Lots of cameras

by Volker Weber

lotsacameras.jpegI you are the only person who owns a telephone, it isn't really fun. The same holds true for webcams. I got my first webcam from Capt. Hajo who bought one for me since he could not play with one alone. CUSeeMe was the software to use and -- to tell you the truth -- it really sucked.

During my PC years I burned through a number of webcams. All kinds of Quickcams, el cheapo no name devices, and then finally the excellent 3Com HomeConnect. But there was nobody to talk to. Even if they had a camera you did not know they had, or you could not set up the sessions. So all these cameras were collecting dust after a while.

Apple finally nailed it with iChat. A software that works without going through all kinds of configuration hoops. When Apple released a camera, the iSight was the first webcam that is not continously out of focus.

This week the wall came down. You can now video chat between Macs and PCs. It is not as easy on the PC side as it is on the Mac, but you can make it work if you know about firewalls, routers and stuff. I am sure that will improve over time.

Now take a look at my buddy list*. Many many people I can instantly talk to as if they were here. You don't have a webcam yet? Now is the time. And puleeeze, avoid the el cheapo ones. They are junk and you will end up spending a lot more. Get a CCD camera. If the sales person does not show you it's a CCD camera, go somewhere else. A CMOS is not good enough, take my word for it.

*) I learned yesterday that AIM will not take more than 150 people on your buddy list. Now you have to decide which 150 of your closest friends you keep on that list. :-)


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