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Tell HN: Toilet paper, hand sanitizer, and now web cams
218 points by awaythrower 4 months ago | hide | past | favorite | 402 comments
A Logitech 925e ($99 USD MSRP) currently goes for $180-$260 on eBay and $358 on Amazon.

Wyze cheap security cameras released a firmware that turns them into a webcam. Still in stock.

You will also need a USB a-a cable that I didn't know existed or was legal.

And a 32gb microsd.

I did this last week, came in one day on Amazon prime. Under $50 for everything.

Setup went okay, although the 3-4 minutes for firmware write was under a minute for me with their branded microsd.

Quality is passable, lens is more fisheye than I'd prefer so you see my messy office, but it works. 1080/30 the software claims. Note it has a speaker, so check your sound mixer settings to have it not steal audio out.


I would not touch a Wyze camera with a 10 foot pole. Given the recent enormous security breaches, the likely connections to the Chinese government, and the incredibly low price point, there are red flags waving everywhere.

Read this blog series about Wyze, and then make up you mind if you are comfortable having that piece of hardware in your home. I think it is pretty clear the risks are not trivial.


Great write up. I agree I do not trust them very much and would not use them on a network that has internet access.

They are a great cheap option when using their custom RTSP firmware with synology surveillance stations. I throw them on their own SSID that is isolated from other local networks and does not have internet access. The SS can reach into their network but they can't initiate connections out.

Still they briefly need internet when setting up to enable RTSP but I'm more concerned about them being remotely accessible at anytime and having access to anything else on my network. Even my setup would allow my email and the isolated network's topo to leak bc of brief internet access.

I don't think that was a great write up. I'm no panda-hugger but I was hoping for evidence/walk-through for the following claims made in the article, and I didn't find any direct evidence in the article. Did I not read it closely enough? (Pretty sure the claims are made without support)

> Yi Camera is a front for the Chinese Ministry of State Security. Full stop.

> Yi Cameras send all customer data to Xiaomi as I have previously claimed with Wyze.

To be fair, I updated the link to the the ‘tags’ page, since it includes the whole series, after @quit32 commented. They might have been referring to one of the first couple in the series , the link originally pointed to #1.

Honestly I’m not familiar with the Yi cameras, I haven’t read that newest post, I’ll have to look into it. But, 12 Security is credited with disclosing the 2nd Wyze security breach in December 2019 (the 1st one not even a full calendar year before).

Wyze reluctantly admitted the breach days later, but went into damage control mode, claiming the DB was only exposed for part of the month of December. 12 Security says otherwise, that it was exposed for the majority of the calendar year, and many parties across the globe accessed it according to logs.


That’s interesting usage. I wasn’t aware of the Synology products, I’ll admit I’m not very knowledgeable about security systems. Sounds like you take proper precautions!

Fair point, however with the webcam firmware it operates as a standard USB webcam, no drivers or software from wyze used, just the replacement firmware loaded via microsd.

So the risks are mitigated for the most part since it has no network connection.

> it is (or at least was) theoretically possible for any individual anywhere in the world to access the live video feeds of every single Wyze camera that was online

Holy cow. And easy to do if you found their unsecured database.

> You will also need a USB a-a cable that I didn't know existed or was legal.

They exist, but are not allowed by the USB standard. The basic premise of the classic USB standard is that the A side provides the 5V power, while the B side consumes that 5V power. With an A to A cable, you are shorting both power supplies together.

(USB-C changes that to resistors; IIRC, the side with the pull-up resistors will initially provide the 5V power, while the side with the pull-down resistors will initially consume the 5V power. The passive adapters to classic USB just have the correct pair of resistors for the corresponding classic USB plug or socket.)

Yeah, the a-a cable needed is a male-male, but the wyze camera is accepting power via it in this case. The normal power for it via micro usb is disconnected.

I don't use wyze normally, not sure what the type a female port is for.

It's a hack on top of a hack that functions reasonably, and helps with supply chain issues.

It's for attaching the hub to control other Wzye devices, like motion sensors. The hub is pretty small and fills in the indentation to be flush with the rest of the back of the camera.

I’m slightly confused by this. At first you seem to be using A and B to describe whether the connector is male/female but in the next paragraph you use the letter C to refer to the shape of the connector.

I assume in the first paragraph you mean a usb A cable with plugs on both ends

They are different shapes, each shape has both a plug and a corresponding socket. USB A is the traditional rectangular plug/socket, while USB B is the bulky somewhat square shape usually found in printers. There are also mini and micro versions of both A and B, each having both a plug and a socket.

The traditional USB connection has a host with a USB A socket, which provides power; a cable with a USB A plug in one end and a USB B plug in the other end; and a device with a USB B socket. All traditional USB cables are A to B cables, with a USB A plug and a USB B plug; an A to A cable would allow connecting two hosts together, and both would try to provide power at the same time, which might damage the hardware.

USB-C is completely different; all cables have two USB-C plugs, while both hosts and devices have USB-C sockets. Which side provides power is negotiated through a dedicated configuration channel.

USB A and B are both connector types, just like USB C is a connector type. The letters have nothing to do with male vs. female.

USB A is a rectangle, and USB B is closer to a square. I've also never seen anything aside from female USB ports and male/male USB cables (aside from extension cables).

For USB cables there is a host side (type A plug) and a device side (type B plug). These come in standard, mini and micro. You probably havent seen anything but a standard type A (this bit you recognise as the side that plugs into a computer), but are probably familiar with each of the type-b connectors.

Type C is bi-directional, so can replace either or both plugs.

The USB standard has a lot of connectors


That's really cool that Wyze did that. These are also great for making HD time-lapse videos of plant growth, etc, when a large internal SD is used for the price.

The normal function of a security camera is also good, however, a warning that these contain active microphones. So if you transition to using these as indoor, facing-outdoor security cams to strongly consider pulling the microphone from the circuit board. There are youtube videos, it can be done easily in under 10 minutes.

There is a software disable, but I do not believe this can be trusted.

You can still buy plenty of USB cameras at normal prices -- just search for ones that aren't called "web" cams. Here are a few examples but there are literally hundreds of others.

Search for "USB camera" or "machine vision camera".


https://www.amazon.com/Intel-Realsense-D435-Webcam-FPS/dp/B0... (bonus! it's a depth camera but it does have RGB output as well)


Also, toilet paper is in stock at several industrial suppliers, and especially the jumbo rolls (I'm sure if you're on HN you can improvise a way to hold those). I'm not going to list specific ones here but you probably know the usual suspects if you have ordered for a company before. It's mostly sold out only at consumer outlets.

