Octave System’s Multipod is the size of a stick of gum and packs five usable gadgets: It’s a video recorder, capturing up to 12 minutes of video with sound; it’s a digital camera that can take up to 3,000 pictures; it’s a 128 megabyte USB storage device; it’s a Web cam; and it’s a voice recorder, storing up to 55 minutes of a meeting.


The Multipod is a cinch to use, with one button that chooses which mode you’ll use and another button to start and stop recording images or voice. A software CD loads all the drivers you need, and the unit’s battery charges while slipped into your computer’s USB port.



I took it with me when I was shopping for furniture recently. When I spotted a table that might fit into our dining room, I took a 15-second video of it from different angles, while a saleswoman joked about whether I were a spy.



At home that night, I loaded the video into my PC laptop. The software converts the proprietary video file into an .asf file that can be played by Microsoft Windows Media Player. The images were clear and bright, not surprising, considering the lighting in furniture stores (In low-light conditions, the camera doesn’t fare as well; it has no flash.)



I e-mailed the video to my wife, who watched them on her Mac laptop — convenient.



The Multipod’s camera takes good pictures in direct sunlight, but in the poor lighting of a furniture store or a living room, the images are fuzzy. But then, this is not a megapixel camera that comes with many of today’s cell phones.



While the phone you already have might take pictures — or record video — and act as a voice recorder, the Multipod does your phone one better by storing your computer files.



More here.