Developer Tool: Digital Camera

I have found having a digital camera to be an indespensable and freeing tool. One of the ways I have used the camera is to take a picture of design work done on a whiteboard. We then stick it in OneNote notebook which is shared out for the team.

Taking a picture keeps the process simple. You are constrained if you want to change the design, but it's easy to just do a new drawing on the white board, working off of the existing digital version. I have found this process to be more lightweight and creative than huddling around a monitor and trying to do something with Visio.

And with the resolution of today's camera's, I've been able to pictures of print outs or blue prints at a high enough resolution that they are legible when viewed on the computer.

The other day when we were having difficulty describing a prolbem to a component vendor's tech support, we used the camera to shoot a short ~1 minute video that showed the problem. We uploaded the video to a website where the tech guys could view it and we had our answer the next day. It was way quicker and easier than trying to put together a sample project with a readme to illustrate (if it behave the same for them!) the problem.

To make the process painless, it's important to have a media reader attached or built in to your computer for pulling the images off of the SD, XD card whatever. I have found it's simpler to just work with the media rather than mess with hooking up the camera to USB and going through it.