Saturday, October 19, 2013

Six Uses For Your Camera Phone

Mobile phones and in particular, smartphones have taken the world by storm in the last six (or so) years. And they have certainly come a long way since my first Palm Treo 650. Now that Hershey Bar sized chunk of glass, plastic and aluminum is more powerful than the desktop computers of 10 years ago that were the size of a shoe box. They have more processing power, more memory and are able to connect to the internet at faster speeds without any wires.

Not only are you carrying a varitable computer in your pocket but you also have a camera that rivals point and shoot or pocket cameras of years past.  Yet this is one of the most under utilized and under appreciated features of nearly every mobile phone on the market today. Not everyone feels this way of course, but just in case you do, here is a list of some things that you can use that camera in your pocket for.

  1. Use it as reminder for gifts to buy. Think Christmas lists and birthday presents. Think of walking through a store with one of your children, or your significant other or even a good friend when they casually drop the hint "I really like that..." Simply find an appropriate time to go back and snap a picture of it. That way you have a picture of the exact thing that they want.
  2. Get exactly the part you need. Ever been to the hardware or auto parts store and forgotten which filter it was that you needed? How about to the office supply store and forgotten the model number of ink cartridge that you needed. You guessed it; snap a picture of the offending part or part number and you'll be in and out in a hurry.
  3. Always remember where you park. When you are out shopping with the person from tips #1 and #2 it's possible that you will be in a huge mall parking lot with thousands of cars around. How are you supposed to remember where you parked when you have all that shopping on your mind. Easy, most parking lots are organized with some sort of letter and number system (i.e. lot E row 6) simply snap a picture of the sign closest to your car and you will have that information committed to your second brain. Pro-tip: You can snap one more picture of the entrance that you are going to walk in from your car. This will give you orientation of where you parked in proximity to the entrance.
  4. Magnify very small objects or writing. This one my depend on the resolution of your camera, but can be very useful if your eyesight ain't what it used to be. Simply take a the best possible picture of what you can't see and then zoom in on the resulting image. Most of the time this is done with a pinch out motion of your thumb and fore finger. Viola, that object that was obviously not meant for human eyes to see has been magnified 20x or more.
  5. Remember what something looked like before you took it apart to "fix" it. In fact you can snap pictures at multiple points so that you have a reference to follow in reverse chronological order. This beats assembly instructions any day of the week. 
  6. Down periscope! Similar to #4, sometimes there are things that you just can't get close enough to for some reason. Maybe you can't fit under your car enough to see what that noise is; or there is a hole that you can't quite squeeze into; problem solved. If you can fit your hand and arm in said tight situation snap a picture or even a video and you can find out your car has a huge hole in the muffler from the pictures.
This is just the tip of the iceberg. When combined with other applications on your phone there is no telling what you can accomplish. There are planning apps and note taking apps, story telling apps and journals. How will you be thinking of your smartphone camera differently?

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