Fring for iPhone + Ecamm’s Huckleberry Mirror = Two-way Video Chat

Just read this little ditty over at engadget: Fring brings one-way video calling to the iPhone

Fring for iPhone is a free VoIP app. It’s latest version allows one-way video conferencing to other Fring-ers, and also to Skype. Why one-way? Well, because iPhones dont have a camera on the front: you turn the camera towards you, your friend can see the video of you, but you can’t see your own screen. Wack.

This seals the deal; the iPhone 4 must have a front-facing camera. I had really hoped the iPhone v3 (3GS as it is known) would have this feature. But I don’t have an iPhone 4, or even a 3GS.

Upon reading about the new Fring, I was reminded of a cool product I picked up a couple years back: the Huckleberry.

Huckleberry for iPhone?

ecamm: make a Huckleberry mirror so my iPhone can video chat

The Huckleberry is nothing more than a mirror with two little plastic feet/clamps. It attaches to the top of my MacBook and allows the inward-facing camera, through the magic of reflection, to see in the other direction. I used this to turn my macbook into a (quite awkward) videocamera, and to show people stuff (objects, areas of my room, other people) during video chats.

I’m sure the guys at ecamm have already heard the Fring news, and I know they can make a mirror for the iPhone:

prototype iphone mirrors

Ecamm's 2007 prototype setup, with homemade videoconferencing software

So how about it Ecamm guys? The software is now there for all non-jailbreakers (Fring is free, in the app store), the camera is there (facing the wrong way), and you’ve already got the general idea with the mirrors. Ideally, you’d make Huckleberry for iPhone have adjustable feet to accommodate the spectrum of cases and skins available. Hell, if it’s adjustable it’ll even work on other (Nokia) phones with a similar dilemma.

Even after iPhone 4 comes out with a forward-facing camera— or really— especially after iPhone 4 comes out with a forward-facing camera, there will a market of iPhone/3G/3GS (and iPod Touch once it gets its camera) users who want to join the videoconferencing party.

Perhaps my MacBook Huckleberry can be modded to fit on my iPhone… I’ll update this evening with results ;)


Facebook Chat Secrets Finally Revealed

Here’s how to make emoticons (smileys), as well as underlined and bold text in faceboot chat. Unfortunately, these tricks dont work elsewhere on facebook (outside of chat).

For bold text, use asterisks:

  • *your text here* = your text here

For underlined text, use underscores

  • _your text here_ = your text here

I dicovered these by accident. Got me wondering what else is hiding in facebook chat.

Here’s how you to get emoticons. Very big thank you to Jesse at 20 bits for going into the source code and finding all of these.


“Putnam” is facebook engineer Chris Putnam

Into entrepreneurship, programming and/or scuba? Why not follow Jesse from 20 Bits (@jessefarmer), he does all of the above.

And for fun, of course follow me.

Harry Potter iPhone/iPod Touch App Ideas

Update: It’s been done. Not as polished or rich as I’d like to see.

The Harry Potter iPhone App sucks. Here’s some ideas for a killer app (or apps).

The current app sucks because it doesn’t do anything. It’s narrowly more than an iPhone-optimized website or a commercial, offering some movie posters and clips. That’s about it; no wonder they’re giving it away.

An official HP wizard wand app could rock.

  • Include graphics of the characters’ actual wands, but also make it customizable (see Lightsaber Unleashed app).
  • Give it good sound effects and different-colored flashes of light for different spells. As everyone knows, Avada Kedavra is accompanied by a bright green flash, and instant death.
  • Killer features:
    • Voice control: I’m trying to figure out if the new APIs allow this. You’ll have to correctly  pronounce the spell to cast it.
    • Accelerometer control: You’ll also need just the right flick of the wrist for spell casting. In the absence of voice control, this alone would be cool.
    • Bluetooth and/or online multiplayer fucking BATTLES: Yeah. The lightsaber app makes a crashing noise when you pretend-fight with someone, woo! Harry Potter app has stats and skills and shit. Could be a turn-based or real time battle. This would be fun for non-HP fans alike. Imagine standing across the room from your Bluetooth-linked rival, preparing to duel. Or maybe you’re in your basement in full robes, battling online. Hope you’ve been practicing the correct (accelerometer-measured) techniques.

Now we’ve turned the giveaway, boring, shameless promo app into a game, that has lasting power. A single-player mode is also a no-brainer, and would be an excellent training ground to master all the spells. Include the trailers, posters, etc in the game as unlockables, or just as value-added stuff.

Well-executed, this app would take shit over. More ideas to follow.

iPhone 3GS

Just finished reading Engadget’s live blog from WWDC ’09. The much-expected new iPhone (called the iPhone 3G S) was unveiled. Nothing really unexpected. AT&T still isn’t even ready for MMS, which is hilarious.

I was really hoping for video chat. Has Apple stock taken a dive after this so-so presentation?

The only redeeming factor I see is the significant price cuts, but in this economy everything needs a price cut.

Ore-Ida (aka H.J. Heinz Company), Listen up!

I came up with a brilliant idea for a new  product. A lifelong consumer of Bagel Bites, I was stunned by the realization that they only produce mini-sized bagel pizzas. Why not put pizza on a full-size bagel? We will still be able to eat it anytime (mornin, evenin, at suppertime).

Bagel Bites have a long-running alliance/sponsorship with youth soccer programs. Sticking with the active-lifestyle-for-your-kids tone, why not market the new, bigger bagel pizza as “Xtreme Bagel Bitez:” reinforcing the sporty brand image, while taking things in a new direction. Also, kids love spelling things with Z’s. Sponsor the X-games and team up with Mountain Dew, I dunno. Just an idea. Other possible names: Big Bites, GigaBagelBytes…

My initial research (asking people what they think about the idea) has yielded overwhelmingly positive response, with most people agreeing that they can’t believe Xtreme Bitez don’t already exist.

Why, Heinz, why? What are you waiting for? Perhaps you’ve already thought of GigaBytes, but you’re holding off. I could see unveiling GigaBytes as being a doomsday plan, which you have wisely kept under wraps; a final trick up your sleeve if the company is ever in serious trouble.


Mmmm, tiny pepperoni cubes

Mmmm, tiny pepperoni cubes

Seabreacher: What it’s like to be a dolphin

Crazy-cool aquatic vehicle here. Just watch the video. It’ll run you $48,000 for a basic model, up to $68,000 for a fully customized one with all the premium options. Totally reasonable price for all that awesomeness.

Visit for mor videos and info

Hello world!

Here it is: my official, professional presence on the internet. I’ll be turning it into a cute little tech/social media/future-dreamin’ blog in the coming weeks.