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


Windows Software: Joystick 2 Mouse 3

Joystick2mouselogoJoystick 2 mouse lets you use your game controller to move your mouse around the screen, and a whole lot more. You can do just about any Windows function with this program, including typing (though this would be a nightmare), all from your game controller.

The reason I looked into this was so that I could control Windows Media Centre from my couch. I had all sorts of problems finding a suitable tool. Eventually I came across this gem. After installing it, I found out that it could do much more than I initially wanted. There is no reason why it could not be configured to control first person shooter games.

It is highly configurable, allowing you to change almost every aspect of it. You can use it to control any application. The only drawback I found was that there was no option to disable/enable this utility from the controller. Disabling it is possible by exiting the program, but without the program open, you can no longer use your controller to re-launch the program.

Logitech users would probably be best using the profiler software which can be downloaded from their website. This will allow similar functionality.

Joystick 2 Mouse 3 is available for free from the authors website, or get it from Tucows.


How-to: Split your video signal to multiple monitors.

Difficulty: 1.5

TradeshowThere are many ways to replicate a signal across multiple monitors. Some methods work much better than others. The price difference varies greatly as well. The more money you spend, the more control you will have and the better your results will be.

Generally, there are not a great deal of consumer reasons for wanting to do this. It is much more suited for commercial trade shows where you have multiple screens all around a stall. The reason I looked into this was because I needed to split my signal between my TV and a second monitor.  

This article will explain some hardware options you can use to get from one video source, to multiple screens, replicating the same image on each screen. This is not a true dual screen setup.

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