Putting A Webcam Online

One of my co-workers asked a favor tonight. Her brother is in Iraq and she just found out they could have video chats using Yahoo! Messenger (there are other ways, but he was already on Yahoo!).

She asked me what camera to get? I’m a bargain kinda guy, but she had that ‘tonight’ look. I sent her to Circuit City.

She came back with a little Creative camera that slipped over the display on her laptop. It set her back $60, which she viewed as a good value.

I took out the disk and installed the drivers. I can’t remember an install taking this long and installing this many inidividual pieces of software. You do what you can to hold back driver creep, but there’s stuff there we’ll never identify.

The camera itself is sweet. The video is sharp and though all webcam video is jerky, this was no more jerky than any other.

I think this is a good thing, a loved one talking with their soldier halfway around the world. There’s also a potential downside. This technology can bringing unwanted stress or create conflict that snail mail can not.

When my dad was in the Navy, back in WWII, he and my mom traded letters back and forth. The conversation was disjointed, with questions and answers passing each other as he crossed the ocean. Now the conversation is realtime.

How does the military looks at this? Good for morale… or bad? Good for discipline or bad?

As I hooked up the camera, I wondered why this was technology I wasn’t using? I’ve got cameras and have hooked them up. Long term use never seems convenient or necessary.

3 thoughts on “Putting A Webcam Online”

  1. I have no idea how good Yahoo Messenger video is these days; the last time I tried it, it was awful. If it works, great. But if you’re disappointed with the results, give Skype video a try. It’s free, and I’ve been using it to talk to relatives on the east coast for over a year. It seems to work well even if there are firewalls at both ends of the link, too.

  2. the computer and web-cams made my two tours in Iraq a better experience than my Dad had during his time in Vietman. The computer allows you to talk and experience almost real time with family. During my time overseas I was able to “attend” my daughter’s first communication. I could also talk to my spouse about her days and mine as our time away from each other progressed.

    The down side is when something happens overseas we undergo a blackout to control information flow back to the states and family. This black out would occur if a death happened and the military wanted the notification to go through official channels first. Can you imagine hearing a loved one was killed through the rumor mill then the military comes knocking on your door to report that your loved one was seriously wounded but not dead or vice versa? Sorry for the rambling so I will end now. Bye

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