It will rise again!Tuesday, January 9, 2007 at 13:51 | Posted in computer, linux, skype, ubuntu | 7 Comments
This blog had its first ever birthday on Sunday which I meant to celebrate by writing a little summary of this first year. However, the problems caused by Logitech’s failure to recognize that there is such a thing as freeware escalated to a situation where my computer crashed altogether. In 36 hours I have managed to restore much of what I had built up during these last two months.
As far as still images are conserned, I can tell that there is more of a problem with both the photographer and the model (in one person) than the camera. Then again, I knew it from start that the camera is good per se. The problem is with making it run under Linux.
Sound Recorder, Audacity and Skype all worked satisfactory in my system before I bought the camera. My only michrophone was that in the Skype start kit and it was enough for the calls but it failed to record audio files with acceptable quality. That was the main reason I decided to buy Logitech Quickcam Connect. I was hoping to get a better sound quality and anything in images and video would be an extra bomus.
As “could_be_anyone” points out in these two comments, the only driver to work in Linux with this camera is “gspca” developed by Michel Xhaard. I must have done something terribly wrong with my first installation since the pictures were really horrible. I managed to get a few barely acceptable shots with Camorama but the worse thing was that Skype went totally out of voices. At one point Audacity could play but not record while Sound Recorder acted the other way round.
I browsed tens of HowTo’s and forum threads, all giving contradicting advise. At one point on late Sunday evening I was frustrated for being prompted for my password to execute all those sudo commands so I made the big mistake of making myself root with sudo -s. At one point I must have entered something in totally wrong order because I discovered that I know longer had sudo privilidges in my own system. The system even returned my sudo command with an error message: “This incident will be reported”.
This would not have been a catastrophy if my system had worked even satisfactory in most essential parts. But since I absolutely needed to get my act together, there was nothing else to do than installing Ubuntu again. I did not have to worry about my data because everything of importance is in web servers. What annoyed me really hard is that I had built up a pretty nice software environment during my two months as a Linux user. Now I have to rebuild it from scratches.
Having worked all night I was able to say this morning that I am almost were I was before Logitech QuickCam Connect made its stormy entry to my household. Almost but not quite.
Unlike this thread suggests, I was unable to install the driver by executing Michel’s script after tarballing the compressed file, apparently because my headers are too old. I have Ubuntu 6.06 while most of the people talking in the thread seem to have Edgy. I went basically after this HowTo although I had to make quite a lot of editing in the commands but the general idea of how to install the driver is right for me.
So as it stands now, I could get better still pictures with Camorama after some practice and indeed motivation: who would like to shoot pictures of themselves with my face? In Ekiga Softphone I had surprisingly good video quality but I was unable to get any audio in that environment. Sound Recorder is totally useless at the moment while Audacity can play but not record.
The good news today is that I managed to get Skype back to work. It recognizes the camera as michrophone with ALSA selected as the audio system. The device drivers are “USB device 0x46d:0x8d9” for “Audio in” (that is the camera) and SiS SI7012 for both “Audio out” and “Ringing”. Those are the only settings that allow me to talk and listen at the same time. No video or even still image from the webcam is present but I think that fault is mainly in Skype’s end. They do not release their codes and protocols for the freeware developers either and they have taken more than their time to introduce Linux versions of their software.
There is one major problem to solve before I am able to say that my system has recovered the collapse. Before the crash I used to have very well working Firefox plug ins that allowed me to see and hear most of the web content I wanted. Now I can absolutely not remember how I managed to install and plug Flash. MPlayer works fairly on its own but not as a plug in. I may have to uninstall it and start all over again but I have no idea at this moment how the Flash is supposed to be fixed.
The bottom line is that Logitech QuickCam Connect has brought me a slightly better quality in Skype calls and there is a potential with the still images but it has definitely broken more than it has fixed. Makes one frustrated to think about Windows users who get everything installed with a couple of dummy clicks. Should they not be paying more for the camera? After all, we have to do all the work ourselves but get less in exchange.