Bus, Camera, Sydney (with Ice-Cream)

I missed the bus on Wednesday morning despite being about 10 minutes early. The bus managed to be 10 minutes and 30 seconds early. This means that it traveled from Kilcoole to Greystones in less than five minutes, apparently averaging nearly 50km/h. Anyway, whatever the profound cosmological reason for my missing the bus, it did end up costing me a lot of money.

The walk from Sydney Parade DART station to UCD is something that I find increasingly off-putting in the mornings, so I have taken to going the whole way into the city centre and bussing back out. In order to make my supreme laziness more easily explicable I often visit a few shops while I’m in the city, and that’s what I did on Wednesday. What I don’t often do to while away the time is to buy a swanky new digital camera.

(Aside: Why do i still feel compelled to refer to this as a "digital camera"? Why not simply "camera"? Surely the number of digital cameras sold now far outweighs the number of film cameras, so why is the qualifier "digital" applied to those in the majority?)

I bought my cool new piece of "kit" in the Camera Centre on Grafton St. I think I may have been their perfect customer, having a line as close as it is reasonable to get to "tell me what to buy and my money is yours". All I really specified was that I wanted it to be thin. They showed me the Fujifilm FinePix F460 (no longer on the Fujifilm site, but very similar to the F470). I considered it over a few minutes spent wandering around the ground floor of the St Stephen’s Green shopping centre eating an orange choc chip ice-cream cone. Then I went back and bought it.

An attractive alliterative appellation is not this camera’s only feature. It has a 5.1 megapixel resolution, a 512-megabyte memory card, 3x optical zoom (how do you say that out loud? "Three by"?) I paid extra for the memory card upgrade because the number 256, when it relates to memory, spells 2001 to me. It even records video, which both salespeople failed to mention. It doesn’t even have that stupid 30-second limit that a lot of cameras have; it will record until the memory runs out (at about nine minutes and 20 seconds).

Of course I ignored the ludicrously long instructions for connecting to a computer and just plugged it straight into my Powerbook’s USB port. I have to say that iPhoto really lives up to the it-just-works-ness of the rest of the "Apple experience".

Now all I need is something to take photos of. Sydney Opera House should do nicely. Or maybe the Harbour Bridge. I’ll be in Sydney from next Saturday (28th January) until the following Thursday (2nd February) at the Conference on Intelligent User Interfaces, where I’ll be presenting a demo of our team’s last few months’ work. That will be for a few hours on the Tuesday evening. You have to wonder how it’s worthwhile to send me half way around the world (Dublin – London – Singapore – Sydney – Hong Kong – London – Dublin) for that. Then again, I’m not paying for it (except in time; I’ll be in the air for nearly two full days in total). I have Sunday the 29th off, so that will be my one-day holiday in Australia. Are there many kangaroos in Sydney?