More about the MacBook

So I wrote a little bit already about my new MacBook, and I thought I would share a little more. Specifically about the built-in iSight video camera.

Gedaliah in Photo BoothAs you can see from the picture, *anyone* can use the iSight. The fact that it is built-in to the computer means that you never have to set it up, remember to pack it or take it out of a case. That convenience leads to it being used far more often than it would otherwise.

About three weeks ago, my father was at the Lake and called me with a question about how to do something on his MacBook Pro. During the call, I initiated an iChat video conference and, when we were done with the techie stuff, I brought the computer downstairs so the kids could chat with GrandPa. Gedaliah “got it” immediately… not bad for a ten month-old.

The “process” of video-chatting (if you can call it that) is literally intuitive enough for a baby to understand. Gedaliah crawled right up to the computer and began to interact with his grandfather as if they were in the same room.

I remember about six years ago, I bought two USB webcams and gave one to my brother, Jonathan, who I had an office down the hall from me. We were both using Win98 computers and he was ā€“ literally ā€“ down the hall from me. Despite the proximity and the fact that we were on the same subnet of a LAN, it took us hours to try to get Windows Messenger Video Conferencing to work. And, when it finally did, it was bad. The cheap cameras kept shifting white balance, the auto-focus stunk, the framerate was low and we had to use external microphones that either didn’t work well enough or, on my end, picked up all the sound in the room.

By way of contrast, iChat av is, as is usual with Apple, a click-it-and-use-it application that “just works.” Building the camera into the computer is brilliant and, every day, more an more people in my Buddy List have video icons next to their names. Put it this way: before I got the MacBook, I never used iChat. Now it’s open on my computer several hours each day.

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