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View Full Version : FaceTime with iBook G4 using USB cam




nateo200
Oct 19, 2012, 04:12 PM
So my 6 year old sister is using an old iBook G4 to play her computer games....however she wants to FaceTime or video chat somehow with my other sister who is not at home! We have a USB webcam and the iBook G4...from what I understand you don't need an intel processor to video chat but I'm stumped on how to get this working! iChat says no camera is plugged in and there is no FaceTime natively on the computer. Its running OS X 10.5. Advice?



eyoungren
Oct 19, 2012, 05:01 PM
Download the last version of Skype for PowerPC Macs and use Skype. Skype will recognize the cam if you have the drivers for it.

There's an app out there that you need to get a USB cam working with iChat. Don't recall the name though.

I would strongly advise finding and getting an external iSight. There are lots on eBay and I got mine for about $50. My Mac pegged the CPU at 100% any time I used my USB cam and that made it difficult to have a conversation.

The iSight will also adjust for light conditions. If you get iGlasses that gives you a lot more options too. The iSight is firewire so the CPU load on the Mac will be minimal.

The PowerPC Macs are too old for Facetime. You need to be running at least Lion I think and for that you need an Intel Mac.

orestes1984
Oct 19, 2012, 05:31 PM
get her an ipod touch if you must insist on using facetime.

nateo200
Oct 19, 2012, 06:39 PM
Download the last version of Skype for PowerPC Macs and use Skype. Skype will recognize the cam if you have the drivers for it.

There's an app out there that you need to get a USB cam working with iChat. Don't recall the name though.

I would strongly advise finding and getting an external iSight. There are lots on eBay and I got mine for about $50. My Mac pegged the CPU at 100% any time I used my USB cam and that made it difficult to have a conversation.

The iSight will also adjust for light conditions. If you get iGlasses that gives you a lot more options too. The iSight is firewire so the CPU load on the Mac will be minimal.

The PowerPC Macs are too old for Facetime. You need to be running at least Lion I think and for that you need an Intel Mac.
Thanks. I figured Skype would be the easiest. The iBook G4 is a 1.33Ghz processor and its got 1GB of RAM...not sure how much that helps as I have only dealt with Intel Macs until now. I wish FireWire was more wide spread though, like similar to USB 2.0...I love using Firewire 800 for external hard drives (on my MacBook Pro) with the only complaint of it not being a tight fitting. Oh well Ill get thunderbolt next!

get her an ipod touch if you must insist on using facetime.

Not interested in buying anything else...its not a huge deal just asking around and looking for the easiest way to get this rolling.

eyoungren
Oct 19, 2012, 09:35 PM
The external iSights are Firewire 400. Those came out during the time of Aluminum PowerBook G4s and iBook G4s. If there is a Firewire 800 iSight, I've not seen it.

Ram is important, but in the case of Skype or VOIP it's less important than CPU. What happens is when processing gets intense (as it does with USB cams) the CPU spikes. The longer the CPU pegs at 100% the hotter the processor gets (of course). So, you get a busy processor which causes Skype to drop video frames during the call. Eventually you get a frozen picture on your screen. Then the fans kick in to lower the CPU temp. Invariably, the person you are talking to will hear the fans. It comes over as static.

So, unless you have a good USB cam that does not peg the processor I'd stick with a Firewire iSight.

You can test your USB cam. Plug it in and make sure it's ready to go before you open Skype. Go to Preferences in Skype and select the video tab. Activate the camera. Watch your CPU. If it goes into the 70 to 90% range you can be pretty sure it's not going to work well in the actuall call.

There are two well known apps that will show your CPU in the menubar if you do not already have them. MenuMeters and iStat. I used to use MenuMeters, but iStat is superior in the information it presents.