Dustpuppy gets eyes! Making orbicam run on ubuntu

My laptop, affectionately called ‘dustpuppy’, is of course running Ubuntu Linux 7.04. After my basic install i had only a few things that didn’t work. The primary non-functional issues was the integrated webcam and the flash card reader. And now webcam works.

How to set it up. Well for this i mainly followed a tutorial available on the Ubuntu Forums by brazzmonkey. However i recreated it for personal use here. Im using an Acer Travelmate 4280 laptop, with 1.3 megapixel Orbicam integrated.

First we need to make sure that the camera is detected


and you should be getting something like this

Bus 005 Device 002: ID 046d:0896 Logitech, Inc.

Now we need to install some prerequisites to make able to build the drivers for the webcam

sudo apt-get install build-essential linux-headers-$(uname -r)

Now for getting the drivers. The main download page is here: http://mxhaard.free.fr/download.html
At the time of writing the newest driver is gspcav1-20070508.tar.gz
Lets unpack them

tar zxvf gspcav1-20070508.tar.gz

Compile and install the drivers

cd gspcav1-20070508/
sudo make install

Now we have the drivers compiled and installed. A personal note. On this laptop i moved the drivers to /opt/gspcav1-20070508/ before compiling, and installing. Just because i like to keep my own personal order in the folders.

Next we need to tune the module before loading. I will explain why later, but its needed for colors to be shown correctly.

sudo gedit /etc/modprobe.d/options

Add this to the end of the file to make sure colors are displayed correctly. Unless of course you are happy looking like a smurf 😉

options gspca force_rgb=0

In the original tutorial the value was supposed to be 1, but for my laptop setting it to 0 seems to be correct value. Now save the file and close gedit.

Now we are ready to load the module, so we can check out webcam is working.

sudo modprobe gspca

Now check that the device node exists.

ls /dev/video*

The result should be something like mine here:


If you did get a similar result the webcam is now ready for testing. First we need to install a webcam application to use for testing. Camorama is perfect for this. If you dont already have it installed just use this command

sudo apt-get install camorama

And now we can start the application with


But whats this ?! You seem blue in the face.. have no fear my blue friend. In Camorama under ‘view’ select ‘show effects’.Now the effects pane is added to the dialog. Right click and ‘add filter’ and select the ‘color correction filter’ Now you should instantly become more humanised colors.

The trick here is that its only camorama, so far that i know of, that reverses the colors. So using the color correction filter it shows correctly. Other applications don’t need this. So fire up Ekiga softphone to further test out your webcam and in general just have fun 😀

Hope this helped some people, especially users with this specific laptop. Questions, or comments can be left in comments section 😀

source: ACER Orbicam integrated webcams now supported by GSPCA

Image taken with the webcam:

gizmo webcam

Invalid google!

The other day i was surfing around, wasting time. The net is a great way to waste time, and my question is whom to see about getting that time back. No wait, thats not the question i was going for. Why doesnt google validate according to the w3c standards ?!

The extremely simply google frontpage does not validate according to the w3c standards. Why ? I have no answer for this. But my curiosity got peaked and i started googling (invalid results ? 😉 ) for some answers.
It would seem that google once DID validate, according to google employee, Mihai Parparita. In his personal blog he writes this:

There’s a perception that Google doesn’t care about valid HTML, since bandwidth costs trump correctness. While that thinking has merit for high traffic sites, there’s more leeway on our smaller properties. Specifically, I was happy to discover that Google Video validates. And it’s not just the relatively simple front page, search results validate too.

Abit the post is nearing 2 years in age, i still find it curious that the google pages once did follow standards, but no longer. Did i simply make a mistake when checking for validity ? Well talking apart some more results on the topic i found the following post on the same topic:

The myth that Google is using invalid markup to save bandwidth is clearly just a myth.

Hmm invalid markup to save bandwith. Well seems resonable enough. Fewer characters = less bandwith. And there are plenty of characters you can save away like quotes. Another link has a story on exactly why googles frontpage uses non-validated code. Here is what Google’s Matt Cutts once argued:

Google’s home page doesn’t validate and that’s mostly by design to save precious bytes. Will the world end because Google doesn’t put quotes around color attributes? No, and it makes the page load faster.

So the invalid page is supposed to shave previous characters off the page, and make it load faster. Seems really really resonable with google being one of the most popular search engines around, that optimising the site for lightning load times is extremely important. But this story isnt so simple. Because Roger Johansson ((A Swedish web professional specialising in web standards, accessibility, and usability)) recreated the frontpage using standards and came up with this strange result;

…the result is a valid HTML 4.01 Strict file that is 3 902 bytes large. Google’s invalid kinda-HTML 2.something very-loose is 4 944 bytes. The valid and strict version is 1 042 bytes smaller. That’s 21 percent savings on bandwidth costs.

