Monday, December 19, 2005

Using a Camera to Skype - Really

Strange but true, and we're not talking about video - this is about using a digital camera to help make a Skype voice call.

The Skype buzz has certainly tailed off since eBay, which is understandable. Well, the buzz is just different now, and the uberbloggers like Andy, Om, Alec and Mark have that ground covered very well. That's not my thing, but I'll contribute in my own way. Next month one of my VON Radio Canadian IP Thought Leaders podcasts will be with someone who knows the Skype culture quite well, and will share some of that insight with us. Don't miss it!

With that said, I thought this post would be timely to talk about yet another cool way to use Skype. And this one definitely did not come out of an engineer's head! It never would have crossed my mind in a million years - and probably not yours either.

This is actually a quasi-guest blog from my 13 year old son, Max. Welcome to your Dad's blog, son! I've been meaning to guest blog Max for a while - I think it's real important to start sharing how kids today view technology and where things like Skype and VoIP fit into their communications habits.

Max is showing all the signs of early geekdom, and is an avid Skype fan. I'll even go so far to say he may be the only kid in North America who has met with Niklas Zennstrom on our shores, so he's a pretty lucky guy. See for yourself - here we are at VON Canada, which was here in Toronto last April. So, Max can now say that he knew Niklas before when....

Niklas, Max, and Jon 002.jpg

So, back to the story - how do you use a camera to do a Skype call? That's easy - tell us, Max....

So, basically what I did was use the audio capture function on my digital camera to Skype my father (Jon Arnold) while he was in Florida (my headset wasn't working, so I couldn't hear him). Most digital cameras feature a webcam function, and digital cameras that bear a microphone feature can also be utilized as an audio capture device, both on the digital camera, as an audio/visual function on webcams, or it can be used individually on a computer. That last function is the one I put to use during that 10-minute Skype call. I don't really know how else to explain it, but that's how I did it.

Well, duhhh - it's obvious! Moral of the story - listen to your kids! Now that I'm getting more comfortable testing the Nokia N90 (check out the blog page), I have no doubt we're just at the tip of the iceberg for really cool digital, IP-enabled wireless devices that seamlessly bring voice, video and data together. If Max can figure this out, it must be true - somebody should hire this guy.....

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