The Null Device
Some enterprising hackers have reverse-engineered the firmware on a range of Canon digital cameras (based on the DiGIC II chip) and written their own firmware enhancement. Named CHDK, it offers features including RAW images (disabled in non-professional models), live histograms, depth-of-field calculations and a scripting language (based on BASIC, though we can't have everything) that can be used for automating your camera. There are some sample scripts here, which do things from setting bracketing to specialised modes for unusual photographic conditions to automating HDR photography.
What's more, the replacement isn't a new firmware per se, but rather a patch which boots from the memory card and runs from the camera's RAM (apparently making use of the original firmware's functions), so you won't brick your camera.
I wonder, though, what the performance tradeoffs of using it is; I don't imagine that compact cameras would have large amounts of RAM to spare that can be loaded up with third-party software that they were never intended to run in production.
(via Boing Boing Gadgets, Engadget)
Wall Street is experiencing a Chinese surveillance-led boom, with US hedge funds pumping more than $150m into the growth industry of developing high-tech means of detecting dissent and maintaining the control of the Communist Party over the world's most populous nation — namely, of squaring the circle of having economic freedom with totalitarian political and social control.
Terence Yap, the vice chairman and chief financial officer of China Security and Surveillance Technology, said his company’s software made it possible for security cameras to count the number of people in crosswalks and alert the police if a crowd forms at an unusual hour, a possible sign of an unsanctioned protest.
Mr. Yap said terrorism concerns did exist. His company has outfitted rail stations and government buildings in Tibet with surveillance systems.
In Shenzhen, white poles resembling street lights now line the roads every block or two, ready to be fitted with cameras. In a nondescript building linked to nearby street cameras, a desktop computer displayed streaming video images from outside and drew a green square around each face to check it against a “blacklist.” Since China lacks national or even regional digitized databases of troublemakers’ photos, Mr. Yap said municipal or neighborhood officials compile their own blacklists.
(via Boing Boing)