So why would google still be using a non-standard frontpage and subsequent pages for that matter. I found no more recent material on this matter. But perhaps somebody knows why. Im still curious to know, especially since a company the size of google i would expect they could spare at least one employee to make the pages valid code. As shows coding according to standards doesnt increase the size of the page, and thus should reduce bandwith usage.

More on the topic if i should find out more.. feel free to leave comments and enlighten the subject. I stress that im merely posing an open question here, so no flaming from any side please ! Play nice 😉

Guitar Hero for free!

Today i made an amazing discovery i did not know about. An open source game that replicates the gameplay of the famous Guitar Hero. You use the keyboard to make frets, and string with the return key. Its hillarious fun to try and keep up and i barely managed at easy level.
Of course having an actual guitar controller would be more fun, but for a game you can get on multiple operating systems and that runs great its a must try!

So head on over to the Frets on Fire website, and download the greatest game i have played in a bit ! 😀

Here is a little screenshot:

frets on fire screen

Feeling insignificant ?

Ever had one of thoose days were you just feel 2 inches tall ? Were nothing you do seems to have an impact on your surroundings, and you just feel like the smallest person in the world ?

Well get ready to feel quite a bit smaller after you see these size comparisons of various stars in the universe related to our own little solar system. If you think the sun is a big heavely body get ready to be amazed!

The size of our world

oh and a small quote, thats only somewhat related 😉

“Tell a man there are 300 billion stars in the universe and he’ll believe you. Tell him a seat has wet paint on it and he’ll have to touch it to be sure.”

Me thinks me see updates in the horizon

Today was the final mini project i have this semester at the university. Thus i have about a month comming up with nothing but exam prep and work. This also means that i will have a bunch of free time. I have plans of keeping up with my painting now, learning the guitar (got a teacher) and also working on my magic act 😉

Its gonna be a few days before i will have any updates on speedpaintings since im still getting into the ol’ workflow and undecided on my primary painting application. Anyhow lets get down to some concent, shall we!

  • Better Gmail, an extension for firefox making various changes for your gmail interface. I have tested it for a bit now and im really happy with all the changes like new skins for the interface. Also small stuff like adding, removing feats. So check out; Better Gmail
  • Mark Shuttleworth, blogs about the recent announcement on Dell offering Ubuntu as an alternative on their computers. Read what he has to say here:  A free software milestone
  • Only a few days after Corel issued a WinDVD update to close the hole opened by AACS hackers, the folks at the Doom9 forums sent word that they have found yet another way around the copy protection for high definition discs. Read more about it here:  New AACS cracks cannot be revoked, says hacker

Well thats it for now. But rest assured that i will be back .. after all i got nothing better to do 😉

Digg the code or go down fighting! 09-f9-11-02-9d-74-e3-5b-d8-41-56-c5-63-56-88-c0

So today was an interesting day on the social news website digg.com. A code needed to break the copy protection on HDD-DVDs was released on the web for all to use, however it was removed by moderators (same thing happened on wikipedia ect.) due to violating rights. However digg.com is the users site, so following the removal a ton of users have been posting the code in various shapes and forms.. the community wants the code public no matter what. Hearing the crow Kevin Rose had this to say:

Today was an insane day. And as the founder of Digg, I just wanted to post my thoughts…

In building and shaping the site I’ve always tried to stay as hands on as possible. We’ve always given site moderation (digging/burying) power to the community. Occasionally we step in to remove stories that violate our terms of use (eg. linking to pornography, illegal downloads, racial hate sites, etc.). So today was a difficult day for us. We had to decide whether to remove stories containing a single code based on a cease and desist declaration. We had to make a call, and in our desire to avoid a scenario where Digg would be interrupted or shut down, we decided to comply and remove the stories with the code.

But now, after seeing hundreds of stories and reading thousands of comments, you’ve made it clear. You’d rather see Digg go down fighting than bow down to a bigger company. We hear you, and effective immediately we won’t delete stories or comments containing the code and will deal with whatever the consequences might be.

If we lose, then what the hell, at least we died trying.

Digg on,


So i figure why not post the code here as well 😉


Also here are some of the more funny ways of posting it i found, but there are lots more:

This kids new favorite number

My harddrive is acting wierd

Newsstory about the encryption


hehe i cound Userfriendly take on the story funny too 😀 Userfriendly – HD DVD Sudoku