QuickCam and CU See Me

Michael Sattler, San Francisco (msattler@jungle.com)
Sat, 29 Oct 1994 20:19:01 -0400


Y'all will be interested to hear about the state of the QuickCam
production. Following is a memo from the person at Connectix in charge of
the QuickCam about an exchange I've been having with someone on
comp.sys.mac.portables. Enjoy.

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Subject: Time: 2:07 PM
OFFICE MEMO QuickCam and CU See Me Date: 10/29/94
Paul:

You've got it backwards. You should have asked "does CU See Me fully support
QuickTime" (and thus, by default, QuickCam). The answer to that question is
"almost." Early versions of CU See Me that we saw were hard coded to take
advantage of particular 'vdig's (a vdig is an extension or driver that
interfaces between a device and QuickTime. All video devices require one, and
the interface is defined by Apple. To be a fully QuickTime compatible
application, you need to support standard vdig calls and make no assumptions
about the device to which you're getting video from). The latest version of CU
See Me we downloaded seems to have these restrictions removed, but it also
seems to have a number of bugs that are not trivial.

We are pretty convinced through our testing that QuickCam's vdig correctly
supports ALL QuickTime API calls, including such esoteric things as VOX
activation, which, as far as I can tell, no other QuickTime device has ever
implemented (might explain why no software takes advantage of it, eh?). Every
commercial and shareware product I've looked at, with the notable exception of
CU See Me, works with the camera with no reported problems. Heck, I can even
get pictures from a shareware Adobe PhotoShop PICT Acquire module authored in
Switzerland.

And I would echo Michael: QuickCam is inexpensive, but it is not cheap. We have
a glass, multi-element lens, a state of the art IR suppressor, state of the art
CCD from Texas Instruments, and so on. The difference in price between QuickCam
and something like Flexcam, for example, can mostly be explained by the fact
that we have an all-digital design that never converts a picture to NTSC video,
and thus never needs all the support circuitry and power such designs typically
require. If you told me that I had to deliver 100K of these things a month, our
parts count would be exactly nine, and three of those would be plastics. We
engineered QuickCam to be produced at low cost and high volume.

Finally, QuickCam shipments begin on Halloween. Indeed, as I write this on
Saturday, most of the company is here checking out the first batch of cameras
and fussily making adjustments to the manufacturing process (made in US, from
mostly US parts, by the way). The backorders are so substantial that we won't
fill the entire backlog until Thanksgiving.

Thom Hogan
Product Management
Connectix Corporation

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