MacBook Touch

Two more weeks until the expected announcement on the Apple tablet computer with who knows what name. Funny that competitors are trying to preempt Apple by classifying their new computers as slates. Not the most appealing name to me but it will be interesting to see what name is used and if the product can live up to it being a new category of computer. Predictions of two 10 inch tablets similar to the iphone and ipod touch makes sense. Hopefully a camera is included in at least the enhanced version with cellular Internet connectivity.

There are lots of videos on Youtube with speculation and supposed leaks. Below is one of the better ones even though it got the year wrong and is a bit too ambitious on a couple of technologies.

Some of the more credible speculation is that an enhanced version of the iphone OS will be used and a major enhancement will be multi-touch capabilities for the larger screen. I like the sketch capabilities shown in the video as well as the see through keyboard. I hope that it will be easy to add memory and an emphasis is put on performance rather than trying to appeal to the low end of the pricing predictions.

Somethings I don’t think will be included are a DVD capability or a pen which could be something a third party could offer as an alternative to using your fingers. I don’t think there will be wimax or handwriting recognition. A bluetooth keyboard/mouse should be supported but maybe not a stand initially from Apple. Voice dictation as in the Dragon dictation already available with the iphone would be a nice feature especially if it is better integrated. Gestures captured from the video camera and projection of the output on external surfaces ala the recent TED computer UI demo would be cool but that is for the future.

New Computer Interaction

I enjoyed these TED Sixth Sense video 1 and TED Sixth Sense video 2 . Maybe you will too. It certainly suggests some new ways to interact with computers that could be on the near term horizon. These ideas make the current desktop software metaphor and mouse interface seem primitive by reversing simulating the real world in virtual worlds into projecting virtual information into the real world.

The new projectors and video cameras are getting small enough to be used in mobile so with new interactive software innovative integration is possible. I loved the demo combining paper and computer editing with the new idea of what can be used as a screen.

Natal is announced to be coming out this year for gaming interactivity using some of the same technology.

Skype Me

If you have been following along with previous posts you know that Skype is the most popular international instant messaging client and it is the closest thing to a multi-media, multi-platform universal calling client.

Skype Universal Calling Client (Windows)

Skype 4.0 for Windows

Skype has lots of features (some examples listed below) and the Mac, Windows, and Linux client software is updated regularly.

Skype is also developing integrated screensharing in the latest beta software for Mac. Yugma SE (Skype Edition) is an addon that provides multi-platform screensharing.

All these features are free.

SkypeOut calls from the users computer to regular phones costs $29.50 per year for unlimited Canada and US calling and it includes voicemail.
A skype number and SkypeIn capability is also a chargeable feature for receiving calls but unfortunately it is not available in Canada.

Skype has been featured regularly on the Oprah show to allow remote guests to participate in video calls from their home or business. Many podcasters use Skype to conduct and record interviews with people in other parts of the world.
One example of audio/video recorder software is the ecamm Skype recorder for Mac. Not to leave Windows users out, read about a free skype audio call recorder.

The popularity of Skype is sure to get a boost with the release today (in the US) of Skype for iPhone.
A summary of Skype for iPhone news is on the iPhone Canada (iphoneca) site. There is also the bad news that skype for iphone may not be available in Canada until some unspecified patent licensing issues get resolved.

A feature that doesn’t appear to be very well known is the availability of free larger scale conference calling for meetings also known as skypecasting

Download the Skype client and addons, plugin your headset and webcam, and .

Computer Videoconferencing Webcams

While Windows PCs are easier to use with computer headsets, when it comes to webcams Macs are easier since all the recent models include built in iSight web cameras.

At the top of the Mac Screen is a buit-in iSight webcam (highlighted in red or you wouldn’t notice it)

Apple - iMac - A beautiful display. All the power you need. And more.

It’s not hard to find a suitable webcam however. Here are the ones recommended by Google for use with Googletalk:

If you don’t have a camera yet and want to get one, here are some cameras that we know work well with voice and video chat:

Skype has some information on video calls and also sells a full range of Logitech webcams.

The best bet is to use the webcams the video calling services recommend especially since they are in agreement.

Recommendation Example: Quickcam Pro 9000

Skype Shop - Webcams

Computer video conferencing tutorial is a good thorough reference source for tips, and also has recommendations for the same webcams but with more detailed information on the choices.

Getting an ichat account through AOL Instant Messenger

You are a Mac user so you already have iChat instant messaging software. To activate it you either need a profile with AOL or with .Mac but the .Mac profile costs money so we are going to assume you are going the AOL route.

Step 1 is to go to http://dashboard.aim.com/aim

Step 2 is to click on the Create a Profile link

AIM page with Create a Profile link

AIM profile is associated with AIM software

Click on the Try AIM 6.5 today link (even though you don’t need that software and are going to use iChat).

All you want is the Get a Screen Name Free

Click on Get a Screen Name Free

Create your Account with a screen name

Just click Continue

Picking a screen name

You might have to experiment here to find a name still available that is meaningful and easy to remember since many names are already taken. Keep trying until you find one you like and remember the password.

Security question choices

Pick the one you can remember and isn’t known by everybody else.

This security check is to stop programs creating accounts since it takes a person to decipher the image

If you have trouble reading the image click the link below to get another choice.

After you submit the request you will have a screen name and password

Start iChat and set it up with you new screen name and password so it will login to your new AIM account.

After all this which hopefully helped you get ichat setup with an AIM account. There is another alternative – the lazyweb.
It turns out there is a great article on this topic for just the price of a link:

Just go to http://www.mvldesign.com/video_conference_tutorial.html

Capturing YouTube Videos to your iPod from your Mac or PC

Download of the Day: PodTube (Mac) and iTube (Windows) from LifeHacker
Download of the Day: PodTube (Mac) and iTube (Windows)
Freeware programs iTube (Windows) and PodTube (Mac) make it easy to download, convert, and add YouTube videos to your iPod.
If you’re using PodTube, you need to browse YouTube in Safari, but one click will download the video, encode it for your iPod, and add it to your iTunes library ready for syncing (the whole process took me less than the time it took for the 54 second video I chose to finish playing). Using iTube on Windows, you paste the YouTube URL into iTube, at which point is also downloads, converts, and adds the file to your iTunes library. These programs are similar to previously-mentioned shareware app
TubeSock, except they’re totally free (as in beer). iTube requires .NET. — ADAM PASH
PodTube (Mac) [djodjodesign.free.fr via Epic Empire]
iTube (Windows) [benjaminstrahs.com via Epic Empire]

Capturing YouTube Videos to your iPod from your Mac or PC

Download of the Day: PodTube (Mac) and iTube (Windows) from LifeHacker
Download of the Day: PodTube (Mac) and iTube (Windows)
Freeware programs iTube (Windows) and PodTube (Mac) make it easy to download, convert, and add YouTube videos to your iPod.
If you’re using PodTube, you need to browse YouTube in Safari, but one click will download the video, encode it for your iPod, and add it to your iTunes library ready for syncing (the whole process took me less than the time it took for the 54 second video I chose to finish playing). Using iTube on Windows, you paste the YouTube URL into iTube, at which point is also downloads, converts, and adds the file to your iTunes library. These programs are similar to previously-mentioned shareware app
TubeSock, except they’re totally free (as in beer). iTube requires .NET. — ADAM PASH
PodTube (Mac) [djodjodesign.free.fr via Epic Empire]
iTube (Windows) [benjaminstrahs.com via Epic Empire]