CMOS VS. CCD Sensors

See The Light! CMOS VS. CCD Sensors

CMOS vs CCD — Haven't seen the light? Let's try...

CCD Sensors have been around for 25 years or so, and in the World TECHampionships of imaging technology, it is the depending champion (See World TECHampionships of Flash Memory Card). A chip designed for imaging with a track record of quality as proven by every major digital camera manufacturer. The Challenger - a lower costing chip, with on-chip processing capability and a host of new imaging applications, the CMOS sensor.

CMOS - Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor
CCD - Charge-Coupled Device

Both CMOS and CCD bring strengths and weaknesses into the fray. Regardless of whether any consumer will ever ask a sales clerk, or me for that matter, if that cool-looking digital camera is CMOS or CCD, understanding how these two technologies compare with each other is important to anyone who intends to buy Digital Camera or everyone who has one.

Both CMOS and CCD imagers are manufactured in a silicon foundry and the equipment used is similar. It is in the alternative manufacturing processes and device architectures that make these sensors a bit different in both capability and performance. CCD’s birth began in the 1970s and 1980s, specifically for imaging applications, where the end result was to have the best possible image quality. The technology continues to improve and is still the choice of manufacturers in applications where image quality is the primary requirement.

A CMOS chip too is made with standard silicon processes but in high-volume foundries. Peripheral electronics, such as digital logic, clock drivers, or analog-to-digital converters, can be readily integrated with the same fabrication process. It is worth mentioning that, CMOS imagers can also benefit from process and material improvements made in mainstream semiconductor technology. Therefore we can say, the best is yet to come for CMOS technology.

Further discussing the inner sanctum of CMOS and CCD tech would require me to discuss terms such as memory cell, photosites, multiplexing, X-Y matrix, photodiode, but me, not feeling so "googly" now, we will just leave it at that.

Most PC camera manufacturers in China and Taiwan have been concentrating on CMOS models because they are cheaper and easier to make. An advantage to using CMOS sensors is their system-on-chip (SoC) layout, which uses less space, therefore a more compact digital camera. By using CMOS, makers are able to produce more compact architecture and versatile designs for PC cameras-all at lower costs. In addition, CMOS sensors are already digital video-compatible, unlike CCD sensors that require separate signal processing chips or dedicated digitizing boards for the same effect. But CCD is still ruling the higher end. In addition, the power consumption of CMOS sensors is only a tenth that of CCD sensors.

The biggest opportunities for CMOS sensors lie in new product categories for which they are uniquely suited. Applications where a need for lower power usage or integration of additional circuitry on-chip or low system cost are required. These features make CMOS sensors ideal for mobile apps like those camera phones here, there and everywhere.

But the CMOS sensor have not completely dislodged the CCD as sensor king for a number reasons, primarily it performance related. Also, it is related with the simple fact the CCDs have been mass-produced for over 25 years, more R&D, through a lot of refinements and has developed over the years whereas CMOS technology has only just begun.

But make no mistake about it, CMOS imaging technology, as it is, could deliver quality images and its weaknesses are slowly disappearing. The fact that popular digital camera brands are using CMOS on their line shows the maturity of it. The CMOS technology industry is only in the early stages of optimization for digital imaging. Maybe, given developmental years, and not even 25 years, an imminent blow to the champion is in the digital horizon.


Still Alive

Just posting to let you all know that I am still alive. Not posting in a couple of days means I am up to almost nothing. Just ordinary sleep-eat-work routine. Been doing some exercises lately. Doin it at my place with no trainer. Therefore, I'm not sure, the lifting I do is correct. I "googled" some exercising illustrations, from there, I just imitate the drawings and lift away till my muscles ache. As long as I feel some resistance, that's it, my muscle will blow up. I assume. I was invited to do this thing in a Gym, I'm thinkin about it. But I think Ill just do it here for now. I'm lifting to 12 pounder dumbbells. Maybe just the right weight for a dumbguy.


