Switched to uStream

uStream screenshot You may have noticed a change on the webcam page: the live cam now runs on uStream.tv rather than Stickam.

See my Metafilter post about Stickam for details on the whole pornography controversy. But even outside of the whole “AVS-and-porn” brouhaha, I was more swayed by the fact that my Stickam password has been hacked at least once and the Pandora profile pic replaced with that of a winking blonde punk girl going “Pow!” with a pointing index finger (I received no phishing mail and there are no keyloggers on my system, so I suspect an XSS or other injection exploit was at play. Kudos to the hacker for successful and somewhat witty pwnage.) There have also been several occasions that Stickam has forgotten my saved settings and put me back in text-and-video chat mode with sound on, rather than the muted broadcast-only mode I kept trying to set as my default preference. So, given the insecurity and general cruftiness of Stickam’s streaming app, I decided to go with another new arrival in the growing live video market.

uStream.tv is more geared towards streaming broadcast than multichannel visual communication, and lacks the friend-and-chat functionality which shapes Stickam’s user experience. Introvert that I am, I consider this lack of MySpace-ish community features a definite plus. uStream does have a Flash/IRC chat feature you can embed alongside the webcam stream, but my aim is a “watch the cat” stream and nothing more, so the IRC box mostly stays off. It’s also worth noting that uStream’s Flash streaming app runs just fine on my old iBook G3, which chokes on Stickam’s memory-intensive app after more than a few minutes, when it manages to start up at all.

This should all make little difference to the webcam page itself, since both services offer a simple HTML embed snippet, and all I needed to do was paste the uStream embed over the Stickam one. Probably my main complaint about uStream in this stead is that they have only one remote Flash player option with only one size allowed, as opposed to the six remote player styles Stickam had. But eh, this is fine.

So there you go. The cam’s pointed at the room, but Pandora has taken to sleeping behind the video rocker rather than on it as of late, so you’ll only see her when she goes over to her food bowl every now and then.