It's incredibly annoying that you can't use your APPLE iPhone camera as a webcam for your APPLE Macbook, but instead are forced to use the atrociously terrible cam that comes with the Macbook.

I've tried workarounds using the excellent OSB, but there's currently no software that let's you reroute video on a Mac (like Loopback does for audio)

EDIT: I stand corrected, as user wolfhumble points out below, EpocCam seems to do this - thanks! https://apps.apple.com/us/app/epoccam-webcamera-for-computer...

Looking at the reviews, I see multiple people saying that the developer required paid users to write a review in order to unlock the ability to use the front camera. I think it goes without saying that is an incredibly scummy practice.

Oh, an app doing that to me would certainly get a review.

They have two app versions, a free with fewer features and a paid with full features. I personally tried first the free to make sure it works, and then I paid for the full version.

rating an app to unlock features is scummy? compared to all the other practices and anti-patterns apps use today?

Yes, it's still scummy. Bad practice doesn't make another bad practice good...

Yes, it's incredibly dishonest and encourages reviews which are likely to lead other people to make the same mistake. Any application which does so is against apples guidelines and ought to be banned

No need to write -- just click on a star rating. I clicked 3 stars for that reason. But it functionally is phenomenal. Will honestly probably change it and write an actual review...

I have tried it and it works flawlessly when paired with an iphone 11. You can even use the main iphone camera, not just the front facing one. It is by far my best webcam (compared to my laptops and a stand-alone logitech I own).

PS. To make it work you need to install a driver on your PC, so it can be a no-go for many company owned computers.

I tried it and it did not work for me. (Macbook Pro and iPhone 8)

any equivalent for android?

I've been using DroidCam for my Windows desktop for the last few days. Works super well, although my phone seems to get hot after about an hour of using it.

I've had huge success with IP Webcam, especially since it appears to be a standard MJPEG stream, so very hackable (in the good sense). The web interface also crucially adds UI for focusing, in addition to the customizable in-phone UI.

I've not been able to get it to work smoothly without specifying at least a 1000ms buffer, which kinda ruins the ability to use as a real time communication tool. Gigabit local lan, strong wifi N MIMO signal, Galaxy S10 and a fairly recent Macbook pro (dual booting to Win 10).

Have you encountered a similar hurdle?

It seems to have massive delays if I capture on full resolution (3060x2295 on my phone), but that is a ridiculous number that can't even be transmitted over my internet, so I run it at 1280x720, which has basically ideal latency.

I was just playing around with IP Webcam. So far it has been a breeze to set up. I do wish it had some additional options on limiting what you broadcast over, ie limit to just https.

Fair enough, but I frankly wouldn't trust it exposed on the internet.

If you really need, run a reverse proxy only on the /video endpoint. For I don't know how hardened the focus and automation control APIs are.

DroidCam, but the video quality is kind of terrible, even with the paid version

In the Maemo/Meego days, it was possible to just use gstreamer from your phone to get a video stream (and v4l2loopback to make that into a video device... Pity Nokia fucked that up completely.

I have many bad things to say about MS Teams, but it does allow you to join a meeting multiple times on multiple devices using the same user account - so you can watch a screenshare on your desktop. machine but use the microphone or camera on your phone.

Google Meet lets you do that too, in fact I was doing it earlier today, but until now I hadn't thought that was in any way remarkable... is it really?

Like you, I could speak for days about the problems with MS Teams, but this is definitely one of the things they get right. Handy for presenting your whole screen and being able to monitor chat conversations in that meeting on your iPad.

Funny that mentioned an iPad! I had the exact opposite use case: I used my iPad to draw a diagram, but used my desktop webcam instead of the one in the iPad sitting in my lap (which would have a terrible angle of pretty much only my chin).

I've noticed that it does this in meetings, but not in a direct chat with another person (I don't think group chats either). What I usually do in that case is create a meeting so that I can do that.

Yep, I should have clarified that. There is a weird disconnect between 1-to-1 calls and meetings with 2 people in them.

So far I haven't been able to see any advantage at all to 1-to-1 calls except it takes fewer clicks to start them.

EpocCam is awesome, tested and working on iOS 13 and Mojave. 7.99 for the pro version and my video quality is 10x better than iSight. + I can position the camera anywhere I like so people are stuck looking up at me from a laptop, and I can go back to using clamshell mode on my macbook when at a desk.

I've tried three different video streaming apps for iOS, and they all had issues with drifting. Not sure if it's been fixed.

Zoom/slack/skype do have iOS clients. I've just been using a plugged in iPhone instead of a webcam.

What’s so atrociously terrible about your macbook camera?

you can install AirServer that will basically make appletv from your Mac, and then stream from phone over airplay.

If you are ok with a MacBook screen nearly as thick and heavy as an iPhone, you can have a better camera. The increasing thinness of modern laptops has come at the expense of improving their cameras.

I'd be good money to get a thicker Macbook Pro with a workable keyboard, that's for sure!

You are in luck, 16 inch MBP has a good keyboard. Butterfly switches are gone.

I bought an Elgato CamLink instead... hooked it up to a DSLR I already owned, and it makes for a stunningly crisp and clear, high quality, webcam.

Of course, using a 42.4 Megapixel sensor and a Carl Zeiss Sonnar lens it would.


Turns a HDMI input into a USB web cam.

I bought it two weeks ago when the delivery delay was only a couple days, and I'm really happy of that purchase. For the price of the webcam I would have bought otherwise, I can enjoy the high quality of my photo gear and have a cool and versatile HDMI-to-USB adapter. For instance, I've used it yesterday to install a Raspberry Pi in a Picture-in-Picture fashion – no messing around with my monitors to find a suitable port !

These are out of stock, everywhere.

You can also use an hd60s which costs more but does the same thing (and offers pass through).

I used to use Gopro this way. The problem was, that Gopro runs on battery when turned on (even when not recording, just in monitor mode), but charges it only when the camera is off.

With my old battery, the sessions were... short. So I managed to snatch a Brio last week, and I'm much more satisfied.

This isn't correct for, at least GoPro 6 and newer. I often times will run my GoPro with an external battery pack when doing extremely long running time lapse videos. The camera can definitely be run on external power and record - minimally a Hero 6 Black and a Hero 8 black both can be used in this manner from personal experience.

Gopro 3 (black edition). I said the battery was old :) (it is the original one).

I’m using the elgato camlink as well and got one of these to keep my camera going — https://www.amazon.co.uk/AC-PW20-Adapter-Replacement-NP-FW50...

Super random question: I got a Razer Ripsaw HD (gaming capture card) and I tried capturing video from my Sony Alpha 7ii to use as a webcam and I keep getting weird banding. Doesn't happen when I try to record video on-camera. Anyone know what's happening?