Paying it backward

I'll be going back to our province later tonight. Sad news coming from my uncle. My grandmother passed away today. I think she's past 90 years old. Very lucky woman. I think she lived a simple but wonderful life. Just by being an instrument in giving life to her children, grand children and great grand children would make her life very meaningful. She's a fruit vendor and had great pride selling. When we were young, we always had these bananas she'd always sent. Albeit a bit over riped. She's very much appreciated (over-riped banana included). I don't forget those simple things. I love my lola.

Rumors has it, that I was one of her favorite grand children. Reason because maybe, she loved my father very much. That I just benefited from it. On my grade school graduation, she gave this wrist watch, twas very special. I kept the watch all these years and will try to refurbish it in coming weeks. Now, she'll be joining, our Father, my father in the other life where we are all headed.

It is doubly sad because, we were supposed to be visiting her last January 2, but tight schedule the morning of that day prevented us from seeing her that day. I really regret not seeing her alive when in fact I am able. I can't understand this human nature that, now she's gone, I can't miss to be there. There is something wrong. Ill just pay it backward. Ill just pray hard for her soul, my father's soul, and my soul.


Bad Hair Day

I went literally full circle (actually full square or rectangle) today finding the right salon for me to have my hair done. Booked myself at Davids, receptionist said 'still one fellow before me'. I said NP. But when I saw the stylist, same one who did my hair 2 years back. Faster than a speeding MRT, I was gone. Then, I started the whirlwind tour of Makati. I decided to get back at my place and have this re-scheduled. When I was about to enter the gate, i decided to push thru with it. Went to downtown area of my place (my location is confidential) but there is no good looking salon. Then I decided to visit Bench Fix, finding out there is one in Glorieta, I went there. Took me some time locating Fix. My bladder is ready to explode earlier, I can't find the damn CR. FYI. Bench Fix is located at G4 near the cinema (to save you the trouble of looking for it, incase you want to try them out). After an exhausting search, receptionist said 'do you have an appointment sir?'. Oh lord, don't tell me I wasted an hour of my life for this. Turns out, I need to wait until 1:30p.m. Faster than a speeding whatever, I am gone part 2. And in the end, I went back to my area, played mini-mini-mye-ni-moe among few salons. Now my hair is done, really done. I think the stylist enjoyed trimming my hair, he or she took everything. Now I look like a sick Ringo Starr sans the rings.


God Bless the Philippines

If you happen to be in Manila Philippines (was there today), I suggest you check out the Black Nazarene Church (See picture below, i took it using a digicam bought from www.ecBuyph.com - shameless plug - and edited it a bit to complement my blog's color. Church isn't on Mars.) and say a little prayer. Black Nazarene feast is every 9th of January. In effect, the divine spell is still very powerful earlier today being only January 11. Come to think of it, I got a fruitful day today. Hallelujah!

The Historic Plaza Miranda and its annexed area is now renovated. The place is by far, more inviting compared to say 6 years ago. This renovation is a banner project of Mayor Atienza. His plan I think is to beautify Manila a bit on the outside (Check out the Manila's inner streets and check out the slums then go figure if the effort is enough). I think L.A.'s time is up, he's been a mayor 3 consecutive terms. Maybe, since he is grooming his son to replace him as Manila mayor, it will be Kim's plan to improve Manila, inside. Meaning in the inner sanctum, in spirit and real deal "Relive Manila Campaign".

Manila is like to me, some sort of mini-Philippines. Solve Manila's problem, then in a larger scale, apply solutions to the ever-sinking Philippines. Sample (read: lazy to think of some more): Eliminate corruption. I mean we have the funds, just send the fucking fund where it supposed to be. Build roads, build non-stop Light Rails, build mass housing, could go on and on and on. I dare say, we have the money. SHOW US THE MONEY! Create jobs, create opportunity and give some hope. A TRUE health care system (like that in the U.S). Education system that works. This is chicken and egg, these things are done hand in hand in a program based, result driven initiative. (Unlike what MMDA is now doing, all their programs are on a beta test.) If majority of people are prosperous, peace will follow. Peaceful society bears better environment for improvement. Remember, chicken and egg. To anyone, who's thinking my suggestion does not have the beef and the details, I am open to discussion, a debate, hand to hand combat included.

