Use Your Phone as a Webcam with EpocCam

Need a webcam? Want to hook up a second webcam for multi-cam streaming? EpocCam from Kinoni lets you connect your phone to your computer as a second video input!

It works either wirelessly over WiFi or with a direct USB cable connection for lower latency.

I’ve only played with the iPhone version, but there looks to be an Android version as well, and they should both work with either Mac or PC computers. It’s slightly fiddly to set up, but I got it working:

  1. Install the EpocCam app on your phone.
  2. Install the driver from Kinoni’s website on your computer.
  3. Reboot.
  4. Launch the EpocCam app on your phone. It’ll show a “connecting” screen.
  5. Launch whatever app you want to use the video input.
  6. Go into the video settings and choose EpocCam as a source.
  7. Magic!

There’s a non-zero probability that I may be using this setup as part of my weekly DJ livestreaming on Twitch on Saturday mornings. Just saying. :)

DJ Wüdi on Twitch

Linkdump for May 28th through June 15th

Sometime between May 28th and June 15th, I thought this stuff was interesting. You might think so too!

  • Why is English so weirdly different from other languages?: No, English isn’t uniquely vibrant or mighty or adaptable. But it really is weirder than pretty much every other language.
  • PureText: Have you ever copied some text from a web page, a word document, help, etc., and wanted to paste it as simple text into another application without getting all the formatting from the original source? PureText makes this simple.
  • Let’s Be Real: Americans Are Walking Around With Dirty Anuses: “I find it rather baffling that millions of people are walking around with dirty anuses while thinking they are clean. Toilet paper moves shit, but it doesn’t remove it. You wouldn’t shower with a dry towel; why do you think that dry toilet paper cleans you?”
  • The Racist History of Portland, the Whitest City in America: All in all, historians and residents say, Oregon has never been particularly welcoming to minorities. Perhaps that’s why there have never been very many. Portland is the whitest big city in America, with a population that is 72.2 percent white and only 6.3 percent African American.
  • No more ‘product of its time,’ please:I don’t think that we should hide texts with troubling elements. They are part of the literary canon and they have influenced us, for both good and ill. We should definitely be reading them, and we should also be talking about them. A lot.

Microsoft Excel .xls and .xlsx weirdness

I’ve been attempting to troubleshoot some issues with sending Excel files back and forth between my Mac at home and a professor who uses a Mac at home and a Windows PC at school. Even though we’re both using current versions of Excel, and though the files opened fine on her Mac, she was having consistent problems on the Windows machine.

After a few days of back-and-forth and trying to narrow things down, here’s what I’ve come up with.

For some reason, though Excel:mac2008 (hey, that’s how the ‘About’ screen writes the product name, don’t blame me) uses the new XML-based file structure, when saving files, it uses the old standard .xls file extension. Oddly, at least on my machine, it is behaving like this even though Preferences… > Compatibility > Transition > Save files in this format: is set to “Excel Workbook (.xlsx)”.

(And as an aside, why must there be an open workbook to access Excel’s preferences dialog box?)

Current versions of Excel on the Windows side of the fence, however, use (and expect) the .xlsx extension. Same file types, but different extensions, and this causes confusion. When Excel (Windows) sees the .xls extension, it expects a different type of data than it does when opening a document with the .xlsx extension, and it chokes when attempting to open the file.

The solution? Manually change the extension to .xlsx before e-mailing the file.


Ecto for Windows

A few months ago Alex Hung, one of the regulars in the TypePad User Group, announced that he was working on a Windows-based application for posting to TypePad and MovableType-based weblogs that he was calling TypeWriter. Not being a Windows user I didn’t have a lot of use for this, but I watched his progress as he posted updates on his project in the forums.

Earlier this week, Alex, Adriaan Tijsseling, and Joi Ito jointly announced that they have joined forces, and TypeWriter has now become Ecto for Windows.

Congrats to all involved!

(via Boing Boing)

The MovableType/Mac conspiracy…

Another IM conversation, investigating the MovableType/Six Apart/Mac/Apple conspiracy…

Me: i’ve got a blogger account for a side project of mine, but it’ll probably be moving to TypePad pretty soon
Me: i can’t do anything on a free Blogger account, and if I’m going to give someone money, I’d rather have it be the Trotts

Phil: Keep it for testing at any rate, could you? I don’t really know anyone who uses Blogger and has a Mac.
Phil: Other than me.

Me: sure, will do

Phil: The Mac populace seems to prefer MT, interestingly. Except the people at Forwarding Address: OS X.
Phil: Hm…. maybe I could get Cory Doctorow as a beta tester. That’d be amusing.

Me: i’ve noticed that, actually – been pleasantly surprised at how often Macs get mentioned on TP blogs

Phil: Interesting correlation, really, if you think about it.
Phil: People who use Blogger often go on forums and curse about how unreliable and buggy it is.
Phil: People who use Windows often go on forums and curse about how unreliable and buggy it is.
Phil: People who use MT are often like “Look at this cool trick I can do with my blog!”
Phil: People with Macs are often like “Look at this cool trick I can do with my Mac!”
Phil: Do you see a trend?
Phil: I think maybe Movable Type is the Mac of the blogging world.

