Jewish World Review August 13, 2004 / 26 Menachem-Av 5764


One to buy, one to skip

By Mark Kellner

http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | Sony Corp.'s $349 Cybershot DSC-P93 is, I would submit, the kind of camera you want to have when traveling around and taking a lot of photos. Two weeks ago, I did just that, and the camera — discussed here just before that trip — surpassed expectations.


First, it's small enough to carry around easily, especially when coupled with a small carrying case that can hold the camera, an extra set of batteries, and perhaps an extra MemoryStick card or two. The case I used, with the romantic name of LCM-PHA retails for $50; other cases cost as little as $20.


Second, and most important, it takes great pictures. I spent five days seeing important historical sites in Israel, which offers more photo opportunities than a Kerry-Edwards stop at Wendy's. Climbing through Jaffa, Megiddo, Capernaum, Tiberias and Qumran, let alone the "Old City" of Jerusalem, I discovered that the DSC-P93 lives up to its promise: the pictures taken were magnificent, and the quality exceptional. And, I didn't have to lug a super-heavy camera to accomplish the task.


I did gain an appreciation for the rechargeable batteries - and voltage-converting transformer - that were supplied with the kit. Using an adapter plug from my hotel, I was able to reboost the camera batteries each evening, making a day's worth of picture taking quite possible and easy. As noted before, one can use standard "AA" batteries for the same task, but it's better to use the Ni-Cad rechargeables.


I also liked having a 256MB MemoyStick to use; it's a good size for a day's shooting. Of course, I did download the day's pictures to my PowerBook each evening, and erase the storage card. Both are essential moves to handle a lot of pictures, and then keep them around. Connecting the camera to the computer was easy with a supplied USB cable; however, photo transfers were done with the camera on, draining battery power. I wish there were an adapter for the MemoryStick to make it work with a PC Card slot supplied with the camera. Sony sells one for $70 as an option.

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Sony supplies a CD of software to use with the camera, but, having a Mac along, I just used Appl's iPhoto for basic tasks. Back home, Adobe's Photoshop Elements 2 is a great tool for improving and editing photos without too much hassle.


Checking the camera company's Web site (www.sonystyle.com) the other day, I found an extra $20 markdown on the DSC-P93. That brings the price down to $329, and oh, boy, is that tempting! You might be tempted, too.


THE FOLKS AT The Walt Disney Company last week rolled out a $900 personal computer for kids that features a flat-panel display screen with a Mickey Mouse frame, and a CPU box that fits behind the display.


Yawn.


Disney wants consumers to traipse over to CompUSA and shell out quite a bit of money for a PC that has an Intel Celeron D Processor 330, 256MB RAM, 40GB Hard Drive, DVD / CD-RW Combo Drive, Windows XP Home Edition, and Microsoft Works productivity software. There's content filtering software for e-mail and Internet use, and some nice Disney applications that kids might enjoy.


But the overall pricing seems a bit high and the 256 MB of RAM is limited, especially if the kids get going with the multimedia "Disney Dream Desk" software: applications and Windows XP Home both can eat up RAM in a hurry.


If you're looking for a good PC for the kids, keep searching. More can be found, for less money, even if it means the LCD won't have mouse ears.

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JWR contributor Mark Kellner has reported on technology for industry newspapers and magazines since 1983, and has been the computer columnist for The Washington Times since 1991.Comment by clicking here.

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© 2004 News World Communications, Inc. Reprinted with permission of The Washington Times. Visit the paper at http://www.washingtontimes.com