What to do with an iSight?
March 27, 2007 7:57 PM   Subscribe

MacBookFilter: Are there any good uses for the built-in iSight that I'm missing?

I've had my MacBook Pro since October, and I think I've used my iSight maybe 3 times (once to take my user photo, once to test out Photo Booth, and once to mess with Delicious Library [typing in the ISBN ended up being faster and more reliable]). Only one other person I know has a Mac, and I use Adium, so video chat is out. I don't plan on doing a video blog (vlog?) any time soon, and I feel like there's some great use for the iSight that I'm just not seeing. Any ideas?
posted by DarkElf109 to Technology (19 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
There's a program that lets you set an 'alarm' with the remote and then takes a picture of what happens if someone then takes your computer (using the motion sensor and the iSight). I can't remember what it's called but it's reasonably popular.
posted by wackybrit at 8:04 PM on March 27, 2007

With Gawker, you can record time-lapse movies, if that'd be fun for you.
posted by interrobang at 8:05 PM on March 27, 2007

the iSight is there for video chat. iChat is miraculously easy to use for v-chatting... my wife, who kept saying she didn't understand how chatting worked, managed to connect to her sister on the first try. So the answer is... find more friends with macs or figure out a way of making the iSight work with other video chat apps (sorry, can't help you there).

My iSight is used only for v-chatting.
posted by unSane at 8:06 PM on March 27, 2007

Works great IF your friends/family have a Mac. Otherwise good luck.
posted by smackfu at 8:13 PM on March 27, 2007

With about five minutes of set up, my one-year old baby got to wave to grandpa via skype. It was way, way cool. Quality was shockingly good.

My wife also uses it to talk to her sister in France. Video phone is not nearly as weird as I thought it was going to be.
posted by alms at 8:20 PM on March 27, 2007

Agreed, you've ruled out my only iSight use--video chatting with parents and sister. It's much better than talking on the phone, IMO.
posted by epugachev at 8:23 PM on March 27, 2007

Skype is cross-platform. We've used it to video chat with my in-laws who are running XP.
posted by monkeymadness at 8:28 PM on March 27, 2007

With Gawker iMovie, you can record time-lapse movies, if that'd be fun for you.
posted by niles at 8:33 PM on March 27, 2007 [1 favorite]

You can use it to catalogue your DVDs, books, video games, and CDs. (I haven't used it myself, though.)
posted by itchie at 8:35 PM on March 27, 2007 [1 favorite]

The barcode scanner feature in delicious library is damn cool, if mostly useless. Grab the demo copy and play with it.
posted by cschneid at 8:53 PM on March 27, 2007

wackybrit is talking about iAlertU.
posted by sbutler at 8:55 PM on March 27, 2007

posted by jdroth at 10:04 PM on March 27, 2007

Skype is cross-platform. We've used it to video chat with my in-laws who are running XP.

I've done this as well, and the main issue was that XP didn't like the other machine's webcam, so the machine kept bluescreening. Other than that, it works well, and I believe it's better at getting connections through when both sides are firewalled or behind NAT.

If you make two Skype accounts, you can set your iSight like closed-circuit television. You have to make the second account have only one contact (your first Skype account). Then, set the second account up so that accepts calls only from contacts, auto-answers them, and turns the video on automatically.
posted by oaf at 1:04 AM on March 28, 2007

For the kids: ToySight uses the camera as an input device for some simple games. There's a "dogfight" subgame where you pilot a plane by using your arms as wings and shouting BANG! BANG!
posted by you at 4:17 AM on March 28, 2007 [3 favorites]

Not really an immediate use, but it makes Undercover work a little better.
posted by chairface at 6:26 AM on March 28, 2007

There's an absolutely retardedly simple mounted mirror that will let you take snapshots and video of stuff in front of you. I don't know if you've tried to take a snapshot of something besides yourself, but believe me it's hard when you swivel the laptop around and you can't see the screen at the same time.

I know it's not much, but if you start thinking of the iSight more like a cell phone camera, instead of a camera pointed just at you, it might be more useful than you think.
posted by cotterpin at 6:31 AM on March 28, 2007

Another security usage of the iSight is a program called authsight that snaps a picture whenever someone tries to login & gives the wrong password.
posted by scalefree at 10:41 AM on March 28, 2007

With my iSight, my boyfriend had a PC, and we both used to chat through MSN Messenger. This program wouldn't allow video chat via a PC and a Mac. However Mercury Messenger is essentially the same program (has all your MSN messenger contacts on it) but allows you to use iSight from Mac to PC. So now when we want to be on chat we use that. Hope it helps.
posted by Jubey at 7:12 PM on March 28, 2007

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