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Cameraware

One thing to be said for CameraWare is that it's different, all right. What it reminds us of, more than anything, is the telnet clients we used to play MUDs on back in the old days. (That's MUD as in Multi-User Dungeon, and no, we're not talking about BDSM. At least, not today). What Cameraware appears to be, actually, is a freeware program that you can download so that you can broadcast from your own webcam to the world. It's a popular program that's apparently been around in one form or another since Y2K.

Of course (and this is where we come in), most of the chat hosts that have taken Cameraware as their own are (surprise!) adult chat hosts, and for this we thank Cameraware heartily -- since nothing's quite as selfless as providing ways for naked people to watch other naked people and get off without having to leave the privacy of their own homes. Because this site is all about home-based performers, you dig? They're not all girls; there are some men and couples here having fun, too. Anyhow, here's a look at what you get:



As we were navigating our way through Cameraware, it struck us: this is a lot like the way people used to chat online before there was ICQ. Back then, you had to know enough quasi-UNIX to be able to make certain commands on crude text-based interfaces so you could connect to chat rooms. That's how this site works. As you can see, you get a screen on the left where you can see naked people, and on the right you have a chat box. You have to type in a nickname and (optionally) a password and log in before you get the chat box. Now, this is where everything gets bloody well confusing. You can use telnet-type commands to enter a room and chat with the people in there, but apparently not the person streaming the video you're looking at. You choose a performer by left-clicking the name field on the graphic side of the screen, whereupon you get a dialog box like so, which lists all the available channels:



The way it works out, it's just voyeurism -- you're watching the folks do their thing (and some of them are quite explicit), but you can't talk to them unless they happen to post their MSN or Yahoo Messenger handle.

From what we saw at Cameraware, this is a free place where ordinary people can get together and get naked. You'll find everything here from solitary male wankers to exhibitionist females to couples having a good time together. A few of the sites seem to do nothing but run a list of nudie pictures over and over. Frankly, this is a far cry from what we're used to reviewing, if only because the people here aren't professional performers -- they're just doing it for fun. As Chris Rock once said about cornbread, "Ain't nothing wrong with that."

Except -- Cameraware is free, and it looks it. The video isn't really video -- it's maybe three or four frames a minute, and it's grainy as hell, very like the stuff you might get on a bad security camera. Also, the site is more than confusing, it's irritating. For those of us who weathered the infancy of online chat and gaming in the 1980s and 1990s, it's just a matter of remembering all those commands we once used to dungeon-crawl and link up with our cyber-homies by telnet. But there have been user-friendly chat interfaces for a while now, and we fear that most people who never kicked it old-school will find it difficult to figure this all out, and will quit before they actually get anything useful out of it.

So basically, here's the sitrep, as they say in all those Tom Clancy novels: Cameraware is what it is, which is to say, a free program that lets people run their own at-home chat hosts. We're all for that, especially when nubile young ladies are involved, and there are plenty of those. Apparently CW also offers free hosting for those chat hosts, most of which are of the adult variety -- another point in its favor. However, for those accustomed to navigating to a chat site and being presented with a gallery of clickable, high-quality thumbnails that link directly to live girls ready and willing to talk (sometimes after a suitable payment, naturally), Cameraware will probably prove to be a wellspring of disappointment and frustration. There's nothing like that here, and it's hard to figure out how to find someone to talk to, even for geezers like us who remember when a 9600-baud modem was blazin' fast. So even though this is an interesting site with true home-based chat girls (and boys and couples), give it a skip, unless you're one of those people who loves a challenge.

Click here to visit Cameraware now

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