By Phillip P. Daniel
Have you ever wanted to show off you recently created Borg costume to your friends in Topeka, but your teleporter wasnít finished and your mom wouldnít give you the money to book a plane trip? Well if so, and I know that there are more people then just me who this has happened to, then a new webcam could be your savior. Webcams are almost like an instrument on the Star Ship Enterprise, as they allow you to take your image, and send it over the internet for all to see. It is perfect for things like cross country D N D (Dungeons and Dragons) parties, Dr. Who fan club meetings in Russia, or even dating beautiful Elvish vixens who live in their parentís basement in northern Michigan (rahr). Yes webcams allow you to see the person that you are chatting with, showing you that the girl that you met while playing Everquest was really a fifty year old man (something that happened to a friend of mine...definetly not me.) Before running out and blowing your hard earned money on new computer web camera, read our simple guide to picking the best of the best.
When purchasing any new piece of equipment, is important to know and understand the way that your computer works and is set up. I recommend taking a weekend sabbatical with just you and your machine to become better acquainted and more intimate with your best friend. Reserve a room at a nice bed a breakfast and just spend some quality time with your machines. Buy it presents, cuddle with it, just don't take a bath with it (RIP Fred DiMarco). If you arenít looking for that kind of commitment, you should at least know what kind of input your computer uses when buying a webcam. If your computer is not equipped with a firewire or USB slot, then you donít want to purchase a webcam features those outputs. There are many different configurations to webcams, so make sure that your computer will be compatible with the outputs of yours.
One of the most important things to keep in mind when purchasing a new webcam is that the more frames per second (FPS...in this case not refering to the sweet world of first person shooters such as Wolfenstein, Half Life and Quake) your webcam is able to handle, the less choppy your images will look. Webcams with low frames per second (<30) will give your videos the strobe look, great for dancing, but not for chatting. I recommend the highest rate that you can afford so that people can really see your fluid movement when you are showing off with your home made lightsaber.
Another factor to keep in mind when purchasing a webcam is that not all adjust to light and color change. With a non-adjusting cam, your already pale skin may look transparent or even Wacko Jacko like, ruling out any chances of your first kiss when you fly in your internet date for prom.
Lastly, the old mantra applies here as it does for every other electronics purchase...you get what you flippin pay for. Donít go buying a complete no name brand and expect to have razor sharp images, because sister...that ainít gonna happen. Just remember that you can (as always) count on Newbie for the latest and best reviews and prices on all things technology related. Keep your ear to the streets...Philip P OUT!