DreamCheeky MSN Launcher Review 8 April 2008Posted by David Wilson in USB Missile.
Tags: USB Missile DreamCheeky MSN Review
With much anticipation I awaited the arrival of my 7th USB Missile Launcher, or was that 5th – I’ve lost count. What I was keen to confirm was if my Mac software, USB Missile Launcher NZ, would drive the launcher or if I needed to make coding changes. So first onto the unboxing.
In the box are: 1 x Launcher, 3 x nurf missiles, giant Target, instructions, and installation CD. This is the first launcher that I have received that has 4 pages of instructions.
The first two pages of instructions guide you through the installation of the windows software noting that the software must be installed before connecting the launcher to the USB port(s) on your computer. There is a special note that says “Using an external USB HUB or docking station may result in the loss of power to the MSN missile launcher. The unit may not work properly”. I suspect that this is because the devices do not supply their own power, they draw it from the computer and connecting the devices to one USB port may cause an issue. My recommendation is that you use this unit with a powered USB Hub.
The outstanding key difference between the MSN missile launcher and its predecessors the USB missile launcher are that this one comes with a USB Camera (web cam) mounted very nicely on top of the launcher. This web cam is separately and thus has it’s own USB connection to the computer. So, that’s one USB connection for the web camera and one USB connection for the missile launcher.
How easy is the MSN missile launcher to set up? Well I gave the missile launcher to my 10 year old and asked him to set it up on his Windows XP machine (I didn’t give him the supplied documentation). He had it all up and running within 10 minutes or so after installing the software, and he even asked me for a USB Hub. I was impressed.
He ran up the missile launcher software and has been firing missiles at me, with great joy, all afternoon. There is a separate application to run to get the camera view from the camera on top of the missile launcher. And you can manually press a button on top of the camera to get a freeze frame picture. The web camera has a ZS211 IC in it, so I thought a little experiment was in order – I can confirm that the camera does work with Skype. And it works really well. Now I particularly like the design of the web camera and launcher fitting. It is easily interchangeable between the MSN Missile Launcher and any of its older family members.
If you’re into MSN there is one and a half pages of instructions on how to install and use the missile launcher through the MSN service.
Back on the Mac the internals of the missile launcher are the same as the “Rocket Baby” – the previous USB missile launcher (green one). This means that the USB Missile Launcher NZ software simply just works. I have not yet been able to get it working with the camera and will issue a new release of the software if needed or instruction on what you need to do to get the camera working on the Mac.
Works with existing Mac software (aka RocketBaby)
Camera mount is great camera works well with Windows
MSN integration is unique
Windows software still the same
Not easily able to integrate Camera support on the Mac (yet)
May need a powered USB hub if you’re running short on USB ports
I like this new launcher and the slick camera integration. I admit to being somewhat surprised to see two USB leads for the device, though it is actually devices and makes software implementation very easy. It also means you can use the camera as a web camera and its already mounted. Nice implementation DreamCheeky, can we get an ICMB integrated with Google Maps next? ;-)