A4Tech Webcam

Since Mom and Dad recently discovered Skype, they've hinted, as in strongly hinted, that they want to be able to chat via webcam, too. What can I say? I could really hide it from them for so long.

In response to this request, I went out and bought a webcam for my desktop. I wasn't sure which one would work, so I took a shot in the dark and bought an A4Tech PK-635K from my friend's computer shop. Not as cheap as I would have gotten it from CDR-King, but pretty cheap considering the brand.

The package set Driver-Free. I asked the salesgirl about this, and she said, "Yes, it comes with a free driver." Just had to roll my eyes up at that one.

In any case, the webcam works as advertised, both for photos and videos. Here's a demo of the video capabilities under Cheese.

This is the output from my /var/log/messages:

May 28 17:05:04 union kernel: [ 59.184055] usb 1-4: new high speed USB device
using ehci_hcd and address 4
May 28 17:05:04 union kernel: [ 59.411303] usb 1-4: configuration #1 chosen fr
om 1 choice
May 28 17:05:04 union kernel: [ 59.487423] Linux video capture interface: v2.00
May 28 17:05:04 union kernel: [ 59.510033] uvcvideo: Found UVC 1.00 device A4 TECH PC Camera (093a:2700)
May 28 17:05:04 union kernel: [ 59.513371] input: A4 TECH PC Camera as /devices/pci0000:00/0000:00:1a.7/usb1/1-4/1-4:1.0/input/input8
May 28 17:05:04 union kernel: [ 59.517113] usbcore: registered new interface driver uvcvideo
May 28 17:05:04 union kernel: [ 59.517117] USB Video Class driver (v0.1.0)

As promised, no driver needed! Plugged it in and it worked immediately.

It's supposed to have a built-in microphone but it was crappy so I had to resurrect an old PC microphone (the only remnant of an Aptiva I bought over ten years ago).

For my sound settings, it worked with HDA Intel (ALSA Mixer). It helped that I added the Mic Boost option in the panel.

On Skype, I'm just using pulse for both input and output.