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How to Find Film for Your Old Polaroid Camera (2024)

How to Find Film for Your Old Polaroid Camera (2024)

We really like physical photos around these parts. Our guide to the Best Instant Cameras has a collection of modern gadgets that print out pictures that you can stick on your fridge or pin on your walls. But what about the ones that started it all? Polaroid cameras have been fumbling around attics, garages, and storage closets for decades. And if you found one or just bought a cheap used one, there’s good news: You just need some film.

The better news is that, despite huge difficulty in the past, it’s now easier than ever to get film for your old Polaroid cameras. However, despite it being easy to find cheap film on Amazon, there’s a bit more nuance to choosing film than randomly picking whatever shows up first. If you’re not sure what kind of film your camera uses, read on.

A Brief History Lesson

Finding film for older Polaroid cameras can be simple and tricky at the same time. Today, if you come across a vintage camera manufactured by Polaroid—which went bankrupt and shut down in 2001—you can still buy film for that camera from a newer, mostly unrelated company: Polaroid.

Confused yet? Stick with me and it’ll make sense.

When the Polaroid Corporation went out of business, its assets, including the production line for its film and cameras, were sold off or licensed to various investors over the next several years. Film was still produced using the Polaroid brand, until the companies that owned Polaroid’s assets decided to abandon the instant camera business entirely in 2008. Not coincidentally this happened less than a year after the original iPhone came out.

That same year, a company called the Impossible Project was founded to take up the mantle Polaroid was leaving behind. The company bought some of Polaroid’s old equipment and developed new instant film modules that could be used in existing Polaroid cameras. Throughout the following decade, Impossible often worked with whatever company currently owned Polaroid’s assets to manufacture cameras, film modules, and other accessories.

That is, until 2017, when the Impossible Project’s largest shareholder bought the entirety of Polaroid’s assets and intellectual property. Like reforging a sword that had been broken, Polaroid had become whole once again, and in 2020, Impossible rebranded itself as Polaroid.

Which brings us to the situation we have today: Polaroid once again makes Polaroid cameras and film for Polaroid cameras. If you search Amazon for “polaroid film,” you’ll find film made by Polaroid for Polaroid cameras. Convenient, right? However, there are still a few details about the various types of film you need to know.

What Type of Film Do I Need?

Polaroid cameras use a few different types of film, and they’re not generally interchangeable. The first step is to look up what model of camera you have. For example, I have a Polaroid Spirit 600 which takes (surprise) 600 film. Below we’ll go over each type of film, and the special considerations you should keep in mind for each.

Black and white Polaroid film camera placed on a dark couch with a film photo partially hanging out

Photograph: Eric Ravenscraft

If you have a picture in your mind of what “a Polaroid” looks like, this is probably what you’re thinking of. Early Polaroid cameras had low sensitivity to light, and thus were only really good for outdoor photography—unless you had a really bright flash. Polaroid 600 film was created to be more sensitive than previous film types, so you could take photos indoors or in low light and still get a usable photo.

These modules also had a small battery in them to power the camera, which didn’t have power on its own. This means, among other things, that any film manufactured by the original Polaroid Corporation prior to 2008 is probably dead by now. If you hunt for vintage film on sites like eBay, there’s a good chance that the film cartridge won’t work in your older camera. Fortunately, the new Polaroid makes 600 film manufactured this decade that will work just fine.

The Polaroid 600 cameras were popular in the ’90s, but if you have a Polaroid camera from the ’70s or ’80s, it’s more likely to use Polaroid SX-70 film. These have a square shape similar to the 600 film, but they’re much less sensitive to light. Most cameras that use this type of film will struggle to take a good picture indoors unless you have a flash—which many models didn’t come with.

When Impossible Project started making its own cameras in 2016, it made a small change to the film cartridges traditional Polaroid cameras use. Rather than putting a tiny battery in each and every film cartridge, the cameras would provide power themselves. This not only made it possible for film cartridges to last longer, it was better for the environment overall. This new format is the I-Type film.

