My subscription to Life expired, but I still have a subscription to Mad.

Wednesday, June 7, 2006

my $12.99 webcam

While perusing the electronics section of the local Ocean State Job Lot, I noticed webcams for sale at $12.99 each.

The webcam had a USB cable, so I figured that although the bundled software was Windows oriented, I might be able to get this webcam to work with my Mac via its USB port. If not, I could return it for a refund.

I took my purchase home and trimmed away its plastic packaging (very neatly in case I had to return it). A CD-ROM and small installation booklet was buried inside the packaging. Neither made any mention of a Mac.

For the heck of it, I plugged the webcam cable into one of my Mac's USB ports and tried running the usual suspect applications, but as I expected, nothing recognized the webcam.

Next, I went online, Googled, and came up with six Mac webcam applications. I downloaded them all, installed them on my Mac, and all but one did not recognize the webcam.

macam did recognize the webcam (it displayed the message "connected to webcam"), but I could not get video from the webcam to display in the macam window. I played with all the settings in the software, but got nowhere fast.

To make sure that the webcam actually worked, I took everything to work and installed it on my Windows XP computer at the salt mine. It worked fine. I don't have any experience using webcams, so I can't really compare, but I thought that the picture was pretty good, too.

I took the webcam home and tried it again on my Mac, but still no luck. I gave up and carefully repackaged everything in the plastic container with plans to return it to Job Lot for a refund real soon now.

Before real soon now, I returned to the macam web site and noticed that a newer version of the software was available. I downloaded it and installed it on my Mac.

Once again, I carefully removed the webcam from its package and plugged it into a free USB port. I ran the software and it recognized the webcam just like it had previously, however, this time it did display video from the webcam. (applause)

1 comment:

  1. Will the cam / software work with iChat?