Webcam Mania

Last Thursday, Anthony and I celebrated Headhunter's New Year. The Jivaro Indians of Ecuador have a big ceremony based around the head of a sloth but we simply went out for nachos and exchanged small gifts.

I got him an, admittedly, cheap webcam. We hooked it up and looked at ourselves on his PC for a few minutes and I thought it would spend the rest of its life as a paperweight.

A few days later, however, when we were exchanging info via MSN Messenger I saw a tiny cartoon of a webcam in the corner of the screen. I clicked on it and the next thing I knew I was looking at the underside of Anthony's desk.

He'd thought the webcam was such a crummy gift that he'd thrown it into the garbage without even taking the time to unplug it. But, now, I told him to put it back on his desk. And although I've known about webcams for a long time, I must say that seeing it work on my own screen was quite something else.

I found it a really powerful experience and I'm sure that one could conduct phone interviews using a webcam over MSN Messenger to get a better idea of what the other person is like.

The only problem is that each party will tend to watch the other on the monitor rather than look directly at eachother by looking into the camera. So what you see is someone looking away from you.

Logitech seems to be a leader in webcams. I didn't get Anthony a Logitech but, Anthony, in case you want to upgrade, a catalogue of the various models is here.

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