirect or newegg
Nicholas Jordan
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 17, 2006
Posts: 1282
First off Paul, I tried the whining approach as a kid in Tornado Alley. I would post a greater depth of analysis were it not for exactly this Tor Nation who's Tor routers in the Alley will bring the Alley Cats to your Door with new and improved Drivel: "best products /best service are available shortly, have your ...." ( or something )

I rue the day when purchases will not be allowed unless you ( a person generally ) stamp a 'coupon' with a cryptographiclly strong rfid. It is actually not that far away and your rant is TOTALLY founded. I walked the doggie home recently with one who vends ( get this - its for real ) a vendor of equipment who sells to places that cannot have security blunders of any kind or degree and has to deal with the idiota such as you record here.

Senator McCarthy was not that far off the rocker, actually. Twilight Zone may be a good place for you to do your shopping. Tornado Alley might provide some ICON ideas for your project. BTW - Java dot Graphics has an Icon class. Focus Paul, focus. Then give them guys the hocus-pocus.

{just wanted to get in on this - lamer fist step to register interest}
[ May 02, 2008: Message edited by: Nicholas Jordan ]

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Ernest Friedman-Hill
author and iconoclast
Marshal

Joined: Jul 08, 2003
Posts: 24187
    
  34

I plug my Canon Powershot into my laptop, my photo album pops up. And my graphics program knows the camera's there and offers to grab photos off it as well if I launch it.

'Course, it's a Mac.


[Jess in Action][AskingGoodQuestions]
Pat Farrell
Rancher

Joined: Aug 11, 2007
Posts: 4659
    
    5

same thing on my Ubuntu box, altho its a Nikon, same thing
Mapraputa Is
Leverager of our synergies
Sheriff

Joined: Aug 26, 2000
Posts: 10065
My Nikon camera is connected to the computer via USB cable, so it's just another device for Windows. Tom wrote about similar technique regarding working with iPod:

http://www.randomthinking.info/wordpress/2008/02/02/from-ipod-to-itunes/


Uncontrolled vocabularies
"I try my best to make *all* my posts nice, even when I feel upset" -- Philippe Maquet
Cameron Wallace McKenzie
author and cow tipper
Saloon Keeper

Joined: Aug 26, 2006
Posts: 4968
    
    1

Paul, I think you did it wrong.

Instead of plugging the camera into the computer, you should have plugged the computer into the camera. Did you try that?

Every time I buy something from Future Shop/Best But/etc, I always swear that I'll never buy something from there again. A month later I betray myself, pick something up, and then kick myself for it.

-Cameron McKenzie
[ May 03, 2008: Message edited by: Cameron Wallace McKenzie ]
Henry Wong
author
Sheriff

Joined: Sep 28, 2004
Posts: 18853
    
  40

These days, you can plug a keychain (jump drive) into the USB port, and drive will appear on XP. Basically, it is so cheap and easy to just plug in storage.

When I looked into digital cameras, a few years back, it looked like all the cameras behaved the same way. Plug the camera to the computer, with a USB cable, and a drive will appear on XP -- with the pictures in one of the folders.

There were plenty of software that came with the camera too, but I didn't install any of it.

Henry


Books: Java Threads, 3rd Edition, Jini in a Nutshell, and Java Gems (contributor)
Ashok Mash
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 13, 2000
Posts: 1936
Yet another Canon user, with bog standard XP, and plug in the USB cable and new drive pops up! Easy "PC"! But I usually use Lightroom to manage the workflow, much easier that way.


[ flickr ]
Stevi Deter
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 22, 2008
Posts: 265

I love my Pentax *istD. I just plug the CF card into a USB card reader (doesn't fit into my laptop's built-in reader ports, unfortunately) and use it as a drive.

And it takes great photos!


There will always be people who are ahead of the curve, and people who are behind the curve. But knowledge moves the curve. --Bill James
Gabriel Claramunt
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 26, 2007
Posts: 375
I found the card reader far more easier to use. Just snap the card out of the camera and into the reader. No need to find a spot for the camera near the computer, no risk of knocking the camera away by accident, no need to search for the right USB connector or fumble with the camera to find the right opening ...


Gabriel
Software Surgeon
paul wheaton
Trailboss

Joined: Dec 14, 1998
Posts: 20582
    ∞

> Your bitch is really with BestBuy. The bozo lied to you.
> If you had gotten a real answer, you would have been much happier.

There is much truth there. Although I think if I could have gotten a minute of tech support I might have been satisfied. But after fifteen minutes of trying to get help and just getting frustrated ... well ... this failing included the manufacturer.

