February 22, 2016
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A while ago, I had the idea to take a cheap Windows phone and turn it into a dedicated portable media player. The prime motivator of that idea was cost. $30 for an electronic device, especially one with a good touchscreen, is pretty unbeatable. That experience has been pretty much ok. There’s a few issues that will hopefully be worked out in the future. But another opportunity came up and I moved on it. More phones!
The media player phone is a Lumia 435. The new deal is a Lumia 640, again for $30. I bought two. And I still would be getting back the $60 Lumia 640 from the GF when she gets her Sony fixed. So that’s three phones of the same make and model. What could I do with them?
The first thing I thought of was home security cameras, but the first idea I could take action on was a car dashcam. I looked in the app store and found a few free candidates and a few paid candidates. So I got the free ones and set out to see what it would do.
I purchased a windshield mount and put the phone up under my mirror. With that and my GPS on the windshield, it looks a little ridiculous. But it’s not too distracting (at least not doing the day because the polarized screen just looks black with my sunglasses on. At night, it’s a little more glance-worthy). The way the dashcam app works is, the camera is constantly recording and discarding video. It keeps a certain time period in memory at all times. When you touch the screen to indicate an incident has occurred, the app saves that piece of video to the phone.
In two days of use, I already captured my first incident. It was a rabbit. Now I can replay the horrible thumping sounds as many times as I want! Viva technology!