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iSight – Great App, Great Packaging


Still getting used to my new iSight, a nifty fireware camera for Apple OSX computers coupled with iChat AV allows beautifully clear, sharp, audio/video chat via broadband connections.

Not only is it well-designed in typical Apple fashion (oops, there goes my bias), but what I also enjoyed was the cleverness of the package it came in and a refreshingly small but clear instruction guide which unlike 90% of other computer manuals, makes sense to most humans without leafing thorugh 90 pages of gibberish in 18 languages.

Let’s open up the box…

P8280373sm.jpgSo let’s start with our brand new toy… It is a square box about 6 inches on a side, already feeling toy-like. But enough babbling, let’s rip off the shrinkwrap and see what we find!

P8280374sm.jpg Hmmm, it’s not a plain box, but opens in a split fashion, revealing its few parts of chrome and clear plastic neatly arranged in styrofoam cubby holes.


With flexibility in design, the iSight comes with three different sorts of stands for the camera- the one I use is a clear plastic clamp that fits in the screen edge of my G4 laptop (designed to be eye level during video sessions rather than those weird angles you get from little golf ball cams). There is another one designed to stick to a desktop surface or the side of a G4/5 tower, and a thrid one for (?? an iMac, I don’t know as I am not using it).


So probably in a manner of 3 minutes, I have the camera out, mounted, and wired up to my FireWire port. Wow, if everything in my life was this simple….

P8280376sm.jpg And this might be the most fabulous part of this little package, a teeny, tiny instruction manual that explains everything you need to do in a minimum of jargon, fuss, and cleanly illustrated.

This must be the puniest (and thus my favorite) set of instrctions I have ever found in a piece of equipment. I bought a sander today that had a 14 page manual and the basic steps were (1) peel and stick a sanding pad; (2) press the on button. This is Don Norman Everyday Design type stuff.

And again, this is a camera with a crisp lens that does great close auto focus, with a built in microphone that provides crystal clear audio.

But what is the fuss? What do you actually do with this toy? Using the iChat AV software and an old AIM account, I can have a very clear two way conversation with any of my colleagues, such as D’Arcy all the way up there in Canada:

The video chat is on the right, not one of those puny 160 pixel wide images, but a 352 x 288 default image, and full-screen mode for a high speed connection. The image from my own camera is shown as an inset on the lower right (so I can make sure I am looking interested or to ensure I am lacking a mustard stain on my chin ;-). The audio is crisp, and this is a step above what is already cool in the text chat (which we have up for poor Brian, still lacking his iSight) where we are swapping icons like mad posing as our favorite oracle.

Simple technology, elegant packaging, intuitive design– makes this dog’s tali wag all day long.

ichat.gifsay hello

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Profile Picture for Alan Levine aka CogDog
An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.


  1. AS I sit here in my robe, checking though my feeds, I think… nobody wants to see that… nor do I want them to

    Though I must admit.. quite the styling photo of you and D’Arcy…

    Why do I get the feeling you are going to give Brian ideas?

  2. The iSight allows you to indicate when you, ahem, wish to be unviewable (but still available for audio or text chat).

    We already started giving Brian pressure long before this post ;-)

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