The software that turned a West Texas lawyer into a sad kitten in Zoom legal proceedings that went viral on Tuesday has apparently long been the bane of the lives of webcam users, especially those who have it. found installed on Dell consumer PCs around 2010.
Lawyer Rod Ponton was his latest victim, and certainly the most publicized, as a video of him struggling to turn off the filter in a virtual hearing at the 394th Texas District Court became the highlight of the day. , receiving millions of views on YouTube.
Softwares, first identified by the BBC, is either Live! Cam Avatar or Crazy Talk 4, which were developed by Reallusion, a software company based in Silicon Valley, and licensed to Creative Technologies Ltd., the Singapore-based company best known for its sound cards and other audio products, according to a spokesperson for Reallusion.
Crazy Talk 4 was in a webcam software collection called Cam Suite. The manual for this is still available on the Reallusion website, with an illustration that shows the sad white kitten as one of the default avatars.
The software was originally distributed with Creative hardware, including adult cam sites, and was also shipped on Dell consumer computers in the late 2000s. This likely means the computer used in the hearing Tuesday’s Zoom was probably an older Dell.
Reallusion still offers Crazy Talk, which is now up to version 8, but it no longer contains the avatar of the white kitten. The new version allows you to create and edit much more sophisticated 2D and 3D avatars than the 2010 version. It is in line with other Reallusion software, which is aimed at professional animators and skilled consumers.
Several requests for comment to Reallusion and Creative were not returned. It is not known when the programs changed ownership.
What is clear, however, is that the software has frustrated webcam owners for quite some time. Several websites that explain how to get rid of so-called potentially unwanted programs, or PUPs, include instructions for removing both Live! Camera avatar and Crazy conversation. The spokesperson for Reallusion said the software should be selected during setup on Dell computers and selected during installation of Creative hardware.
The BBC found a blog post from 2010 which offers instructions for removing the software, but what is most telling are the comments below, in which users express their gratitude for helping them get rid of “that stupid white cat”. Apparently, at the time, many Skype users found themselves in the same situation as lawyer Ponton.
The exact software that turned Ponton into a cat is no longer available, but CNN found what seems a later version of it for Dell PCs. You cannot use this software as a zoom filter, but you can make a video recording with the pitiful look of the cat replacing yours. This is the next best thing.
This story has been corrected to state that Reallusion was the original developer of the webcam software and users need to register to install it.