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My wife was cleaning up and found an old USB webcam / microphone that we bought for our daughter some years ago.  So, I decided to plug it into my Linux Mint desktop and see what would happen.  And…  nothing happened.  Turns out there are some applications in the Software Manager that can bring alive a webcam.

The program that worked best for me is Kamoso.  Once installed it will appear on the Graphics sub-menu.  This is a cute little program that will show on the screen what the camera sees.  And the program can be used to capture photos and video.  There are also adjustments for hue, contrast, saturation, etc.  Kamoso is a nice little program.

Skype is available for Linux Mint.  Signing up for a Skype account is free.  And it is free to use the audio test capability in Skype, which is helpful to make sure the microphone and volume is working properly.  

In conclusion, setting up a USB webcam on Mint was rather simple.

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Well, it was bound to happen sometime.  The old hard drive in my desktop finally died.  I tried the freezer trick.  Lowering the temperature can sometimes nudge a hard drive back to health — long enough to grab some data off of it.  That did not work.  So, I will have to live with my full back-up, which was about 10-days earlier.

Here are the steps I’ve gone through (so far) to reconstruct a working system:

1) Replace defective drive with another old IDE drive, with 300GB capacity. 

2) Boot the computer using the Mind 12 live DVD, which I still had from my first install of Mint 12.

3) After the boot up, I clicked on Install.  When it got to the question about how to install, I selected the option to reformat the HDD and install Mint alone using the entire disk.

4) Once installed I re-booted the computer.  Mint informed me there were Updates waiting, so I installed them all.  This process actually took longer than the Mint initial install.

5) Went into System Tools > System Settings > Displays to configure my dual displays from Mirror (the default).

6)  Launched Software Manager and installed several programs that do not come automatically with Mint 12:

  • Wine (to run Windows programs)
  • Shutter (nice screen-shot program)
  • Lucky Back-Up (program to keep files backed-up)
  • Screenlets
  • Picasa (for photo adjustments and management)
  • Chromium Browser
  • DeVeDe (DVD authoring program)
  • Gweled (cute game)
  • MeTV (software to drive my TV card)

7) Launched Thunderbird.  Then killed it, copied over my files from backup, and re-launched it.  I’ve got all my old email back (except for the past 10-day after my last back-up).

8) Launched Firefox.  Then killed it, copied over my configuration files from backup, and re-launched it.  I’ve got all my bookmarks and preferences back.

9) Copied all my files from backup disk onto my main disk, using the default folders provided by Mint:  Documents, Pictures, Downloads, etc.

10) Set up a few screenlets using Screenlet Manager.

11) Launched Me-TV and ran through the HDTV channel search.

12) Launched Picasa and let if find all my photos.

That’s about all I have time for this weekend.