doug — off the record

just a place to share some thoughts

Whatever happened to …

… web cams?

My wife and I were watching an old movie this past week – OK, not that old but the technology we saw seems so old now. There was a scene with a video conferencing bit and one of the people was using a Logitech eyeball web camera.

I remember when I got one of those beauties. It was in the days where my computer was actually a tower with an external monitor. The monitor had no camera so if you wanted to take pictures or do conferencing, you had to purchase an external camera. These were affordable and did the trick.

Of course, you didn’t just plug it in and run with it. It required its own driver which came on accompanying CD-ROM so if you were planning to use the camera on more than one computer, it meant making sure that you had the CD-ROM for installation everywhere!

BestBuy still has a nice collection although many are sold out. No demand to replenish or has there been a rush since everyone wants to do things online these days?

How about your thoughts for a Sunday morning. You’re not going anywhere so share your experiences in the comments below.

  • if you’re using a laptop computer, you’ll have a camera built-in. Does it do a good enough job for you? Angle, sense of depth, focus, etc.
  • do you remember having an external camera for your computer? How did you make sure everything was in focus and you weren’t broadcasting your double chin or shiny head? (asking for a friend)
  • even the cheapest Chromebooks or iPads have camera(s) these days. When was the last time you used yours?
  • of course, a popular use these days is going online into meeting rooms … do you have a preference for meeting room?
  • how do you know your camera is working?
  • there was a real concern about hackers getting into the camera of your computer and turning it on to spy on you. Allegedly, they could do it without you knowing. Do you have a piece of tape or some other way to cover your camera when you’re not using it?

I’m sure that all of us would like to hear your stories. Please share in the comments below.

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8 responses to “Whatever happened to …”

  1. Doug, it’s funny as I was just thinking about webcams the other night. We have a family Zoom call today, and while my computer webcam works, the external webcams (of which I have at least 3 in a big Ziploc bag at school) all seem to have a clearer image. I have a class Google Hangout on Monday, and the couple of times that I’ve met already with my teaching partner, Paula, makes me realize that the webcam on my computer does not provide the best picture. I wonder if an external webcam would be better. Thoughts?



  2. I don’t see a hard and fast answer to that except to try and see. You’d think that, for the price of an external camera, it would have better resolution than something that’s designed to fit into the flat place of a computer display. Having said that, they are amazing feats of technology excellence.


  3. Alfred Thompson Avatar
    Alfred Thompson

    Cameras in most laptops seem to work pretty well these days. I notice that when my classes meet I have a great view of many student’s foreheads. Seeing the rest of their faces would be nice. 🙂 I try pretty hard to keep my whole face in the image. I often open a second laptop into the meeting so I can see what students are seeing.


  4. Good observation, Alfred. I find that I have to tilt whatever laptop I’m using forward to be in the picture. I guess I open it a little too far. But, your comments indicate that I’m not the only one!


  5. […] post started out as a comment for Doug Peterson’s Sunday morning Whatever happened to… webcams? but it expanded (as such reminiscences are wont to do) and so I have posted it here. In light of […]


  6. Andrew Forgrave Avatar
    Andrew Forgrave

    Hi Doug, Aviva, Alfred, …

    I started in on a response to this early this morning, and before I knew it, it was turning into something more. The link has appeared as a wingback above, but yet again, kudos to you Doug for yet another enjoyable trip down memory lane.


  7. […] Sunday –  Whatever happened to … web cams? […]


  8. […] Whatever happened to … – doug — off the record […]


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