Archive for February, 2006

HOWTO use a Canon Camcorder with iChat

John and Dave are two of the latest among my co-workers to succumb to the siren lure of the Mac. They both have recent iMacs with the built-in iSight, so last night we tried a three-way video conference to see how it works (very cool, in case you were wondering). My iMac, being a bit over a year old now, has no in-built iSight, and I haven’t seen fit to drop the 150.00 USD for one.

Instead, I plugged in my Canon ZR65MC via Firewire. iSight was happy to comply, but the camcorder wasn’t. After 5 minutes, it shut off. Thinking it was a battery issue, I plugged it into AC power, and re-connected. Five minutes later, I was off the air. It seems the Canon has an auto-off battery saver that even works when you’re not on battery power.

Several minutes fruitless searching in the onboard menu system revealed no way to disable this “feature”, nor did 15 minutes flipping through the manual. The support website was also mum. Google eventually hinted at the answer, after alot of searching. For the next brave soul, here’ s the short version: Remove the tape.

It appears that if you have a tape in the camera, it assumes you mean to record tape, regardless of the firewire connection to the Mac. Without the tape, I guess it assumes you have another reason for powering up the camera, and disables auto shut-off. This makes sense to me, since I had to remove the tape previously in order to use the camcorder as an analog-to-digital converter for my old 8mm camera.

And just for the record, iChat video chat rocks. My wife and her father have been trying to get an audio chat working via Yahoo IM on their PCs for weeks, with only one (brief) success. iChat just worked. As the old commercial says, “There’s no step three.”

Thanks for the Comments

To all of my regular readers and occaisional visitors, if you have left a comment, thanks. You make this site better when you contribute.

I maintain this website for a few reasons- to have a place to vent, a place to play, and especially, a place to contribute the odd bit of knowledge. Personal validation isn’t on the list. Nevertheless, it’s always nice to see that something I’ve written has helped someone, or made them think. I love to see new comments- it means that what I’m doing here is useful to someone besides myself.

Last week, I received a comment on an old Perl Howto from a year and a half ago. It was the first comment I’ve received on that post, and it was exceedingly brief. It was also one of my favorites. I reproduce it here, in its entirety:

nice! just what I needed. mime::parser->parse requires a file handle….

Comment from David at 2/7/2006 16:04:45

David didn’t leave a link or an email address, just a brief hammering of keys, but it’s a great comment. First, he tells me I helped him. “Just what I needed.” Now there’s a reason to keep blogging. Second, he mentions how he’s using it- the CPAN module Mime::Parser. This amounts to extra info for Google, so the next time someone is trying to figure out how to feed a Perl scalar to Mime::Parser->parse, they’ll be that much more likely to find the info they need. The site is improved by this comment.