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Zer Netmouse
May 3rd, 2006
08:39 am


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Welcome to the 21st century (webcams)
Last night I used a webcam for the first time. Well, I'd seen other people on webcams, but I'd never had one aimed at *me* before. The lovely eposia and matt_arnold and I bridged the gap a bit from Michigan to Texas, using her webcam and Matt's (with thanks to Laura for providing same), while also chatting on IM (I was over at Matt's house sharing that camera, if anyone's confused). I guess there was some server trouble or we might have used VOIP as well and had a real video call. The video feed was a little jumpy but on the whole I highly recommend the experience and it seems weird to me (as I thnk about it) that this is the first time I've tried it. All this technology has been around for a while and the cameras are now pretty cheap. And then I started to wonder how many other people have done this...

Have you tried webcam communication?

If so, how was it?

If not, why not?

(17 comments | Leave a comment)

[User Picture]
Date:May 3rd, 2006 01:10 pm (UTC)
I'd be perfectly willing, but I lack the hardware and the knowledge, and my curiosity has not yet been sufficient to accelerate me past those two deficits.
[User Picture]
Date:May 3rd, 2006 01:39 pm (UTC)
Even when such things are working great, they can be a little laggy. It takes a little while to learn how to carry out a conversation in that lag.
[User Picture]
Date:May 3rd, 2006 02:07 pm (UTC)
My experience was similar to yours. . . Have a friend in Iraq. His wife and he had each purchased webcam's, for the obvious reasons, before he left. He attached his to his laptop, and satelite-IP phone, and she to their home computer.

After chatting with them for a week, he convinced me to go get one. For some reason I was quite reluctant, so it took some convincing. In retrospect, I think it was the mental overlap between a communications device, and a camera. I dislike being photographed/video'd, in a mild way. I like communications devices.

Once I learned to accept it as a valuable communications device, and stopped seeing it as a camera, I was glad I owned one.

And, in retrospect, it was weird that, unlike almost every other piece of computer equipment made, I didn't own one until it became popular.

I guess even first adopters don't buy everything *grin*
Date:May 3rd, 2006 02:35 pm (UTC)
I've actually got *two* webcams. One given to me by TechTv when I asked an on-air question, and another I got free after rebate. Am I using either of them? Nope. Don't find any need for them currently. Did have a fishcam running for a while, but now the computer isn't near any tanks.

VoIP is a different thing. Been playing a lot with a Sipura ATA (Analog Telephone Adapter); hook a regular phone in one end and ethernet into the other. We're using it as our pseudo-land line since we only have cell phones. Using Gizmo Project for the service and AFAIK they can also use a webcam, but as I said, haven't really found a need for it, and most of the people I talk to aren't VoIP-enabled yet (or use Skype -blech).
Date:May 3rd, 2006 02:41 pm (UTC)
Oh - and if anyone wants the 2nd webcam to use, I'd be happy to extended loan it to them.

[User Picture]
Date:May 3rd, 2006 03:02 pm (UTC)
um... I'd like to borrow it, actually...

Date:May 3rd, 2006 04:12 pm (UTC)
Sold! ;)
[User Picture]
Date:May 3rd, 2006 03:11 pm (UTC)
I have a USB pipestem webcam from compgeeks.com that I bought for something like five bucks. It works just fine, though the shot is a little dim. I video-cammed with a few friends for awhile, but GAIM doesn't currently have the capability, so when I want to fool around with it, I need to load up Yahoo proper. I do that, occasionally, so's my friend in NC and I can videochat.

I've talked on the cell on speakerphone at the same time, but not authentic VOIP type conversation. I'm actually fresh outta microphones.

I haven't had any trouble or unhappiness with it, except for the occasional PITA in installation (when I formatted my laptop, I'd lost the driver disk for my cam, and it was nearly impossible to locate, being generic).
[User Picture]
Date:May 3rd, 2006 04:02 pm (UTC)
I've been using iChat AV to do audio/video chats with various folks, including family currently in Germany. It's supposed to be compatible with the latest version of AIM for Windows, though I haven't tried doing a Mac-PC connection yet.

It works great, except when my dad picks up the laptop and starts walking around with it...makes me a little bit seasick :-) Good video, no noticable lag even on the intercontinental connections.
[User Picture]
Date:May 3rd, 2006 04:33 pm (UTC)
I don't use it often, but it can be nice with long-distance friends.

I won't turn on the webcam for people I don't know because they almost always want a show I don't want to provide.
[User Picture]
Date:May 3rd, 2006 05:54 pm (UTC)
I've conciously made the decision to stay away from online chat. For me, its a waste of time, where I could be doing more valuable things, like anything not having to do with sitting in front of the computerized idiot box.

I have webcammed in the past, though, and it usually just alerts me to when the person I'm talking to is bored or distracted. It is a fun way to flirt with strangers, but it gets stale quickly.
[User Picture]
Date:May 3rd, 2006 06:44 pm (UTC)
Though I have the ability, I have no desire. As a general rule, I don't chat online. There are a few very rare exceptions ("Hey Rennie, what should I bring for dinner? Ok, see you then").

Were I one who chatted more, I'd probably enjoy it. There's an online video game I play and I've enjoyed using voice chat during games, but no video.
[User Picture]
Date:May 3rd, 2006 10:50 pm (UTC)
I bought one when I started working in Virginia. MSN Messenger works fine, and NetMeeting also works fine at work. The thing requires zero technical knowledge, I just plugged it into the USB port and it works. I use it for meetings regularly, and occasionally for talking to friends and family.
Date:May 4th, 2006 05:34 am (UTC)
Steve and Giulia of Plokta have one set up in their living room. The main purpose is, of course, that it is Superfluous Technology, although Giulia did use it to keep an eye on the cat when she was visiting her family in Tasmania. I dropped in for a couple of days last summer when I was homeless and emailed Kevin so he could watch me. Then I settled down to read and promptly fell asleep.

VOIP, on the other hand, is wonderful. Kevin and I can chat away for hours for free even when he's in California and I'm in England. The next step is to get a Slingbox so we catch watch TV together and chat about the program.
Date:September 4th, 2007 09:09 pm (UTC)
Actually, I haven't personal web-cam. I'm more intersted in cameras located in other towns and countries, then personal ones. Usually I visit http://www.webcam-list.com
yet, it's fantactic for friends living far away from each other
Date:September 5th, 2007 10:20 pm (UTC)
Actually, I do not have a webcam myself, but I like to surf the world and visit places somewhere far beyond. Usually I use this site . http://www.webcam-list.com
Date:November 1st, 2007 07:11 pm (UTC)
It was fantastic – I was chatting with friends apart, it was really cool. But I prefer to surf around webcams, to look through some pieces of beauty, like here http://www.webcam-list.com/blog/2007/10/canada-ottawa-parliament-hill-tour.html.
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