Review: FREETALK Everyman HD webcam

Recently, I received a parcel from Italy from the Skype Store containing the new
FREETALK. This is one of the few webcams that allow HD video in Skype with the latest Skype version. According to the manual required are 1 Mbit/s upload but I have that and I do not get full HD video with my cable internet conection. According to the Skype Store, indeed 1.25, bette 1.5 mbit/s are required for the optimum.

As you can see from the shots, the image is still clear enough with the upload I have to actually read text 🙂 and the camera acts better in dark circumstances than e.g. the Logitech Spehere AF.

The camera works in Windows without extra drivers and on Mac, but for Mac Skype, HD video is yet to come.

Of course you can also try to force it.

Thanks to the Skype store for sending it! AND I will do new snapshots once I switched my ISP in December having 7 Mbit/s upload 🙂

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Finally fixing a problem with driver signing

Because I am a fan of retro computing, I am owning and supporting several fan products and services and so I have to start my Windows 7 X64 in test mode and had to sign several drivers manually since none of these projects have the 500 USD to pay every year to Microsoft.

about half a year ago, it happened that I had to reinstall one of those LTP interface drivers, “no problem!”, I thought since the Driver Signature Enforcement Overrider always worked on me for the many years back. However for whatever reason even though done everything correctly, it wouldn’t load the driver if not hit F8 and select to run without driver signature enforcement every time.

A bit of a nerve-racking pain, but hey, at least stuff worked again!
I even had one of the people involved in the development of the drivers looking into it by remote accessing my PC and he also didn’t find the root cause. We guess an update to the system supplied by Windows Update at some point, “fixed” a hole and so this beautiful way of signing new drivers somehow doesn’t work completely anymore (any drivers signed before work still fine, though).

Now, the problem was recently, that my keyboard broke and the new one wouldn’t work all the time in DOS/BIOS mode, according to he changelog of my motherboard, there is a bug in the initial BIOS release.

But the latest BIOS has obviously a bug which would cause my PC to not work anymore after updating. even CMOS clear and recovery boot wouldn’t work. So, I have got a new BIOS chip burned with a backup of the 1.0 BIOS my board came with.

So, at least my PC works again, but still no keyboard until Windows booted up. The work around was attaching a small number keypad that would allow me to control the boot menu and BIOS settings if required but still no way to hit the F8 key to manually disable driver signature enforcement.

Then it stroke my brain: Back then in 2006, there was a second way , a way that was told to be dangerous as it could render your Windows non-bootable but it would automatically select the right menu entry for you prior booting Windows Vista.

I just retrieved it again! It is now even available for booting from a floppy disk or an USB stick. It’s called ReadyDriver v2 and can be downloaded from here. (You need the tool rwwrtwin to write the boot image to disk, or just use the boot CD/DVD image from the other site above.

Anyway, now I just pop in the floppy disk and it automagically selects Windows 7 X64 and then presses F8 and the right menu entry and now no more hassling 🙂

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