October 2003 - Retirement can really break up that old gang. Paul took off for Palm Springs. Bob and Carolyn are in Twain Harte. Ray is often up at the cabin. Heck, even Stephanie's parents on Kauai would like to see the grandkids without a plane flight. Wouldn't it be nice if we could all get together on the spur of the moment?
With the Veo web cam it all came together.
Paul was the first to find one and soon I picked one up too. Our first cocktail party took place when Bob and Carolyn were down for a visit. I hooked my PC up to the projection TV and logged in to Paul's Veo. He logged in to mine and there we were, a virtual cocktail party.
Of course it wasn't perfect. The audio has some lag and the streaming video slows down to 2 fps when the audio is on. Still, we toasted each other and had some laughs, almost like old times. Since that first cocktail party we have used our dual Veos a lot. We have both found that the Veo is prone to hangs - it often needs to be power cycled. That's a real bummer when you want to access a remote camera and no one is around to pull the plug.
We'd like to do this three-way, or more, when the Coulters are back home. Alas, the Veo only let's one person stream video at a time. We keep looking for a better solution.
December 2005 - Well, better might just be here now. We had quite a scare when the veo.com web site went off the air earlier this year. I thought this product was a goner. Now the site is back with even better products.
Veo now has a version that will support non-IE browsers, yea!, and it will allow up to 5 simultaneous web users. Oh, if only they will add remote audio, like the Sony does, I'll buy one in a heart beat. That will be the holy grail of the personal web cams.
In the meantime, if you have enough ambient light, I think the Sony SNC-M3 is the best camera to buy.
November 2006 - The death of the web cam experiment.
Jim Schrempp is a sometimes freelance writer (only Vanity Press will publish his work) living in Saratoga, California. His writings have appeared on numerous pages on his own web site. The opinions expressed in this piece are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent those of anyone else (although Jim wishes more people shared his opinions)