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How to Fall in Love with Your iSight, Again
Pages: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Give Your Avatar an Extreme Makeover

Tired of seeing the same old face in the morning? Perhaps it's time to change your avatar! A little role-playing can work wonders towards rekindling some tech passion.

Now, avatars are a touchy topic, as everyone has their own preferences and fetishes. Some will remain loyal to the same pixels all of their virtual lives, while others prefer multiple avatars from all walks of iLife. Some prefer avatars that represent their gender, others swing both ways and don't see gender as a limitation. It's really up to you, and how comfortable you feel with your virtual identity, but don't be afraid to strip yourself of your inhibitions and try something new, even if it's just the privacy of your closed network.

There are many places you can find general avatars, (including, Abbey's Free AIM Buddy Icons, and AIM Today Buddy Icons), but in a search of the Web, we couldn't seem to find a web site dedicated exclusively to iChatAV avatars. To help alleviate this, Nitrozac and I have created a series of avatars featuring some of the characters that appear in the Joy of Tech comic. Several of them have different versions, so you can choose the avatar expression that suits your mood. We've also include our hilarious "Disturb-a-tars:" avatars so unattractive, your online friends will keep away, and you can get more work done.

Just a few of our Joy of Tech iChat avatars! Just a few of our Joy of Tech iChat avatars!

If This Avatar's a Rockin' ...

Looking for a bit of avatar action? Check out iChat Streaming Icon, a cool application that adds streaming video from your iSight camera to your buddy icon. Suddenly, your buddy avatar becomes a tiny real-time video conference. No need to change to your status message; when you are away, your buddies can see you really are away!

iChat Streaming Icon can also read many file formats, from simple animated .gifs to .avi or .mov files, so if you don't have a camera, you can still get in on the fun. This is one of those crazy apps that spreads like wildfire, as your friends demand to know, "How the heck are you doing that?" There are a few downsides to the app: it won't stream an avatar over a Rendezvous network, and it will tax your computer's processor, but such is the price of geek glee.

Talk Dirty to Me

Feel like heating things up with some aural action? iChatter from eCamm adds voice synthesis to iChat. Install this nifty program and you can hear your messages spoken aloud via Mac OS X's built-in speech technology. This may seem a little goofy, and it is, but for Universal Access users, this can be an insanely great feature.

If your Buddies are also running iChatter, they can hear the voice you've selected as your own when you message them. iChatter can translate acronyms and emoticons into phrases, and its control panel gives you access to all kind of adjustments to the voices, including pitch and tempo. With a bit of tweaking, even Princess can sound like a sexy Barry White. Just be careful who is within earshot, and don't type anything you wouldn't want to say out loud!

Schedule Some Couple Time

Nitrozac and I work on different floors here at Geek Culture Headquarters, so we often use iChatAV's Rendezvous to discuss our work. One problem we used to run into was when one of us forgot to log into Rendezvous. This resulted in the terrifying prospect of having to actually leave the computer and walk to the other's office! Luckily, our geeky buddy DigitalBill came to our rescue with a simple little AppleScript that automatically fires up iChatAV and logs us into Rendezvous when we start up our computers.

Here's the code:

tell application "iChat"


set ren to "Rendezvous"

log in service ren

end tell

or, if you are looking for a quickie, here's the compiled script:

Just add it to your Startup Items (via Control Panel -> Accounts -> Startup Items). If you uncheck the "When iChat opens, automatically log in" setting in your iChat preferences, this script will only log you into your Rendezvous messaging network. It's a handy feature if you're busy at work and don't have time to procrastinate with your AIM Buddies. Yes I know, who could possible imagine working under such barbaric conditions?

Pages: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

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