Writing is just the beginning

I like blogs that include pictures. I haven’t thought about taking pictures for a very long time. I have a camera, in fact, a couple of them…if I can find them. Okay, I found them, an Olympus D-620L and a D-340R. These are pretty old cameras. I don’t know if they still work. Also, I bought them way back when I was using Microsoft Windows. I do all of my work today on Linux systems. I wonder if I can get my Linux machines to talk to the cameras? I only had four batteries. That’s enough for one camera. They’re rechargeable, so I plugged them in to see if they’d hold a charge.

The batteries are just barely holding a charge. I can use the cameras for about 15 minutes. I’ll need a new set. The batteries are Radio Shack, so it shouldn’t be a problem replacing them. For now, I can test the cameras. My wife just reminded me that I also have a camera in my phone, so I’ll try all three.

Taking pictures was no problem. All three cameras seemed to work. Now, I have to figure out how to download the pictures to my computers. As I said, the two Olympus cameras are pretty old. Most devices today attach with a USB cable. Both of my cameras use a serial cable. I do most of my work on my laptop, and sadly, it doesn’t have a serial port. I have two desk machines (yeah, I like computers). One is designated as Untouchable. I’m a ceaseless tinker; I can’t help myself. I can’t tell you how many email addresses I’ve lost because I decided on the spur of the moment to load a new Linux system and didn’t get everything backed up. The other machine is designated Experimental. I try to isolate my tinkering to that machine. Both desktop machines have serial ports, so I can try to download my pictures to either one.

I went to the Internet to find a software package that would allow me to talk to the cameras. DigiKam seemed like it should do the job, so I loaded it up, hooked up the D-620L, and asked the software to look for the camera. I accomplished my daily goal. Here was my first failure. I couldn’t find any way to get the software to recognize the camera. At this point, I was working on Untouchable. I want this machine to remain stable, so no tinkering. Time to switch to Experimental. (Their real names are darkstar and whitestar. I’m a Babylon5 fan too.)


Ubuntu is probably the most-used flavor of Linux. It usually does good hardware detection all by itself. I decided to change Experimental from Arch Linux (my preferred Linux system) to Xubuntu (an Ubuntu variant). I was looking for something that would just plug-n-play. Actually, I was being lazy. This turned into a really big failure because I couldn’t see the camera with this system either and I don’t know how to tinker with Ubuntu. So: I blew away an Arch Linux system that was working perfectly well, loaded Xubuntu which didn’t work at all for the intended purpose, and now had to reload my Arch system because if this was going to happen at all, it was going to require some tinkering.

Arch Linux reloaded. Not that big a deal. I put a little salve on my wounds by telling myself that it was really a benefit in disguise because now I had a clean system. All my previous tinkerings were gone. I know; I don’t buy it either.

After a few Google searches, I discovered a program called photopc. The author specifically indicated that he was using it with an Olympus D-620L, so I decided to give it a try. It’s a command-line only program, but no one running Arch Linux would have a problem with that. Probably not too good, though, for anyone new to Linux or only used to Graphical User Interfaces.


To make this already-too-long story short, I had to figure out how to tell photopc where my serial port was and mess around with some file permissions (something Windows-folk don’t have to worry about), and it all worked pretty well. Not only can I download pictures from the two Olympus cameras, but I can have the camera tell me about what’s stored on it and have it erase pictures.

Here are three quick and dirty pictures that I took. I won’t hold my breath waiting to win a prize for one of these, but I can take pictures, get them into my blog, and I didn’t have to buy a new camera. Yeah!

Olympus D-340R

Olympus D-620L

Motorola Droid

One response to “Writing is just the beginning

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