Tag Archives: video-call

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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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.

Does Apple iPhone 4 FaceTime Work?

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One of the features I was anxious to try out with my new iPhone 4 was, of course, FaceTime. I called up my buddy David Banther so that we could see how well it works. The video was crystal-clear, and the audio was crisp. As we talked, we showed off a couple of the cool features and options inside of FaceTime.

You’ll notice right off the bat that I was using landscape mode while David had his phone sitting in portrait orientation. I asked him to change over to landscape – and voila! FaceTime seamlessly adjusted itself to the new view. Once the call begins, the thumbnail of myself (or yourself!) is easy to slide and drag around to a different location on your screen.

David had to pause the call. I could still hear him, but was unable to view the video. That could come in handy if you notice that you have some spinach stuck to your tooth! When I tried to exit out, David could see a “still” photo of me and could still hear me. Another neat little feature is that when the call is complete, it will show up in your call log as a FaceTime call.

One can’t help but to remember Steve Jobs’ keynote speech at WWDC. While he was talking about FaceTime, he happened to mention that “the company intends to work hard to make FaceTime an open industry standard itself.” The graphic above indicates that perhaps there is more to come from Apple in the way of devices capable of running FaceTime. If this application were to truly become open, it could change the way we communicate.

Have you tried FaceTime yet? What was your experience like?

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Video Call Recording and Capture (Skype)

I’ve never been a huge Skype fan, although it seems I’ve had an account forever. More than anything, I just don’t like accepting random calls from folks. Of course, I realize that I could limit my contact list and privacy options – but that’s next to impossible for me, as I know a lot of people and am always online (in some form or another). Plus, I envision using Skype to further enable communication for future programs – but not yet.

If you try to call me on Skype and I’m not expecting your call, I’ll likely never pick up. Moreover, you can watch me ignore your call. It’s not that I’m a cold-hearted communicator – it’s just that I’d never get anything done if I spent all day long having conversations that led nowhere, or got tied into discussions that could have been handled in text chat or email instead.

In other words: the “neat” factor of talking with someone with VoIP software is long gone. Not since I first played with Netscape’s CoolTalk (1996?) have I ever been giddy with voice communications over the Internet. It’s only become easier to do, but the power has also become more fragmented.

This is what’s interesting to me. Recording an answer to a question:

I thought Pamela was the end-all / be-all of recording Skype calls. Then receiving another answer to my recommendation:

Here’s Bwana’s take:

Now, if you upload your own suggestion(s) in video form – to any video network of your choosing – I’ll update this post to include your embed code. Any takers?