Me: i think you just get in a mindset…using computer == dealing with bugs (if you’re on the Windows side)

Phil: Same way with Blogger.
Phil: Using Blogger == dealing with bugs.
Phil: Oh!

Me: Is Six Apart the New Apple?

Phil: Yeah, I saw that.
Phil: And (using Blogger/using windows) == no help at all from the parent company.
Phil: Well, except the UNIX geeks and developers.

Me: ‘zactly
Me: and us Mac users are spoiled by the “It Just Works” syndrome

Phil: True.

Me: MT “just works” – and you never have to deal with the underlying code if you don’t want to
Me: OS X “just works” – and you never have to deal with the terminal if you don’t want to
Me: but in both cases, if you do want to, a whole world of new toys and possibilities open up

Phil: Hacks, plugins, new applications you’d never even thought of.
Phil: And I could be talking about either one with that last sentence.

Me: bingo

I think we’ve got something here!

Playing with Zempt

Six Log pointed out a desktop MT posting application called Zempt that I’m checking out right now. Currently it’s Windows-only, but according to their roadmap, Mac support is planned for two or so revisions down the line.

Looks like Userspace might have some competition down the line! As it stands right now, Zempt looks good for the Windows side of things, and Userspace has my vote for the Mac side of the equation.

Heaven forbid that happen!

Imagine the disincentive to software development if after months of work another company could come along and copy your work and market it under its own name…without legal restraints to such copying, companies like Apple could not afford to advance the state of the art.

— Bill Gates, 1983 (New York Times, 25 Sep 1983, pg. F2)

Drugs are bad

Wintel users often start when they’re young and ‘experimenting,’ because it seems like a cheap and readily available high. Unfortunately, it’s just the first hit that’s free; before he knows it, your average Wintel user has spiralled into an insidious pattern of expensive aggravation, lost time, and severely declining fashion sense. Just say no, kids!

As the Apple Turns

A little too obvious?

Okay, so Micro$oft unveiled the beta of the next iteration of Windows — Windows XP — at an event yesterday. Funny thing is, this time Micro$oft’s brainwashing wasn’t enough to hide the fact even from their own minions that, as usual, they seem to be following in the footsteps of Apple.

This is so sad. They’re just lamely trying to copy Steve Jobs’ Apple presentation — right down to the guy having a black shirt and black pants…. It’s almost like Windows ME 2. Or as Apple might call it, Windows Me Too.

— anonymous Windows tester, while watching the webcast of the unveiling of Windows XP

[From Usenet: 5.23.96 2300]

[Note: This was originally a post to the comp.sys.mac.misc Usenet newsgroup. I’m including it here for completeness. Originally archived here.]

Was wondering if anyone had attempted an install of NetBSD on a mac…?
Anyone attempted a firewall system like this…?

I’ve currently got a Performa600cd, which is networked in my apartment to two Win95 machines and a Unix server running FreeBSD. Ethernet connects all the machines, and we’re using TCP/IP to communicate among the various machines (as Win95 apparently doesn’t support AppleTalk).

Problems: Haven’t found a way to get filesharing going yet. The Winboxes don’t support AppleTalk (which would be easiest on my end), and I haven’t found anything to let my Mac recognize the Winboxes (at least in a filesharing type setup). Currently we’re telnetting/ftp’ing among the boxes to get files back and forth. Works, but a bit of a kludge. Also, haven’t been able to get a completely uesable proxy/firewall system running on the Unix server yet. My roommate found a version of SOCKS to run that Netscape is recognizing without a problem, but few other of my Internet clients recognize SOCKS. The only programs I’ve found that have SOCKS options available are Fetch and Anarchie, neither of which will work outside of our intranet. We’ve also been unable to find proxy setups to put on the FreeBSD-based Unix server, so I can’t configure those options in my programs. End result…Anarchie, Fetch (to a limited degree), Telnet, and Netscape work fine from machine to machine within our apartment, but only Netscape is able to travel outside our apartment. Luckily, Netscape does support E-mail and Usenet, but I’d still much rather be running Newswatcher and Eudora.

Possible solution: Installing NetBSD on my box to let me run Unix, and start figuring how to connect things from there. I’m just unsure how useable/stable the current (1.1) release of NetBSD is, and whether it would be worth the time to experiment with.

Pertinent Info:

  • 1 Macintosh Performa600cd w/FPU 20/510 (one 160Mb internal and one 350Mb external) running 7.5.3 (with Open Transport).
  • 2 Win95 boxes
  • 1 FreeBSD 2.2.1 Unix server
  • All machines connected via Ethernet
  • Single ppp dialup line to connect to my local ISP via a 28.8 modem connection

Feel free to re: to Usenet, but I’d appreciate it if you’d cc: the message to me (wo…, as I’m none to thrilled with Netscape’s Usenet interface, and have a tendency to ignore it for days at a time.

Many thanks ahead of time for any possible help…