Also since gamers don't care about color accuracy, I have a feeling they didn't give two shits about preservation of color accuracy in the Razer Ripsaw HD. The settings for color space is suepr whack.

Completely out of stock on Amazon (UK).

Supply chains really haven’t had a chance to react to the change in demand & won’t be able to until Chinese manufacturing has a chance to ramp up to meet demand I guess.

This looks incredible but as other posters have noted, is sold out everywhere. Any recommendations for similar products that might be available?

Even the Chinese HDMI-UVC adapters are out of stock, I ordered a decent looking one from Banggood ( https://www.banggood.com/1080P-HD-4K-60Hz-HDMI-to-USB3_1-Typ... ) that still showed a few in stock several weeks ago, it hasn't shipped and now shows they don't expect to have any for at least another week or two.

+1 for Elgato, I haven't used their CamLink but have had an excellent experience with their Eve products in my HomeKit setup.

If you have a USB cable for your DSLR/mirrorless, try SparkoCam - lets you stream your camera to your pc with no additional hardware

Also bidets, nintendo switches, instant yeast, powdered milk, etc. I actually snagged some wine yeast on amazon and I'm on my third loaf of bread. Bidet was the best "waste of money" I have spent in a long time. My TP usage has been slashed.

It's not "instant" but it's usually possible to collect some yeast from your kitchen. https://twitter.com/shoelaces3/status/1244252079041974272

Problem with harvasting yeast is that those wild yeast strains may be much weaker and unpredictable compared to the bought stuff. Also it might not be yeast and might be some other terrible organisms, like toxin-producing fungus?

yeah i finally got on the bidet (attachment) wagon and the ones I wanted on Amazon were sold out (the were the top sellers). I ended up ordering from a company that did not sell on Amazon and was cheaper than a Tushy. (Tushy has since lowered their price but it's still slightly more expensive)


Has not arrived yet so I can not say if I recommend it yet or not but from the research I did it seemed like people who tested the different range of attachments pretty much liked all of them regardless of price so I probably overpaid. The one criteria we had was that my girlfriend wanted a front spray as well which the Omigo has.

I got a $35 one on amazon before it doubles in price and then sold out. It’s a knob with power, woman mode, and clean mode. It’s about the cheapest thing ever and the wife laughed at first but now she uses it. I honestly get sad when I forget to use it lol.

A few friends switch to bidets a while ago and wont look back. Personally I just jump in the shower if it's that bad.

I find bidets as or more useful if it's not that bad. You're often talking about just one or two square of toilet paper (literally, not figuratively).

Try cleaning your hands with paper instead of water some day, and see how that works out for you. It's the same thing.

It's utterly amazing that American society is so unhygienic that we still don't have bidets or washlets in common use.

I would think that the difference between a towel and water alone for cleaning hands is smaller than the difference between water alone and water with soap.

Feces comes in all manner of consistencies and textures. There is a range of consistencies for which bidets are wholly useless. Specifically, sticky ones. For these, you need friction from a solid, high-surface-area object.

I'm sure you've had brown streaks inside the bowl that could not be removed in N flushes, but a simple toilet brush made quick work of the matter.

To use your handwashing analogy, try removing crisco, or some other substance that adheres to your hands with a stream of water. Now try physically wiping it with a paper towel. The towel will win every time.

This is to say nothing of the fact that it's quite nice to leave the bathroom with dry hindquarters rather than a bad case of SA.

Dude, my basic bidet has a knob with 9 levels of pressure, but after 3 it's basically sandblasting your anus to the point it physically hurts and does damage. You can get mostly everything off, but you can still use toilet paper for clean up on the nasty ones, which shouldn't be all the time. You just reduce your TP usage by a lot and have more flexibility. Also, just wait 30 seconds after use then wipe once or twice and you are dry, ta da! Best $70 we've spent; if you don't like it, don't use it, but I guarantee it's worth the experiment if you don't have one or haven't really tried one. The bidets I refer to are the washlet type, not those weird separate sink looking ones.

That isn't how bidets work. I happened to get a bidet in early January, before the wave. One of the first things I learned was to let it run for awhile, maybe 20-30 seconds, and shifting around if it seems necessary. This may be TMI, but one gauge of how long to let it run is when you can relax your anal sphincter and feel the cold water slightly entering your anus. Once I stopped being in a hurry and let the water do its work, I simply never see any discoloring on the few sheets of toilet paper needed to blot dry.

>There is a range of consistencies for which bidets are wholly useless. Specifically, sticky ones. For these, you need friction from a solid, high-surface-area object.

You've obviously never used a proper washlet.

If your bidet can't wash off some sticky feces, you simply have a weak bidet. That's one of the main instances where bidets are so nice instead of wiping and wiping.

A weak bidet... Or too many Quarter Pounders in your diet.

I used bidets a lot when I lived in Argentina. The sensation of having a clean butt is pretty unbeatable. When you poop and then wipe with paper you still feel dirty for the rest of the day.

I'm particularly hairy down there (not trying to be gross), so I often worry a bidet would just make a mess a wet mess.

Get some cheap clippers, use the ~#2 guard, and deforest that shit.

Crack hair is useful for a lot of things, keeping skin from rubbing, fart silencing, sweat management, etc. But you only need a bit of hair for that to work. 80% of the length can be removed with no ill effect, but dramatic improvement in general cleanliness and comfort.

Doesn't it itch after you mow?

I really hope this conversation is mentioned on n-gate.com!

I’m hairy too, it still helps. It’s not peanut butter in shag carpet, but honestly the best thing you could do is learn to shave down there. You go from trying to clean up a disaster, to blasting it away in 2 seconds.

Don't worry about it dude, just get one. You can always just not use it once its installed, they are like $70 and take 15 to install yourself, but trust me, it's a game changer and worth the cost even just to try it a few times.

LPT: Bring a little unscented lotion in with you and put it on the TP.

> nintendo switches

Also specifically Ring Fit Adventure for Nintendo Switch, that allows you to exercise from home. It's been sold out worldwide, with limited numbers showing up in stores and immediately disappearing.

I'm glad I splurged on an Oculus Quest last year; BoxVR for 20-30 minutes every weekday morning, with some Beat Saber if I'm feeling especially energetic.

You can make flatbread without yeast. Flour + water + salt + oil.

Be careful with all that baking, there's a reason bakers get fat in old age!

I’ve been tracking my weight, stopped eating crap just because it’s there, I’m down 2.5 lbs after 5 days and I’m actually sleeping better.