So that, in 10 years, I'll still have my family/relatives with me. As it is, all are packing they're bags, they're ready to go, they are all leaving for Canada, dumping the Philippines. So that, when we hold our Family Reunion in 2015, I can still have better moments of my life with my relatives. So that, I wouldn't be banking on a broadband connection to see them live over the net. Maybe, i have to go back to the Black Nazarene at Quiapo Manila and say a BUNCH of prayers. Like, God bless the Philippines.


PAY Dentist A Visit

PAY Dentist A Visit (1-9-05)

Damn! One of the brackets was detached again. Just had it fixed yesterday afternoon thereby allotting my oh so precious time for a dental appointment. And now, to start the week, ill be back again tomorrow. Supposedly when it was fixed yesterday, its should be free coz still under warranty but I politely offered to pay her. Gentleman that I am. But tomorrow, hell no. It SHALL be FREE of charge. I asked around, they said brackets go time to time, but not back-to-back-to-back. This is the 4th time, same bracket, same location, that it will be re-done. Hopefully, in 6 months, this painful and awful feeling braces shall be removed. It's So effing hard to eat! I can't eat anything!


Pick-up Basketball

We played pick-up basketball yesterday on a 300.00 peso per 2 hours gym. The game was run and gun all the way. I had my cousin and 3 total strangers as my team-mates. Result: One-Point Performance. Heck, we were running all throughout the game. And we had this 4-Foot point guard, who kept firing outside shots. If he was making few of them, its alright. But he's missing a LOT.

And during fastbreaks, the 3 stooges, kept passing the ball among themselves. There were stretches that we were not able to touch the ball. It's not that I want to score a bunch myself, but you are suppose to rotate the ball. Give everybody a feel for the game.

I'll admit too, I am a bit unconditioned to play hard 5-on-5 ball. Got to put some weight. Maybe 5-8 pounds muscle/fat would help. (But now that my lower teeth is "wired", it'll be a difficult task adding some pounds. It's hard to eat.)

Next time we arrange a game, I'll make sure, I'll bring along with me known teammates for me to enjoy the game. Otherwise, ill just jog along the hi-way to simulate me running and not having the ball and save my self 300 bucks.


Flash Memory Cards

(Article as posted in www.bembang.com, A Philippine Online Magazine, Issue No. 2)

Flash! Flash! Flash! and more Flash! No sensationalism on my title. I am just representing the dizzying flash memory card variants around.

Being part of support team of a tech store, one of the FAQs is the variety of Flash Memory available. Most digital cameras, music players, and PDAs use flash memory cards to store data. These small media cards hold anywhere from 8MB to 1GB of data. With assortment of cards available you should choose carefully.

People would ask 'what flash card should I buy'. Answer to this depends is on what files/media you'll throw to the card. Office files onto your handhelds, 32MB would be sufficient. A 64MB should contain 13 MP3 songs, for the rocker in us, this is not enough. Same holds true for a pro photographer or a photo enthusiast, 256MB and above is suggested to store all those megapixel-Diana-Zubiri-wallpapers.

If you care to know, transfer rate of flash memory is about 1 MBps. New technologies and interfaces can double or triple that rate, but you will pay extra, nothing is free as we all know. I am taking it back, some things are free. Card memory is more expensive than hard drive pound-4-pound, bit-4-bit I should say. But the emergence of digital this and digital that makes us forget its price. We need small and removable memory. If you care to know part 2, the birth of these cards happened when megapixel digicams emerged in the mid-90s.

A quick overview for you, SmartMedia (SM) is the first standards-based memory cardto show up. Its large footprint is its drawback, about 2.7 square inches, compared with Secure Digital's (SD), 1.2 square inches. Its flexibility makes it vulnerable to damage. Also, some devices won't work with cards larger than about 16MB or 32MB. Do not expect to see few new devices using this type.

MultiMediaCard (MMC) is another pioneer. With its rigid plastic shell, it is less damage-prone. Same footprint and pin-out as its successor, the Secure Digital (SD) card. MMCs fit in SD devices but not vice-versa (SD cards are thicker). SD music players typically won't play audio from an MMC, because SD players require encrypted music. Most companies are currently phasing out MMC devices.

