The Zoomcam Talks to Linux

Version 2.3.13 of the Linux development kernel was released today and it came with the lastest USB driver updates. After spending a few minutes downloading, unpacking, configuring, and compiling the kernel, I was finally able to get a semi-successful frame grab using our new Zoomcam.

[[image:test1.jpg:Zoomcam test image:center:0]]

It’s monochrome, has hum bars, and is a bad picture in bad light but it actually worked! Also, a kernel Oops occured when I tried to grab a second frame… But it’s definitely making progress. The driver will probably support only 320×240 monochrome until the USB communications are stable and things start working really well. Then we’ll get (hopefully!) 320×240 in 8 and 24bit color followed by full resolution 640×480 in 24bit color. Once the driver is stable enough, I’ll set it up as a web cam. What should we call it? NCCcam? CEO-cam?

Another Vegas Trip

I’m back in town after yet another trip out to Vegas. I’m out there so often I should probably just rent an apartment or something – but it’s more fun staying in different hotels on each trip. There are still a few I haven’t tried. I stayed in a suite at the Rio this time and it was very nice. Definitely one of the better hotels out there. My only complaint is that all of the roulette tables are American style. The Monte Carlo has both American and European tables. Not that I had much time to play games!

Most of my trip was spent chasing down shipping cases containing the gear we had to demonstrate. The gas plasma screens are in very large travel cases that weight about 220 lbs. We usually ship that sort of thing FedEx with no problem but our client wanted them shipped DHL. As it turns out, DHL just hands off large packages to random subcontractors and doesn’t offer any promises that they’ll get there on time (or at all). Of course, they don’t mention any of this before hand – they wait until your freight doesn’t show up and then say, “Oh, we don’t guarantee delivery, that’s up to the subcontractor”. We tracked down one of our boxes in Phoenix. It had been handed off to Joe’s Trucking Service or somesuch and Joe had apparently stopped for some sightseeing in Phoenix for a day or two. We did eventually find all of our gear but I think we’ll be sticking with FedEx for future shipments.

Working on the Weekends

It’s amazing how much work you can get done on a weekend. I’ve done more coding on my latest Perl project this weekend than I have in the last couple of weeks. The office is empty and quiet (well, at the moment it’s not but that’s because an Oingo Boingo CD is cranked up rather loud). No interruptions or annoying phone calls. I think I may start taking the week off and just working on Saturday and Sunday. I’d probably get the same amount of work done.