Practical use of the Treo camera

OK, so we know that the Treo cameras, like cell phone cameras in general, are not great quality and aren’t going to replace your digicam anytime soon… Since getting the Treo, I’ve been wondering what I could do with this little lo-fi camera.

The other day I needed to pick up mail from the post office which had been held for us while we were on vacation. When we got to the post office, we realized that we had left all of our photo id’s at home. So when the clerk asked for photo id, I took out my Treo and showed him a photo of my passport which I had taken during the trip (another backup to the xerox copies that travel books recommend you take for putting in various luggage, giving to family members, etc…). Now I don’t know if all post office employees are going to accept digital photos, but in this case it worked for me.

Here are some more uses of the camera (you’ll note that they’re heavily biased towards travel):

  • Take photos of passports and credit cards (front and back) in case you lose them. Having the back of the credit card is good for getting the phone number to call if you lose the card.
  • Take shots of places as you get to them so you have a record of the time for when you arrived or for calculating the time to travel between 2 points
  • While traveling, take a quick shot of a restaurant sign or menu or a food item so you can remember where you went, what you had, etc. for blogging about it later.
  • Take a photo of the room number on your hotel door so that you don’t forget it.
  • Take photos of the little placards in a muesum. Am I going to remember in 6 weeks from now what each of the rooms were in the Palacio Real de Madrid? Of course not, but these photos might jog my memory a bit (be careful, some museums and churches don’t want you taking photos and the same is often true of airports).
  • Take a photo of where you parked your car in a large parking lot, like at the airport.
  • Take a photo of your rental car (including the license plate) so that you remember which is yours.
  • Take photos of street signs on the way to a hard-to-find destination to help you or someone else find it later. Attach voice memos to the pics with further instructions like “left on this street”.
  • Take a photo of a taxi driver’s identification placard or license plate so that if he tries to cheat you, you can identify him later.
  • For a very quick record of what time you did something or arrived somewhere, simply take a picture of your watch or a clock, perhaps right before or after the event that you want to associate it with.

Got any more?

User submissions

  • I’m in a bookstore and find an interesting book, but I wonder if I can get it cheaper online. I take a snapshot of the cover and then look it up later. Of course this is kind of nasty if you like supporting small shops, but I generally do it at my university bookstore with textbooks.

7 thoughts on “Practical use of the Treo camera

  1. I don’t have a Treo actually, but does it have a fairly robust “lock” function, in case yuo lose the thing, you aren’t exposing those images to the thieves? If I get my Treo jacked in Europe and those folks now have my Passport photo, and all my credit card photos, um… I’m potentially going to be in a world of (more) hurt. Then again even if it can be “locked”, what about if it’s stolen out of my hand and the guy runs down the street?–it’s unlikely to be locked at that point. This happens with normal digital cameras and cellphones, so I don’t see why it wouldn’t happen with Treos.

    A lot of the suggestions are good, though. When I was in Italy I took pictures of the map at the train station at Lake Como because I couldn’t find a copy to take–and then did actually use it to navigate back at night! It was a little tricky (my old digital camera’s screen was a lot smaller than a treo’s is) but it was better than nothing, especially since we were in an area where it got very deserted, very fast, and we speak not a drop of Italian!

  2. The lock function _is_ robust, and for those of us who hate unlocking it every time we pick it us, you can purchase inexpensive ($7) software which will lock the Treo if you SMS to it with your super-duper lockitup passphrase. Better than I’ve seen with any cameraphopne, or camera.

  3. “I’m in a bookstore and find an interesting book, but I wonder if I can get it cheaper online……..”

    Forget taking a picture. Just look it up online right there! I guess if you don’t have a data plan…

  4. I do have a data plan and sometimes I do that, but data is slow and sometimes I don’t feel like waiting for it (I may not have known about Amazon’s mobile site when I wrote this, which helps a lot; the regular version of Amazon is incredibly slow and difficult to read on the Treo). And often I have already spent too much time in the bookstore (I like bookstores) and my wife is begging for us to leave. 🙂

  5. the treo camera is much more than it seems! it can, in fact, take better images than any “real” camera, you just need to know how to use it. I was so surpriesed at it’s quakity I used it to create my first mobile blog: each of these images was taken with a Treo 650, and none of them were altered after exposure. try tricking it, you on’t be surprised…..

  6. I am lazy to write this down, so I usually take shots of the opening hour plates of the offices and businesses I go to (or doctors, etc). In fact it still happens that I stand in front of a known but closed shop while regretting not having done so on my first visit 😉

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