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ManyCam for Mac review

ManyCam for Mac allows you to add special effects to the pictures and videos you take with your computer's built-in iSight camera. When you select it as your video source, these effects can be added to your video chats with programs such as Yahoo Messenger, Google Hangouts, or Skype.

Pros

Entertaining effects: ManyCam for Mac offers many entertaining photo effects including objects, backgrounds, and face accessories. You can also draw over video, add text over video, and add date and time. However, some of the other features we stumbled upon while exploring this program were welcome surprises. For example, … Read more

Fun video chat

Usually if you use your iSight camera with one program, you can't use it with another. ManyCam Virtual Webcam helps change that as soon as you install it. This handy app removes many iSight camera restrictions and provides multiple ways to enhance the overall Webcam chat experience, with some helpful (and some silly) features you'll absolutely enjoy.

After installing the application, ManyCam takes control of your iSight camera: it will become the video source of the chat programs you use, such as Yahoo Messenger or Skype. Now, if you want to make your video chat more fun, you … Read more

Snow Leopard: iChat restricting minimum chat window width

Users may experience an issue regarding the minimum width of a chat window in Mac OS X 10.6.2 Snow Leopard's iChat. The issue seems to restrict the window size to approximately 384 pixels, which some users may find too large for their needs (especially when working on smaller notebooks).… Read more

iChat dropping sound, chopping video, or crashing?

As with much of Apple's software, iChat is easy to use despite running a variety of complex technologies (video, audio, themes, screen sharing, etc.). On occasion, these may not run as smoothly as one would expect. With a high-speed internet connection for instance, you should be able to run smooth video, and yet some people are experiencing choppiness or dropped audio during video conferencing. Additionally, the program may crash when running video in 64-bit mode.… Read more

In line for an iPhone 3G -- Updated

Well, I'm here at the Apple store in the Westfield Oakridge mall in San Jose, waiting.

I got here at about 6:45am and the line was already up around 60 people, somewhat more than I expected. I'm here with a couple of friends who got iPhones last year and are looking to upgrade.

I opened up iChat's Bonjour networking window, but nobody else seems to be using it. Bonjour iChat is usually a great way for strangers to chat at public events, but there are very few people here with laptops.

Apple employees are circulating, but… Read more

Webware 100 winner: iChat

Apple's stock instant-message program in Mac OS X is currently in its fourth release and has made steady improvements in competing with third-party chat programs to provide advanced functionality such as tabs, animated buddy icons, and utilities to assist the transfer of multiple files. At its heart, iChat is a dead simple way to connect with IM buddies on multiple networks including AIM, Google Talk, Jabber, and Bonjour. Missing, however, is support for other popular protocols such as Windows Live Messenger, IRC, and Yahoo Messenger.

Some of the standout features in the latest iteration of iChat include advanced video … Read more

ooVoo adds screen sharing, free conference calling

Remember ooVoo, that iChat-like video conferencing and chat tool we took a look at back in June? Today they've launched a new version that has got a handful of useful, powerful tools that make it a viable alternative for small workgroups using conference calls and screen-sharing applications, such as WebEx.

First up is a new recording feature that lets users tape video chats with other participants. Since the video and audio are being recorded to the hard drive, the only time limit is how much free space the computer has. In testing, I managed to get a nearly 15 minute, four-way video conversation down to 95 MB file. The application took about 10 minutes to convert my conversation into workable FLV file that was at a full 1MB/S quality. It can also step it down to 256kb/s or 512kb/s if the file needs to be smaller.

The other really useful feature is a new conference calling tool that gives host and participants a landline number to call. Other ooVoo users who call this conference line get plugged right into the audio that's a part of the video chat, and just like the video recordings, this audio gets archived too. The new call in lines support up to six people, meaning users can have up to a dozen participants--including those on the video side. The call in service is free this month, but it is moving to a by-the-minute model in March.

Besides the video recording, the other new feature that I think people are going to like is an optional piece of software that's a companion for ooVoo's video player. The companion has two main uses. The first is a screen sharing application that lets users show off an entire screen, or certain zoom levels, to other video chat participants. Users can also drop media files, such as music, pictures, or video into the stream for other users to view. Secondly, it's got a built-in facial overlay tool, like Fix8, that applies digital overlays either to users faces or to replace backgrounds. It's great fun.… Read more

iPhone IM arms race ramping up, Trillian coming soon

This weekend has been a rather busy one for iPhone developers. Adobe Systems hosted the iPhoneDevCamp in its San Francisco offices, and the result is 50 new Web apps specifically designed for Apple's shiny new toy. Earlier today we wrote about some of our favorites, although one of the more important ones that didn't come out the developer's event was the new iPhone-optimized version of Trillian from Cerulean Studios. From the looks of the pictures on their blog, it looks a lot like iChat, and more important is finger- and eye-friendly, especially when compared to Meebo's current offerings.… Read more

ooVoo jumps into video and IM chat space

ooVoo is a free, standalone desktop chat application that has both a text and video chat capabilities. Its official launch is next week, but the beta has been available since mid April. I took it for a spin this morning and came away impressed.

There are a ton of chat clients out there, so one of the things it has done to differentiate itself is multiperson video chat. ooVoo can handle as many as six people in one video conference, which is two more than what iChat is capable of. Users can drop in and out of conversations, and the video windows will scale with a similar effect to iChat's "swoop." Along with video, users can chat among themselves with their computer's microphone or a headset. There are volume controls for both speakers and the microphone right in the chat window, a handy addition.

I found the video and audio to be fairly clear, even when topped off at six users. ooVoo's creators tell me that when running full six-user video, it will take up only half the bandwidth on a low-end DSL connection. Assuming you're not downloading or uploading large files in the background, your connection shouldn't drag to a halt.

In addition to live video and text chat, ooVoo doubles as a video e-mail service. Users can send each other video messages as long as a minute in length that are available right in the app or via e-mail. Users who get the e-mail are also provided a link that takes them to a live flash version of the video, so they can access it while away from their home machine.

For people interested in adding a quick way to be reached on their social networking profile or Web site, ooVoo gives users the option to embed a quick contact button that will automatically launch an ooVoo conversation if installed. I've posted an example image of this on the left side of this post.

ooVoo is not alone in the multiperson video chat space; competitor SightSpeed also offers a free video and text chat service. The main difference is that SightSpeed is aimed at businesses and limits video chat to four users at a time with a monthly subscription fee.

ooVoo is currently available only for Windows users, although the team is releasing a beta for Macs in about six weeks. Users on both platforms will be able to chat with one another using the same client.

You can download ooVoo over at CNET's Download.com. For more shots of the service, keep reading.… Read more