kaa ka camera

Finally i have bought my own. Canon S3 IS and 2Gb memory.

Its been a while since i have been thinking about getting a camera. Since our family got first point and shoot camera, fixed focus camera some 10 years back, I have been the photographer of our family, our relatives and any function, party,etc. On my uncle’s (mamaji’s) marriage the photographer ditched us at the final moment. Everyone looked at me. That was the most strenous day for me as a photographer. Working on a camera which did’nt have a battery. So it worked on a fixed shutter speed. So i had to calculate the aperture for every situation keeping that speed in mind. Anyway around 75% of the pics i took were ok. And most were pleased. Though some of those gossipy aunties thought i had missed them on purpose :).

That camera belonged to one of my other uncles. It was a yashica electro. A very popular model once, now there are so many of them, even vintage camera collectors are wary of them. My uncle wanted me to get the battery from mumbai. I took the camera along with me to mumbai to make sure i got the right model of the battery.
Once when I was in VT, i remembered i had the dead battery with me. So I went to the lane which began from the station towards the Gateway. The camera shops which lined the whole left side. I asked one or two who pointed me towards a inner lane. From one pointed finger to another, I found myself in quite a inner lane. There the shop owner told me he did have the battery. He sent his helper to somewhere who brought the battery after around after 10 mins. Just to be sure, i asked him to check it with a voltmeter. He did that, and the voltage was ok. I paid him and left.

When i reached my room, took the camera and put the battery. There is a button which checks the battery. When you press that button and the battery is working there is small green light which lights up. That green light remained silent.
I took out the battery and examined it properly. The base of the battery didn’t seem all right. All i had to do was twist the base, and the whole base opened up, like a bisleri cap. And inside where 4 button cells. The ones you can get for a ruppee.

Anyway i continued to use that sturdy camera, throughout my college stay. It was with me on treks, cycling treks. And meanwhile 4 years had passed, and my kind uncle had willingly forgotten about his camera. I will present him a digital camera soon.

Meanwhile, I got another camera a vintage leica. And this one literally fell into my hands. I was walking towards my room in hostel, when I found a guy breaking a lock. And to my utter suprise he was using a camera as a hammer. I snatched the camera from him. Broke the lock for him. He was from orissa. One of his friends father had given him this camera to get it repaired in mumbai. He did’nt have the enthusiasm to do that. So the camera had laid around in his room for quite some time. And he had found it quite useful as a hammer. He was quite glad i valued that camera so much and gave it to me.

This camera is quite famous in vintage camera circles. But I don’t want to sell it. But with it’s unusable features (there are two viewfinders, one for focus and other for layout), i would rather not use it as well. If I get someone passionate enough I will give it away.

Then came the era of digital camera. Since many of my friends had one, there was no dearth of one. So i spent my days phtographing with borrowed cameras. Once I went to Goa with anmol’s camera. I was climbing a hillock near anjuna beach. With all the beauty around I, a moment of carelessness, and the camera came tumbling out of its bag. Flying down some 6 feets, it landed on solid granite, bouncing once it came to rest inches from a puddle. With my heart in my mouth, i found that the lcd had cracked and the buttons beneath the lcd were not working. Other than that the camera was working. I knew what doctors must feel like when they have to tell a family about there dying member. Anyway anmol was quite cool about it. He repaired it himself (he’s a microelectronics MTech :), i just had to pay him the 5k for the new LCD.

Recently after coming to delhi, vinod’s friend divyanshu, who is a great photographer himself became my photography partner. Once we went to tuglakabad fort at around 11:30 at night. We parked the bike, and were busy shooting the fort in the yellow light with late slow speeds, using a tripod. Suddenly we could here a police siren, from a gypsy which was standing near our bike. We went towards him. The inspector was a punjabi.
“kya kar rahe ho itne raat mein?”
Divyanshu:”jee photo kheech rahen hain”
“yahi time mila hai?”
Divyanshu:”raat mein hi monuments ke photo achhe aate hain na”
“ye ilaka theek nahi hai…jaldi niklo yahan se..kuch ho jaaye tumhe toh sabhi dilli police ko bolenge, aur ye bike tumhari hai? koi le jaata isey toh?”
Divyanshu:”chabi toh mere paas hai :)”
“sirf chabi hi rah jaati”
We left 5 mins after that warning :).

I need more adventures like that :).
And i have made a slideshow, with some basic fundaes for people who are planning to buy a camera.

Browser War – 1

99% chances are that you are reading this on a browser. So being a usability/design blog why not analyze your browser first. For starters let’s just focus on very basic browsing goals, in three web browsers mainly IE7, Firefox 2 and Opera 9. And we won’t be going into how these browsers render html code or how margins behave differently in IE and other browsers. Because the users do not care; all they want is a browser which lets them do things they want. And they won’t change their browser if a margin goes a little here or there. So what we will do is analyze how these browsers respond to normal basic browsing.

