Facetime on the Mac

Facetime for the Mac is available in beta to be downloaded. Once you download the application and install it, you have to connect it to your Apple ID. If you don’t have an Apple ID you need to set one up. Then you need to verify the email address you want people to use when they call you. This is where I ran into trouble. I tried to use my Mobileme address, but it said it wasn’t available that it was already in use. There is a resolution to this on the Apple Support discussion, however to be honest I really didn’t understand the solution. I ended up using my google domain email account to verify and it worked fine. You do have to click on a link in the email you get and then verify your Apple Id and password. It took several tries for this to go through, I kept on getting the Web site down error, I am sure that it was getting hit pretty hard this afternoon. Once that’s verified, the Facetime application has your picture on the left side and then the people listed in your address book on the right side. If you want to call someone using Facetime you simply click on the phone number associated with their Iphone or Itouch. It does allow you to put them in either portrait or landscape mode. You can also use fullscreen mode if you want. I don’t see myself using the full time mode a lot, the picture is not that good, however, it is nice that it is available . If someone calls you and your Facetime application is not available, it will pop up automatically so there is no need to keep it open or even in the dock.

I do think it is going to help Facetime to grow in popularity. Now if you get a Facetime call and your at home you don’t need to sit there in front of your Iphone, trying to position it so people aren’t looking up your nose. Now you can continue working and see them on your computer. Also unlike Facetime on the Iphone, the person who is using the computer version can record what is being sent to him or her on the Iphone, using something like Camtasia or Screenium. I know that you can already do this using Skype, but it is just another option for people. Plus it allows a Mac to Mac call. There are a couple of things that are missing from it and I wish it had. The first would be the ability to chat from the Iphone or Ipod Touch using Facetime. The second is it works only with other Facetime users, it would be so much better if you could use it no matter what video client the other person was on. However, I also know that is not Apple’s way of doing things and I am probably going to be waiting a long time for this too happen. The final problem I have is I need more people I know to buy Iphones or Ipod Touches or Macs so I can use it more.


Tango to FaceTime, “Move Over”

There’s a new cross-platform video calling app that just became available called Tango. There are versions for both the iPhone as well as Android. Tango does what Apple’s FaceTime does, except it also does it cross-platform as well as via 3G. Apple’s integrated video calling app FaceTime works only with iPhone 4’s and via WiFi data network connectivity.

I called a friend that has an iPhone 4 with my Sprint HTC Evo via Tango. Both of us were in moving vehicles in different parts of the country, and both of us were on 3G networks – my friend obviously on AT&T with his iPhone 4 in the Miami, Florida area, and me being on Sprint 3G on I-81 in Virginia. Tango took advantage of the forward-facing cameras both in my friend’s iPhone 4 as well as in my HTC Evo.

Overall the experience was quite impressive. If you have either an iPhone or Android phone, download the free Tango app and give it a try.

One really strange quirk with Android phones is that there can be two phone books – the “phone” phone book and the Gmail phone book. Tango relies exclusively on the “phone” Android phone book, so keep that in mind when looking for and/or setting up contacts to work with Tango.