New Gadgets

This post originally appeared on Matt’s Musings (Matt’s computer focussed blog).

It’s been a while since I last acquired new gadgets but I think I’ve made up for lost time with my last weeks purchases.

You may remember that I’ve had my eye on the Openmoko phones since early 2007, but in between shifting across the world and starting a new job I never got around to purchasing one of the first versions. The second version, the “Freerunner”, was released in June this year and I placed an order with Pulster, a local distributor, shortly after. The phones have been in hot demand, so I only received my phone last week, a wait of of almost 2 months, and it turned up missing one of the cables that was meant to come with it. Still some distribution kinks to be worked out.

Distribution kinks are the least of Openmoko’s worries at the moment though. As advertised, the phone is definitely not ready for primetime distribution yet. I’ve tried three different software images on it: the original “stable” 2007.2 image, the current “devel” 2008.8 image and the latest completely rebuilt SHR release which is the most promising yet. With the SHR image I’ve been able to send and receive calls and text messages, although the interface is somewhat arcane. I’m most interested in the GPS which looks to be working reasonably well at this stage.

After almost a week with the phone I’m glad I purchased it, and I’m having fun hacking on it, but there is a huge way to go before I’ll be able to use it as my primary phone. So that’s gadget #1.

The second gadget is a new Digital SLR camera. I’ve been thinking about getting back into photography for a while (I last took photos seriously in high school) and when I saw how affordable digital SLRs had become I couldn’t resist. There isn’t much between Canon and Nikon when comparing mid-range SLRs these days, so after about a week of deliberation I decided on the Canon 450D, primarily because most of my workmates also have Canon SLRs!

I only got the camera on Friday, and spent half the weekend playing with the GPS on the phone (I want to set them up so I can geo tag all my photos), so I haven’t had quite as much time to play with it yet. I expect to spend plenty of quality time with it on our holiday in Malta next week. First impressions are favourable, although I’m fast discovering camera viewfinders were not really designed for people who wear glasses. I may have to consider wearing contacts again.

Once we get back from Malta I’d like to find a local (or online) photography club with some good weekly assignments to fire my creativity and motivate me to get the most out of my new toy.

If you feel the need to comment, head over to the original post on Matt’s Musings.

Leave a comment


  1. Camera looks awesome! Defintely gonna look like a pro walking around with that.

    As for the Openmoko, once you give up/ lose patience with it I highly recommend the iPhone. Not sure what the plans are like over in Ireland but even with the expensive NZ plans it’s well worth it. Writing this reply from it right now!

  2. To Brian Chan:
    I think there is a reason for people buying Openmoko phones: To be free. iPhone is locked in every way you can think.

    And to Matt:
    You should try the newest Om2008.8 I find it to work quite reliably.

  3. Looks good Matt – we just recently bought a Canon 400D (just because it was a bit cheaper than the 450D) but I am sure you will absolutely love it. We thought it was a lot of money to spend on a camera, but have never regretted it! Hope you and Kat are well!

  4. Nice bro, what lens did you get with the camera? You will enjoy having that i reckon!

  5. Just the standard 18-55mm kit lens at the moment. I’ve got my eye on a few more, but need to wait until I next go to the US for work, much, much cheaper to buy camera gear over there!

  6. Ah nice yeah, if the kit lens there is the same as here photo quality improves significantly with a new lens from seeing my mates cameras / photos before and after new lenses. Always good when work will fly you to the states to buy cheap camera gear!