A digital camera can be a useful tool for a software development team. They only cost a few hundred bucks, and can be used for the following:
- recording contents of whiteboards that have important notes on them
- pictures of console screens, blue screens of death, or other kinds of screenshots that can't be captured using the computer itself
- pictures to be included in documentation or training materials
- pictures of documents, index cards, or notes (in lieu of photocopying or scanning them)
- pictures proving that the system did actually work correctly once
- pictures of deployment sites (useful for planning)
- recording serial numbers, model numbers, license certificates (this is easier and less error-prone than writing them down)
- pictures of how hardware and cables were connected before you started messing with them
- pictures of how hardware and cables were connected when you finally got everything working again
- sprucing up the software or web site with some color photos
- using a picture of the development team as an EasterEgg
- if the team gets a compromising photo of someone in upper management, everybody gets a raise!
- great for disposable shots. Shots not intended to keep, but useful for a limited time.
Of course, many of these activities can also be performed by a film camera, but digital cameras have the advantages of
- immediate feedback -- you see what the picture is right after taking it, without waiting for developing
- upload pictures to PC -- for further analysis, upload to web server, e-mail, incorporation into documentation, ...
- storage -- with a large storage card, you can have hundreds of pictures in the camera
- timestamps -- most cameras automatically record date and time with each picture (many film cameras do this too)
- storage media is less troublesome. (Can easily take disk/card out of camera during shooting session. X-rays are not a concern, no worry about light struck film.)
Many cameras today also have the capability to record short movies (including audio) in AVI or Quicktime format.
The ability to quickly capture the contents of whiteboards after a meeting, without having to write SAVE ME on them and hope you can get back to them before they're wiped, is a Very Good Thing. One note: A 1 megapixel camera isn't sufficient for getting good whiteboard pix. 2Mp works much better. --DaveSmith
I found the digicam great for taking pictures of connectors and cables that I did not know the name of and showing the printout to the person in the electronics store.
(Additional comments welcome, but please
let's not start any arguments over brands and models of cameras.)
Right. Hey, I don't think we've put enough emphasis on post processing of the digital images. There are so many inexpensive software packages out there for doing things to your images after they leave the camera that the mind boggles. This is useful for all kinds of documentation -- informational web sites, sales and marketing literature, Wiki discussion support, user manuals, etc. The uses are limitless. Therefore, spend some more moolah on the camera. Get something with 4Mp or maybe even more so that you can have decent pictures to start with. Canon and Nikon, to name just two, have digital cameras that use the same lenses as their 35mm film cameras and can produce almost film quality results. Of course, you really do pay for that level of performance, so your team may want to start out with the $400 Target store special before making the jump to the $3000 Nikon w/lenses.
I received a 3.2 megapixel camera for a present. It's very nice. Having used gelatin based film for many many years, it's nice to be able to critique and purge bad shots while in camera. Thankfully the camera has a full manual mode, though it is tough to remember the white balance. Manual focus is a pain on an LCD though. Real boon is the post camera editing. I am playing around with compositing shots. Something very labourious with gelatin film is just minutes in the computer. It's actually my second digital. I had another about some 13 years ago which used tiny floppy disks. It did not have a digital output though, only had an RCA jack (sigh). I really enjoy DigitalPhotography
. It's a fun GeekyThing
It was a GeekyThing in 1998, but now it's a mass market thing.