How to get Maplin’s USB Microscope working on a Mac

I just brought Maplin’s USB Digital Microsoft with 400x magnification, which is advertised as having Windows-only drivers. System Profiler identified the chipset as being from Vimicro Corporation. I went to the Driver Download section of their website and downloaded (and installed) the DRV_ZC0301PLus_070305 driver. I then opened up Photo Booth, and was able to select the Vimicro camera as the video source. What I should have done was just try and access the Microscope using Photo Booth before I installed the driver, as I half suspect that there was no actual need to install that driver.

Close-up of a new razor blade
Close-up of a new razor blade

Please try to use the microscope with Photo Booth first before downloading the driver, and let me know in the comments if that works.

Emacs cmd-key on Mac

Emacs on my Macbook Pro uses the “alt” key (the one to the left of the “cmd” key) to be the Alt (meta) key when doing things like Alt-Backspace to delete backwards by word. This is quite annoying for me as I naturally try and use the command key for this. To fix this put the following in your .emacs file.

(setq mac-command-modifier 'meta)