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Walgreens PureDigital Camera Hacked 177

Powercntrl writes "While the Ritz version of the PureDigital single-use camera was recently hacked, the Walgreens version wasn't - until now. Codeman, the same guy who brought us the I-Opener hack, found a way to add a standard Smartmedia interface to the Walgreens camera and extract images with a standard Smartmedia reader. Links to sample images showing the camera's quality are included."
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Walgreens PureDigital Camera Hacked

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  • by Brento ( 26177 ) * <brento&brentozar,com> on Sunday December 14, 2003 @11:01AM (#7716242) Homepage
    The reason for getting excited is that you can get these for $10 each. Walgreens expects that you'll return them to get your pictures "processed", and then they'll turn around and sell the cameras again to somebody else.

    $10 for a camera that shoots 1280x1024 plus has a flash certainly isn't bad - but then you're going to rack up the expense of a SmartMedia socket, soldering, the memory card, and optionally, your own soldered USB connection. Even if you figure $40-$50 worth of materials, it's not a bad deal, if you can settle for its washed-out colors.
  • Woo hoo! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by i_am_syco ( 694486 ) on Sunday December 14, 2003 @11:07AM (#7716301)
    I needed a digital camera. Santa's going to be visiting a tad earlier this year. To tell you the truth, a reusable digital camera is just begging to be hacked. Why these companies are putting them out at all is beyond me, because the analog film quality is so much better.
  • by dattaway ( 3088 ) on Sunday December 14, 2003 @11:07AM (#7716303) Homepage Journal
    Could a car manufacturer sue me for taking their cheapest car, installing third party leather seats, and pimping it out to the max? I would be circumventing their luxury line and bypassing all their dealer options and business model. Should I be considered... a criminal?
  • Film (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 14, 2003 @11:13AM (#7716354)
    What's the point of digital without an LCD? None. For disposible, nothing beats film. If digital rentals are to take place, they should be in some sort of locked waterproof plastic case that must be torn up to get access to it... unless you have the Walgreen's key. Also, calling it a rental would be better - and charging a deposit fee to keep people from using them for this purpose.
  • by penguinoid ( 724646 ) on Sunday December 14, 2003 @11:20AM (#7716420) Homepage Journal
    To my knowledge, there is no law that says you don't own a material object that you bought. Like you're allowed to destroy the things you buy, no? But don't trust me, I'm not very well informed about laws.
  • damn it! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by pair-a-noyd ( 594371 ) on Sunday December 14, 2003 @11:25AM (#7716474)
    Now they know, in advance about these stories and these dinky sites getting slammed.

    Why don't they mirror these little sites on the awesome OSDN system ahead of the rush?

    Shit, within seconds of release the sites are out of order and the entire story is for naught and NO ONE gets to see what it's all about.
    Quite often the site exceeds it's bandwidth allocation and is taken offline by the ISP for the remainder of the month.

    By the time this site will be viewable again, Walgreens will have pulled the camera from the shelves..

  • Re:Woo hoo! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by garcia ( 6573 ) * on Sunday December 14, 2003 @11:27AM (#7716489)
    because 99% of the population isn't going to use them to hack. Who in their right mind is going to pay $10 to buy the camera and sit there soldering a USB cable to the inards to get the pictures off? Not a non-geek I can tell you that.
  • Re:Woo hoo! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by DrEldarion ( 114072 ) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [0791uhcsm]> on Sunday December 14, 2003 @11:29AM (#7716512)
    Yes, there really is no reason to have a reusable digital camera without an LCD screen. What's the point of even having it be digital if you have to get the pictures processed by the store anyway? Isn't the whole point of digital cameras that you can preview the pictures and that you DON'T have to get film processed? These cameras allow neither of those - they're pointless!

    You can get film developed and put on a picture CD at a much higher quality than this. Why even bother having it be digital??
  • by CRCates ( 557541 ) on Sunday December 14, 2003 @11:29AM (#7716516)
    The real benefit on these cameras (after they're hacked) is that you can use them where you wouldn't want to risk your $100-500 camera.
    For example, most people don't want the expense of having to risk a high-end digital camera for underwater (SCUBA, snorkel) shots. The Ritz camera (when hacked to interface with USB) is a great camera for use in a shallow-depth enclosure (because it has a flash) and you don't care if it's destroyed because $10 is a mere fraction of the cost of diving (it might be less expensive than the compressed AIR you're breathing while doing it).
    Also, think about skiers or other extreme sports people what kick the living crap out of their gear. This makes a digital (albeit crappy) camera something that you can actually use with reckless abandon and not feel so bad when after the Nth time you fall on your *ass after a bad trip down the moguls it finally gives up. (you just hope that it lasts you a couple of trips).
    Granted it's crappy but, again, a niche use is still a good use.
  • Re:Woo hoo! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by duffbeer703 ( 177751 ) * on Sunday December 14, 2003 @11:39AM (#7716605)
    It's cheaper for them.

