Tag Archives: facetime

How to Monitor Your Home with FaceTime

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Using Apple’s FaceTime, you can chat with someone in another part of your house or a person on the other side of the world. It’s simple to use your iPod touch, iPhone or iPad as a webcam when using this built-in feature. You’ll need to create an Apple account for each computer you want to connect with and let other users know which one they should use to chat with you. There are also a number of other ways you can use FaceTime – which don’t necessarily involve other people.

I was expecting a package recently and was afraid I might not hear the doorbell. I’ve been looking forward to this delivery for a while and couldn’t spare the time to sit next to the front door waiting for mister deliveryman. Instead, I connected my iPod touch to FaceTime with a computer up in my home office. The iPod was pointed out the front window so that I could easily monitor everything going on outside the door without leaving my desk or interrupting my work flow.

This will also work when you want to keep an eye on your home while you are away, of course. You’ll need to set up your Mac to automatically accept incoming FaceTime calls in order to do this.

With this script enabled, you can call yourself from your iPhone or iPod touch and the Mac will automagically pick up the call. When you disconnect, the script will close FaceTime and continue to watch for a new call. Once you get home, you can quit the app to keep FaceTime from answering everything that comes in. This lets you quickly check up on anyone – or anything – in your home while you’re out and about. I like to use it to make sure Wicket isn’t surfing those bad doggie sites.

What other uses can you think of for Apple’s FaceTime?

The iPad 2 Cameras Suck – So What? Here’s Why.

Am I extremely disappointed that the iPad 2’s cameras appear to be as sub-par (much like the iPod touch’s)? Absolutely. Is it going to keep me from selling my iPad 1 to help fund an iPad 2 “upgrade?” No, I’ll be in line somewhere on Friday to get a Black 64GB 3G unit.

I just don’t think that the camera’s quality has anything to do with the iPad 2’s value as a “tablet computer.”

So, here are my theories as to why the iPad 2’s cameras suck:

  1. Try holding the iPad still, even with two hands, at arm’s length. It ain’t comfy, and it ain’t steady. I realize the iPad 2 is slightly lighter than the first gen, but it’s still gotta be in the ballpark of “awkward.”
  2. This is a “tablet computer” with a camera, not a camera with a “tablet computer.”
  3. The primary focus (no pun intended) for the lenses is to fuel FaceTime conversations. Given that, you really don’t need to push a massive resolution down the pike.
  4. When was the last time you complained that your notebook’s / netbook’s webcam was lacking? You likely use it for simple imaging needs, not for shooting pictures or videos – and it’s certainly not your primary digital camera option.
  5. Why spend money on slightly-better optics when you don’t need to? I’m just saying that Apple was likely to keep the price point at $500, and it knows that people are going to buy it despite camera resolution. If you could sell the same amount of devices, why spend more on hardware?
  6. A lesser-quality camera in the iPod touch has not (likely) dampened sales. Just sayin’.
  7. You gotta have a solid reason to get an iPad 3, right? Lord knows I’m ready for a better camera in the next iPhone. And, speaking of, does anybody else have an odd discoloring issue and a floating dot (pronounced more in certain photos) with the iPhone 4’s videos and photos?

I wanted to do a “top ten” list, but couldn’t get past seven points without jumping into extreme conspiratorial territory. Plus, 7 is my favorite number. Maybe you have other realistic ideas as to why Apple decided to ship the iPad 2 with lackluster imaging devices?

Or, let me guess – this is what you wanted the iPad 2 to be:

iPad 2 Release

What Do You Think About Apple Products and Services?

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I had a FaceTime chat with SoldierKnowsBest last night and decided to capture the conversation on video (go figure). Just curious to know – how many of you actually care about what Apple does?

He was using FaceTime on his iMac, and I had mine going on my iPhone 4. There have been a few stumbling blocks when trying to use FaceTime, but it works pretty well for the most part. I can’t always connect as easily as I would like.

Soldier and I both have two FaceTime accounts: a public and a private one. It’s just easier to manage that way. He feels that FaceTime actually works better than Skype for video calling.

What is your general opinion of Apple products and services?

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FaceTime Beta for Mac – Not Windows, Yet

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Apple recently released the first public beta of the free FaceTime Mac desktop app. It’s not without its share of flaws, but for the most part works as advertised. I’m happy enough – for now.

FaceTime for Mac makes it possible to talk, smile, wave, and laugh with anyone on an iPhone 4, iPod touch, or Mac from your Mac over Wi-Fi. So you can catch up, hang out, joke around, and stay in touch with just a click. Sure, it’s great to hear a voice. But it’s even better to see the face that goes with it.

The only thing you need to get started is an Apple id and an email address… and the beta download, of course. Your address book is already integrated, so you don’t have to worry about having to add anyone. You CAN add anyone you want to at any point in time. With a MobileMe subscription, you can have several different accounts… choose one for friends, one for family and one for business to keep things more organized.

I don’t like that it won’t work on Windows or Linux. That’s depressing, Apple. You dont want to get leap-frogged by Skype, now do you?

I hate that you cannot block someone from within FaceTime. I had to change one of my usernames due to someone guessing it and trying to call repeatedly. There’s no way to just block them from calling at will. I hate that it won’t run full-screen natively. You have to toggle it during the call itself. Having some automated features would make it much better.

Call anyone who has a FaceTime account and see the smile you put on their face.

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Were Your Apple Event Predictions Correct?

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Like many of you out there, I was excited for the Apple event that happened on Wednesday. I had my ideas as to what we would hear, and I know you did, as well. How much of what you hoped for was real? How close were your predictions?

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Will the New iPad Have a Camera and Retina Display?

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During live calls recently, one person asked if I felt he should buy an iPad now, or wait for a new version to come out. I think he should wait. I feel that Apple will include several of the things on the next iPad that we all wish it had now.

