There's always some been implied nudging and winking associated with web cameras, partially based on their association with the porn industry (or so I've been told). Folks have also used them for such honorable uses as documenting every aspect of their lives and putting the little cameras into refrigerators so you can see who's grabbing a snack. In fact, one of the first live web cams was the Trojan Room Coffee Pot in a computer lab at Cambridge. The uses for the things seem to go from risqué to hilarious, but the one thing you don't hear much about is video conferencing, which is what many of us (foolishly) expected them to be used for. In keeping the covert implications of web cams alive, iREZ Technologies is calling its latest offering the StealthFire Web Camera, which makes use of the FireWire 1394 interface to operate at speeds of 400mb/sec. iREZ says you can use it to display or capture video at 30 frames per second at 640 x 480 resolution. Included with the StealthFire is a suite of application software including: Microsoft NetMeeting, Cresta Cards video greeting software, iREZ Reel-Eyes for Mac and ArcSoft VideoImpressions for Windows, video capture, edit and viewing software, ISPQ video chat software from nanoCom and iVista web-casting software from Inetcam. iREZ offers three bundled packages for you to choose from ranging from $129.95 to $169.95. The StealthFire camera with the complete software package is $129.95. iREZ adds an analog headset and microphone with volume control for $149.95, and if you don't have a FireWire/1394 port you can get a package that's compatible with Windows and Macintosh, that includes the headset and a 3-port iREZ WildFire 1394/FireWire PCI card for $169.95. Minimum system requirements for PCs are: 233 MHz Pentium processor with MMX or higher, Microsoft Windows '98 SE, Windows ME or Windows 2000, 64MB RAM, 50MB hard disk storage space, CD-ROM drive for software installation, display adapter with 16 bit colors or better and an available 1394 port.
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