A comparable pack of I-Type film is sometimes slightly cheaper than more traditional 600 film. However, you’ll need one of Polaroid’s new I-Type cameras to use it. These newer cameras can accept both 600 film and I-Type film, but you’ll usually be better off with the I-Type film, since it doesn’t require a built-in battery like the 600 film does.

Google Podcasts Is Going Away. Here’s How to Transfer Your Subscriptions

Google Podcasts Is Going Away. Here’s How to Transfer Your Subscriptions

Steve McLendon, a product manager at Google, admits he’s sad to see Google Podcasts head toward the software graveyard. He suggests that the app’s simplicity, one of its core strengths, is what led to its downfall: “Podcast experiences can be improved for users in a way that I think Google Podcasts would never really be able to deliver.”

After launching the app in 2018, the company is winding down Google Podcasts in early April. YouTube Music will serve as Google’s new home for podcast listening. While some users crave the bare-bones experience of an RSS feed catcher for podcasts, McLendon is eyeing a future where algorithmic discovery and video podcast clips are more central to the user experience.

“Google may be notorious for having lots of different products that kind of do similar things,” he says. “So, which is actually the one that we’re invested in?” While McLendon wants to create a user experience where podcast-only listeners feel welcome, he’s excited by the multimedia possibilities as well. For example, if someone watches a bunch of clips from NBA games on YouTube, then their YouTube Music account could suggest some basketball podcasts.

How to Migrate From Google Podcasts to YouTube Music

McLendon’s team launched a tool to help Google Podcasts users transfer their show subscriptions to YouTube Music. The feature is currently just for users in the United States, but McLendon says the company eventually plans an international rollout. It’s worth noting that users have to complete this migration before Google makes the data unavailable in July.

Start by opening the app on your Android or iOS device and toggling to the Home tab. Since announcing that it would be shutting down its Podcasts app, Google has begun displaying a notification at the top of the app’s Home screen that offers a quick link to export your subscriptions. Look for this notification at the top and select Export subscriptions. (In a browser, the same option should appear under the Explore shows tab.) If you’d like to switch everything over to YouTube Music, choose the Export button. Tapping this on your phone will automatically open the YouTube Music app and confirm which account you want to use to complete the change. After you click the Transfer as… button, YouTube Music will double-check whether you want to add the RSS feeds for all of your podcasts to your library. Then the process begins.

The tool was able to migrate all 12 of my podcast subscriptions in under a minute. (If you’re a podcast fanatic with hundreds of subscriptions, it may take longer.) Afterward, you can listen to your favorite shows in YouTube Music by tapping Podcasts at the top of the Home or Library tab. If you don’t immediately see the Podcasts option, you may need to scroll through the gray buttons to the left. If you’ve used YouTube Music, you’ll know that a premium subscription is required if you want to listen to music while your phone screen is locked. Thankfully, this is not the case for podcasts; you can stream or play downloaded shows while the screen is locked, even if you don’t have a subscription.

Alternative Podcast Listening Options

Frustrated with this change and on the hunt for another minimalist podcast app? For iPhone owners, the Overcast app is a strong option that mirrors the streamlined nature of Google Podcasts. Pocket Casts is another well-designed app that might fit your preferences, and it’s available on both Android and Apple devices.

Luckily, if you decide against YouTube Music and you want to leave Google’s podcast ecosystem entirely, you can still take your show subscriptions with you. Follow the same steps listed in the section above; when you arrive at the YouTube Music export option, find the secondary option labeled Export for another app and press Download. This process will save an OPML file to your device.

In the Overcast app, you can upload this subscription list by going to Settings and scrolling down to Import OPML. The migration process from Google Podcasts to Pocket Casts is a little trickier, but still doable. Open the Files app on your smartphone and locate the downloaded OPML data file. Choose to share the file, and then send it over to Pocket Casts. This should transfer your show subscriptions to the new app.

How to Launch a Custom Chatbot on OpenAI’s GPT Store

How to Launch a Custom Chatbot on OpenAI’s GPT Store

Get ready to share your custom chatbot with the whole world. Well, at least with other ChatGPT Plus subscribers.

