Thursday, March 22, 2012

Using Apple QuickTake 100 in OS X era

Retrieving the Images

If you're living in MacOS X environment with Intel inside your machine, there's no way you can retrieve the images from this 90s Apple QuickTake 100 camera. You need help from either old Mac machine with MacOS 9 (older the better) or Mi (wait for it) crosoft Windows XP!

You're no longer have old Macs with PowerPC processor. Instead of wandering on eBay looking for any old Mac, will be much hassle-free to install Windows XP in your Mac Intel via Bootcamp or using emulator like Parallel Desktop or VMWare Fusion.

What you need:
- Microsoft Windows XP emulator for MacOS X
- DIN8 to RS-232 adapter like this one (or create it yourself) and RS-232 to USB adapter like this one
- QuickTake software for Windows (link)
- Prolific driver for Windows (link)

Another tutorial how to make a serial cable for Apple QuickTake without soldering is here. Thanks Eric!

Plug the power adapter (warning: the serial connection drains the battery) & serial cable. The LCD indicator shows rotating icon. Once the Windows XP detects the USB connection, go to Control Panel > System > Hardware > Device Manager. We need to assign the USB connection as COM1, COM2, COM3 or COM4 port. Here I take COM1 as default.

Launch the QuickTake serial ports software to test the connection. It'll saying the QuickTake camera has been connected. Then launch QuickTake main software to get the images from the camera.

Oh look! The timestamp says "2/21/93"! 1993!

Save the photos to your Mac directory.

The Quality

iPhone 4, low-res image from QuickTake, hi-res image from QuickTake

QuickTake can take up to 32 low resolution (standard) photos with 320 x 240 or 8 high resolution photos with 640 x 480. Keep in mind that this is an 18 years old camera with 18 years old technology from the era before mega-pixels. So compare to modern iPhone 4, I can say that the quality is not bad. We can see the decent image though there are some artefacts & blurry edge.

High resolution with flash and without flash

Low resolution with flash and without flash

It looks like images from Geocities homepage back in mid 90s, showed via Netscape browser in my PowerMac computer. But still way better than my 2003 Sony Ericsson Z600 camera ;)

So, it's just for fun. Exploring the retro tech rather than creating good quality photos.
There's no way we can print this kind of image for professional purpose.
But I hope this post helps all the retro gadget collectors out there. Time to resurrect the QuickTake!

Related links:
- Vectronic's QuickTake 100
- Quick brief history

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

PowerBook 170 is Back From the Dead

Remember the dead PowerBook 170 we bought in Kuwait flea market? No battery no sign of life. Then I bought a cheap PowerBook 170 adapter from eBay & decided to try if it still working or not.
No luck, still no sign of life.

Month passing, yesterday I plugged the adapter back to the PowerBook 170. Then suddenly "BOING" sound heard. It's alive! Nothing wrong with the logic board, inverter board, speaker. But it seems the harddisk is not working. Either still sleeping or totally kaput. We don't know yet.

Next mission: making a bootable floppy disk with System 7 to boot-up the PowerBook.

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Quick Review: iPhoto for iOS

Something is missing

At the beginning I was excited. But then, I realized it's just another photo editing & publishing app from Apple. Nothing more. Despite the cool effects feature, something is missing: the direct integration with iPhoto desktop library.

Let me share our story before we talk about iPhoto for iOS.
Here's the daily basis scenario using photos with our iPhone.
  1. Take photos.
  2. Retouch, effects etc then upload to Instagram etc.
  3. After 1000 photos, import all to iPhoto for Mac as the main master database of our photo library. Then delete all the 1000 photos in the iPhone so we'll get new fresh room for another new photos.
  4. Organize the photos in the iPhoto. Keyword, date, album, location, face, etc. And sometimes upload them to Flickr or else.
This is how we organize the ocean of our photos. Archived. Organized. 
But sometimes, we want to take the pictures from the archive - the iPhoto Library database - to our mobile device, iPhone or iPad. There are options we always take:
  1. Create a specific album in iPhoto for Mac.
  2. Open iTunes, sync that album to iPhone/iPad.
  3. Open that album on iPhone/iPad & select photo.
  1. Launch PhotoSync app on desktop.
  2. Drag the photo from iPhoto Library to the PhotoSync app
  3. Launch PhotoSync app on iPhone/iPad.
  4. Receive the photo.
Then last night, Apple announced that they have iPhoto for iOS. I was like.. THIS IS IT! FINALLY! The real iPhoto integration between Mac & iPhone! Seamlessly, wirelessly, iTunes-less integration! iPhoto desktop has iPhoto mobile agent!

I was wrong.
As I wrote before, apparently it's just another photo editing & publishing app from Apple.

The distance between iPhoto for Mac to iPhoto for iOS

Another mobile photo retouching app

I have Camera+, SnapSeed, PhotoForge2, 100Cameras, Plastic Bullet for tweaking the photos. They are all awesome. Do we need another photo editing app? It depends.

For me, the effects feature is fantastic, though a bit slow & sluggish on iPhone 4.

Edits in hi-res. Retrieve back the original photos. Save directly in Camera Roll Library or Albums.
But definitely, it's not a replacement for my SnapSeed & Camera+.


We had .mac photo library in the early 2000s. Then MobileMe Gallery. Now, iCloud Journals. Another  online gallery from Apple but lack of many online features such as reshare or URL link for each photos just like MobileMe or .mac had.

Select photos from library & put them in Journals album. Put the photos with widgets: map, notes, weather, header as additional elements. What you edit here, sync directly to iCloud. Delete one journal in iPhone, deleted also on the iCloud. Keep in mind, by default, free iCloud only has 5GB space.

This is how it looks in the iCloud. Neat eh?

You can check my Journals here.

If you're an ex MobileMe user, this Journals is too basic compare to MobileMe Gallery. Remember how it looks & the features?

You can reshare, reupload, edit & sync directly from iPhoto for Mac. Maybe Apple have hidden plans for adding similar features on Journals in the future? We'll see.

Is it a must have app?

Again (and again) it's just another photo editing app. I was expect more, like the integration with iPhoto desktop. Journals feature, is what makes this app different with other photo editing apps. If you have an iCloud account, Journals is one good feature to add. Though it's not mature yet.