I've been finding I actually need to pace the baking. Otherwise, I'd end up with way too many carbs in the house.

Yeast. I haven’t needed yeast in years, recently I found a recipe with yeast I wanted to try and found out that, at least where I am in Germany, yeast is sold out.

I heard about the webcam thing from my boss, he asked me if he gave me a webcam years ago when I started remote working. He did, but it was in the attic and I had to go looking for it ;)

Yup, same here in Canada - can't get yeast anywhere. Even flour is tough to come by despite the fact that Canada has tons of wheat - the flour mills are working overtime.


You can get flour from centralmilling.com

Yeah, I know. But it doesn’t seem worth it to buy a kg of flour just to make yeast for a single recipe ;)

This one worked quite reliably for me with about 180g of flour. https://www.hefe-und-mehr.de/en/2015/05/brotbacken-fr-anfnge...

You can always ask around in your friendly neighborhood forum for a starter culture, there's a lot of people that are willing to share.

If you have bakers yeast, you can just feed it and multiply the amount trivially: Half a cube (20g) or 7g dry yeast, mix with 15g sugar, 100g flour, 100g water, let rise for an hour or two in a warm place. Fill in icecube form, freeze. Each cube is about half as strong as a "regular" cube, so you may need to experiment a little with rising time for your dough.

Also in germany, you don't need 1kg, see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-n9yh5lDvts

I did this last weekend and made a pretty good loaf (my first time).

So the thing is, the recipe is for a nut-flour based pizza dough. I’m not sure if a sour dough starter works for that. And as I never made the recipe before, I wouldn’t even know if any problem is because of the recipe or some problem with the starter.

Fair enough, I would still just try anyway as that's the only way you'll know for sure. The yeast is pretty forgiving, all it does is eat sugars in the flour and convert into CO2.

Especially considering how flour is becoming rare as well, at least in Italy and France

Google "yeast water" for an alternative

You can do this and wait for days and pray you have not created some nasty poisonous culture. Or you can use human gut microbes to generate instant safe yeast.

“Human gut microbes” is a very broad category that also includes e-coli.

Sourdough starter isn't some nasty poisonous culture lol. It's perfectly safe and every grocery store and bakery have huge tubs of it. If you're really concerned just go to your grocery store bakery, ask for some starter, and feed it.

Never even heard of "sourdough starter". I use them small dry-yeast packets from Lidl. The point is that human shit and saliva are the surest way start right kind of fermentation of moonshine and hooch if approved products are not available. E-coli and other critters die anyways in the anaerobic process or in the oven.

BTW. My "local bakery" is probably in Estonia. In another country that is. Wider Helsinki area is under lockdown and yeast may not be approved essential.

You can create your own sourdough just from wheat and water. Takes a few days till you have the first real dough, but from that on, you can keep the sourdough alive. There are plenty of YouTube videos about creating/using sourdough. With sourdough you make the best breads and don't need any yeast. (sourdough itself contains yeast)

Starters from wild yeast has been how bread was made for thousands of years prior to the introduction of commercial yeast relatively recently. (And, of course, sourdough starters are still used to make sourdough bread.)

Yeah but you’re not a true artisan bread maker unless your starter descended from the first bread makers in ancient Mesopotamia.

Realistically your country isn't really known for having any good bread though.

Yeast came back in stock at my local stores just as the flour ran out.

Don’t worry At least us Jews won’t be buying yeast or flour in the next 8 days :)

We had the same yeast problem and finally solved it by trying our local bakery, which happily sold yeast to us. Obvious in hindsight...

They probably will also sell flour to you. At least here in Germany there seems to be the problem, that there isn't enough flour packaged in customer packages. Bakeries get their flour by huge sacks or even in silos, so there is no shortage of unpackaged flour.

Your local bakery also will have cake yeast and instant yeast which is really good stuff that's annoyingly hard to find at grocery stores. Cake yeast I get because it's perishable but instant yeast has little excuse other than it has to be refrigerated after you open it.

If you’re the typical hacker news reader, I suppose there’s a good chance you have a decent quality SLR or mirrorless camera. If it has a clean HDMI output, you can use it with a capture card (80USD or so) on amazon and you’ll have the best webcam money can buy. Couple that with a cheap lavalier mic or similar and you’ll have far better quality than any video call is likely able to transmit.

If you’re feeling really hacky you might be able to do without the capture card and use gphoto2 to stream your camera over usb, and then use something like OBS virtual am or V4l2loopback. This is fiddly though and only works with a few cameras.

RIP capture cards.

Why shouldn’t the price increase with a supply chain disruption and demand boom?

Would you prefer a shortage with no incentive to increase production?

During a crisis the primary goal is maintaining societal stability. Exploiting the rich and the desperate deteriorates that stability. People would rather have a lottery than an auction in these scenarios.

I presume a shortage is far more destabilizing for the most essential things than a higher price.

Plus the government can act as a central buyer to back those who have the greatest needs. That and companies should be responsible for providing protection for employees

Higher prices, especially when caused by profiteering, exacerbate shortages. The price encourages more hoarding and profiteering. The lag in production and inventories means that this type of "information" takes a long time to flow to the original producers and then back to consumers, and in the mean time more inventory is in the hands of profiteers and fewer average people are able to protect themselves.

"Exploiting the rich"

I don't even understand how that works.

I think they are saying that with price jumps this high that only people with more money will be able to afford the items.

It shocks me how few people understand market equilibrium and supply/demand. If demand increases, price goes up. Would you prefer to be able to buy what you want at an increased price or not at all because there is a shortage? I would prefer the higher price because then I can actually get the item.

If I used to produce 100 units per month because that's how many I could sell, but now I know I can sell 10000 units per month, that is incentive enough to increase production. Notice here that raising the price is not at all required to increase profits. It's just something companies tend to do because they know they can get away with it in high demand markets.

And since raising prices to increase profits is not necessary with hugely increased damand, it's seen as profiteering to do so on essentials (or in this case things that make you feel less isolated) during a global crisis.

> If I used to produce 100 units per month because that's how many I could sell, but now I know I can sell 10000 units per month, that is incentive enough to increase production.

For what it's worth, this isn't how "supply and demand" works in economics.

The idea is that a given firm is already producing as much as they can at that price. There's not usually a ton of slack just laying around that could respond to a spike in demand. For instance, my wife who works at a soap factory right now, has seen a ton of demand. They would love to increase production to accommodate but it's just not immediately possible, without retooling the factory. They're managing to increase supply a little, by not offering as many varieties of scents and such, but that's the extent of what they can do immediately.

