Thursday, November 20, 2008

Notes about Skype and Dell M1330 and PS3eye cam

I have used video teleconference (is that what it is called?) software since the first days of Netmeeting. Back then (1998) I used it to talk to the wife literally from the other side of the planet. We were on dial up both ends. The home end had a AMD i386 type CPU (probably 200mhz), and my end was a IBM 486 DX50 laptop. Mostly due to my laptop I had too much lag in the audio...and neither computer could run video back I typed and the wife talked. It worked and was way cheaper than a phone call.

A year later, with a bit faster machine (but still dial up) I was able to send video to my family for Christmas from halfway across the US...still using Netmeeting...until it crashed.

I really hadn't tried it again when on the road...especially since cellphone to cellphone calls in the US were free.

But after I got the N800 and played with that a bit I thought that maybe it was time to see if the Video teleconference stuff had improved that much.

I tried is still too raw, in tests I could use the N800 to send and receive video...but trying to call someone was a pain.

So last week I (on a lark) installed Skype on my fast windows computer, and purely coinidentially found a neat camera to use. (Disclaimer...although Skype runs on the N800 there is no video send or receive capability support for that platform...probably never will be.)

About the camera. Apparently the Sony folks built a USB camera for the PS3 (and a earlier version for the PS2) called the PS3Eye. It is a very high quality imager with microphones for a fairly cheap price...but no drivers.

I read someone made some drivers from ps3fanboy (apparently) via Hackaday via Crunchgear (why can't anyone ever put the direct link) that was posted on the NUI Group website (Natural User Interface see the wiki or...look at the site)

So this someone...Alex Popovich created some great drivers for this camera. The version at the link is the latest one, and seems to work perfectly. (to be honest, he created the drivers for use in the NUI Group's project...but I had a different need)

So PS3Eye camera is on home computer, and on the road I have the Dell M1330 that has a built in camera. Once I installed Skype on both, created a Skype login for both, and had one computer dial the other one...I had instant video teleconference.

I was using the hotel free wifi, with a weak signal, and saw a nice picture...sure, obviously compressed, but at about the same quality as a youtube video if not better.

For audio, both of us were using the external speakers and microphone (no headphones) the audio was fine, occasionally we would cut each other out (same thing on a cell phone) but I had not adjusted audio on either computer...Skype was using the PS3Eye's built in microphone...(apparently...I didn't set anything up except for the video input to use)

I will start traveling overseas for work in a month or two, so we shall see how it does with that kind of latency. (I want to sit outside of a Paris coffee shop with the Eiffel Tower as a think the wife will be pissed?)

(as a test while I was writing this, I started up Skype on my tethered laptop to see how it did...not bad...slower frame rate, more pixelated...but acceptable...but that was just a quick test.)

I am more tempted now to get one of the ASUS rather than lugging my laptop around. Like this...
...perhaps using this SIM enabled one.

1 comment:

Escherblacksmith said...

It would annoy a great number of other people as well. In fact, I am getting annoyed in advance, just thinking about it.