I do feel there will be another new one at the beginning of the year, likely in February or March. It’s not likely we’ll see a different form factor. There’s nothing wrong with the iPad as it is built now. The mold doesn’t need to change.

There has been talk in some of the patent blogs that the doc connector will be on the bottom and one of the sides in the next version. Also, they claim that there WILL be a camera. I believe this. The big push is FaceTime. Most likely we will see a new version of iChat, as well, when the new iPad hits shelves.

What are your thoughts? What would you like to see included on the new iPad?

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Who Uses Apple FaceTime?

Apparently even cats and dogs use FaceTime. Go ahead and caption this!

Caption This

The concept behind FaceTime may not be new: we’ve been video chatting forever and a day at this point. You’re all likely used a service such as Skype at some point to accomplish this goal. It worked well enough, I suppose. However, nothing has yet come close to the experience that FaceTime can give you – right on your phone – no matter where you may be.

It’s so easy to use FaceTime. Find the person you wish to talk to in your contact list, and push that “FaceTime” button. The call will immediately initiate itself. As soon as the other person accepts, you’re connected by way of video. You don’t have to worry about whether you have an Internet connection or a computer handy. There’s no need to sit down at a desk or even stand still. Video chat while you’re on the go, using the 3G connection on your phone.

I absolutely love this service. I’ve used it many times already, and been more than happy with the results. Hearing someone’s voice is one thing… being able to see their face and expressions adds a whole ‘nother layer to the conversation. It’s a well-known fact that body language plays a huge part in the way people’s words are interpreted. By being able to see the person on the other end of the phone line, you are more apt to have a productive dialogue.

I can see so many fun and practical uses for this application. The traveling businessman may use it to have a quick conference with the home office or even his family back home. Servicemen and women can see their families waiting for them on the home front. Grandparents who live far away can see the little ones as they grow up. Heck, you may even see someone using FaceTime to share special occasions in their lives when an important person couldn’t be there.

What are you using FaceTime for?

Please Call It the iPod Touch

Look, I’m a tolerant man. When Pixie wakes me up and asks for a trip to the little doggy’s room at 3am, I don’t yell at her. If Wicket throws up on my MacBook Pro, I forgive him. Eventually.

But seriously, I am out of forgiveness for people who can’t figure out the name of Apple’s iPod Touch.

According to the Apple press event yesterday, it’s the most popular iPod and the #1 game player in the world. It’s been used for over 1.5 billion game and entertainment downloads. It’s cute. It’s thin. It even has an HD video camera and video editing now.

Yet people still get its name wrong. So let me explain it for you in a nice, simple way. There are even pictures to help you out.

iPod TouchiPod Touch

This is a cool Apple device that you can use to play games, listen to music, and watch videos.

You can even use it with FaceTime and Game Center to connect to friends who have iPods or iPhones.

What you can’t do is call it the iTouch. That is not its name. Please call it the iPod Touch.

I touch.

This is a simple sentence. It’s made up of the pronoun I and the verb touch.

You can also use those words in more complex sentences like "I touch the base whenever I hit a home run," or "When I think about you, I touch myself."

Although on second thought, if you’re touching yourself, just keep that between you and your naughty little hands. The rest of us really don’t need to know.

Eye Touch

Stop that. What the heck is wrong with you? Why would you stick your finger in my eye?

Jeepers. You do have naughty hands, don’t you?

Seriously, dude, eye touching is completely inappropriate.

Now, enough of that. Don’t make me call Wicket. He’ll throw up on your computer.

Are we clear now? The little music/video device is an iPod Touch, not an iTouch.

I won’t be responsible for my actions if you call it an iTouch one more time. In fact, I’ll take suggestions. How should I punish people who call it the iTouch?

fring Goes Live for iOS 4 Today

fring announced today that it now provides iphone users unrestricted 2-way video calling over WiFi or 3G internet with other iPhone, Android or Symbian devices. This newest iteration of fring allows iPhone users the same capabilities that millions of fringsters are already enjoying. The app gives you the freedom to video call any friend across different mobile platforms from anywhere.

“We are thrilled to bring iPhone users unrestricted video calling with all their friends and family. Ever since we launched the world’s first mobile video calling last year, we see millions of users thirsty to share richer communication experiences” said Avi Shechter, fring’s Co-Founder and CEO. “We’re proud to facilitate this face-to-face mobile communication experience among friends wherever they are and wherever their friends are on smartphones.”

In addition to 2-way video calls for iOS 4, the latest version of fring offers up several other features:

  • Multitasking – Users can be “always on” and available to friends. fring will run in the background even as other iPhone services/apps run so that you are alerted to new video calls or chat without proactively opening fring.
  • Social Stream – This is a chronological stream of all tweets, Facebook updates, chats and calls all in one place. It has easy cross-community communication and simple sorting capabilities.
  • Smarter Address Book – Manage your buddy list, merge contacts and more in an instant – and without needing to read through an owner’s manual.

If you’re not on the FaceTime bandwagon (or want to video call someone who doesn’t have the iPhone 4), you may want to take a look at fring.

FaceTime on an Airplane at 35,000 Feet!


I’m on my way back to Seattle from Spokane. I decided to initiate a FaceTime chat with my brother, using the free in-flight WiFi. It worked like a charm! Of course, I didn’t talk (that would have been a bit rude). I panned the cameras around a bit to show Adam what was going on, though. Too much fun!

After he saw the photo I captured above, Josh Haley decided to play around a little in Photoshop. I have to hand it to him: my brother has never looked so happy!

What types of things do you do when you have free in-flight WiFi? Do you plan to indulge in some FaceTime, or will you buckle down and get some work finished?