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iSight Magic

by Derrick Story
Mac Newsletter for 09/26/2003

Dear Mac Reader,

The iSight webcam has spurred a whole new wave of digital media creativity. As a result of my articles, including the recent, "More iSight Video Tricks," many readers have been sharing their ideas with me through email. I thought you might be interested in hearing a little bit about what's going on.

First, I want to point out that as cool as the iSight is, it's only the tip of the Mac iceberg. The reason why it's so powerful is because your OS X computer is this amazing digital media machine. As you will see, the iSight tricks are enabled by Apple technologies such as QuickTime, FireWire, and Mac OS X. Plugging the iSight into your Mac is like plugging a simple telephone into a wall jack. It's not so much the phone that's incredible as it is the infrastructure enabling it.

One of my favorite letters was from Lutece Monge who attached an iSight to a winged helmet and walked the tradeshow floor at the recent Paris Mac Expo. You can view some of the footage at:

It's a big download, but he has "Fast Start" enabled so it starts playing after a minute or two. What a great way to see the show!

Another letter I received was from a workshop instructor who is creating stop motion animation movies with the iSight and teaching teens how to use this technology. If you look at my tricks article, you'll see that you can also capture time-lapse movies, set up a surveillance system, and even use the iSight for single frame capture to mail to friends.

All of this magic results from the inherent capabilities of our Macs. Sometimes we forget the power inside because we're doing the same old daily tasks. Then something relatively simple, such as the iSight, opens our eyes to a whole new set of possibilities.

Until next time,


p.s. I'll be leading an "iSight Tips and Tricks" session at Macworld SF in January. If you're coming to the show, be sure to stop by.

Derrick Story
Mac DevCenter Editor

Featured Articles

More iSight Video Tricks
Lots of good things have happened since I wrote Making Movies with the iSight, in which I explained how to use QuickTime Broadcaster with Apple's new webcam. In this article I'll show you new iSight video tricks and easier ways to make movies than with Broadcaster.

An Introduction to WebObjects
WebObjects is most often referred to as an application server; however, it's much more. WebObjects consists of a set of frameworks which allow you to write cross-platform, server-distributed applications, and a set of tools to help you write them. Josh Paul takes you inside WO and shows you how to get your feet wet with this introductory tutorial.

From NEXTSTEP to Now: An Interview with LaunchBar's Norbert Heger
When LaunchBar was announced as a winner in the second Mac OS X Innovator's Contest, we received lots of positive comments from readers who were fans of this software. Like so many good ideas, the concept for this software has been around for a while. Its roots go back to 1995 and NEXTSTEP. Norbert Heger describes those early days and the evolution of this terrific Mac OS X application.

Control Your Mac from Afar
Do you want to control your Mac, or one that you're responsible for, from a remote location? If you're running Mac OS X, you can take advantage of a variety of built-in Unix and AppleScript tools to control your computer from afar. Harold Martin shows you how.

Secrets of the Jedi Lunchbox and Other Andy Ihnatko Tales
Andy Ihnatko's started out as a volunteer for the Boston Computer Society's Mac Group, which led to becoming a columnist for MacUser mag. When MacUser and Macworld mags merged, Andy was right in the middle of it. Here's an interview with one of the truly unique minds in the Mac community who has been there during every step of Apple's highs and lows over the years.

PackageMaker Pro Tips
One of the best and easiest to use of Apple's developer tools is PackageMaker, a utility that helps you create installer packages. Andrew Anderson walks you through the basic features, then shows you how easy it is to create custom installer packages for your software.

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