What is normal basic browsing? Opening new windows, new tabs, typing in a URL etc. We will go task wise and try to accomplish each task in each browser.

Task: Opening a New window from file menu by either File> New Window or by the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + N. Then typing in the URL and pressing enter using the keyboard.

IE7 opening a new fileIE: It duplicates the existing page instead of opening a fresh new window. In some cases it might be useful but in most of the cases it is completely useless. Now if the user presses the stop button or presses the ‘Esc’ then the page loading stops. Let’s assume the user does not stop the loading page, instead clicks with the mouse on the address bar. While clicking on the address bar s/he is looking at the monitor. After
bringing the cursor into the address bar, the user looks down at least once towards the keyboard and begins typing. Meanwhile during this time what many times happens is that the duplicate page has loaded and the browser puts that URL into the address bar. The user’s click has gone waste.
There are two problems here:
a) The browser opens a duplicate page when ordered to open a new window.
b) Once the user clicks any editable textbox, s/he should be its master. But here the browser usurps control.
Opera new window optionsOpera: Opera has got it exactly right. It opens a fresh new window with cursor blinking on the address bar. The behavior when starting opera, and when opening a new page are totally different and as expected. A new page is a new page. And users can set what they want when starting opera, homepage, or last open page, etc.
Firefox new window optionsFirefox: It opens a blank page when a new page is opened, as it should. This takes it’s value from the Tools>Options>Main>Startup. The options here are blank page, homepage or last session. When either blank page or last session is selected, it opens a blank page when we do Ctrl + N or File>New Window. But if the homepage is selected it starts opening the homepage in every new window. Architecturally the problem here is that the browser behaves in the same way when it starts as well as when a new window is opened.Here we have to look into the benefits of setting a homepage. One would set the homepage as something which s/he wants to see the first time s/he opens a browser. It maybe an email site, a news site or whatever. But once he has opened the browser, the homepage is loaded. And the marginal utility of the homepage loaded on any new window is considerably lower.

Here too the problem with the browser loading the URL over a clicked address bar is present.
Task: Opening a page by pasting a URL into the address bar.

IE and Firefox: Behave similarly and as expected.

Opera: We copy the URL from somewhere and paste it in the address bar. To start page loading we would need one thing, the ‘Go’ button. But where is it? Opera has added a feature, when right clicked in the address bar; it has an additional option, ‘Paste and Go’. Though this is very useful as it eliminates a click, removing a very basic button, just because you have a new feature does not make sense.opera go button absent

Task: Opening a new tab window by either File> New Tab or keyboard shortcut Ctrl + T

There are multiple ways of opening a new tab in each of these browsers.
IE: a) File>New Tab along with the keyboard shortcut Ctrl +T. They have put this option above the New Window option. Guess they want to propagate tab navigation.
b) Click on the rectangle, which gives a new page icon on hover. Which I guess is a little less discoverable. The easy thing could have been to put in the icon by default and on hover a text box saying ‘New Tab’.
c) Clicking on the tab bar, in the vacant space opens a new tab. The problem with this is when the number of tabs increase to 4-5 the tab bar is fully covered. And there is no vacant space. So this feature is only useful when the tabs are less than 4-3 (in different monitor resolutions). The workaround IE has done is, even when the number of tabs increases the rectangle still remains and remains to the right of the tabs, where new tabs should come. So the users flow is maintained.
IE New Tab

Opera: a) File> New Tab along with the keyboard shortcut Ctrl +T. Here also it is above the new window. No surprise because these are the people who started tabs.
b) On the left of the tabs is the button for the ‘New Tab’. It has both text and the icon which makes it quite intuitive. But the utility of this button is a little suspect because of its positioning. Also it is too near the File>New Tab.
c) Here also you can click on the vacant area on the Tab bar and open new tabs. But as soon as this space is taken by the new tabs the user has to go back towards left to the ‘New Tab’ button. This totally breaks the flow. They could have easily put the button to the right of the open tabs, like IE7 which would solve this problem.
Opera New Tab

Firefox: a)File> New Tab along with keyboard shortcut Ctrl + T. But it goes below the Ctrl + N option. I can’t understand why.
b)It does not have the tab bar by default. Only if you open the first tab in a window does the tab bar come. This hugely reduces discoverablity. People who may not know about tabs, may never come to know of it. Also there is not default button for new tab. User’s can customize and add it. Now how many people do actually customize?
c)Here also you can open a new tab by clicking on the vacant are on the tab bar. Again the same problem of having no vacant area as soon as 4-5 tabs are open.FireFox New Tab
The rest of this post will be posted in a few days. It will include rest of the ways of opening a page, i.e clicking on a link, right clicking etc..