New! From Japan! It's a camera! Snappy Snappy! It has a Pure Digital logo at the bottom. I kept the plastic wrapped around it as the "case". It was "NEW". It was an idea to make CVS drug stores LOTS of money. It's a VIDEO CAMERA, and it was the forerunner of the early to mid 00's "blog cam" craze. They way it came into the world, this one was a step below the 640x480 that became the standard of web cams at the time. However, it was not for me, at least when it came out.
This was the "key" to any shmoe like me taking a great movie. No controls. On/Off. Check. It made that wonderful "Boop Boop Beep" sound when it was on and a delightful "Be De Boop" when it got shut off. Big red "record" button that you pressed to start and stop your masterpiece. Then, a playback button to run the videos and a delete button that asked if you were sure you wanted to delete the video of you playing with yourself. Did I say that? No, it's not Mr. Fat Hanz that was involved in that scandalous footage. He's the left hand not the right hand... Did I say that AGAIN? What the hell, is this an URKEL bit?
It was a brilliant introduction to taking digital movies. Why? Boomer The Dog that's why. I wouldn't have owned this device if it weren't from my friend that finds a way to hack anything electronic. Especially when if you don't know the tricks of the trade, you'll pay dough to see your "movies" on anything but the small screen of this little mighty.
Here was the story as I recall. I guess the PURE camera technology came out in Japan and China and CVS figured out a way to make a buck by "exclusively" offering this camera to America through it's stores. Yes, Rite Aid joined later and then even later in upgraded form, then these were released as FLIP cameras, which was Pure's brand name for these. It cost $20 to "rent" this camera. They sold it retail with a fresh set of batteries. They put a special connector with a special "key" to take the batteries out of it. This "rental" then gave you 20 glorious minutes of video. Pure's tech actually took pretty decent videos. Really good light handling and better audio than a lot of other cameras had a few years later when generics and other brands flooded the "chip recording" "blog camera" market. Of course, you could only see the latest video you've taken, so you'd better be sure. There was no feature to keep the first video you've taken but skip the third. So, when you filled it up or ran the batteries out, you took it back to a participating CVS to get your videos "developed". They used a special interface to get the videos off the camera and put them on a CD rom. Of course, that cost money as well. I think it was $13. That meant about $35 total for 20 minutes of video masterpieces. Oh yeah, if you wanted to do it again, you had to "rent" another camera for $20 and start all over again. Wow. Did they think they would make money doing this? The quality of the video/audio was pretty much better than any camera at it's time, so I'd assume that they did make money. Technology moves fast though...
...and there were plenty of people that thought that CVS's racket was silly, and decided to do something about it. It was a "consumer" product and sold to "consumers". Shortly after these came out, the tech heads started seeing what they could do to make these work without returning it. So, after a few months. my friend Boomer picked up one of these cams, downloaded the camera's created "software" (to make it free) and built a cable from an old printer cable, and was able to download all the videos to his computer. So, he had a video camera for $20. CVS didn't make you sign anything or put a deposit on said camera, so if you paid $20 and decided never to turn it in, well, what was stopping you from reusing it if you knew how. When he showed me what the camera could do, I went and followed his lead. He made me a cable, I installed the software and I was officially a "camera hacker". Got my moneys worth from this cam. Took tons of videos. Got plenty of really good looking stills from this as well. All less than 640X480.
Pure technology would come out with some pretty snazzy cameras, and then they were swallowed by Cisco and went away a few years later. Cell phones were becoming the norm and they could do video and pictures and pretty much killed the low cost camera market. They've improved so much in a scant few years. Still, the audio and video these produced and the fact that they are small. self contained magic workers, makes me want to use one to this day. Not this type, the cable and the software went to XP only. However, Boomer is also a fan, and we've got a few of the Pure 640x480 cameras with the USB dongle or even the removable SD chip from those nuts over at FleaBay. I remember when Boomer and I would walk around with these CVS cameras and people would think they were STILL cameras. They would sit still waiting for the flash until we said they were video cams. Then the market got flooded. Recently I bought one of the "clones" that took okay video but really low grade audio. I really don't take video any more. I blog about my junk. Nothing to see here. Move along. Wait! Ask Boomer how many of these particular cameras he bought from Rite Aid and CVS... I'll have to fire up the software on my old 400mhz Compaq laptop and....awww forget it. Junk Blog.