Re: Repeated request: Snappy+CUDoodle = happy marriage (?)

Ron Elkayam (
Mon, 26 Aug 1996 08:09:57 -0400 (EDT)

Si, thank you very much for the tips! Highly appreciated! Very very
encouraging news. WOW, for $186 (including shipping and NECX 1-year
membership) I could in effect get a low-end B&W capture board for
CU-SeeMe, a very high-end 24bit still-image capture, and the beauty in the
portability of a Quickcam.

I could take the Snappy to a friend's house and do the videoconferencing
from there! And by using a camcorder I get the benefits of
videoconferencing in very poor lighting (1-lux), auto-focus, 24x zooming,
local time-stamping, and some newer camcorders (not mine yet) support
digital effects built-in (strobe, mosaic, negative, etc). Truly a
wonderful solution.

A few more questions, please! :) ...:

On Sun, 25 Aug 1996, Si Ballenger wrote:

> I've got both a quick cam and a snappy and have done some testing using
> cudoodle. Cudoodle works ok with the snappy, but there are a couple quirks
> with the snappy
> that you have to deal with:
> 1. The preview frames with the snappy don't update as quickley as the quick
> cam does. I think this has to do with the speed/memory of the machine. The
> snappy frame rate slows as you load your machine down (I've got a 486-66
> with 16 meg). The frame rate from the snappy is faster when playing a B/W
> tape than when using a live color feed from a camcorder (Rock n' Roll
> Wrestling Women Vs. the Aztec Mummy moves along quite nicely!).

What's an average fps you get from camcorder (color) input? 3fps would be
plenty for me... Also, just to clarify, even if the input is in color,
the preview screen is always B&W and so will transmit B&W to the other
party when using CUSeeMe, right?

> 2. The image is sharper and you have a lot more flexability with the
> camcorder than with the quick cam.

Yep, as I've excitingly mentioned before, camcorders kickass.

> 3. The slower frame rate seems to help the perceived speed of the
> transmission. This could be because the cuseeme software isn't seeing a
> lot of changes that it has to think about. Viewers have commented that
> they wish they had a T-1 connection like me! ;-)

I know what you mean.. I pretty much prefer the highest frame rate which
achieves crisp images on the other side. With my 14.4 and freevue, it's
about 0.30fps, which doesn't look really "live", but gives u 3 seconds to
pose for the cam before the next "grab". :)

> 4. The snappy preview setup has a couple of things that are a hassle. The
> preview screen has to be "the" high lited program on your screen for it to
> work. If you click your curser anywhere else, the preview screen goes into
> the "sleep" mode. This is a hassle if you want to type some chat(there are
> some work arounds). The preview mode will go into the sleep mode after it
> determines that there is no activity for about a minute. This seems to be
> defeated if the curser is left inside the snappy preview box.
> This all seems to be built in to save the 9v battery. Snappy has said it
> could be powered externally, but I don't think they support this yet (I'll
> do some testing later). I have heard that wal-warts may induce noise into
> the high res. snaps.

That sleep mode annoyance isn't that bad, I suppose. Is the preview
window always "on top"? In other words, can you run Netscape or mIRC and
still transmit video or does it get really annoying at that point? :)
Oh, and I'd definitely get an AC/DC adapter even if it gives a few
sparks here and there (after all, I plan to use it for plenty hours
doing CUSeeMe). And when I need to grab 24bit/high-res, I'll stick a
battery in.

> 5. You have to watch where the cuseeme video boxes pop up, and remember that
> anything that lands in the cudoodle frame will be transmitted. If another
> frame lands on the cudoodle frame and you click and drag it off, the preview
> box goes in to the sleep mode (sigh!).

No big deal.. a few clicks here and there won't kill anyone. But I would
seriously bug Play Inc. to get a fix if the problem is more itchy than I

> I got my snappy last summer when they came out and soon after wrote snappy
> about the potential for using the preview screen for video conference stuff.
> They wrote back saying "shhhh, we're working on it". It seems the cudoodle
> guy is far ahead of them!

I wonder whatever happened to "we're working on it"(?) I guess their
booming sales and great demand allows them to postpone such developments.
In fact, they could write a whole new driver that won't need CUDoodle but
be completely MS Video compatible albeit with relatively low frame rate
(even in color). I see no reason why it can't be done... I'm hoping, but
I'm not betting any cash it'll ever happen.

Thanks again for the enlightening revelation!

P.S. Does anyone know where to get a Snappy for under $185 shipped? (I
say shipped cuz it seems a common practice now adays is to ad something
for 10% under the competition, but stick you with $25+ on shipping,
handling, insurance, credit-card surcharges, and who knows what else)