    Developer chemicals and machines are expensive. Cheaper overhead == more profit.
  • by enosys ( 705759 ) on Sunday December 14, 2003 @01:04PM (#7717444) Homepage
    If you don't hack it and just use it as a disposable, I agree, there isn't much of a benefit from it being digital. Sure, you can delete the last photo but that's not that big of a deal. I'd be more concerned about the image quality disadvantages.

    However, once you have a hacked camera it's a different story. Because it's digital you can take virtually free photos. The batteries in the Ritz version lasted me for about 300 photos and they're just standard AA, easy to change. Sure, it would be better if it had a picture display LCD but it's not like the lack of it makes the camera useless.

    BTW I've read that a slightly more expensive version with an LCD is coming out in 2004.

  • by MarkJensen ( 708621 ) on Sunday December 14, 2003 @01:11PM (#7717497) Homepage

    Unfortunately, the camera mod could be tied into the DMCA, in which case, you would be considered a criminal.

    I, personally, think that this is a neat hack (in the pure sense of the word), but I am sure that Walgreens is not charging $10 to own the camera, but more of a 'rental fee' for its use. Sort of like going to Blockbuster and thinking "Hey! A $5 movie! Cool!" and keeping it.

    Walgreens probably won't get bent out of shape over a miniscule number of these leaving circulation (as the 'mainstream' folks don't have the inclination or abilities as the average /.er), but they might get upset about plans being put on the web...

    P.S. Who modded the original poster (segment) a troll? I think it is a valid point, and isn't inflammatory...

  • by timmytoo ( 732752 ) on Sunday December 14, 2003 @02:04PM (#7717947)
    What do you do when one of your drunk guests breaks it or your uncle Fred decides to take that nice Canon A60 home after the wedding? I'll stick with the $5 disposable film camera.
  • Re:Woo hoo! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by CTho9305 ( 264265 ) on Sunday December 14, 2003 @02:05PM (#7717967) Homepage
    The general population believes slogans like "digital quality" mean that digital is inherently better.
  • Re:Woo hoo! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by dasmegabyte ( 267018 ) <> on Sunday December 14, 2003 @06:38PM (#7720147) Homepage Journal
    Or for the same reason people use $9.99 35mm disposables: they are cheap to get in bulk, easy to have developed and are universally available. In exchange for this, you get embarassingly bad quality. You're not paying for a good camera, you're paying for developed pictures and convenience...with these, you're also getting a CD, which for your average mom & pop ebay team is a godsend.

    But remember: this is a focus-free plastic lens on a 2 megapixel ccd and MAYBE 8 meg of ram, with a washed out flash and no way to recharge the batteries. Companies give better cameras than these away for promotions. If this is how you save money, I've got a good condition Mr. Microphone that's just perfect for use in your stereo system...

    Of course, the purpose of a hack is not to save money. It's because it's fun to make stuff work in ways that were not intended. Otherwise, assholes like me wouldn't be installing leather seats in old Volkswagens or make Macintoshe SEs into wireless email stations...
  • Re:Woo hoo! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dasmegabyte ( 267018 ) <> on Sunday December 14, 2003 @06:50PM (#7720224) Homepage Journal
    Or maybe it's the CDs they offer along with the digital prints, perfect for somebody who wants to ebay something but doesn't own a digital camera.

    Or maybe it's that downloading and printing the pictures takes less than 10 minutes and they're better quality than the one hour photolab. Certainly important if your friends are leaving on a flight and you want to give them pictures of their visit.

    Or maybe it's that film is expensive and the chemicals are quite caustic and any mistakes in the process can result in garbage photos.

    Or maybe it's that you can't overexpose a digital camera, thus eliminating the need for a dark room, and permitting anybody on the planet to process them. Even Habib's Convenience Mart on my corner has room for a printer...

    Or maybe it's that digital cameras are smaller and lighter, since they need no room for film slots. Or that, eventually, they could sell 50 and 75 shot models without increasing the footprint. Some of these one shot flash cameras do not slip comfortably into your pocket...a digital has no excuse. Digital cameras are easier to waterproof as well.

    You could be on to something with your digital retardation theory. But I believe there's a lot more to it than you realized.

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