> Why did you even darken the door at Best Buy?
> They are famous for having zero clue about anything technical.

Because one time my son was interested in something in their camera department and there was a person that was full of really great information.

Fluke?

> Are there no Ritz, Wolfe, or other Camera stores near you?
> They have folks who actually know what a camera is.

Probably. I didn't think of that. Good point!

> 'Course, it's a Mac.

of course!

I get tempted to go mac all the time. And I keep getting PC's.

> Instead of plugging the camera into the computer, you should
> have plugged the computer into the camera. Did you try that?

If that is the case, then I need a camera that can do it either way.

> Every time I buy something from Future Shop/Best But/etc, I always
> swear that I'll never buy something from there again. A month later I
> betray myself, pick something up, and then kick myself for it.

I swore off future shop about 12 years ago and have managed to stick to it. BB has annoyed me a few times, but hasn't done anything really awful.

When I returned something to FS 12 years ago, FS hit me with some sort of restocking fee. So I never went back. When I returned this stuff to BB, the process was relatively quick and painless. So while I will probably do less biz with BB in the future, I haven't written them off entirely.

> When I looked into digital cameras, a few years back, it looked
> like all the cameras behaved the same way. Plug the camera to the
> computer, with a USB cable, and a drive will appear on XP -- with the
> pictures in one of the folders.
>
> There were plenty of software that came with the camera too, but I
> didn't install any of it.

Exactly! That's what I thought it would be like, but I asked the guy just to be sure. He said it was now true. I have verified that it is not true for at least one camera. Or, at least, if it is true, I couldn't figure it out (maybe I had to put the camera in some sort of wacky mode for it to work).







Two important points:

1) I want a particular feature. It turns out that the olympus has the feature and this particular canon does not. This failure is really a problem with BB and not the camera.

2) For both cameras I wanted tech support. I couldn't even find the number for the canon. The olympus had their phone number everywhere. This is a failure on the part of the camera manufacturer.
Nicholas Jordan
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 17, 2006
Posts: 1282
Originally posted by paul wheaton:
(...snip...)just getting frustrated ... well ... this failing included the manufacturer.


Then you should tell them 'that bitch won't boogie' but they will only lead you farther into the field of dreams.

Because one time my son was interested in something in their camera department and there was a person that was full of really great information.


Use of was provides your clues needed to solve your original post topic.

Fluke? - No. Standard standards, nothing else.

Probably. I didn't think of that. Good point!

Have Java Ranch write you an online camera store, make big Moose in Interet Web. Have Moose kick their butt.
Pat Farrell
Rancher

Joined: Aug 11, 2007
Posts: 4659
    
    5

Originally posted by paul wheaton:
I get tempted to go mac all the time. And I keep getting PC's.


Sounds like a doctor doctor problem to me.

There is nothing wrong with PCs that changing the OS won't fix.

I made two of my PHB go to the Apple store and buy a MacBook, my support life has been much better since.

Nearly every town has a real camera store, they can't be much more expensive than BB, but they have to have better service or they won't survive.

Soon, the whole concept of transfering pictures from your camera to a computer will be unknown. Your iPhone will take the picture, its is your computer. Then you move the images to the big Internet cloud so your grandmother can see them.
Gregg Bolinger
GenRocket Founder
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 11, 2001
Posts: 15299
    
    6

My wife has 2 Canon digital cameras. An A9 Power Shot and a Rebel. Plugging either into XP promptly starts the camera wizard in XP to yank the pictures off. No software installation required.

Yes, BestBuy is lame. Its full of 16 year olds that know nothing about what they sale. Canon, on the other hand, I think is a great brand. My wife has had nothing but success with both cameras.

http://www.photographsbycandace.com

And no, that is not a plug, that is to simple show results backing up my claim. You should consider spending more than 20 minutes making this kind of purchase instead of counting on [insert big retail chain] employees, you'd have been better off. I mean seriously, do we really expect anything more from a store that sales $7000 Plasma televisions and washing machines in the same store?
[ May 04, 2008: Message edited by: Gregg Bolinger ]

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Pat Farrell
Rancher

Joined: Aug 11, 2007
Posts: 4659
    
    5

Originally posted by Gregg Bolinger:
seriously, do we really expect anything more from a store that sales $7000 Plasma televisions and washing machines in the same store?


Depends on the store. Frys sells signal generators, CPUs, video cards, vacuum cleaners and porn.

But if your point is really that you can 'purchase' stuff at BestBuy but really can't shop there or get useful information, then you are correct.

I rarely shop. I go and buy stuff.
 
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subject: Camera/Consumer stuff