The reason prices increase with an increase in demand, according to standard economics orthodoxy, is because that allows more firms to enter the market, as well as existing firms to do less efficient things (more workers, more expensive supply chain, etc), to meet that demand.

Yeah, the higher output factory idea only works to the extent that you can find factories that can still add a shift and, more importantly, can find all the upstream capacity to support them doing so.

You can have issues with the economics of supply and demand, but as you outline very well, there's not really a button that just scales supply when you need it.

> If I used to produce 100 units per month because that's how many I could sell, but now I know I can sell 10000 units per month, that is incentive enough to increase production.

This assumes that you can actually scale production to 10,000 units (a plant that can produce 100 items a month is not necessarily one that can produce 1000), that your typical channels can absorb said production (if they need to hold inventory, they likely cannot), that you have enough packaging supplies for your increased inventory (a real problem being encountered at the moment), the list goes on. Supply chains are not linear. You can have valid issues with price gouging despite this fact, but simply saying "increase production, problem solved" is an extremely uninformed position.

It's a tricky spot. Letting the prices rise keeps the folks who don't need one, but merely want one, from buying one, thus leaving some supply for those who actually need one.

On the other hand, prices quickly get out of control if left to their own devices. Some say that's natural, and perhaps it is, but that doesn't mean it's good all the time.

As for increasing production, this is one thing where raising prices can actually decrease the incentive to increase production. For literally the same money that I was using to create 100 units per month, I'm now getting the same profit that 10000 units per month would have given me. Why would I spend money to increase production, thus increasing supply which reduces demand, which lowers prices, which lowers profits?

Economic theory suggests that changing the output of a single supplier does not affect overall prices in a competitive market like this - that’s very different from oligopoly or monopoly situations. I would highly recommend “Basic economics” by Thomas Sowell for anyone interested in a good overview of these kind of issues (audiobook also available on YouTube, I believe)

And then the demand goes down after increasing the production capacity in 6 months. You have under utilized production lines and need to fire a bunch of staff.

You see the problem?

>that is incentive enough to increase production

Alas, the world is rather more complicated than that. Case in point, this Dallas surgical mask factory that is not running overtime, because the hospitals screwed him over last emergency, and he almost went out of business:


This is quite clearly a policy failure. I don’t understand why the US isn’t subsidizing production for something as important as masks or other medical supplies. Obviously it is a national security issue, the same way food security is and which is why agriculture is so heavily subsidized.

Why not just presell future batches with no refunds and cash upfront? People like myself would still pony up cash

If you have to build another production line or pay your people time and a half to work more hours you might not be able to sell at the same price.

After a supply shock and a demand shock, why would profits be the same?

And more to the point: you have no idea. Prices are emergent from trillions of decisions, and are used to communicate a great deal of information. People want to act like it's an engineering problem where we can dial up and down one part without affecting other parts, but anyone who has worked even on a controlled marketplace knows this isn't true.

Go read "I, Pencil" https://fee.org/resources/i-pencil/

Allowing prices to rise allows outsiders to produce with improvised thus inefficient means of production.

Pivoting a factory on a dime to make something else is hard, but often doable by the experts for sufficiently loose definitions of “on a dime”.

Pivoting a factory on a dime to make something else that’s cost competitive with the factories designed and built to do that something else already is impossible. It’s like trying to build a car from junkyard parts to run in F1 races. And old prices will reflect the cost savings those old factories were achieving.

> Why shouldn’t the price increase with a supply chain disruption and demand boom? Oh, you mean "price gouging"?

I wanted to buy a new webcam; basically because I'm finding half my life is spent using one.

Ran into the problems mentioned in the article, and put a Logitech camera onto pre-order.

Cancelled that order last night though: possible to use an android phone as a webcam that's most likely better quality than the current generator of USB webcam. I chose this app [1], others are available.

[1] https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.pas.webcam...

How do you use the IP webcam address in programs like teams, zoom, skype?

I resorted to buying a magewell hdmi-2-usb converter. Better quality, I can focus and zoom from further away (no huge nose) and depending on your gear you have automatic background blurring (aperture+sensor size)


I'm using a combo of OBS, NDI, and OBS-NDI plugin as per scott hanselman's guide.

You can download an "NDI" apk for your cell phone since the manufacturer removed the app from the play store, to provide the ability for an android phone to serve as a network display interface (of course it's your risk to download APKs from a random site)

It's possible to create a virtual V4L device (https://github.com/umlaeute/v4l2loopback). The app I chose, provides a script to set this up.

There's also a windows driver, but I haven't used that yet

> There's also a windows driver

Is the driver signed? If not, you have to enable "test mode" and windows will drop a God-awful watermark in the bottom right of your desktop letting you know "test mode" is on. It's one of the seemingly-small things that bugs me the most about it.

I tried both webcamoid and https://github.com/CatxFish/obs-virtual-cam on windows but all these are quirky and need administrative rights

The couple apps I tried, there's a windows client + generic webcam driver and the android device just shows up in the device list for cam and audio. Works over wifi fine.

See the thread above about DroidCam (also on the Play Store). The Windows client loads a virtual camera driver that connects to the stream. You may be able to use it with other IP cameras, I haven't tried that yet.

Another plus of DroidCam is that it supports streaming the video over USB so no WiFi is necessary.

I ran into that the other week as well.

Get a UVC industrial camera with a M12 or CS mount lens to use as a webcam, most are better cameras than the "webcam" models and not everyone has noticed UVC cameras _are_ webcams so the prices are normal.

I grabbed one with an OV2710 sensor (does 1920x1080@30fps, 1280×720@60, and so on) and a 2.8-12mm CS lens for $65 that took a little over a week to arrive (I paid a slight premium from Amazon instead of Aliexpress because it looked like there was US stock... turned out to be the same seller shipping from the same place in China. Oh well).

I'm trying to limp the hands-on portion of some sophomore-level EE courses to the end of the semester, so I've got mine mounted as an overhead camera for drawing/demonstrating/etc. the crap laptop built-in is plenty for facecam.

The major problem is getting the video conferencing apps not to drop cameras to super-low quality, Zoom usually won't even use the full resolution mode of my built-in (except occasionally and apparently at random it decides to and changes the frame by selecting a 16x9 mode instead of the 4:3 it usually picks), and offers no real camera settings that I can find.

Neat, where did you order yours from? I've actually been looking for a sensor without a Bayer filter on it to use with a spectrometer, and this looks like the sort of thing that might be able to be used for that.

I got one of https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07MZQ6KVR/ That webcamera_usb amazon storefront is actually ELP, who is a big player in that kind of lower-end industrial/security/for small volume integration camera modules. Also sells directly through their website, through Aliexpress, etc. They do have a few no-bayer black and white options. Mine shipped from Shenzen via Hong Kong, but (now that I check tracking) took exactly a week to get to a midsize city in the US.

