Setting the Time and Date on Your New Spypen

At first I thought I wouldn’t bother setting the date on my new Spypen, but I noticed when reading through customer reviews that some people had a lot of trouble doing this. After reading the instructions, I can certainly understand why. I didn’t have a problem with this, but I guess that’s because since the 70’s I’ve shopped at lot of local Asian groceries from The House of Rice in Seattle to the Asian Market in Bloomington, with stops in Little Rock, Springfield and all sorts of unexpected places in between. I always check the back shelves where Asian shopkeepers put the odd products they bought wholesale for next to nothing. They often seem like good deals, and if you buy them now and then you get pretty good at deciphering Chinglish, the modern version of pidgin English that is the language of Asian electronic products built on the cheap. Chinglish may someday become the world’s most common language, so learning to comprehend it rather than just read it is a good thing to do. Someday all instruction manuals will be written in Chinglish. Here’s an example, from the instruction sheet for the Business Portable Recorder 6, or Spy Pen:

spy pen time and date instructions

Instructions for setting time and date on the Spy Pen pencamera.

“Y” and “N” is the time to show a sign of character — how true that is :).

First of all, ignore almost all of that. To read Chinglish you must open your third eye and see beyond the words to the thoughts of the original author. Most of the instructions apply only to the author’s understanding of the problem, not to what is actually in the product. It’s really much more simple than this document implies. When you connect the Spy Pen to your PC and choose View Files, you get this:

spy pen root directory

Spy pen provides two folders — Photos and Videos — and one text document entitled Time.

To set the time, you only need to open and edit the text document in this directory, but it’s actually a little trickier than you would think. The one line of text refers to the boot time of the pen’s computer. Originally my spy pen thought it was 2008, probably the year of the pen’s manufacture. The Time document says 2012-05-01 23:59:59 and reverts to that even after you’ve modified, saved and rebooted the pen. I don’t know why that happens, but I did manage to reset the time stamp.

Change the 2012-05-01 23:59:59 in the Time document to read the current date in year/month/day format and the current time in 24 hour mode, hour/minute/second. Save the document changes. Use the Safely Remove Hardware wizard to disconnect the camera and manually disconnect the pen from the USB cable. Take a few photos and check them out, your pen cam should now be labeling things nearly correctly. The time change doesn’t take effect until you disconnect the camera pen from your PC.

Click on the photo below for a look at the complete Spy Pen Instruction manual:

spy pen manual

The complete instruction for the Business Portable Recorder 6 Spy Pen.

The instructions may refer to the first spy pen of a series. I’ve found no way to use the spy pen as a webcam, and there is no “long bright yellow light” for example. You’ll be glad you have it, though, since “It is simple, sleek, beautiful and practical, easy to carry, business, education, security, media, justice, tourism, health, life and other areas of essential utilities, by the majority of users.” Yes, it is the most wonderful pen.


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About JTHats

Avid backpacker and outdoorsman with old skills and interests in old ways of doing things; equally fascinated by electronics, from the days of Sputnik, to the Zilog Z80A, to the present day of black box circuitry. Sixty years of experience with growing my own food and living simply. Certified electronics technician, professional woodturner, woodcarver, and graduate of two military survival courses -- Arctic and Jungle.

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