22 May 2011

What not to buy: Dynex 1.3MP Webcam

I've spent the time across the weekend, tinkering with a USB webcam -- particularly a Dynex 1.3MP Webcam (USB ID: 0x19ff:0x0102 ). As I recall, Dynex is a BestBuy house brand. The Linux USB device driver support table indicates that the device is supported under _some_ Linux variant

The need was occasioned because some small animal, probably a groundsquirrel, has been digging in the garden of missus, and she wanted confirmation on what to go after. The local cat, Malaki, heard it and darted to the door, but I was too late letting him out to track down the intruder ... this time

My laptop at home has been my primary compute platform there, since I crushed my ankle late last December. I still need to post a page with all the gory x-ray details, to go along with the twitter pictures I sent along the way with recovery. The medical bill cost was staggering as well, and I'll sanitize and post details of that as well. Back to the laptop -- it runs a reasonably stock CentOS 5 most of the time, except when I've been trialling rebuilds of part of Red Hat's '6' series SRPM rebuilds

The seemingly needed 'uvcvideo' video driver was present, and I forced it to load, at the cost of the machine locking up in short order thereafter. I had to power cycle the unit to recover use of it. Hmmm ...

So I went looking for an application to pull content off of the newly present /dev/video0, and turned to the native 'ekiga' that CentOS 5 carries. It refused to acknowledge anything useful at that device, and so ... I had to power cycle the unit to recover use of it. Hmmm ...

Perhaps it was 'ekiga'. So I set out to solve the needed packaging to attain a current 'zoneminder' ... a bit more complex chain:

06:42:44 PM libgcrypt-devel-1.4.4-5.el5
06:42:44 PM libgpg-error-devel-1.4-2
06:42:46 PM gnutls-devel-1.4.1-3.el5_4.8
06:42:47 PM pcre-devel-6.6-6.el5_6.1
06:44:49 PM perl-MIME-Types-1.19-2orc
06:46:55 PM perl-TimeDate-1.16-5.el5
06:47:02 PM perl-MailTools-1.74-1orc
06:47:38 PM perl-DateManip-5.44-1.2.1
06:47:59 PM perl-DBD-MySQL-3.0007-2.el5
07:19:55 PM perl-PHP-Serialization-0.27-4orc
07:20:50 PM perl-MIME-Lite-3.01-5orc
07:23:33 PM perl-IO-Stringy-2.108-3.orc
07:23:54 PM perl-MIME-tools-5.411a-12orc
07:34:34 PM perl-IO-Zlib-1.10-1orc
07:43:10 PM perl-Compress-Raw-Zlib-2.027-1orc
07:47:54 PM perl-Archive-Zip-1.16-1.2.1
07:48:05 PM perl-Archive-Tar-1.39.1-1.el5_5.2
07:49:54 PM php-pdo-5.1.6-27.el5_5.3
07:49:55 PM php-mysql-5.1.6-27.el5_5.3
07:50:28 PM perl-Module-Load-0.10-3orc
07:51:38 PM perl-Device-SerialPort-1.002-3orc
07:51:49 PM zoneminder-1.23.3-2orc

and went through the very nicely done configuration. Oops -- it wants a mysql database server running to save state:

07:59:18 PM mysql-server-5.0.77-4.el5_6.6
08:03:20 PM mysql-test-5.0.77-4.el5_6.6

Zoneminder was willing to admit it could read /dev/video0 but all it returned was a black image. Grrr. ... and then after a few minutes, the laptop locked up again, and I had to power cycle the unit to recover use of it. Hmmm ..

So I spent a few minutes with Google doing some research, and found what looks like a ratehr nice little application for USB frame grabbing called: gideo -- see: A GTK video grabber designed with spca5xx components. Building it dragged in the Gnome / GTK development environment of thirty or so packages, and I only had to fix up a dependency's .spec file to handle Red Hat's multilib conventions

05:27:56 PM libtiff-devel-3.8.2-7.el5_6.7
05:29:52 PM gideo-0.1-1orc
05:43:18 PM SDL_image-1.2.10-2orc
05:43:18 PM SDL_image-devel-1.2.10-2orc

But now, 'gideo' is unwilling to admit, or loading the module is unwilling to produce a live /dev/video0, and ... you guessed it: The laptop locked up again, and I had to power cycle the unit to recover use of it

I think perhaps I'll try a different video camera