The camera is adequate (I've done a fair amount of computational photography work recently, overly opinionated to follow), it's not hitting anything like the advertised high frame rate/low res modes in guvcview, but is making the 30-60fps higher res modes that matter for webcam use. It's USB2 and enumerated as UVC 1.0 so I can't say I'm surprised. The crop changes in somewhat surprising ways among the modes, I think the readout does a mixture of crop and binning or line skipping. It's not a nice Basler module or anything, but it costs less than 20% what the nominally-comparable offering from "good brands" would.

The lens is ...eh, I have noticeable barrel distortion and vignetting, but its clear, doesn't have the annoying color corruption you sometimes see in cheap C/CS lenses, and the FoV is nice for webcam duty.

It's a damn slight better than the old PS3 eye I was getting by with until it showed up, and being able to easily manually manipulate zoom/focus/aperture instead of hoping the auto does something good is great.

I'm not sure exactly what you are looking for, but there are a lot of machine vision cameras available that do not have Bayer filters and are grey scale only.



These cameras most likely DO HAVE a NIR (near IR) filter on the sensors. You would need to check on specific models.

Basler provides some documentation for removing the filter from specific camera models.


They do look like exactly what I'm looking for, I'm just turned-off by the pricing model of "Contact Sales" When I'm just looking for a single camera to fit in my budget for personal projects.

Basler has very well-made equipment and lovely software (Pylon) compared to most of what is available in the imaging world. If you want to see what things would actually cost at open market price, look at Edmund Optics listings for the cameras (eg. https://www.edmundoptics.com/f/basler-ace-usb-3.0-cameras/14... ), they are expensive by consumer standards but quite reasonable by industrial standards. Basler also tends to be pretty friendly with academics or other potential partners who might increase the value of their line, so it may be worth asking, depending on what sort of thing you're considering doing.

Their area-scan features turned out to be unsuitable for what I'd hoped to use it for, but having looked at Pylon in determining that, I really wish I'd been able to, because the alternative I ended up with has been closer to "magnetized needle and steady hand" than "lovely API."

I'm curious as to what you found to be unsuitable about the Basler cameras?

I needed triggering behavior that the restrictions on their Stacked ROI mode(s) didn't let me rig up.

The project is doing a sort of frameless capture off a conventional sensor, so I was hoping to use Stacked ROI as a sort of threshold trigger for selective updates, but (for entirely good technical reasons) there are ordering, size, and number limitations on how the regions can be configured.

Ahhh. Stacked ROI and through the lens triggering are both features I have never needed.

I've been a Basler customer for over 15 years. They're pretty good to work with.

It's has been like this for quite a while. I tried to buy a webcam for a project about 3-4 weeks ago and found they were all gone.

Funny enough, at that moment, I just thought it was because Amazon had problem on stocking and delivery. I didn't even realize it's because of the high demand for remote work etc.

though you have to admit that it's not a necessity for workplace conversations. We thought it nice to get one for our lectures recently and it's not only webcams (which are totally sold out), but also cheapish capture cards and mics... We ended up buying a GoPro and a 4k-capable capture card - now if we only had a capable local network (for streaming a 1000 4k streams)

Can confirm this is a global thing too, in Germany webcams sold out in online stores exactly three weeks ago. The few items left doubled or tripled their prices overnight.

Makes sense. There likely weren’t that many cams to begin with. Not exactly a burgeoning market. Wouldn’t take much to be out of stock world wide.

I assume most people have webcams built into their computers and/or use their phones for these purposes. I have a highish-end external one but then I'm someone who was spending a couple hours a day on video conferences even before the current situation.

It's been like this for 1.5 months. It's been commonly brought up at universities when some professors require webcams for exams but some students don't already have them.

I imagine professional headsets are under similar price constraints because on the BBC I've seen at-home reporters using gaming headsets with RGB LEDs.

Headsets are definitely in short supply. I bought a mid-range Jabra in March for about $150-160. The same model on Amazon is now over $200 and has increased by $10 since the last time I checked just one week ago.

I can also confirm, many local computer stores and distributors have had a huge run in basic headsets and webcams. Game headsets are in stock.

Sold out couple weeks ago in Canada, asked hackernews about apps that turn android phone into webcam. Two that worked fine:



Turns out your phone's selfie / front camera and microphone is vastly superior to most laptop webcams. Grab yourself selfie tripod. Lots of compliments about picture and sound quality. Coincidentally WSJ covered this topic yesterday.


Thanks for this, going to try these.

It looks like you can take a Raspberry Pi (Zero variant or 3A+ should all work since they support gadget mode) with camera module and have it behave as a USB webcam. https://www.raspberrypi.org/forums/viewtopic.php?t=148361

I haven't tried this, but will ask one of our team to give it a go and confirm - that would make a more affordable option around £40 or so.

Disclaimer: Co-founder of Pimoroni (Raspberry Pi re-seller)

If you guys can post a good working tutorial for the Zero W, it would be very much appreciated and I'll definitely be placing an order for a camera with you.

It's irritating that some historical price comparison sites (e.g. CamelCamelCamel - at least in the EU) are being leaned on by Amazon to cease their activity.

Where items are available, I actually would like to know who's profiteering before sending them my money.

If anyone's curious about this from 3 camels standpoint they made a blog post about this. I was curious what the non-Amazon opinion would be so I went looking: https://camelcamelcamel.com/blog/amazon-eu-covid-19

They are being generous to amazon. You can clearly see that amazon raised prices 30%+ on things like dishwasher tablets and other stuff. It’s not showing up on camel camel because amazon is showing them a different price then what you get as a logged in user. As soon as you login to order amazon jacks up the price on you. That’s their “scam”

This is fair enough (and I had read the blog entry before posting, but had forgotten it - thanks!), but why only EU? I assume they are separate operating entities to the US/other domains, but it's not obvious why the logic should apply in one region but not another, though I suppose the difficulties are varying from country to country - but along similar trajectories I would have thought.

Feels like Apple could boost their ecosystem by making great iPhone/macOS webcam integration. There's Kinoni's EpocCam and it seems to work, but it is a bit rough and requires installing their driver which I don't love.

I’ve been using CamTwist (http://camtwiststudio.com/) for it after checking the alternatives. Even if old-looking it works well (in Catalina and Mojave) and has converted my old iPhone into a good-quality webcam. OBS studio is getting virtual webcam support soon (see a recent post about OBS studio) and will allow for that as well (I have tried the proof of concept implementation)

Ah I didn’t know camtwist can use your iPhone as a cam.