OpenAI recently launched its GPT Store, after it delayed the project following the chaos of CEO Sam Altman’s firing and reinstatement late in 2023.

While OpenAI’s GPT Store shares some similarities to smartphone app marketplaces, it currently functions more like a giant directory of tweaked ChatGPTs. Similar to OpenAI’s GPT-4 model and web browsing capabilities, only those who pay $20 a month for ChatGPT Plus can create and use “GPTs.” The GPT acronym in ChatGPT actually stands for “generative pretrained transformers,” but in this context, the company is using GPT as a term that refers to a unique version of ChatGPT with additional parameters and a little extra training data.

Curious about adding your AI creation to the marketplace? Here’s how to make your GPT public and some advice to help you get started with the GPT Store.

How to List Your Own GPT

Before you can add a custom chatbot to the GPT Store, you’ve got to make one. No specialized knowledge or weird coding language is required to get started. To learn more about the process, check out my previous article about GPTs, where I created Reece’s Replica by feeding 50 of my articles into the system as training data, so my bot could learn to mimic my phrasing and tone. Since this will be available to all ChatGPT Plus subscribers, remember that the custom data you upload could leak. Don’t upload any documents that contain sensitive information.

When you’re ready to publicly list your custom version of the popular chatbot, visit the ChatGPT homepage, choose Explore GPTs on the left side of the screen, then select My GPTs in the top right. Click on the pencil icon to edit the GPT you’d like to publish. After double-checking the potential output in the Preview section, click Save in the right corner, set it to publish to Everyone, and click Confirm.

Screenshot of app sharing menu

Want to share the GPT with friends or coworkers without listing it in the GPT Store? Choose the Anyone with a link option.

Reece Rogers via ChatGPT

Qi2 Wireless Charging: Everything You Need to Know

Qi2 Wireless Charging: Everything You Need to Know

It’s ironic, but we here at WIRED have long been fans of wireless charging. Not having to fumble with cables is nice! Most wireless charging devices these days follow the Qi (pronounced chee) standard, which has taken its time reaching ubiquity (the user experience has not always been great). The Wireless Power Consortium, which manages the charging protocol, announced the next-generation version called Qi2 in early 2023, and we’re finally starting to see devices supporting it. It promises perfect alignment, with the potential for accessories to bridge the Android and iPhone divide.

What Is Qi2?

Qi2 is the new open wireless charging standard from the Wireless Power Consortium, and it brings important upgrades over the original Qi standard. The headline is the Magnetic Power Profile (MPP), which is based on Apple’s MagSafe technology. (Apple was involved in developing the Qi2 standard.) This allows Qi2-branded devices to add a ring of magnets to ensure perfect alignment with chargers and allow for faster charging speeds.

The existing, non-magnetic wireless charging Extended Power Profile (EPP) has also been updated to comply with Qi2. This means that devices without magnets will be branded Qi and will still work with Qi2 chargers. Qi2 is also fully backward compatible, so you can charge an older Qi Android phone or MagSafe iPhone on a Qi2 charger. You can also use any Qi chargers to charge Qi2 devices, though they will charge at slower speeds.

Benefits of Qi2

Wireless charging with Qi2 brings several improvements over the original Qi standard.

Greater efficiency: Wireless charging relies on electromagnetic coils. One or more induction coils in the charging base create a magnetic field and transmit energy. A smaller coil in your phone or other device harvests it. The coils must be aligned for energy to flow between them and the magnets in the new Magnetic Power Profile ensure perfect alignment so less power is lost. When coils are misaligned, energy is often lost as heat, which is also not good for battery health.

Faster charging: The Qi standard was originally limited to 5-watt charging speeds, but Qi2 allows certified phones to charge at 15 watts (just like MagSafe). We expect this charging rate to increase as the Wireless Power Consortium works to improve the Qi2 standard, but probably not until 2025. Some manufacturers already offer speedier wireless charging, such as OnePlus and Xiaomi, but you have to use a specific wireless charger to see those gains.

