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|| News Item: Posted 2002-05-02

Is That A Phojo In Your Pocket?
By Robert Deutsch, USA TODAY

Photo by
Ever been stuck at a news event and needed to send a quick picture to make edition or for the web, but cannot leave your spot? Or need to send a quick one during the game but you don't want to miss any action? And of course you do not have your laptop, or can't use it at courtside (for example at the Olympics we had to lug laptops up the mountain and ski with them). How many times have I stared at my Palm wishing it could edit and send my photos?

Well, Idruna's Pocket Phojo may be just the thing for you. It is editing and transmitting software for the Pocket PC 2002 that I recently tested, residing on a Compaq IPAQ 3800 series handheld. And it does exactly that. You can edit a disk, caption it, do a quick levels and color tweak, and transmit by a connected cell phone. It works very well. And it really fits in a pocket (ok, a big pocket!)

After shooting digital files on a compact flash card, you slide the card into the Compaq's expansion module that piggybacks onto the IPAQ. It takes type 1 and 2 cards, including IBM Microdrives (but be careful herethe Microdrives, but not other CF cards, are almost impossible to remove from the expansion pack!). Jpg's only, no raw files.

Launching Phojo is a one click task, and you can then point it to the appropriate folder on the card. Loading large lo res thumbnails (slightly larger than 1x 1.5 inches) took a little over 2 minutes on a full 256 Meg card with 175 1D images.

Once loaded, they stay until you flush them or you use a different card. Tapping on a thumbnail opens it to a larger full res image (about 12 seconds for a 1D image), which at the IPAQ's 65,000 colors has enough detail to edit and do a quick levels, color correct and unsharp masking, though I would recommend not doing too much color correcting based on this screen. You can magnify, rotate, view full screen, crop, and there is a full IPTC caption screen with loading and saving preset templates included.

You then save the image to either the same CF card or to a second secure digital card in the second slotyou should not save it to the IPAQ. JPG compression is fully adjustable.

You can then transmit via an attached cell phone using several options:
The built in FTP client, single image or batch upload, which was very easy. It had a progress bar to let you know it's moving.

Email which worked fine attaching a file to the built in Outlook for the pocket PC email client (but with no progress bar it was hard to tell if you were successful in sending).

Web mail, which I couldn't get to work since the web mail page from Earthlink does not show an attachment option on the page as seen on the IPAQ.

BBS, sending to our Telefinder server, worked using a terminal interface but was so hard I do not recommend it.

Connecting to a cell phone and configuring the IPAQ's email took some care, but once you get this set up it's smooth sailing after that. There are additional options to send via Modem, Ethernet, WiFi, or 3G cell where available, which require additional PC card interfaces.

Text entry on the IPAQ can be done in four different ways:

* Block recognizer, just like the palm.

* Transcriber, which works with natural handwriting.

* Letter recognizer, similar to the palm.

* Keyboard, tapping letters on a small keyboard on screen.

I found the Block recognizer to be best, only because I'm used to my palm anyway.

The rechargeable battery seemed to last long enough to handle any single event.
The Phojo software works best on the IPAQ 3800 series, but may work, at least partially, on other PocketPC's. It sells for $499, and you can get the combined Phojo software and IPAQ hardware for $1299.

Contact Idruna at

(Robert Deutsch is a staff photographer with USA TODAY based in New York. He is a regular contributor to Sports Shooter on new geeky products.)

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