Unfortunately it isn’t working anymore on one of my Catalina installs. Which is my primary daily driver. Luckily works on secondary older Mac that I use for Zoom frequently. Will try it out, thanks!

Oh, interesting, it works for me on Catalina. For some unknown reason I had to restart to make it work, _and_ only works on Chrome (for Meet) and some other selected programs. I guess it shows its age, I may have been lucky it works for me.

I reformatted a 2014 Mac Mini a family member was going to throw away :p. First by accident to Catalina. It was fine there in the hour I used it. Downgraded the Mini to 10.14 so it can actually run though.

My main driver already has other minor issues like too much cpu usage from certain Mac processes etc. I’m sure if I took the time, I’d be able to get Camtwist working.

But yeah if for you it works depending on browser and software. Yeah age is showing.

John Boiles has a proof of concept of the OBS virtual cam. I tried it out and it worked for me, although I had to build it and OBS from source. He has good instructions.


Yes, that's the proof of concept I have tried. It builds from source relatively straightforwardly (takes a short while), and indeed the instructions are very good.

Thanks for this. My MacBook’s camera is broken and I should probably try this with my iPhone.

Or Apple could put a better cameras on their laptops. Video conferencing was already in wide use for businesses prior to covid19. While they are at it, they could put FaceID on it.

To fit a better lens and image sensor, they would either have to thicken the Macbook lid or add a camera bump. Seems unlikely.

I'll bet you could fit an iPhone 11 facetime camera in a MacBook pro no problem, for the air you are probably right though.

How’s the cpu usage? I was looking at it. I have been hoping if I can use an iOS device as external cam and mic (mic not necessary I guess), that it would drop the computer’s cpu usage. Is that true for EpocCam?

What kind of machine are you using where CPU usage is an issue during videoconferencing?

I’m more worried because of the age of the Mac. Got it a bit over 5 years ago and likely avg 50+ hours every week for those 5+ years. I don’t want to upgrade until the MacBook 16 inch has another update or two if possible.

So I don’t like my main MacBook Pro to be 190 F temp and mid cpu usage all the time since I’m on video a lot

With a quad-i7 MB Pro from late 2015, CPU usage is quite an issue for me during video conferencing.

Couldn't we just use our smartphones on a stand?

Perhaps useful for others: I had this thought as well (that my handy camera is already a high quality webcam) and had great performance on Linux with the app DroidCam [1], which includes the V4Lloopback module when you install the desktop program and presents the android camera as a webcam at /dev/video#. Connected to my computer via USB (ADB) it shows no noticeable latency. This is a bit different to all the IP webcam apps which expose the handy camera over your LAN (but that is an option as well).

The desktop app allows you to toggle the handy LED flash for better front lighting, to lock exposure, to trigger autofocus, and to adjust white balance.

I tried it first with the free version, which doesn't allow HD video. The full version is a few dollars; doesn't contain ads.

I have no connection to the developers, but am a happy user. Works flawlessly anywhere a webcam is expected (for me so far: skype, Zoom, Jitsi).

The desktop app is open source, but unfortunately not the android app. I was surprised not find an open source version of this concept (and don't currently have the time to develop it).

[1] https://www.dev47apps.com/

On a side note: I guess it's still "mobile" in english - "handy" is pretty german. ;)

Not sure if it's still valid, but "handy" has a different meaning in slang:


Again, a native speaker might consider different, but as a german the usage of "handy" immediatley caught my eye. :D

OP's usage is correct. Handy means "at hand", or convenient.

I know what "handy" means in English.

So if I ask an American to show me his "Handy", he knows that I want to see his "mobile phone"?

Because that's what "Handy" means in Germany. It's actually "mobile phone", hence the confusion. I learned that "Handy" is almost exclusively used in Germany.

The German usage of "handy" as a noun does not exist in English. "My handy camera" doesn't mean "my mobile camera", it means "my camera that is conveniently at hand".

("Mobile phone" isn't very common in the US either. Common usage used to be "cell phone" or "smart phone", but is now simply "phone".)

In US english, handy means convenient

I've been using this app also. Works very well with linux. Haven't had any issues except when I updated my system and didn't rebuild the kernel modules.

Haven't sprung for the paid version though as I am hoping the back ordered webcam I purchased at the start of this comes in the next few weeks.

Remember to rebuild the kernel module if your kernel gets updated!

Works quite well on my Debian box, as well as the Windows machine I use for work. I was able to use the virtual camera the Windows client creates to share with MS Teams.

Between that and OBS Studio [0] which makes it easy to do green screen work, I'm having some real fun with our team meetings. Just make sure you get the virtual camera driver [1].

[0] https://obsproject.com/

[1] https://obsproject.com/forum/resources/obs-virtualcam.539/

I kind of do this as my Macbook’s camera is broken but i have to join the conference once on phone and again on the laptop as I might have to screen share as well.

I'm doing that :) https://imgur.com/a/fige6hf

You're missing a ; on line 84

how'd you take this photo? :)

A classic. Can’t believe it’s been 9 years since I first saw that.

I did this with my Pixel 2 for a while, but the microphone had a lot of noise. To tackle the issue, I plugged a USB-C hub into it and used my Blue Yeti mic which gave me crystal clear audio.

Of course, a simple lapel would be a much better investment if you don't have any of that equipment.

My iPhone has been my most trouble free MS Teams device so far.

Went to the computer shop to get a few wekcams for our remote workers. The guy said they had 30 cameras in that morning and had two left. I got those two. Its a computer shop I only use as a last resort because they are useless.

Seems to be the case across the board though, I bought some Microsoft LifeCam Studios because Microsoft had some in stock. But couldn't find much else anywhere else.

It seems odd to note that you think the only store which had the product you were looking for is useless.

he clearly meant useless under normal circumstances when you have much more and cheaper options online than in brick and mortar store

Post Post Script: If you need one desperately, try thought Dell, or Microsoft directly. Dell sell logitech and seem to have quite a lot in stock

Post script: I bought a Brio for myself (because windows hello). I think I got the last one on the planet.

I love Microsoft cams and keyboards. They do it better than operating systems.

Why is it useless otherwise?

I can't speak for Paraesthetic, but in more normal circumstances in-person retail regularly has a smaller selection at higher prices, and the quality of help from shop assistants can be variable.

It's not the shops' fault, it's the economics of the industry. Economies of scale mean for some products, Amazon's retail price will be lower than the shop's wholesale price. Cashflow and volumes make it hard to stock a broad range of expensive items like CPUs and laptops. Competent help can often do better than retail wages and working conditions.