Wider compatibility for accessories: Any Qi2 charger can charge any Qi2 device, so you can buy a single charger capable of juicing up an iPhone or Android phone. For Qi-supporting phones that lack magnets, you will likely soon be able to buy a case with a magnetic ring that works with Qi2 (as you can currently with MagSafe).

Other improvements Qi2 brings over Qi include wider device compatibility (from tablets to wearables), adaptive charging so chargers can talk to devices to supply the power they need instead of having a fixed power output, and enhanced safety with better heat management and foreign object detection.

Expect a Wave of Qi2 Devices

Before a device can bear the Qi2 logo, the Wireless Power Consortium must certify it in its independent labs. The Qi2 specification includes charging rate, magnet strength, and device compatibility. The Qi2 logo promises that the device meets the WPC’s exacting standards. It is likely that, as with the original Qi standard, there will soon be devices available that have not passed through the official Qi2 certification process.

Apple’s iPhone 15 range supports Qi2, and accessory makers like Anker, Belkin, Nomad, and Mophie have all announced Qi2 chargers. You can expect a much wider range of Qi2 accessories to land soon, and we expect most Android manufacturers to jump on board in 2024. The WPC hopes that Qi2 will unify wireless charging and finally provide the universal global standard we have been waiting for.

How to Back Up Your Emails in Gmail, Outlook, and iCloud

How to Back Up Your Emails in Gmail, Outlook, and iCloud

Backing up your emails, no matter what provider you use, is important because access to your digital collection of messages is less permanent than you might initially think. There are multiple points of failure to consider—what happens if something in the cloud breaks, or your connection to the internet does? What if your account gets banned or closed for whatever reason, and all of your email gets zapped with it?

Those are only a few of the potential problems. You might accidentally delete a bunch of emails you didn’t mean to; someone else could access your account and wipe everything they find; or your email provider might suddenly decide to lock you out, permanently.

With all of that in mind, access to your email doesn’t seem so assured. It might not matter for all those random newsletters, questionable deals, and politicians begging for cash that clog up your inbox, but what about emails and documents you really need access to? It’s helpful to have at least some of your emails backed up in another location so that you can always get at them, offline or otherwise.

Forward Emails to a Backup Account

Image may contain Text Page and Document

Forwarding emails is one way of backing them up.

Apple via David Nield

The simplest way to get all of your emails sent to another account is to forward them, either manually one by one or automatically as they come in. From iCloud Mail, for example, you can click the cog icon (top left), then choose Settings and Mail Forwarding: Tick the box next to Forward my email to and enter another email address.

If you open up Gmail on the web, click the cog icon (top right), then See all settings. Under Forwarding and POP/IMAP, tick the box labeled Forward a copy of incoming mail to and enter your secondary email address. Gmail actually lets you create a filter for forwarded emails (messages from a specific contact, for example), so you don’t get everything forwarded—click creating a filter under Forwarding to do this. It’s worth noting that the forwarding option may not be available for your work account.

Finally, for the Outlook web client, click the cog icon (top right), then Mail, then Forwarding. Choose the Enable forwarding option, enter the secondary email address you want to use, and all of the messages that arrive in your Outlook inbox will be sent on to the other account too. In this section, you’ll also need to choose whether you want to save a copy of the forwarded emails. If something happens to your primary account, you can still at least reference your messages.

Forwarding emails is a quick and simple way of getting your messages in two places, but it’s not 100 percent reliable. When you’re forwarding your emails to another cloud account, you can still lose access to both copies if you’re ever unable to get online.

Use POP and IMAP (Remember Those?)

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Both POP and IMAP can be used to back up emails.

Microsoft via David Nield

POP (Post Office Protocol) and IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol) are the two main ways of getting emails in multiple places at once, and both standards are supported by most email providers. Choosing which to use for the purpose of backing up emails is a bit tricky, as they tend to be implemented in slightly different ways depending on the programs you’re using.