CompactFlash (CF) is old but far-from-dead flash memory champion. The living-legend of memory cards, we can say. More devices currently use CF than any other media type.GB CF cards are available so users don't mind the size of CF cards. CF size: 1.4 by 1.7 by 0.2 inches. Sony created and supports the Memory Stick format across its product line, and several other manufacturers offer Memory Stick products as well. Memory Stick has an array on its own.

Secure Digital (SD) has the broadest support and brightest future. I love SD! It is small and can contain GB data. The drawback is that SD players, like Memory Stick players, require you to check out music from your PC. Knowing these things will save the buyer time, makes his money well-spent and will definitely make a job like mine, easier.


Family Reunion 2005 Edition

Last January 2, we had our traditional Family Reunion (mother side). There were games, singing, eating (lots of it), speeches, etc.

There was a planned Basketball Game, between Seniors (30 and up) versus Juniors but it never came about coz it’s very difficult for everybody to leave the gathering just to play the game. Science, almost everybody had their gear.

Just not to waste the effort packing our shoes and all, we decided to play basketball anyway, a half court game. The Juniors played 3 on 3, with one substitute player each. Played best of three. I can’t remember who won (with they way I remember things, I should be on the Seniors Team). I believe I had a game winner (fade-away baseline shot)
in game 3 but my cousin, who’s the Playing Committee (Who’s also a part-time Playing Commentator), disqualified my shot saying it touched the a leaf of a tree planted on the sidewalks. Grounded, he says. Now I forgot who won the series.

Then we played local subdivision boys, this time I remember, we won this one. Again, I made the last shot, the game winner. The shot? It was a super-duper-fade-away-shot. But again, it was not counted as the opponent was said to be not ready. Like I need to issue a memo next time saying, “Here I come!”.

My Encore of the night was when I sang “Bring Me Down” by Rivermaya, backed-up by my cousin. Just had to give-in to the demand of my relatives that everybody should sing. Just to give an idea what they heard from me that night, see notes below:

AnecNote 1: I once joined a singing group back in grade school. During the try-outs, the conductor said, “OK Boy, go ahead sing.” As soon as I was done, he said, “OK, your voice is rough, go there at the back.” Meaning, I am done.

AnecNote 2: Circa 87, we always had this singing competition amongst cousins, for unknown reasons, I tend to join all the time. And for unknown reason number 2, I chose to sing a Barry Manilow piece one time. Singing “I made it through the rain”, I almost made everybody sleep. This made my Lolo quipped, in a bloody serious tone (translated in English), “Hey, if that’s just what you’ll sing, it would be better for you not to sing at all.” What a confidence building remark.

By the way, Anecdotes 1 and 2 occurred so close that it began the end of my illustrious singing career. My singing during the Reunion was my sort of comeback performance. For the record, when I sang during the reunion, my Lolo was just 4 feet away, I happened to glanced at him, he had this UNEXPLAINABLE look at me, like he wanted to say something, like he’s itching to say the words.

Good thing, lighting doesn’t strike at the same place twice.

(When I was singing, I know he said to himself: “Hey, if that’s just what you’ll sing, it would be better for you not to sing at all.”)

Beep-beep Beep Beep!

(This Post created on the 30th of December 2004 but somehow wasn't published. Now republishing.)

Beep-beep Beep Beep!

Just sent the car at the shop. Replacing the leaky Oil Sending unit. Costing me P1000.00. Just 2 weeks ago, the Brake Drum and Axle Boot were replaced, costing me 3 grand. My "mom" is right when she told me that maintaining a car is just like sending someone to college. If you're maintaining a new car (say the new Honda Jazz), I wouldn't mind getting it pampered. But if you're car is a decade old, somehow, it aint worth it.

Not done yet. This month, the shock mounting needs to be replaced too. Estimate: P3000.00.

Not done yet II. Ending in digit 1, car is up for re-registration this month. Cost should be over P4000.

Not done yet III. It needs to be insured for a confident drive. Amount: P4000.00.

In a span of a month, I'll be spending P15k to 20k!!!

Bleep-bleep Bleep Bleep!