I just duck taped the selfie stick to the monitor's stand and use the phone with skype/zoom apps. Camera, mic are already there and you can use headsets with it.

And standing desks. I've been trying to source some for my business (to retail) and all of the cheaper models are sold out. The models we have been able to source are a harder sell at their price point.


For what it's worth, I found Autonomous.ai to be fast shipping and high quality for the price of their standing desks (and chairs!). If you're in the US/Canada they're still shipping quickly.

This (referral) link provides a discount on all of their standing desks/chairs: https://www.autonomous.ai/?rid=f1ef57&utm_campaign=referrals...

Monoprice is your friend. Single motors (cheaper) are OOS but dual motors and hand cranks are still available.

Couldn't be happier with the dual motor I bought a few weeks ago.

Wouldn't the exercise from a hand crank be part of the point to a standing desk?

I had an adjustable drafting table when I worked at Boeing and it never occurred to me that it needed a motor.

The harder it is to switch between heights, the greater the risk the user will leave the desk in the sitting position 24/7 rather than alternating between standing and sitting.

Of course, if the user doesn't need to regularly change between sitting and standing, that might not matter.

Some of them use a mechanical assist, with springs (I'm not speaking about the compressed air versions, just springs).

In those cases, you do not feel any weight.

No matter how easy it is, if it takes 30 sec of cranking to switch heights I’d do it way less often.

This also goes for those irritating slow electric versions where you need to hold a button down for 30 sec.

The model I used had no crank at all, just levers to unlock hooks, and then you would move it to the desired height with the help of spring assistance. It was a Varidesk Pro Plus.

I have an Airtouch. Same idea but with air springs. Zap right to the height you want and get back to work.

Hi, I made my own standing desk using Ikea's LINNMON table (120x60)(cm) but you can pick your own tabletop and the adjustable OLOV legs (apologies for the caps). Total cost is around £€$75 (I am checking UK site). The annoying bit is that I cannot convert it easily. I need to remove everything from the table, turn it upside-down, change the length of the legs, and turn it back up.

IKEA also has three "proper" standing desks (that you can adjust their height without doing the aforementioned) but they cost x2 and x5 of my desk, and I don't really care to change the height that often/ever.

(I don't work for Ikea, I just don't want to pay $1000 for something I can make with $100 (and have a better pension when I retire).

2x the cost doesn’t seem bad if you don’t have to remove everything from the table. Of course it’s probably all sold out.

The 'proper' IKEA standing desks you mention are all sold out here in Australia. I had a look at the OLOV legs but it looks like they only go up to 90cm.

I pulled them (OLOV) on their last dotted line, plus the 2.5cm of the table, that is good/tall enough for me. I also have a custom-made monitor stand (I used planks I found laying around). That adds another 9-10cm and I am using a 27" curved Samsung monitor that has its own tall stand. I'm 1.80 and that height works for me for eyes/elbows/keyboard/mouse (keyboard is a MS comfort curve 2000)(that also adds 1.5cm)

Just tilt the table one way, put bricks under the legs, then tilt it the other way!

Apparently you don't have a dog or a child :)

I cannot stress enough how (especially) a standing desk needs to be super sturdy with children/dogs in the vicinity!!!

Lock your home office door. You'll need to anyway to be productive with dogs & kids around.

Just an idea, would it be possible to use plumbing pipes or construction scaffolding instead?

I'm sure you could hack something together if you're not too worried about the design or long-term duribility. For us it's really just a side business right now to compensate for our main business not attracting many customers right now.

One of our customers uses his ironing board; he put it next to his regular desk.

If you google "Ikea Standing desk," you will get a plethora of results.

I even did a lightning talk on my Ikea standing desk once. It's fun and relatively easy to build.

(Don't forget a pad to stand on)

Yes, there are many ways to build a fixed-height standing desk. There are a number of guides to make them from Ikea pieces, for example.

See if there are any office furniture liquidation companies in your region. I got mine at one near by at a nice discount.

I saw this mentioned in a WSJ piece yesterday.

> You can get an external webcam—although top models are sold out across the web. ( Logitech says it’s increasing production and distribution to meet the new demand.)


Similarly, I felt that I outgrew my kettlebell and tried to order a new one - absolutely impossible right now, like most other home exercise equipment. At least it's something completely non-essential.

I'm just grateful that we have food in the stores at the moment.

This is a prime example of why letting prices go up to a certain degree on certain items is a good thing.

Case in point: you wanted to buy a new webcam, not because you needed one, but because you felt it was time to do so. You can't, because the prices are too high. But for someone for whom a webcam is essential (think a doctor providing televisits to patients), a high price isn't as much of a deterrent (within reason).

Because you couldn't/wouldn't buy at the higher price, there was stock available for the doctor who absolutely needed the device.

Exactly. Without price controls, prices go up some finite amount. With price controls, things sell out which means prices have essentially gone to infinity. Which is more of a price control?

After bars and restaurants closed down here, some 3 weeks ago, various alcoholic drinks have become very scarce. People are just hoarding wines and beers like never before - was going to pick up a couple of bottles of wine, but walked out with cheap vodka.

> People are just hoarding wines and beers like never before

Are they? Or are all the people who used to go to the now shutdown bars and restaurants, where their beers and wines were supplied by the bars/restaurants, and therefore, commercial supply houses, now drinking at home instead, and so there is much more purchasing on the retail side, resulting in shortages because the retail side was not ready for a substantial X% instant increase in consumption?

I.e., all the beer/wine that used to flow via the commercial supply houses now has to flow via the retail stores.

And if you take beer, that is delivered to bars and restaurants in barrels, while shops carry bottles. Same as with flour, the limitation isn't supply of the base but of packing/botteling.

This is what is occurring, and the transition isn't necessarily easy. For example, there's no easy to way to take say 30% of all beer consumed (from kegs) and just on-demand convert that to canned.

I've actually been a bit surprised that where I live in Massachusetts at any rate, the liquor stores look remarkably normal. The one nearby grocery store that carries beer and wine looked pretty well-stocked for at least that part of its inventory as well.

Maybe smaller stores in cities are shorter on inventory but out where I live any shortages are minimal. (Even though supermarkets are out of the usual items like paper goods.)

That's surprising because usually during an economic downturn lifespans go up precisely because people spend less on alcohol and other drugs.

Do you have a citation to support that trend, please? I'd expect the reverse -- somewhat like, I gather, cinema use increases because people don't go on holidays but have staycations.

It is the opposite in France, sell of alcohol in supermarkets saw a 16% drop.

Years ago, I've read an article with experiences from war-torn Sarajevo.

At the time, alcohol became currency.

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