Archive for September, 2007

Windows\Symbian: Use your Smartphones Camera as a Webcam with SmartCam

SmartcamI don’t have a webcam, and I don’t really intend on ever buying one. Occasionally there are times that others have requested that I get one, but I can’t justify the purchase.

Most phones these days have cameras built in, so wouldn’t it be great if we could use the phones we already have as our webcam.

SmartCam answers the call. SmartCam fools your computer into seeing your smartphones camera as a webcam. A Windows client and a mobile client both need to be installed for it to operate. SmartCam works with MSN messenger, Skype, as well as a straight forward capture to file.

While this all sounds very good, being a SourceForge hosted project that is still very young, SmartCam has some limitations. It only works over Bluetooth, which is exactly what I wanted, but it may limit some users. It is designed for Symbian S60, Series 2 & 3 devices, although it does run on a Java platform; so it may work on other devices.

SmartCam worked for me on a Nokia N70. I had no success with Windows Mobile, however it has not been designed to run on this platform as yet. It was designed for XP, and I had no problems running SmartCam in Vista.

It is a little fiddly to get up and running. The mobile versions need to be installed from the Windows installation folder. Once you read the Read Me file, and get the hang of how it works, you should be fine. SmartCam fulfilled my needs, and I recommend you give this one a go.

(Update: 26/9/07) To stop the popups for each new frame on your phone, go into your tools folder and select your application manager.
Go down to jSmartCam, select options, and Suite Settings.
Change Connectivity to Always allowed
Change Multimedia to Ask First Time.
For more information, check out the read-me file in the installation folder.

Available for free from SourceForge.net


How-To: Synchronise two folders using SyncToy.

Difficulty: 1.5

SyncThe main reason you may want to sync folders on a single machine is to backup your data. You would probably be best to find a backup utility to do this.

If you want to sync folders over networked drives, this guide may help you also. There are more detailed articles at Inspect My Gadget on syncing documents between two networked computers. Find them here.

On the very odd occasion you do want to sync folders on a single computer, it is not too hard to achieve. There are a number of applications available to help you do this, but many of them cost money. Windows has a solution by a command in the command prompt which will work on all Windows PC’s. Microsoft also offers a program called SyncToy which does the same thing with a nice GUI interface.

This is a two part article. In Part 1 we looked at using xcopy to sync your folders, and in Part 2 will look at how to use SyncToy.

Part 2 will cover the following topics.

  • How to get SyncToy
  • Configuring SyncToy
  • How to schedule SyncToy to run a sync at a set time.

SyncToy is a great solution for people who require to sync local or networked folders, as it is easy to use and it can be scheduled.

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How-To: Synchronise two folders using xcopy.

Difficulty: 3

SyncThe main reason you may want to sync folders on a single machine is to backup your data. You would probably be best to find a backup utility to do this.

If you want to sync folders over networked drives, this guide may help you also. There are more detailed articles at Inspect My Gadget on syncing documents between two networked computers. Find them here.

On the very odd occasion you do want to sync folders on a single computer, it is not too hard to achieve. There are  number of applications available to help you do this, but many of them cost money. Windows has a solution by a command in the command prompt which will work on all Windows PC’s. Microsoft also offers a program called SyncToy which does the same thing with a nice GUI interface.

This is a two part article. Part 1 will look at using xcopy to sync your folders, and Part 2 will look at using SyncToy.

Part 1 will cover the following topics.

  • How to use xcopy
  • How to put xcopy into a batch file
  • How to schedule the batch file to run a sync at a set time.

The reason I like xcopy is that it is quick to setup, and you do not require any additional software to get it to work. This means it is good for 1 off syncs. SyncToy will be the best solution for most people who require to sync more frequently.

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Opinion: Online storage, whats the advantage?

StorageI have been reading a bit the last few days about the many companies which are offering online storage solutions to individuals. Many of them are offering unlimited storage space on the Internet for free. Though it is very generous of the companies to offer this, I can’t comprehend how any individual could greatly benefit from such a service. Am I missing something? I would love to make use of these services if it could offer me something that I don’t currently have.

My home computer setup lets me have access to ALL of my files, from anywhere with an Internet connection, all using basic Windows/MAC/Linux features.

  • I can use Remote Desktop to open or edit any files I have on my home computer, on whichever computer I am using.
  • I have mapped network drives so that I can access and download any files I need locally.
  • I have an FTP server setup which I never use, because using the mapped network drive is quicker and easier.

This was very easy to setup and can be done in less than an hour. It is always available to me because my home computer is always on. I have a decent Internet connection at home, so the speed is fairly fast.

The only advantage I have seen to online storage at this stage is that I will be able to turn my computer off and still access my files if I am out and about. What could an online storage solution give me that I don’t already have? 

Read on for more rambling…

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Bluetooth: What’s all that about?

Difficulty: 1.5

BluetoothlogoBluetooth has been around for a few years now and has become common place in Mobile Phones and laptop computers. Over the last 6 months of writing Inspect My Gadget, a have had a much deeper look into what Bluetooth can do for me.

There are a lot of people who use Bluetooth purely for connecting up a Bluetooth headset to their phone, but Bluetooth can be used for so much more than this. Each Bluetooth enabled device offers its own range of Bluetooth services. Each service can be used to give you a feature you may not have experienced yet. 

This article will explain what Bluetooth is and offer you a lengthy collection of fun things you can try with it, bringing together many of the Bluetooth articles which are already available at Inspect My Gadget.

I have not seen many of these fantastic Bluetooth features reported elsewhere on the web. Bluetooth has not seemed to have been overly embraced by the public. I feel Bluetooth is very powerful and the word should be spread.

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